Smart farmers

Background

Agromek: Innovations and Agromania

From November 27-30, the Agromek takes place in Herning, Denmark. What innovations are relevant for arable farmers and precision agriculture? Future Farming lists them for you.

Agromek is the largest exhibition of agricultural mechanisation in Northern Europe and this year it has attracted more than 530 exhibitors. 128 products have received Agromek Stars. Agromek Stars is an award system focusing attention on the exhibitors’ product news. A panel of judges and experts assess the exhibitors’ news and grant them 1, 2 or 3 stars. 3 stars is the highest rank and means the product is highly innovative. We have made a selection from the 2- and 3-star winners relevant for arable farmers and precision agriculture.

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*** Increased yield of clover/grass with camera and app (Agro Intelligence)

In order to optimize nitrogen spreading, Agro Intelligence has developed CloverCam which, with the help of a camera and app, measures the ratio between grass and clover in the meadow. The CloverCam is based on a high-quality camera which continuously takes photographs which are analysed by a computer in the camera.

The amounts of visible clover, grass and weeds on each photograph are designated with the aid of artificial intelligence. This information is linked to a GPS coordinate via radio communication. The camera system prepares a precise field chart every time the field is operated. The result is afterwards read into a field control program so that the spreading of nitrogen is retained at an optimum.

*** High speed operation with new mechanical weeder for potato fields (Yding Smedie)

This new mechanical weeder ensures high speed operation. It can operate at 15-20 km/hour and is thus up to 6 times as fast as normal operation. The MSR OptiWeeder is equipped with a patented steering unit that ensures accurate steering – even on undulating surfaces. The operator does not have to steer manually. Due to guide wheel steering the weeding unit drives precisely over the ridges. The weeding blades are controlled by guide plates around the ridge so that the blades can be adjusted to scrape at a depth of only one centimetre.

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The MSR OptiWeeder is equipped with a patented steering unit that ensures accurate steering – even on undulating surfaces. - Photos: Agromek
The MSR OptiWeeder is equipped with a patented steering unit that ensures accurate steering – even on undulating surfaces. - Photos: Agromek

*** 10,000 litre field spray with auto detection of cable damage (Danfoil)

Danish sprayer manufacturer Danfoil has developed a field spray with a tank capacity of 10,000 litres. The most important innovation on the so-called AirHammer is its auto detection of cable damage. This system monitors eventual faults occurring or having occurred in the cable system. This ensures a much faster and more precise fault finding as the serviceman can detect the location of the fault – even in cases of “periodic fall out”.

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** NIR-reading of the crop direct on the combine harvester (New Holland)

With the aid of NIR sensors installed on CR and CX combine harvesters, New Holland makes it possible to discern humidity and nutrient content in real time –i.e., whilst the crop is still in the combine harvester. The sensor continuously registers a large number of parameters in the grain – e.g., humidity, protein and starch. This provides the farmer with the opportunity to continuously classify the grain.

** App plans the operating route during the roughage harvest (Agro Intelligence)

With a tablet integrated app, the roughage harvest is now more efficient because the app can optimize the route for an entire work group consisting of a slicer and up to 10 transport trucks. The purpose of the IHM Forage app is to minimize traffic in the field during the roughage harvest, to provide automatic coordination between the slicer and the transport trucks and to create documentation of the roughage quality for further application in farm management. IHM Forage can both suggest optimal driving patterns for the slicer and takes the operator’s choices into consideration.

** Digital field drains on cell phone or tablet (Landinspektoerfirmaet LE34)

It saves both time and effort when the field drains on a property can be seen directly on a cell phone or tablet. Via drone flights, multi-spectral images are collected. When combined with professional knowhow and 4D software, it is possible to illustrate drains which often cannot be seen with the naked eye or with a traditional camera. The drain positions can then be digitalized so that the farmer can view his drain charts in the field direct from a cell phone or tablet.

