Controlling flow of product from a spray nozzle is an area many companies are innovating. Altek International has come up with Vari Flow, which can manage product flow right at the nozzle head using the company’s Smart Nozzle technology. With this system, farmers can achieve the pattern needed for the product applied, without the use of a pulse-width-modulation design. Learn more at altekinternational.com.
RETHINKING THE SPRAY FILTER
Sprayer filters are essential tools for keeping lines clear, but they can be a challenge. Altek International has a new filter system that offers a self-cleaning design, too. It’s easy to open and clear out the filter screen without the threat of getting exposed to crop protection products. The easy-open design can be retrofitted to most sprayers, too. Learn more at altekinternational.com.
DRONE, ROBOT PAIR
Here’s a European idea that might catch on in the U.S. Flourish is a system that pairs aerial data collection with automated in-field response. We’re showing the field robot, but it is mated to an UAV. The drone spots a field problem, and the robot goes out for high-resolution imagery. Farmers get the images and make treatment recommendations, which are then carried out by the robot. The aim of the field robot, called Flourish, is to handle field management duties more efficiently. Learn more at flourish-project.eu.
Naio Technologies is a French company that showed two robots at the event. The larger robot (background) and its smaller counterpart are targeted at the vegetable market for now. But a swarm of the smaller robots could go into a field and cultivate out weeds. It’s another example of the way technology firms are looking at automate. Learn more at naio-technologies.com.
Manure tanks are an important tool in Europe, where livestock is all over and manure management is critical. There’s also a thriving custom application market. German equipment innovator Annaburger launched this new lightweight EcoTanker. It’s designed to carry up to 8,000 gallons of manure, yet be lighter in weight. The company claims a 20% weight reduction over conventional tank designs. Check it out at annaburger.de.
Steketee IC is a Dutch company that has combined a camera, a moving hitch and a tillage tool to provide precision cultivation for more accurate weed control — while avoiding cultivator blight. The camera identifies the row to keep the tool on track. The company uses an innovative hoe-type, ground-engaging device to take out weeds very near the crop. With the rise of herbicide-resistant crops, this tool offers producers a precise cultivation option. Learn more at steketee.com.
KEEP FEED IN FRONT OF COWS
Peecon showed the Butler XL, an automated machine with a front auger designed to move feed back toward cows in the barn or outside. As cattle sometimes push at feed, there’s a need to sweep it back to the animal. The Butler XL does the chore on its own. It knows when the battery is low and will return to the charging station as needed. It can also be used to help with some precision feeding chores. Learn more at peecon.com.
Horsch has made a name for itself in North America with a range of tools, including the first electric-meter planter. The company is also into tillage, as shown with the Cruiser XL. This machine offers shallow tillage for final seedbed prep, and it may be headed to North America, too. The system provides precision tillage and is designed to work in heavy residue as you prep that seedbed for planting. The machine offers farmers a new option for field management. Learn more at horsch.com.
The unmanned aerial vehicle is great for capturing imagery of all types, but what about doing fieldwork? The Japanese have been spraying rice with little helicopters for 20 years, but not with something like this. The Drone4Agro can travel up to 40 mph and fly up to 30 minutes — with up to 220 pounds of material on board. Yes, this is a big one, and it’s designed to actually pull an 18- to 28-foot boom. Learn more at drone4agro.com.
NEW TRACTOR APPROACH
Why do tractors look like they do? What if you could change the width of the machine’s track from the cab for better controlled traffic work? And could it be electric? The Multi Tool Trac is the first electric tractor for the farm. Four electric motors (one in each wheel) power the machine. You can spec it with a diesel engine and generator to get more working time out of the machine. The axle design allows the width to change easily. It’s not a high-horsepower machine but does show what may be possible in the future. Learn more at multitooltrac.com.
You won't see this in the U.S. yet, but we thought it worth showing. Claas is expanding use of Terra Trac on more machines (the Axion tractor has them, too). This Jaguar was very popular on the show stand with many farmers interested in tracks. This track, from Camso, will eventually contain sensors to measure track temperature during operation, so operators can slow down before heat damage occurs. Terra Trac has been an important option for Claas Lexion combines, and now it may be showing up on more equipment. You can check it out at claas.com (the main company site).
SHALLOW BUT AGGRESSIVE
This new tillage tool from Vaderstad — the Carrier 650 — has been outfitted with a CrossCutter knife and a new, very aggressive coulter. The machine is designed for very shallow tillage — top inch — to cut and size residue. One added benefit of the design for this new tool is its ability to terminate a cover crop and leave that residue on top of the soil to break down. This tool is coming to North America. Vaderstad purchased SeedHawk a few years ago and recently changed its name to Vaderstad. Expect to hear more from this company. Learn more at vaderstad.com.
First introduced in 2015 at Agritechnica, the Tempo L planting system includes fertilizer like an air seeder, but individual rows for planting. The machine holds a record for acreage covered in a short time (with the help of a lot of people to fill those hoppers). The machine includes a range of innovations and will soon be coming to the North America market. You can learn more at vaderstad.com.
Deepfield Robotics is an advanced development division of Bosch, the large German company. This white sensor actually measured milk temperature in a dairy tank using infrared. It’s connected to a gateway that can constantly transmit temperature information to the cloud (the gateway is the black box). The developers say this measurement tool is more precise than current technology, and combined with connectivity can offer dairy producers an advantage. The product is close to commercialization in Europe, and shows the rising use of sensors in all aspects of agriculture. Learn more about the company at deepfield-robotics.com.