Innovations in agricultural machinery and equipment and the latest solutions and concepts for the future of plant production are presented every two years at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany.
AS THE WORLD POPULATION CONTINUES to grow, there will be a concomitant increase in the demand for agricultural produce. The threat of climate change and its negative impact on the availability of agricultural land and of usable water supplies together with the global trend to-wards rural depopulation and urbanization is increasing the pressure for implementing a more efficient way of farming on a global scale. It is only with the innovative technologies of precision farming that these global demands can be met.
The agricultural machinery industry is consolidating its pivotal role in the context of global food security. As in recent years, we can expect to see a veritable fireworks display of innovative farm equipment at this year’s Agritechnica. The more than 300 nominations for the Agritechnica awards scheme are an expression of the unremitting innovative strength of the agricultural machinery industry which keeps on developing fascinating technology that not only inspires visitors to the exhibition but also injects progress into practice for the benefit of agriculture and society as a whole. The Agritechnica Innovations Commission has awarded five gold and 44 silver medals to out-standing examples of technological innovation in agriculture.
This year too, the trend towards further automation of processes coupled with intelligent data management systems continues to optimize the regulation and control of equipment, logistics, documentation, quality assurance, and traceability. Further developments in the specialized areas of electronics, sensors, and software form part of almost all of the nominations. For this reason, all such innovations have been grouped here under appropriate headings (tractors, tillage etc.) rather than showing them separately. Analogs to industry 4.0, digitization, and networking of the agricultural value chain is taking on increased importance. Cloud Computing and Big Data have established them-selves as part of agricultural terminology.
Agritechnica 2015 once again offers an insight into state-of-the-art agricultural engineering as it enters the next level of digitization and networking by means of rapid advances in electronics, sensors, and farm management software right through to storage of data in the Cloud. Increasing constraints in the areas of data protection, data security, and data sovereignty are the flipside of this development whilst themselves unleashing further innovative energy.
Compliance with the latest European exhaust gas emission regulations has forced tractor manufacturers to cut back on development budgets, which in turn has led to a decrease in other innovations more relevant to agriculture. Even so, the tractors presented at the 2015 Agritechnica offer a host of designs and updates, whether for engines, transmissions, chassis, cabs, or the ever-growing sector for software, sensor technology, operator aids, or electric drives displaying a bias toward a higher degree of automation between tractor and implement.
The exhibition offers an array of technology for tasks from stubble removal to primary or secondary tillage. Compact disc harrows for initial shallow tillage after harvest, versatile cultivators for stubble removal, or primary tillage and ploughs used for conventional tillage – all implement groups offer a wealth of improvements in detail. More and more enhancements in tillage technology are turning towards automatic GPS and Isobus control. The relevant solutions are offered by John Deere, Lemken, and Väderstad and has each been awarded a Silver Medal.
While most tillage implements are adjusted hydraulically from the tractor's spool valves, e.g. to set the working depth, some manufacturers are using electric control for these functions. The Truset implement control system developed by John Deere is the first to provide control, monitoring and calibration of each of the tools in a tillage combination via the central Isobus terminal in the cab. Another technical innovation is the automatic compensation feature for these tools. Up to now, operators had to adjust each tool section separately. In this system, when adjusting one of the toolbars within the combination (e.g. the discs), all other sections (cultivator, press roll, tine harrow) will be adjusted automatically.
John Deere presents its Exact Emerge row unit with in-field automatics, a system providing work for planting. The quality assurance system introduced at the exhibition involves all parameters relevant to seed placement, which ensures optimum sowing quality and seed distribution even at high speeds of up to 16 km/h. At the same time the system records the process data and provides online and offline data retrieval and visualization at any time. By combining this technology with the Auto Trac auto-steer system and the iTEC Pro headland automatics, all machine processes in the field are run automatically. During field work there is no more need for operator intervention (in-field automatics). The tractor's control sequences required for these processes are automatically activated when connecting the implement via the Isobus sys-tem. The operator has room to focus on monitoring the sowing process. This solution has been awarded a Silver Medal.
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