The Smart Ag AutoCart tested at Altona this fall did not run over any people or standing corn, reports Mike Friesen. He says it’s a good, practical start down the path to useable driverless equipment.  |  Elmer’s manufacturing photo

Autonomous smart cart no dummy

The autonomous AutoCart got a workout in Mike Friesen’s corn field this fall, hooked up to a new generation Haulmaster cart and driverless tractor — and the system really does work. That’s the opinion of Friesen, vice-president of Elmer’s Manufacturing in Altona, Man., builder of the Haulmaster grain cart. Smart Ag in Ames Iowa selected […] Read more

Steve Simon saw the increased popularity of late season applications in corn and decided he needed a higher high-clearance sprayer.   The results of his efforts are lift kits that can increase clearance between sprayer and the earth to 90 inches.  In the past two years he has sold more than 150 lift kits for a price that’s less than US$30,000.  |  Steve Simon photo

A really high high-clearance sprayer

If a 90-inch gap between your sprayer underbelly and the Earth’s crust isn’t enough, then you’d better get an airplane

High-clearance sprayers are reaching great new heights as they’re called upon to dribble nitrogen and spray fungicide and other crop protection products on corn as well as work in tall horticultural crops. Steve Simon of Simon Innovations is head and shoulders above original equipment manufacturers and other aftermarket lift kit companies with his high-clearance lifters […] Read more

Tom Wolf gets a look at the Simon Innovations Accu-Volume system.  |  Jason Deveau photo

Colour your guessing glass gauge gone

The high-clearance sprayer represents the most advanced agricultural technology that we have today — except for that obsolete guessing glass gauge we depend on to sight-estimate liquid volume in the tank. It’s time to get rid of the clear sight gauge. Most farmers and custom applicators agree that the sight gauge takes the word “precision” […] Read more


A corn plant shows symptoms of severe phosphorus deficiency in unfertilized soil in western Kenya.  |  Andrew Margenot photo

Lime falls out of soil scientist’s limelight

Continuing long-term research plots dating back to 2003 question the value of liming to enhance crop production in poor soils


Lime, often thought of as a cure for phosphorus deficient soil, may not be as effective as previously assumed, according to researchers. However, without phosphorus, plants wither and die. Although plants require phosphorus, there is often a “withdrawal limit” on how much their roots can extract from the soil. Soil-bound phosphorus is often in a […] Read more

The TurfPrinter is similar to a typical riding mower.  It uses small high-velocity jets of air to lay the blades of grass down in a specific direction, as determined by the art file prescription map created by the NGT artist or programmer.  The blasts of air are more than 300 m.p.h. and one millimeter thick.  |  Pete Davis photo

Sport park turf design goes high tech

Baseball park lawns always appear so perfect with their logos and alternating light and dark stripes, determined by the direction the grass blades lay and how they catch and either absorb or reflect the light. And, while it might not be agriculture as we think of it, there might be some lessons to learn from […] Read more


Graduate student Jorge Venegas inspects his wheat breeding lines at the University of Nebraska greenhouse.  |  Craig Chandler photo

Pumping iron in bread dough increases nutritional value

Breeding wheat that contains additional iron could improve the health
of billions of people around the world suffering from iron deficiency

Pumping iron into our bakery dough might be the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s called “biofortification” and is the process of genetically lacing crop varieties with required nutrients. Biofortification is the process of naturally increasing the nutritional value of a crop. It differs from fortification, which is the process of adding minerals directly to […] Read more

Winter can be used to a grower’s advantage in preserving grain quality, or it can be an enemy of stored grain, all depending on how carefully it’s managed, according to GSI grain storage specialist Gary Woodruff.  |  Ron Lyseng photo

Protect stored grain this winter against plural perils

You’ve already invested the money to grow, protect and harvest the crop. Don’t let potential dollar returns slip away this winter while your grain’s in storage. It may seem obvious that there are certain steps you should take to protect the quality and thus the value of your stored grain. However, in the rush to […] Read more

The days are long gone when we would simply crank the screw a half turn on the injection pump to squeeze out an extra 75 horses. | File photo

Busted chipped engine could cost you $100,000

The days are long gone when we would simply crank the screw a half turn on the injection pump to squeeze out an extra 75 horses. It’s a little bit more complicated today. You can still gain a lot of performance with aftermarket chips, but they are usually from questionable sources. What about the consequences? […] Read more


“You look now and see the big companies starting to deal with biologicals.  Even Monsanto is bringing out biologicals. I think that shows you where the train is going,” says Saskatchewan farmer Joe Wecker.  |  Wendy Wecker photo

Manage nutrients for healthier crop

It took only four days of intensive study to change the way Joe Wecker farms, to make his operation more profitable and ultimately to change his whole outlook on the world. “Ag courses come and go, but this one was special. I had read an article about Graeme Sait and his Nutrition Farming seminar. I […] Read more

Stretching the Air Reel concept out to a full 45 feet was no easy matter for Crary engineers. The new system gives the operator very minute control over air volume, air velocity, tine pitch and direction of air flow on the go.  |  Ron Lyseng photo

Crary returns with giant 45-foot air reel

Big headers outgrew the time-honored Crary Air Reel system, but they’re back thanks to farmer demand

FARGO, N.D. — Crary started building air reels in the mid-1980s and they proved popular in most crops and most harvest conditions. Then combine heads started growing… and growing… and Crary technology became obsolete. Heads at 40 and 45 feet are now considered normal. To span that width, manufacturers started splitting the head in the […] Read more