An autonomous farming study at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, uses a robotic tractor and drill to seed winter wheat, spring barley, and fababeans. | Photo supplied by James Lowenberg-DeBoer

Robotic farming project focuses on swarms

The Hands Free Hectare project in Britain finds that many small robots may work better than larger, manned machinery

A study of autonomous farming at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, found that swarm farming with many small robots may be more efficient than farming with larger, manned machinery. “The initial economic analysis suggests that robots could cut the cost of producing wheat in the United Kingdom by 10 to 15 percent compared to […] Read more

We will see bigger battery tractors than we have now, for sure, but they will be very expensive until battery costs comes down. | Getty images

Are e-tractors practical?

Even when purchase prices come down, will it ever be practical to run a big battery powered 4×4 to replace your Versatile? We will see bigger battery tractors than we have now, for sure, but they will be very expensive until battery costs comes down. For now, Europeans can buy a 70-horsepower electric tractor with […] Read more

Redekop’s Seed Control Unit attaches below choppers, taking up to 70 h.p. from a mechanical belt drive.  |  Redekop photo

VIDEO: Canadian cage mill teams up with JD

Customers can order the impact mill as an option on S-Series combines, and more brands will be added for 2021

A Canadian-built cage mill that attaches to combine choppers and destroys weed seeds during harvest is now on the market. Saskatoon-based Redekop held the public launch of its Seed Control Unit in the John Deere booth at Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany, last November. Redekop owner Trevor Thiessen said the company’s been developing its impact mill […] Read more


Larry Woolliams remains optimistic about his remaining crop in the field. The 2019 harvest season was not ideal, but his choices in new equipment paid off well, says the Alberta farmer.  |  Michael Raine photo

Technology paying off as conditions get tougher

Adopting the latest in agricultural tools might have benefits, but proving them takes a special kind of year

AIRDRIE, Alta. — Changing up a whole suite of main machinery was a bit daunting as the year started. With 9,000 acres to seed in a few weeks, Larry Woolliams began the year by cutting his drills in half. And then it rained 20 inches or so. Woolliams moved out of two precision drills to […] Read more

The DumpDek serves as an intermediate stage between the forage trucks and the silo. It allows the driver to dump his load immediately when he gets to the silo. There’s no waiting. Then he takes off right away to get back to the field for more, while the DumpDek deals with the load, blowing it either into the silo or a forage bag.  |  Ron Lyseng photo

DumpDek force feeds forage blower’s blast

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Keeping expensive equipment running during peak season is vital in all types of farming operations, including hay harvest. A forage hauler sitting waiting for something to happen is not good. In a typical forage harvest, the forage-collecting tandem trucks and trailers are sometimes seen waiting to dump their load so it can […] Read more


One drawback to the small 25-inch diameter blade is the maximum cut is only 10 inches. Note how the guard always follows the blade, regardless of the blade’s position.  |  Ron Lyseng photo

Swing blade sawmill makes money

Woodstock, Ont. — Portable sawmills come in three varieties: Band saws, chain saws and those historical six-foot diameter big blade saws. More recently, manufacturers have developed small blade mills as a viable option. I spent a year working at a bush mill where we mainly produced railroad ties, along with dimension lumber with the side […] Read more

The box on the new Bergmann shuttle 980K self-loading forage wagon has a capacity of 113 cubic yards at medium compression. With six big tires carrying the load, maximum gross weight is 75,000 pounds.  |  Ron Lyseng photo

Big forage wagon makes play of hay day

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — One major advantage of self-loading forage wagons is they can be fitted with a variety of different conditioners and crimpers, allowing the forage producer to get his hay harvested sooner. Johnathon Scholton brought his Bergmann shuttle 980K self-loading wagon to the Outdoor Farm Show to show off the features of the new […] Read more

The Ultra SR utilizes SeedMaster’s UltraPro metering system. | Robin Booker photo

Single rank drill provides precision planting

SeedMaster’s 60-foot Ultra SR air drill uses spike wheels between the shanks to clear residue away from the openers

LANGHAM, Sask. — SeedMaster’s Ultra SR is a single rank 60-foot precision air drill that seeds 15 inch rows, has 735 bushels of onboard capacity and will have a limited availably for growers in the 2020 planting season.  “This provides the precision and accuracy for people who are looking at planters but still maintaining a […] Read more


John Deere’s autonomous electric tractor is a research project the company put together to see what one might look like. The machines might work in a swarm to complete field operations. The tractor uses 500 kilowatts of power, with 250 used by the drives and the other 250 powering an implement. In total, this prototype has approximately 670 horsepower. | Robin Booker photo

Ag equipment giant unveils the future

John Deere’s Future Technology Zone displayed research into automation, electrification and artificial intelligence

HANNOVER, Germany — New agricultural products are being launched at a breakneck speed, and some of the more innovative offerings are launched by small and nimble companies that can quickly transform trail-blazing technologies into agricultural platforms. Large companies can be at a disadvantage when it comes to rapid use of the latest innovations because they […] Read more

This JCB Fastrac 4000 is fitted with a 30 metre Dammann sprayer and 3,700 litres of capacity.  |  Robin Booker photo

Tractor gets serious about heavy loads

The JCB Fastrac 4000 series may interest producers who want to use it for pulling fertilizer spreaders and sprayers


HANNOVER, Germany — Upgraded axles in the JCB Fastrac 4000 series enables the tractors to handle heavier loads. “We have now eight tonnes in the front and 10 tonnes in the rear,” Michael Mayer of Fastrac said during Agritechnica in Hannover. “It’s a legal thing, so you are allowed to put more weight on it, […] Read more