Three equipment award winners from Canada

AE50 Awards | The competition celebrates the professional tools that drive improvements to agricultural equipment

LOUISVILLE, KY. — Agricultural engineering produces the technologies of growth, from farm machinery to processing to husbandry technologies.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biotechnological Engineers gather each year to discuss new technology and its place in agricultural production. During that meeting they hand out 50 awards for the best new products from the previous season.

Ahead of this year’s meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, a panel of ASABE members had a lot new tools to consider.

Three of the AE50 winners are Canadian and will be featured in greater depth in future Western Producer pages.

From Calgary, OPIsystems’ wireless grain storage system remotely monitors bin temperature and moisture. One solar-powered, wireless collection and transmission device automatically feeds data from up to eight grain bins. The system feeds the information to an iPad application or to an internet connection at the bin site. For remote locations, a cellular connection is used to pass on the information.

Winnipeg based MacDon and one of its OEM components suppliers, Kondex, won an award for the addition of swather canvas drive rollers that drive more effectively than the traditional rubber clad tubes.

Kondex, a Wisconsin company, designed a tube with built-up metal ribs that contain tungsten carbide particles. The ribs are wear resistant and able to maintain traction on the draper material even in wet conditions, working in canola.

Saskatoon’s NORAC was awarded an AE50 for its Hybrid Mode Crop Sensing System. Sprayer boom height is critical to proper application of crop chemicals and fertilizers. Too low and crop coverage is compromised and plants are potentially injured by the boom, too high and losses to wind and off target, uneven application takes place.

Using ultrasonic sensors, the new spray height control process manages the distance to crop in adverse conditions, such as thin or lodged crop, or in row crops where significant amount of open soil is present.

Typically, operators take manual control of the boom height in these conditions. But the Hybrid Mode relies on multiple sensors and measures the overall crop and sets an average height that can be used when there is no crop detected.

While not a Canadian product, the Gleaner S88, Class 8, transverse rotary combine is the lightest in its category and has spent significant time being tested in Western Canada.

Kevin Bien of Agco told engineers at the Louisville event earlier this month that for producers on the Canadian Prairies and U.S. Great Plains, the machine’s light weight, as much as 14,000 pounds less, means less rubber is needed to keep the big machines floating along.

“With the big grain heads that farmers are needing these days it also means that question of whether to go to tracks gets sorted out. Don’t need them.”

To get the weight down, the machine has a welded, uni-body type frame. The S88 looks short to the eye for a large combine. The transverse rotary system puts most of the threshing up front, behind the cab, running across the machine’s width, rather than down its length.

The transverse rotary uses more of its rotor and concave area for threshing than others in the Class.

The 9.8 litre, seven cylinder engine is lighter than many 400 to 450 horsepower designs. The overall weight savings means the unit needs 32 less horsepower to roll through the field and that translates into increased harvesting operations power and fuel savings.

A variable height chopper floor allows for better straw management in large cereal crops.

For more on the AE50 award winners, visit as well as related videos.

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