Farm Ireland

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Machinery: Only the elite take gold at the Agritechnica trade exhibition

John Deere's 'ProCut' won a gold medal for a system that controls the gap between the knives and the counter blade on a self propelled forage harvester
John Deere's 'ProCut' won a gold medal for a system that controls the gap between the knives and the counter blade on a self propelled forage harvester
Krone's Premos 5000 is the first mobile pellet harvester, and is designed for on-site use where it picks the material directly from the straw swath
Gold medal number one went to the Fend 'VarioGrip Pro' which uses an additional high-pressure tyre inside a bespoke and newly developed tyre
Gold medal winner
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Agritechnica is the world's leading trade fair for farm machinery.

This year's show was held in the Hanover exhibition centre in Germany last week, and featured numerous innovations in every kind of farm machine you can think of.

No fewer than 311 innovations were registered with show organisers, the DLG (the German Agricultural Society), ahead of the fair.

During the show an independent panel of experts appointed by the DLG announced that five of those innovations were worthy of gold medals, as we outline here.

There was strong Irish representation at Agritechnica this year, with the likes of McHale, Keenan, Hi Spec and Tanco all taking out stands. The DLG also reported that hundreds of Irish farmers and contractors attended the show, which is infamous for the amount of walking involved in order to see each hall full of kit.

As one weary visitor quipped when I asked how he got on; "It was enjoyable but tough. You need two things to survive Agritechnica, a comfortable pair of shoes and a gallon of water a day."

Comprehensive support for spraying operations

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Crop treatment requires farmers to look at a range of information in order to decide on a specific treatment. The growing complexity of the information and statutory requirements they have to consider can lead to inaccurate application and the risk of spraying non-target areas.

The combination of Connected Crop Protection and the Chemical Application Manager is an intuitive system that helps users make a sound decision for a targeted, well-timed and precise application.

This integrated system relies on a range of key technologies that offer recommendations and operator assistance for filling and spraying and automatically take buffer zones into account and comes with full documentation.

It also integrates the Chemical Application Manager, a joint development by BASF and John Deere.

The data is transmitted in the universal ISO-XML format, an open format that allows the integration of further applications if required.

This industry standard will offer the possibility of integrating solutions from other partners and decision making assistance systems or the use of third-party spraying technology in the future.

For the first time, this holistic system integrates all data, knowledge and tools that users need to come up with a treatment decision that implements application at variable rates and complies with national laws.

The user controls the cycle, plans and edits precision farming applications, documents the individual jobs and provides his partners with access to the consultation feature.

For added safety, the system scans product codes for further automation of the documentation.

In summary, the judges said this is the first system to provide farmers with a fast, efficient and integrated method of crop treatment: from problem identification to treatment recommendation, an application that complies with the law and provides prompt and time-efficient documentation.

Producing forage pellets in the field

Thanks to Krone, pellets made from agricultural feed crops can now be used as fuel, bedding, feed and animal toys. The DLG awarded gold and praised the innovative design of the machine (inset above), which produces pellets from agricultural feed crops directly from swath in the field.

The pellets can then be transferred to a waiting truck by conveyor belt and delivered straight to the end customers who use them as fodder, bedding and of course, fuel for heating systems.

This innovation enables renewable agricultural raw materials and secondary raw materials to be used for energy generation, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, the Premos 5000 can also be used outside the harvesting season thanks to an optional bale shredder which converts it into a stationary pelletiser for year-round operation.

The pickup with a 2.35m working width picks up the crop which is then transported from the feed rotor to a conveyor belt (crop flow width approx. 800mm). The material is fed between two press rollers (800 mm wide, 800mm in diameter), each with alternating rows of teeth and perforations. The crop is forced through the matrix of perforations into the interior of the roller.

After pressing the pellets are transported via an internal screw conveyor to a conveyor belt and from there, to an integrated hopper. Some 2.5kg of pellets can replace approximately 1kg of heating oil, resulting in significant cost savings compared with heating oil and other fossil fuels.


tractor tyres quickly

Tyre pressure control systems offer many advantages, but also one drawback: they can be very slow in inflating the tyres for road travel when finished field work.

Another consideration is that they require the engine to be revving at high speeds to provide the necessary drive power for the compressor while the tractor is stationary.

Gold medal number one went to the Fend 'VarioGrip Pro' (inset right) which uses an additional high-pressure tyre inside a bespoke and newly developed tyre.

This internal tyre serves as an accumulator which allows the inflation pressure to be altered very quickly.

The air is pumped into the internal tyre through a simple rotary union, which ensures it cannot escape.

The valves involved and the pressure sensors are powered through inductive transmission inside the axle.

The same applies to the control signals.

Dispensing with extra compressors, pressure tanks and control lines, this technology is able to increase the inflation pressure from 0.8 bar to 1.8 within 30 seconds by exchanging the pressure directly and without having recourse to engine speed.

The judges were impressed by how this tyre pressure control system reduces the time spent in road travel and allows field work at low and soil-friendly pressures.

Sharp setting

Especially in the heat of harvest, it is essential to keep the knives on a self-propelled forage harvester chopping drum sharp and to adjust the counter blade as appropriate.

John Deere's 'ProCut' won the fifth and final gold medal for their system which controls the gap between the knives and the counter blade.

The system doesn't measure the gap with the help of vibration sensors, but rather with an inductive method using two special sensors.

In addition, the ProCut system makes it possible to measure the sharpness of all knives automatically.

The judges noted how the system offers great benefits for the customer because it always indicates the best time to adjust the counter blade and sharpen the knives.

It even recommends the number of grinds to be applied.

With all elements maintained in their best condition, fuel consumption drops and so do the costs for knives, counter blade and grinder.

Indo Farming