The organizers of the massive Agritechnica show in Germany say it is one of the largest indoor farm equipment shows in the world. At the November 2011 show, the exhibit space for 2,600 companies covered 86 acres in 24 buildings.
The number of people visiting the recent show overwhelmed even the organizers. They had expected 355,000 visitors but saw 415,000 people walk through the doors. Major manufacturers such as AGCO, John Deere, New Holland and Claas can spend well over a million dollars for their extensive exhibits. Companies say this high price pays off because plenty of business is conducted on the site. Customers from all over the world come to the show to buy machinery. Some companies say a substantial part of their annual business is derived from this show.
Here are several new products featured at Agritechnica that may move across the Atlantic to North America.
1. Krone nonstop baler
Krone hit a home run with its new Ultima baler that bales without stopping during netting. For decades, companies have tried to achieve nonstop baling, and Krone is the first to do it. The Ultima won the top prize, a gold medal, in Agritechnica’s innovations awards contest.
The Ultima will produce one bale in 40 sec., which is 90 bales/hr. This speed is twice that of other conventional round baler-wrapper systems. A pre-compression chamber that collects and compresses the crop is the key to this nonstop baler. While the crop is coming into the chamber, the previous bale is being tied or net wrapped. Baling with wrapping becomes a one-person job, because all the controls are located on a terminal in the tractor cab.
The Ultima will produce a bale with a diameter of 4 ft. 1 in. to 4 ft. 11 in. About 143 hp is required to power the unit. The baler is being unveiled in the European market at an estimated price of $160,000. Krone expects to offer the baler in the U.S. market later. For more information, visit Krone’s website about the baler at <a href="http://landmaschinen.krone.de/english/products/round-balers/ultima/">htt...
2. Steyr natural-gas tractor
Europe continues to develop engines that can be powered by alternative fuels. The latest is the Natural Power tractor built by Steyr, an Austrian brand owned by CNH. The special turbocharged engine that runs on compressed natural gas or biomethane is manufactured by Fiat, which is a majority owner of CNH. The engine came from Fiat’s engine technology used in transport vehicles.
The Steyr Profi 4135 tractor starts on diesel. When the engine warms up, it switches to natural gas. It is a 3-liter, 4-cyl. engine that produces 136 hp. The Profi model is equipped with nine tanks of natural gas that provide 5 to 7 hrs. of operating time. The emissions from this engine are very clean, up to 99% cleaner than some engines using other fuels, so meeting Tier 4 regulations is not a problem.
The goal is for farmers to produce the biogas on their farm to use in the tractor. The tractor won’t be launched until 2015. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.ngvglobal.com/steyr-presents-dedicated-natural-gas-tractor-11...
3. John Deere forage sensor
John Deere introduced a new forage sensor feature that takes quality measurements on-the-go from a self-propelled forage harvester’s spout. The sensor takes measurements at an astounding rate of 13 times/sec. It measures nutrients such as protein, sugar, starch and fiber. Depending on the results, the length of the crop’s cut and the additives put on the silage are adjusted to produce a high-quality feed.
Called Constituent Sensing, the feature is a software update that is implemented on John Deere’s Harvest Lab near-infrared spectrometer. The Harvest Lab may be installed on the harvester or as a portable stationary unit. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.johndeere.com">www.johndeere.com</a></p>
4. New Holland hydrogen tractor
Visitors were updated on New Holland’s hydrogen tractor called the Torino. A company representative said the tractor is in a second stage of development and has taken on a different design. It also is being tested on an independent farm.
The tractor is powered with hydrogen that’s stored in a hydrogen cell. The only emission from this fuel is water vapor. The representative said the plan is for farmers who generate their own electricity on the farm to use the electricity to produce their own hydrogen for the tractor. Unfortunately, a hydrogen cell currently costs about $125,000, making this tractor too expensive for most farmers. Visit <a href="http://www.newholland.com">www.newholland.com</a></p>
5. Stara central-mounted boom sprayer
The Brazilian manufacturer Stara displayed a unique self-propelled sprayer. The Imperador 3100 features a central-mounted boom for added stability during spraying. As a result, the sprayer will handle higher application speeds up to 20 mph with a 100-ft. boom. This allows treatment of up to 1,250 acres a day, the company says.
Stara reports this is the first sprayer with a boom mounted centrally and has patented it in 77 countries. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.stara.com.br">http://www.stara.com.br</a></p>
6. Rauch electric fertilizer spreader
John Deere unveiled a prototype tractor with an electric generator during Agritechnica four years ago. The company designed the electric generator to power implements and auxiliary functions on the tractor, easing the workload on an engine that must power an increasingly larger vehicle.
Equipment manufacturers such as Rauch are getting ready for the launch of these electric tractors. At this show, Rauch displayed a fertilizer spreader with an electrical spreading disc drive that will hook into a built-in generator on a tractor. The Axis E spreader will handle up to 150 kW of electrical power from the tractor. Company representatives said it will be two to three years before this implement will be in the market.
Rauch was honored with a silver medal from Agritechnica for Opti-Point, a GPS-controlled application system. Opti-Point takes into account the fertilizer’s flight properties and typical spread pattern in the field and adjusts it to prevent overlaps when applying the fertilizer. Rauch reports that growers save 5 to 8% in fertilizer with this program.
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.rauch.de">http://www.rauch.de</a></p>
7. Amazone wind control, boom wash
The German manufacturer Amazone has developed Wind Control for its fertilizer spreaders. This feature includes a small weather station that’s installed on the spreader to monitor the wind around the area being applied. Called AcurSpread, the program then adjusts the throwing angle of the fertilizer to account for wind patterns. Amazone was awarded an Agritechnica silver medal for the program.
Amazone pulled in another silver medal for its unique innovation called BoomWash, a remote-controlled, external sprayer boom cleaning system. While in the field, the sprayer operator activates BoomWash from the cab. BoomWash’s four high-pressure, wash-down nozzles then start traveling along the inner boom, thoroughly washing the boom and nozzles. The cleaning takes 2 min. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.amazone.net">www.amazone.net.</a></p>