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Agricultural Machinery Trends at Agritechnica 2019

Once again at Agritechnica 2019, the agricultural machine manufacturers will present a large number of innovations. Although the majority of these innovations is intended for high-tech agriculture, the further increase in the internationalisation of the Agritechnica trade fair also leads to the presentation of technical solutions for arable forming and crop growing in emerging countries. The review and evaluation of the innovations registered for the Agritechnica Innovation Awards verifies the great inventive spirit and the high technical level of agricultural technology.

Exhaust emission legislature remains a technology driver and is defining not only engine development but also that of the tractor as a whole due to its influence on many of the vehicle’s assemblies. In part, re-engineered or new tractor models are being presented along with the shift to the Stage V exhaust emission level.

An electromechanical power-split gearbox that can also supply 100 kW of external electrical power will be presented for the first time in addition to further developed full powershift and hydrostatic/mechanical power-split stepless gearboxes. Fully electric concepts with batteries are still being taken into consideration for smaller models.

Large tractors are increasingly being equipped with track running gear for high traction and low soil pressures. In addition to the full or semi-caterpillar drives available as standard, one manufacturer is now also offering four factory fitted, fully-integrated triangular semi-tracked drives for standard tractors; these were previously only available as retrofit solutions.

Two tractor manufacturers will be presenting new systems for reducing shocks transmitted when using large square balers in order to significantly improve driving comfort and to reduce strain on the drive and structure.

The range of new and improved offers concerning digital solutions for tractor operation is very extensive; these are intended to make operation easier and safer and to optimise farm management.

Soil cultivation technology
The challenges facing soil cultivation technology are high — particularly in light of the decline in the active ingredients used in crop protection agents. In the future, all options for preventing soil degradation, humus loss, diseases and pests will have to be exploited. Post-harvest management and soil cultivation play a central role in this.

An increase in operations involving a disc harrow or cultivator is to be anticipated, leading to the extensive decimation of the degree of surface coverage. The industry is called upon to develop tools and implements which lead to the effective removal of weeds and volunteer grain on one hand whilst simultaneously preserving the degree of coverage and the humus content on the other hand.

Electronics are also gradually making their way into soil cultivation implements, thus enabling better communication between the tractor and implement and making operation easier and more precise.

Sowing and cultivation technology
Improved sensor technology, electric drives and the accompanying electronics have considerably increased the complexity of machines, which more or less also requires new digital operating concepts as a consequence in order to make the machine potential usable and to support operators in their goals.

The requirements for sowing technology have generally become more demanding: Changing row widths, grain singling, simultaneous working in of fertiliser, grain counting sensors and the integrability in the tractor and information system are just a few keywords in this context. The manufacturers will show corresponding solutions.

Today the most current goals are certainly the conservation of soil moisture, the improvement of nutrient availability and simplified operability via digital-electronic aids. Current technology offers a broad range of possibilities for achieving these goals.

Fertilisation technology
In the area of mineral fertiliser application, solutions for problems completely overlooked until now will be shown. In the past, when fertiliser mixtures were applied with broadcasters, farmers had no aids for the optimum adjustment of the fertiliser spreader at their disposal. With a new app, the expected spreading quality of fertiliser mixtures can already be estimated in advance and for the first time the farmer is provided with adjustment recommendations for the centrifugal spreader.

Today the advances in control and regulating technology in conjunction with high-performance data networks also enable the influence of the slope inclination to be taken into account during spreading with broadcasters.

Newly designed and electrically driven metering units enable «single nozzle control» of the application quantity on pneumatic boom spreaders.

Techniques for precision farming are being developed further both for mineral fertiliser and for farm fertiliser application — from sensor technology for ingredients to the small-scale variation of the application quantity.

Liquid farm fertilisers must be increasingly applied close to the ground with the option of low fertiliser application rates. To satisfy these requirements, technical development is targeted at low weight, especially with larger working widths, versatile application possibilities and improved dosing systems.

Irrigation technology
Irrigation is becoming ever more important to safeguard agricultural yields, and the economically justified use of irrigation is increasing along with the number of dry spells. It is therefore to be assumed that, in the medium to long term, irrigation will be extended to further cultures and areas. The fundamental trend towards continuously minimising water consumption is taking this development into account.

Increasing digitalisation and the possibility of networking sensors have led to the development of new options. Individual sensors (e.g. rain sensors) can be incorporated in the Internet of Things (IoT), for instance, thus enabling optimised water balancing. The trend in this development is also shifting towards sub-area-specific irrigation (precision irrigation).

A further trend towards the reduction of operating water pressures and thus the reduction of energy requirements during irrigation can be seen.

Crop protection technology
In this area, the industry offers many new and/or improved ideas for setting the already high standard in spreading accuracy even higher.

Due to the growing size of farms, the increase in performance continue to have a high priority when purchasing new crop protection implements. In line with this trend and due to the fact that crop protection must take place on schedule, there is a growing demand for larger barrel volumes for pulled sprayers. Across all spraying systems, one trend is obvious: the capacity utilisation of the sprayer can and must be increased further. In the process, electronic aids are a decisive factor. This already begins with corresponding diagnosis and forecasting models and continues in their operation and control.

