This is the first day Farm Industry News hit the showfloor at Agritechnica 2013 . The Hannover, Germany event is an every-other-year showcase of all that is new in agriculture. And this week we'll be showing what we find every day. Working with Mark Moore, a regular contributor to the magazine, and website, we're gathering up the new products we find that are relevant to our operation, or perhaps show of some interesting tech for you to check out.
This first day at the show, the second preview day, was already crowded with visitors checking out new products and sitting down to make deals too. That's a key part of this show that sets it apart from some as exhibitors connect with potential distributors to expand sales and get their products into new hands. The 42-hectare (about 85-acre) show site is comprised of 25 buildings, many are interlocked .
This show draws 2,900 exhibitors from 47 countries and this year's show is about 7% larger than the 2011 event. And the show organizer DLG has added 11% to the floor space for new products as well. The show runs from Nov. 12 through Nov. 16, including Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 preview days. It is considered a gateway to the European marketplace.
In this gallery, we ran across a wide range of products from prototype tractors to prototype tires, from compact folding spraybooms to new tractors that the U.S. market may not see before 2015. Check out this gallery and see what we found today, but check back again tomorrow for another round of new tech from Germany. And we'll be posting galleries through Friday, be sure to check back .
1. Folding spray boom
The sprayer market is looking for new ways to get coverage but also keep the machine "roadable." Kverneland, which currently doesn't sell sprayers in the United States, is tackling the problem with two spray boom approaches. This aluminum version, which can be as wide as 45-feet, folds in a z-pattern to get really compact. In fact it's less than 8 feet here. There's a steel version that goes up to 24 meters wide (about 72 feet) and there is a 30 meter (95-foot) version for some markets. It's an interesting approach to sprayer compactness.
2. Getting customer input
During a visit to the Kverneland stand, we ran across brochures to "challenge our team" which in fact the company is doing with a program called Project iX. Typified by this prototype sprayer in the stand (note it's half a sprayer) the company is recruiting farmers that will challenge engineers to build better designs. It's rare that a company reaches out so publicly to find those design groups but in the end both the participant and the company is a winner. If you're interested in the program you can learn more by visiting the company's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/KvernelandGroupTheFutureOfSpraying" target=new>Facebook page for the program</a>
3. New CVT-transmission in the future
The McCormick brand has been building for some momentum as owner Argo Tractors works to expand its investment. The new X7 with a continuously variable transmission was shown this week. It's a working prototype and the VT version probably won't hit the United States before the 2015 season. The transmission is made by ZF - though Argo mentions they have a new CVT under development that may should up in a couple years too. Range for this tractor is 143 to 178 hp. And there's a new cab that takes its cues from the automotive world including a cooled seatback for operator comfort. But there are a number of "creature comforts" in the new cab that will allow for fatigue free operation. Before the CVT arrives in the U.S., the X7 will have a ZF-built powershift that is designed to operate similar to a CVT.
4. Revamping mid-range tractors
And McCormick is launching the X6 series to take over - during 2014 - from the X60 and MC series. There are two models in the line - a 111 and a 121 hp design. Power comes from a 4.5 liter FPT Tier 4 interim engine. The Argo built-transmission choices included both a mechanical and a power shift. The X6 ranges share a modern new style family look including an X7-influenced cab. The tracors also feature a 36x12 transmission with three powershift speeds. There's also an optional three speed powershift. Look for them in the U.S. during 2014.
5. Finding replacement tracks
Replacement rubber tracks are gaining share and farmers look for durable choices with competitive pricing. Sly Europe offers the Endura Trax with a 5-ply design and an exclusive glide block compound. The company isn't distributing in the U.S. yet, but would be interested if there is demand. They say their prices is far less than original-equipment pricing with higher performance. Currently they do not make drive tracks. Learn more at <a href="http://www.slyeurope.com" target=new>slyeurope.com</a>.
6. Got sunflowers?
Harvesting sunflower seed can be demanding. Here's a specialty product from Agritechnica, the Zaffrani sunflower head. The head has a row-free design which can help speed harvest. The design also allows for clean harvesting even at the minimum height from the soil, the company says. Not currenty imported into the United States, it will work on a range of combine models. You can learn more by visiting <a href="http://www.zaffrani.it" target=new>zaffrani.it</a>.
