With our initiative to bring new technology to both ag expos, Cindy and I traveled to Agritechnica to learn what the new trends are in agricultural equipment. Our expectations were to see much more robotics and autonomous equipment than in 2019, the last year the event was held due to Covid. We were surprised that the major manufacturers didn’t showcase this technology. One reason may be existing legislation and that European regulators have yet to approve autonomous tractors. There are standards for smaller field robots. Lemken who showed an autonomous tractor driven by their implement suggested 2030 before being in the market.

Talking about autonomous equipment, there were a few that stood out. AgXeed AgBot had a Deutz 156HP engine driving an electrical generator to drive the drivetrain, PTO, etc. It can pull implements up to 20’ and sprayer booms to 120’.  For smaller autonomous units, FarmDroid drew interest from producers due to it having 400 units already operating in fields. It is mainly an automatic seeding, weeding and spraying machine. Others that made a good showing were Digital Workbench Tipard (multi-carrier platform for drilling, fertilizing, weeding and harvesting) and Pixelfarming Robotics (mechanical weeding).

 

 

 

 

One message that was clear is that these companies are looking for early adopters in producers and dealers/distributors in the United States.

 

Electric equipment seemed to be more prevalent this year. CaseIH and NH displayed their 75C tractors. The bigger splash was Fendt’s e107N which is projected for limited production in 2024. The electric pack is under the hood and retains a CVT transmission.

The tractor that caught my attention though was CNH’s Steyr Hybrid tractor. The concept was introduced in 2019, but this model is being field tested. They took a standard 180-HP tractor with a standard rear axle, then boosted the engine to 260HP and added a new front axle, independent suspension, and electric motor and generator in the front that can drive the front end electrically. The electric element allows the tractor to have high torque available at low RPM and also provides a 10-15% fuel saving along with more horsepower. Claas is also working on hybrid propulsion in their Lexion combine.

 

 

 

 

More companies are moving to precision spot spraying. There were more entrants in green-on-brown spraying but green-on-green (leaf/foliage identification) is advancing. One Smart Spraying was displayed at AGCO, CNH and Amazone’s booths. John Deere had their See-& Spray. Bayer Crop was a new entrant in this category with their MagicSprayer (they were an original partner with Bosch in One Smart Spraying). Ecorobotix displayed their pull-type unit. A unique chemical-free spraying unit came from Continental (the tire company). Their unit sprays boiling water on weeds. A California company is working with boiling vegetable oil.

Along with precision spraying is individual seed fertilizer placement. Kubota (Great Plains) AccuShot and John Deere’s ExactShot technology were displayed.

Other technology that was spotted included JCB Hydrogen engine and Fendt’s new version of Xavier, their individual row unit planter.

 

Drones

Drones made their first appearance at Agritechnica. DJI and XAG had the biggest presence but there were a few newcomers such as ABZ (Hungry), Topxgun (China), Hattat Trackör (Turkey), Danfoil (Denmark) and Fluktor (Germany).

 

Conclusion

Cindy and I made some good contacts and had lengthy discussions that we hope result in Iowa and Nebraska dealers seeing this technology soon at one of the upcoming Expos.