** Experimental concept for large scale research in the field (Danish Technological Institute)

Field research needs no longer be restricted to small field sections in which special equipment is applied and where the sections should preferably be as uniform as possible in order to compare treatment results. Data from a fine mesh grid of the field is collated several times during the growth season, e.g., site quality, germination, bio mass development, weed pressure and yield and this is supplemented with data from drone or satellite photographs. The purpose of this experimental concept is to effectuate tests and development of precision technologies and other area specific technologies for Danish and international companies.

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Field research needs no longer be restricted to small field sections in which special equipment is applied.
Field research needs no longer be restricted to small field sections in which special equipment is applied.

** Lift suspension plough with gps SmartPloughing (Kuhn/Maskinhandler Indkoebsringen)

As extra equipment, the Kuhn Vari Master L Onland can be equipped with SmartPloughing, a system for up and in setting of the individual furrow – which can be connected to a GPS system. SmartPloughing will thus ensure that there will be a sharp line between the field and the headlands. This minimizes the amounts of annoying plant residue and the headlands will be more uniform and smoother than is the case when operating with traditional lift suspension ploughs. At wedge ploughing, it is also a considerable advantage that one can raise and lower the furrows individually.

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** Control harrow depth via sensors (Dal-Bo)

With this innovation from Dal-Bo A/S, the tractor operator can, via a screen in the tractor cabin, attain a full survey of the harrow’s operating depth. On this display, the operator can constantly follow the aggressivity and operating depth of the harrow’s rows of tines in a Dal-Bo implement. The harrow operating depth is measured with the aid of an ultrasonic sensor. The tractor operator can quickly adjust aggressivity and operating depth of the harrow’s rows of tines after each turn. This ensures uniform soil cultivation – even under varying soil conditions.

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With this innovation from Dal-Bo A/S, the tractor operator can, via a screen in the tractor cabin, attain a full survey of the harrow’s operating depth.
With this innovation from Dal-Bo A/S, the tractor operator can, via a screen in the tractor cabin, attain a full survey of the harrow’s operating depth.

** Hand held apparatus for measuring protein content in grain (Geoteam)

A farmer can now measure the protein content in grain – also out in the field – with the aid of a new hand-held apparatus. Grainsense is based on the large measuring apparatus technology which is applied in the feedstuff trade for measuring protein and moisture contents. This is the first time that farmers will be able to measure protein, moisture, oils and carbohydrate in grain and other crops. The apparatus is battery-powered and can therefore be applied anywhere on the farm. Readings, which can be taken in a mere 30 seconds, only require a few grains which do not previously have to be ground.

** Active yield recording on the combine harvester (John Deere)

If a yield recorder on a combine harvester is to be correct, this normally requires checks by a weighbridge for calibration purposes. However, this is no longer necessary with this new yield recorder on the S-series combine harvesters from John Deere. Calibration of the yield recorder is effectuated automatically and continuously throughout the harvest. Weighing cells installed in the grain tank ensure that the yield recorder is continuously calibrated.

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Side events: Agromania, biogas and contractors

Next to the well-known elements of Agromek such as the exhibition and the cattle show and judgement of some of Denmark’s elite dairy and beef cattle, there will be also some new initiatives. This year, Agromek organises 3 new theme areas.

  1. In Hall E, people can find Agromania, dedicated to the latest in technology, digitalisation, robots and innovation. Visitors will be able to gain new inspiration and the latest professional information both on the stands and at ‘Speakers Corner’. Agromania will also hold the Agromek Student Challenge. This is an international innovation competition for personnel of the future. This competition runs over all 4 days and will involve 50 international students. The students will operate in teams and compete to provide the best possible solutions for cases supplied by selected Agromek exhibitors.
  2. In Hall K, visitors will be able to attend Agromek’s completely new biogas section which involves both exhibitors and other interested parties in the fields of biogas and biomass treatment. There is also a biogas scene with contributions from some of the leading participants in this sector.
  3. The combined trade within the contractor, park, road and landscape sectors is gathered in Hall C. For the first time in Denmark, there will be a live workshop with active trade apprentices who will demonstrate the interesting possibilities provided by the various trade apprenticeships.

Co-author: Emmy Koeleman

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