German ag society choices Experts select farm technology innovations that are practical and beneficial to farmers
HANOVER, Germany — The German Agricultural Society has assigned its top awards for farm machinery innovation.
This year’s awards include precision agriculture, farm staff training, hybrid electric machinery and single pass crop processing.
The society’s Agritechnica, where the awards were presented, is the world’s largest farm technology trade show. More than 3,000 agricultural companies gather in Hanover every other year to exhibit their wares and services.
The four gold and 33 silver medals are decided by the society’s independent experts, including agricultural engineers, professors and farmers.
“We are very select in this process,” Carl-Albrecht Bartmer said during Agritechnica in November.
“These new products must benefit the farmer and be practical. These are not concepts that might serve a role, these fill a need.”
Bartmer, a German farmer and president of the society, said farm equipment and services are advancing faster than at any time in his career.
“We have never had the opportunity as farmers to be more efficient or be more careful with our land and water resources due to technology and (agronomy education) that is currently available to us,” he said.
Claas was awarded a gold medal for its online machinery simulator. The system allows farmers to run through all the operating conditions and tools that a combine, forage harvester or tractor might encounter in the field.
It is a personal computer-based system that allows a farmer to see what faults look like when they occur and evaluate and learn the processes they need to follow to avoid machine damage or crop loss, especially under difficult conditions.
The simulator software allows a producer to learn the new machine before taking it to the field.
Italy’s Merlo is offering a telehandler for the farm that allows producers to run on quiet, emission-free electric power indoors and diesel electric power outdoors or when the 30 kilowatt lithium battery is run down.
The machine, which can be used for loading, lifting and grappling, runs its diesel engine at a constant speed for both powering the drives and charging the battery.
The Merlo Turbofarmer 40.7 has drive design that allows the system to reduce output from the diesel engine when not all of the power it can produce is being used efficiently without effecting lifting and transporting functions.
It can perform all of its basic tasks using only the electric powered drives when the machine idling. Fuel costs are reduced 30 percent over a similar diesel-only machine.
The Turbofarmer can also be plugged in for charging when it is parked to save even more on energy consumption.
Rauch won an award for its Axmat technology, which limits the pattern and rate of a twin disc fertilizer spreader.
Disc spreaders have typically been considered the least accurate of fertilizer application methods. Several companies offer tools that anticipate spread and rate and apply limits, but Rauch took the solution a step further by using microwave sensors to monitor flow, spread and velocity and using the data to adjust the actual rate on the fly.
The Axmat system actively manages the rate of flow by adjusting functions such as the aperture of the fertilizer feeder, the setting of the distributor disc and fan speed to create the right pattern that avoids overlaps, field edge over-runs, headland control and misses within the range of the machine’s spread. The result is more evenly developing crops and reduced fertilizer losses.
German potato and beet machinery specialist Grimme received a gold medal for its AirSep separator, which uses high airflow to lift lighter potatoes away from heavier soil and rocks.
Potato growers not only have to harvest their crop from the soil but must also clean it, either by using a slow, mechanical method within the harvester or removing tuber sized rocks and clods back at the yard.
Most impurities can be beaten out of the harvested crop on the go, given enough time, vibration and rotation. However, this has been one of the capacity limiting features of a potato harvester.
The German machine pushes high airflows up from under a perforated potato conveyor. The air lifts the potatoes, blows off light material and allows anything heavier than the tubers to fall through the conveyor and back into the field.
Farmers can adjust the separation from the tractor’s cab by setting the angle of the conveyor and the airflow.
The system produces a much cleaner sample and allows farmers to plant potatoes into soil that would normally require regular spring rock picking and tillage. In a worst case scenario, farmers wouldn’t even bother planting potatoes in those fields.
Some of the 33 silver innovation award winners’ will be featured in The Western Producer in the coming weeks and will all be listed on www.producer.com.