Furthermore, the combination of mechanical weed control and belt spraying technology offers a huge potential for reducing the amount of crop protection agents used, improved resistance management, etc.

Through the use of electronic aids, and in particular by using automatic row guidance, mechanical weed control is provided with the possibility to increase the area output and the work quality, making it competitive once again.

Process technology for threshing crop harvesting
The manufacturers of technologies for threshing crop harvesting will present an especially large number of innovations at Agritechnica 2019.

The world-wide trend to belt cutting systems and techniques for the adaptation of harvesting headers to a broad range of conditions is continuing. The belt cutting systems of international manufacturers will also be adapted to European harvest conditions.

Sensor technology in the blade drive not only enables early detection of damage on the cutter bar, but also for the first time the load-dependent control of the cutting frequency.

Despite the restriction of the construction volumes of combine harvesters, the threshing outputs are on the rise. The threshing and separating elements are designed so that the flow of harvested crops is as linear as possible in tangential threshing units, and is therefore gentle to materials and saves power.

Not only increased threshing drum diameters, but rather appropriate suitable threshing drum, feed and separating drum configurations contribute to the increased performance. Threshing and separating baskets can now be removed and installed from the side for the first time. On axial rotor combine harvesters, the performance stability is increased with high straw yields and moisture contents through new rotor-housing configurations and modified spreading cylinder-separating basket combinations.

The top models are equipped with engine outputs of just under 800hp. This clearly confirms the trend to an increasing power density of combine harvesters.

Potato technology
In potato farming as well, the current basic conditions are marked by the stronger climatic change with a current two consecutive drought years and the intensifying discussion on the production of our foodstuffs in the population. New technological developments — from improved assemblies in machines to digitalisation — contribute to implementing future-oriented solutions more quickly.

Due to very different farm sizes which already predominate in Europe, the range of single-row potato harvesters contains several performance classes and various equipment variants. This strong differentiation can also be observed among the two-row bunker harvesters, where in particular the lighter series newly introduced in recent years are also very well received in practice.

Machines with different detection principles and in various performance classes have been available for electronic admixture separation in processing for many years. Opto-electronic quality sorting of unwashed potatoes is now being used by the first farmers for table and seed potatoes. However, the limits of these systems also become apparent in practical operation, as the optical variability of the tuber surface is considerably greater than with washed potatoes for which the separating parameters are can be specified more easily and reliably.

Forage harvesting
The trend towards increased machine outputs and dimensions is continuing, particularly in the case of forage harvesters. The installed machine output has to be implemented as efficiently as possible. Adapted output management therefore appears to be appropriate, particularly during grass harvesting, when the maximum engine output of high-powered harvesters is only required in part. This can not only relieve the driver but can also save fuel and therefore protect the environment at the same time.

In view of constantly increasing volumes of traffic — especially in rural regions — road safety is extremely important. This particularly applies with regard to safety devices that are specified for travelling on the road and can be activated or deactivated by the driver at the push of a button wherever possible.

The mowing market is dominated by disc mowers. Particularly in mower combinations such as the butterfly combinations, they achieve extremely high power with high operating safety. While this segment is undergoing constant further development, at least in terms of details, the trend in some areas of mowing has recently started to shift towards double-blade mowers again. New designs combine advantages such as very low power requirements, precise cutting and low weight with working widths of up to 10 m as well as improved blade service lives and increased operating safety.

Development work in the square baler segment is currently focusing on improving starting behaviour, for instance, while reinforced bearing, pinion and chain designs are a matter of course for high baling densities in round balers.

Swathe technology is also undergoing interesting developments aimed at laying the feed in swaths as cleanly and with as little loss as possible.

Sugar beet harvesting
The beet harvesting segment is continuing to move forwards in the general trend towards performance- and cost-oriented, fully automated mechanisation in agriculture. Large self-propelled machines, usually with six rows, increasingly frequently with nine rows and even twelve rows, and with (intermediate) bunkering, are now the standard worldwide.

Loading with the ’Maus’ (beet cleaner loader) plays a key role in the logistics networked with the organisation of beet harvesting. Digital networking of sowing, cultivation, harvesting, clamp care and transport data is ensuring the optimisation of the entire process chain. The competitiveness of beets — for use in sugar factories or biogas plants — is being stabilised and increased thanks to technical innovations; regarded globally, this remains necessary.

Digital systems and IT
The trends to using digital systems and IT continue to be clearly visible in agriculture as well as in the upstream and downstream sectors. At Agritechnica 2019, more than 70 new and further developed processes and systems in the segments of «Digital Systems and IT» will be exhibited and offered.

Other interesting new and further developments can be found in the area of FMIS (Farm Management Information Systems). With newly structured data platforms, sensors and information can be linked to each other across manufacturers, and instructions and documentation can be created automatically with them.

Other interesting further developments can be seen, from intelligent, non-invasive soil sensors to automated weather stations with a multi-sensory approach and crop protection recommendations to remote detection via satellite systems.

The range of innovations for driver relief begins with the use of holographic elements in the driver’s cab and augmented reality and goes all the way up to freely configurable multi-terminal systems. Automatic overloading systems with artificial intelligence and radar-supported warning systems for people in the area around agricultural machines also serve to reduce the strain on drivers and are intended to decrease the frequency of accidents.


Press Release
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