Farm shows, at their heart, are about connecting products with customers. Even a major event like Agritechnica at its core makes those connections - sometimes it's a company with a distributor who will eventually reach the customer. Traveling through the halls on Day 2 of their fantastic journey, photographer Mark Moore and Willie Vogt, editorial director, pushed through more halls looking for the new, the interesting and more.
What they found ranges from new seat technology aimed at improved operator comfort to monitoring technology that can be expanded to keep track of a range of inputs from grain quality to fuel management (in time). There's even a new tire concept that mates the idea of tire and track into one unique unit that offers a range of features.
One thing Agritechnica draws is the prototype. Yesterday's gallery carried a few prototype machines on display, and there were more to be found on Day 2 as well. The Fieldball concept brings a whole new method forward for defeating farm compaction, and there's no axle involved. And companies are working on new ways to use apps and tablets to better set up equipment.
So read on, check out the photos and learn more about the products and information we found at the show.
Don't miss our coverage at farmindustrynews.com/agritechnica .
View the gallery from Day 1 of Agritechnica
1. Four wheels, enhanced steering
When you see the RigiTrac at first in your head you ask "what's wrong with this picture" then you get a closer look and find the four-wheel steering design for this Swiss tractor. The compact tractor design includes three models - the SKH 75 at 101 engine hp; the SKH 95 at 98 engine hp; and the SKH 120 at 126 engine hp. The four-wheel steering design can either counter steer for a tighter turning radius or you can "crab" steer with wheels turning at the same angle. This offers the operator a lot of options when using the machine. The company does not distribute in the U.S. you can learn more about their innovative tractor at <a href="http://www.rigitrac.ch" target=new>rigitrac.ch</a>.
2. Remote monitoring enhanced
The concept of remote monitoring of grain bins isn't a new idea, but why stop there? Martin Lishman, a British company offers a remote grain monitoring system that allows users to manage stored grain remotely with in-bin sensors. The system, when combined with a fan controller and external temperature monitor, can help farmers keep grain in top condition. And according to Ian Clayton-Bailey, they've found significant energy savings too - as much as 40%. But Martin Lishman isn't stopping at grain management, the company sees other areas of the industry where monitoring could be managed, like fuel storage. Essentially if a sensor can send a current between 0 to 12 volts the Barn Owl Wireless system can measure the output. The company's products are also highly modular allowing the buyer to start a system and add components to expand monitoring. Learn more at <a href="http://www.martinlishman.com" target=new>martinlishman.com</a>.
3. Going big for tractor market
Duetz-Fahr is rolling out the 11 series, with its dramatic look, but the design is also pretty dramatic under the hood. There are three models in the line the 11350, 11400 and 11440 with the last three numbers in the model designation representing the max power with boost for the machine. For the first time Deutz-Fahr is working with MTU for engine power. The two smaller models get power from a 6 cylinder 10.7 liter engine; the larger 11440 gets power from a 12.8 liter 6 cylinder engine. You can learn more at <a href="http://www.deutz-fahr.com" target=new>deutz-fahr.com</a>.
4. Seeking a more comfortable ride
It's possible farmers would be quite surprised at the engineering involved in creating a better tractor seat. The new Dualmotion seat from Grammer is a case in point. A challenge for tractor seat makers - and in the global market seats in machinery are usually made by specialists - is that all the new features added have forced seat height higher. The new Dualmotion seat compresses the key qualities including suspension and lateral control into a more compact package. Add in the sliding head rest and other key features and the seat promises a future customer of someone's machinery a better ride. You can learn more about the seat and its technology by visiting <a href="http://www.grammer.com" target=new>grammer.com</a>.
5. Rethinking the control console
Grammer - the seat maker - invested in a company that makes electronic controls in the past year and is now looking at a one-two combination that may offer equipment makers a big advantage. David Bignell, Grammer, explains that fitting an existing seat design with a company's console can be a challenge. This console/seat combination could be designed to meet manufacturer needs and and the seat would be more integrated. Bignell says they are in the process of getting this kind of design rolling and will ramp up in the coming year. It's a logical diversification and they had prototypes on hand at Agritechnica. You can learn more about the seat and its technology by visiting <a href="http://www.grammer.com" target=new>grammer.com</a>.
6. Magnets and a nicer ride
The tractor seat is becoming a central issue when buying new equipment. Big makers like Sears, which makes seats for many major U.S. companies, are filling the need with innovative approaches. The VRS seat, which was first introduced a few years ago, for example, uses magnetorhealogic fluid that can be modulated to make for a smoother ride. The fluid contains magnetically reactive material that can change fluid density as a magnet approaches. Combine that with computer control that senses conditions 500 times per second and you get the semi-active suspension of the VRS seat. If you're interested in tractor seat features learn more at <a href="http://www.searsseating.com" target=new>searsseating.com</a>.
