Agriculture has come a long from its early days when farmers tilled their land with primitive devices made from sticks and stones. Farmers now have a plethora of intricate, technologically advanced machinery to help in all aspects of their management practices – from tilling, to planting, to chemical applications, and harvesting. The different types of equipment greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete jobs on the farm, increasing efficiency and helping to drive agricultural sustainability. Even with all of the technology available in farming machinery, companies still find ways to continuously push the envelope. Transforming all levels of machinery from the most intricate down to the simplest of machines, these nine companies are delivering great technological advancements to farmers in 2018.
A startup in India is bringing rural farmers the opportunity to get their hands on specialized, expensive farming equipment that would normally be out of their reach. EM3 AgriServices works with farmers who own equipment by allowing them to “rent” out their assets to other users.
This helps them to pay off their purchases or generate additional revenue while farmers with limited capital can get access to quality equipment and machinery on a pay-as-they-use basis. In an area where most farms are smaller than 3 acres, this concept is revolutionary and will change the way many farmers manage their land, helping to modernize their processes.
Online marketplaces make it easy to buy and sell commodities by allowing users to search for products outside their local area. The innovators behind Machinio, an online marketplace for used metalworking, construction, and agricultural machinery, look to do for used machinery was Expedia did for hotels and flights. Using proprietary technology, they connect buyers with thousands of global sellers who have the equipment they are looking to purchase.
A multistep vetting process ensures that buyers are legit, helping to reduce red flags before they reach the sellers. With over 1.2 million listings, Machinio is the most comprehensive online used equipment marketplace. To support global business, a second office was opened in Berlin in 2017.
Sometimes the old dogs can come up with new tricks, and that’s certainly the case over at New Holland recently. At the Farm Progress Show in August 2017, New Holland Agriculture debuted a concept tractor powered by methane. It is the latest development in its vision for sustainable farming. This methane-powered tractor has the performance and durability of the diesel equivalent with a savings in operating costs of up to 30%.
Farms with the biomass needed to generate their own methane could open the doors to self-sufficiency and less reliance on fossil fuels. The visionary design concepts of the methane-powered tractor combine with advanced technologies, extended connectivity, and reliable power train to provide farmers a glimpse into efficient, productive, sustainable farming.
With a handful of awards in 2017, including being named one of the world’s most innovative robotics companies by Fast Company, Blue River Technology is redefining agriculture through their use of robotics. See & Spray is being put to use in cotton fields across the US, instantly recognizing plants that don’t belong in field rows as it passes by.
Robotic nozzles target unwanted plants and apply herbicides accurately and precisely to weeds, simultaneously avoiding the cotton crop and weed-less areas. These smart machines give farmers an innovative way to control invasive weeds and prevent herbicide-resistant varieties, while reducing herbicide application by as much as 90%.
They are known to be one of the most notable companies in the global robotics industry, recognized by the Robotics Business Review for four consecutive years. Autonomous Solutions, Inc. is a worldwide leader in vendor-independent vehicle automation systems. In partnership with CNH Industrial, the two leaders have developed and launched the autonomous tractor concept, an automated steering system utilizing advanced technology to plan end-of-row turns into the headlands of a field, and they are working hard to launch a driverless tractor concept engineered to perform a wide variety of farming tasks.
The unmanned vehicle can be remotely monitored, commanded, and controlled via a computer or portable tablet interface. This technology gives a single user the ability to manage numerous tractors simultaneously with remarkable precision and reliability, increasing efficiency considerably while reducing the manpower needed to complete tasks and also delivering farmers and farm hands from dangerous situations.
A 6-year project totaling approximately $200M in machine development alone is the vehicle by which AGCO is aiming to put itself back on the combine map; it is their “Ideal” combine. This venture is the single biggest product development project ever for AGCO. 2018 will see limited availability of machinery for purchase; full availability is scheduled for 2019.
For the first time on a project, Ideal pooled together many departments of AGCO, all contributing various areas of expertise in the development process; Massey Ferguson’s expertise in threshing, Challenger’s track knowledge and Fendt’s technology prowess come together to create combines that claim to have up to 50% power savings, increased grain tank capacity, longer straw lengths, and acoustic and visual sensors to allow farmers to keep a close eye on combine performance.
The company’s new Sweep Wheel Grain Reclaimer was honored in 2017 by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) as one of the top 50 outstanding innovations of the year. Sukup’s patent pending device reduces the amount of grain left behind after a bin sweep by more than 80 percent.
The family-owned corporation is a leader in grain bin machinery and equipment, continuously winning awards for their innovations. Their grain bins are known to be the best fitting and easiest to put together on the market.
Australian startup AgDNA’s Precision Platform is a Farm Management Software (FMS) solution that combines data science and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) to help commercial crop producers increase yield, reduce input costs and maximize farm profitability. AgDNA’s FMS is considered one of the world’s most intelligent farm management software platforms.
The platform integrates directly with in-field equipment and automates data management with little manual input. It simplifies a grower’s management toolkit down to a single solution and manages a grower's data from soil to silo. The AgDNA FMS also features the exclusive tool Pixel Profit – Pixel Profit automatically calculates critical profit and loss management zones on every acre. See precisely which regions of a field are performing and make informed decisions on how to address profit limiting factors. Only AgDNA can offer this level of financial data management.
The North American division of Kuhn is a leading innovator in agricultural equipment, specializing in spreaders, mixers, and hay and tillage tools. Their list of awards is lengthy, and new products are constantly being recognized for their exemplary performance. In early 2017, they launched the Axent 100.1, which they call the industry’s first precision fertilizer spreader.
With the ability to precisely spread product in swaths up to 120 feet, this large-volume, trailed precision spreader is making a name for itself, quickly. It also has the ability to switch between the Axis spreading system and the Lime PowerPack which can spread lime or organic fertilizers.