The 2017 SIMA machinery exhibition is taking place in Paris all this week.
The enjoyable event usually attracts close to 300,000 visitors over five days. It only takes place every two years and farmers from more than 100 countries travel to view the latest machine developments.
The show has a growing Irish following, which has been built up over the last 10 or so years, and for those who like their machinery events, they don't come much bigger than SIMA.
A word of warning though - a comfortable pair of shoes are a prerequisite. You will walk miles if you want to get around and see everything.
Several Irish exhibitors attended this year, including the likes of McHale and Keenan. One of the aims of SIMA is to provide a look at the latest innovations in the industry.
This is done through the SIMA Innovation Awards, which are recognised by professionals in the agricultural industry worldwide.
In order to be selected as a possible prize winner, the judging criteria is that a medal winner must be "innovative or perfect an existing solution, show originality, improve equipment or generate savings".
This year's jury awarded two gold and five silver medals, some of which I outline here.
This year, both gold medals went to ideas that seek to protect soil structure in an era of increasingly heavier machines.
1. Michelin Evobib
Farmers looking for productivity want to conserve soil and maintain good performance when travelling on roads.
With this new Michelin 2-in-1 tyre, they can move from field use to road use with no compromise. At the recommended pressure on the road, only the central portion of the tread pattern is in contact with the ground.
Back in the 'field' setting, pressure is one of the lowest on the market - it can go as low as 0.6 bar.
Judges called the Michelin Evobib tyre a breakthrough because it is the first radial tyre whose contact area expands when the pressure drops.
Until now, agricultural tyres have seen compromises between the specific constraints of hard surfaces and agricultural soil. This is the first 2-in-1 tyre.
This clever system, developed in partnership with Fendt, regulates the tyre pressure according to the actual load of a combine during harvesting. It adapts its footprint to stay constant.
With no action needed from the driver, the tyre pressure adjusts automatically to reduce soil compaction. When the hopper is being emptied, the valve opens and the pressure drops to the new load-pressure set point.
This value may be half the working pressure under load, which is of sizeable interest in terms of protecting the soil.
While harvesting, as the hopper is gradually filled, the compressor raises that value to the original set point. With this idea, Trelleborg appears to provide a complete solution for virtually every all-terrain vehicle manufacturer who has to resolve the management of tyre-ground interface in terms of increasing traction or reducing soil compaction.
1. Case IH
Case IH's autonomous vehicle concept is a cabless wheeled tractor that can operate by itself in the field, with a wide range of Isobus tools.
It combines the latest breakthroughs in steering, telemetry, data sharing and agronomic management to provide managers of agricultural enterprises with additional working capacity.
Indeed, the autonomy of the tractor and the associated Isobus toolkit makes it possible to work autonomously, day or night. On this tractor, based on a Case IH Magnum tractor in the range, removing the cab offsets the cost of additional technology to make it work autonomously.
With an interactive interface for PC or tablet, the operator can remotely supervise pre-programmed operations.
2. JCB Dualtech
Currently all available transmissions on telehandlers are either a mechanical, powershift, hydrostatic or continuously variable transmission.
This is in spite of the fact that telehandlers have two distinct uses: about 60pc of the time they are used for low-speed applications like pallet handling, livestock feeding or loading manure.
But these machines also spend 40pc of their time on the road, during which a powershift transmission is ideal. With this in mind, the JCB Dualtech VT transmission combines the best of both worlds, with a hydrostatic module operating from 0-19 km/h and a direct three ratio powershift module from 19-40 km/h.
3. John Deere Autolube
John Deere's AutoLube system lubricates four independent points of the tractor and its attachments with one station. From the cab, you can select the operating mode (Manual, Automatic, Custom), adjust the settings and monitor the work.
The judges noted that the system makes for optimal use of equipment with reduced maintenance costs and less risk of losing resale value.