7. Tractor makes a Euro statement
The folks at Steyr are stepping up their game in the European market. As part of CNH Industrial, the same company that owns Case IH and New Holland, Steyr is pushing ahead with the largest new line of tractors in its history. They've also ramped up their world class manufacturing approach to boost efficiency and they're gearing up for more European sales. The press conference during the event gave media a taste of what's ahead. Steyr has a solid position in Austria with one of every two tractors sold carrying the Steyr badge. The 6130 Profi CVT shown here incorporating the company's continuously variable transmission and a new Fiat Power Train engine featuring selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment to meet emissions standards. Learn more at <a href="http://www.steyr-traktoren.com" target=new>steyr-traktoren.com</a>.
8. When a tire is a track, and vice versa
The folks at Mitas are rethinking tire design in interesting new ways. The PneuTrac prototype concept on display at Agritechnica offers a totally new way to look at tires. The sidewall is actually inverted creating an interesting profile. The tire itself also flexes longer and flatter under load than a soft-sidewall VF tire. The PneuTrac is probably two years from the market, but is already gathering a lot of attention from tractor makers as testing continues. The tire design offers some interesting key features - it has a 53% larger footprint to comparable radial tires. The lateral stability is actually 167% higher for improved handling. And you'll get 48% greater tractive force with this tractor. And there's an interesting added feature - the tire can "run flat" for a short time if there is a puncture (which the company says is unlikely) - so you can "limp home" if you have trouble in the field. This can be a major timesaver. Learn more about Mitas technology at <a href="http://www.mitas-tyres.com" target=new>mitas-tyres.com</a>.
9. Material handling line
The competition in the telehandler market keeps heating up with the 500-series from JCB. The company showed off the line as part of a stand filled with new equipment. The 500 series which ranges from the 516.40 Agri to the 560.80 Agri allowing the buyer to get just the right telehandler for their operation. At the top end the 560.80 can lift more than 13,000 pounds and has a two stage boom which allows for loading out into taller trucks. The line also features faster boom lowering for quicker loading times; hydraulic cylinder stroke dampening on all new models; auto-engage boom suspension for a smoother ride; and bucket rattle operation for improved metering and discharge. Learn more by visiting <a href="http://www.jcb.com" target=new>jcb.com</a>.
10. Two-way innovation
It's easy to see why innovations from Europe make their way to the U.S. The region's smaller farms and compact roads force engineers to tackle problems in new ways, but you seldom hear of a U.S. idea moving "backwards" to Europe. Turns out the Monoshox innovation from Monosem started in the United States when customers asked for a system that would allow the machines to move faster. Now a Euro-version of Monoshox is entering the market. It's not as big as the U.S. version because European farmers use dry fertilizers that require less weight, but the system will allow for faster planting. Learn more at <a href="http://www.monosem.com" target=new>monosem.com</a>.
11. There's a planting app for that
Setting up a planter takes time and what happens if you've lost your manual? For Monosem owners the answer is a new smartphone application that will help you adjust the company's planter just by answering a few questions. Available for the Android platform now - it's the predominant smartphone platform in Europe - it will later become available on iTunes for Apple products. The app is a kind of interactive manual for setting up your planter and can be used by a majority of Monosem owners. And the best part? It's free. Learn more at <a href="http://www.monosem.com" target=new>monosem.com</a>.
12. Tablet planter tuner
The folks at Vaderstad, which recently purchased Seed Hawk in Canada, are rolling out a new service in Europe that should be headed to the U.S. in the future. They call it Vaderstad E-Services and it's a wireless system that allows a farmer to set up a planter using a tablet computer. Vaderstad planters use electric drives, which is why the wireless planter setup tool is so handy. The operator can unhook the tablet from hits in-cab holder and head to the back of the planter to do the setup. In the past, the same setup might require a few trips from cab to planter, now you can do it remotely. The Vaderstad planter, with its electric meters, can singulate seed at higher speeds even with higher populations - the company's demonstration stand showed the planter at 11 mph at 31,000 population. Electric-meter planters are common in Europe, but new to the U.S. Vaderstad is looking to expand in the U.S. market in 2014 and beyond. Learn more at <a href="http://www.vaderstad.com" target=new>vaderstad.com</a>.
13. There's really no axle here
The Fieldball transport system utilizes a new of axle-free undercarriage the developer claims significantly reduces compaction even for very large loads. The starting point for the design was the inflatable bumpers used in dock areas to keep ships from hitting wharfs. There are 17 rollers across the top, which spread the load on the balloon-like tire. The developers are quick to note this product isn't designed for the small farms of Europe, but is better suited to the broadacre operations of Australia, Canada and the United States. It's still under development and the inventor is looking for a manufacturing partner. He's already planning on a larger size. The total compaction from the unit is less than .5 bar - or about 7 psi, and it can even be as low as .3 bar - or 4.4 psi. The inventor went 'axle-less' contending the axle provides a single point of weight, his design distributes that further for very large loads. The 2.5 cubic meter tires can haul up to 25 tons, but he's planning 4 cubic meter tires that could move 40 tons through a field with little impact on the ground. No-tillers and conservation-minded producers may be interested in the technology this prototype offers. See a video of a test machine with the Fieldball system at <a href="http://www.fieldball.de" target=new>fieldball.de</a>