Dig, Dine & Drive, hosted by Nortrax, was the biggest event going in the city of Manchester, Tenn., on March 24 and 25. Roughly 200 attendees checked things out at the Coffee County Fairgrounds on each of the two days.
As guests arrived, they were greeted with welcome gifts and were given a comprehensive presentation of the Tier IV emissions system by John Deere representatives. After the presentation, the “Dig” portion of the event commenced with live equipment demonstrations of several John Deere machines, including a 764 high-speed dozer.
Scott Bayless, John Deere product consultant, gave a complete walk-around of the 764, going over some of the latest technology built into the machine. Bayless pointed out that a standard feature on the 764 that makes it almost plug-and-play ready for grade control adaptability is the integrated grade control (IGC) valve, which is the electro-hydraulic blade control valve. For the model on display, the machine was equipped with a Topcon MC2 system. Bayless stated that the 764 is easily adaptable to any grade control system a customer may have and said, “We feel this is the best approach rather than locking our customers into one specific brand of grade control.”
Clark Miner, John Deere product consultant of motorgraders presented the John Deere 672GP. Miner said, “The 672GP provides electronic control and adaptability to automatic grading. One feature that the GP has over the G model is the ’return to straight’ feature where you push a button on the articulation and it returns back to center on its own. These machines are prepared to accommodate any automatic grade control systems. When we say accommodate, we mean that a customer does not have to install any redundant valving. It’s all EH valving which is in place, ready to plug in. Put in a base kit and it’s ready to go.”
Miner added that cross slope is standard on the GP and is ideal for governmental customers.
After the dig part of the day, the dine portion of the event consisted of a catered barbeque lunch in one of the permanent facilities on the site of the fairgrounds.
After lunch, drive time offered attendees the opportunity for some stick or wheel time on any machine of choice. A Tennessee Department of Transportation administrator from Nashville took a few grading passes with the John Deere 764 high-speed dozer. He was very impressed and said it was a “well built machine and handles as well as a grader, yet it’s still a dozer. It’s the smoothest ride I’ve ever had in a dozer. We certainly would like to consider this machine for a future addition to our fleet. Having rubber tracks would allow us to use it on the highway and to be able to run the machine across the road and through intersections. It would give us a lot of versatility and portability. With budget constraints it’s tough to consider now, but a machine with both dozer and grader capabilities might make it very cost-effective and worth considering for future purchase.”
Prizes and giveaways were presented throughout the two days, including a John Deere riding mower and a two-week rental of a John Deere 310J backhoe. Factory representatives from John Deere, Morbark, Bomag, Topcon and other manufacturers were on hand to promote their products and services.
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