7. Automating small bale handling
Even big operations have a need to handle small bales but labor is still an issue at feed-making time. Fortschritt has a solution with its K464 high density baler. That cage growing out of the back actually feeds bales from the machine over to a wagon where they can drop in. That ends the need to pick up bales and stack them and solves issues that can occur with bale kickers. It's an interesting concept for European farmers. Would it have a place here?
8. Telehandler with a big reach
Manitou is launching the MLT series telehandlers with big reach and big lift capacity. The MTL1040 can lift more than 8000-pounds 30 feet up. In Europe that's a popular reach for strawmaking farmers. The MLT series is powered by John Deere Tier III engines. The telehandlers is a popular machine in Europe, but has gained traction in the U.S. as well. Manitou also owns the Gehl and Mustang lines of skid steer loaders and articulated handlers. Learn more at <a href="http://www.manitou.com" target=new>Manitou.com</a>.
9. Mobile feed mixer
Sometimes it's just interesting to see how others across the pond do things. In this case the Tourmix 03 portable feed mixer is a solution on a problem of space and time. Feed mixing companies can meet customer needs right on the farm using their ingredients to mix rations as needed. Power comes form a 400-plus hp Mercedes- Benz diesel. The product is available in three sizes.
10. Bagging gains favor
Bagging forages has been popular in Europe for some time, but companies are fine-tuning their approaches to offer more. Agrar has units that can bag forages, whole corn and this unit which has an integrated feed mill for bagging high-moisture corn to be pulled out later to mix into a ration. The small southeast German company isn't planning to export, but their approach toward beefing up feed ingredients headed to the bagger offers an interesting approach.
11. New brand in Euro-ag tires
Bridgestone is known for its road tires and it's industry products, and the company owns Firestone. Turns out that for one small part of the Euro-tire market there will be a Bridgestone brand as well. As Lothar Schmitt, director, agriculture and off-road tires told Farm Industry News, this is a tire for a very high-end part of the market in Europe. He doesn't see Bridgestone farm tires heading to the United States anytime soon. For Bridgestone in North America, the Firestone brands rule the day. We couldn't actually see the tire, which looks like it'll be low-pressure and offer less compaction. Farmers got a taste of the tractor a Agritechnica but won't see the tire until next year.
12. Closer to reality
This is the prototype of the Fendt X Concept tractor that incorporates a generator to provide electric power for implements. It's an idea that's gaining attention as greater precision is needed for operating implements. The new machine got its international debut at the show and had plenty of interest as farmers could see what it may look like some day. This is an early prototype, and the company continues to work on the idea. Increased precision management is part of the package.</p>
<strong><a href="http://farmindustrynews.com/tractors/fendt-x-concept-tractor?intlink=rceoc" target="_blank">View the Fendt X concept tractor gallery.</a></strong></p>
13. The right plug
So how would you maximize a tractor with an electric power system for operating implements? That's a good question and one that Fendt is working on too. They are using a five-pin connection they feel does the job. The Agricultural Electronics Foundation is working on a 7 pin standard. Either way that will be key to bringing this technology to market - having a common power connection from tractor to implement. The rising use of electric implements - such as planters - could be easier if powered right from the tractor.
14. New tread design in the works
And we have two tires from Trelleborg, both late-development prototypes that are heading to market soon. First up is the Progressive Traction tread design that may be on the market in the next year. This tire has a two-step tread design that the company explains actually forces the tire to a wider footprint as the tread moves through the soil. That wider footprint provides added traction. The company also claims that the wider-at-the-base design improves wear and helps reduce fuel usage. It's an interesting approach to tread design and will be available internationally when it comes to market. Learn more at <a href="http://www.trelleborg.com" target=new>trelleborg.com</a>.
15. Going bigger for flotation
This is a later prototype that is very close to release to the market. The tire offers increased flotation in this class - 900/65R46 - called the TM1000 Higher Power with a 46-inch THK rim. The tire uses the new "BlueTire" tread design for maximum width and wide footprint for optimum pressure distribution. It's a giant tire and the shape of things to come. Learn more at <a href="http://www.trelleborg.com" target=new>trelleborg.com</a>.