As well as all the agronomy advice and in-depth seminars, this week’s CropTec event also provided visitors with a chance to check out the latest efficiency-enhancing technology. James Rickard reports.
Take a look at what was on show at this years CropTec show
With multiple sources of data coming at growers from all angles, including yield maps, soil samples, nitrogen sensing, etc, Agrovista was keen to show off its Axis real-time data hub at the event.
Designed to collate and make sense of all this data, it allows information to be shared in real time with advisers, agronomists, operators and contractors. Users then have instant access to crop management information, from field records to yield maps, allowing them to make better decisions, says the company.
As part of the system, Agrovista has worked with Muddy Boots to integrate its Greenlight Grower Management system to allow a flow of information between key people within the farming operation, with information immediately synced between the cloud-based system and people’s mobile devices.
The latest option which can be added to Axis, is MapIT Pro which offers an integrated field mapping package allowing you to upload yield maps, soil results and crop information from sensors and then create variable rate application plans for seed and fertiliser, for example.
The entry level Axis package is free with upgrades at an additional cost.
Having already been operating in France for five years, drone mapping services company Airinov have set up base in the UK, with the aim of providing a similar mapping service.
Using its sister firm’s drone, the Sense Fly Agri Drone, Airinov is on the lookout for operators, such as contractors, to fly its machines and carry out the mapping. It then wants to distribute this information via a network of companies including agronomy, chemical and seed.
Its key service is the mapping of wheat and OSR to create fertilisation maps. Barley is to follow next year, with the firm looking into maize and grassland applications for the technology.
Unique to the drone, is Airinov’s own four-way light sensor which looks at four parts of the spectrum; green, red, red edge and near infra red. This allows the state of the crop’s biomass and nitrogen absorption rate to be to be mapped, which can then be shared as a ‘shape’ file, which is compatible with most controllers, allowing variable rate application. If not, Airinov says it will make it compatible.
As part of its suite of precision farming solutions, AS Communications introduced Trimble’s new automatic headland turning system which, without driver input, turns the tractor at the end of a bout.
Designed to boost efficiency and precision, NextSwath automatically computes and determines the best possible route for the tractor to turn and then proceeds to the next bout.
In practice, AS Communications says this feature delivers many benefits and relieves the driver of a substantial workload. When using towed implements, especially ones with large working widths, it prevents the machine from under or overshooting the bout during headland turns. This, says the manufacturer, eliminates any overlooked or overlapped areas in the next bout.
NextSwath is available now for tractors fitted with the firm’s TMX 2050 terminal, and is installed by means of an app.
Offering increased filling speeds and spraying accuracy, John Deere has introduced PowrSpray versions of its high-spec R900i series trailed sprayers.
Available for all three tank sizes – 4,400, 5,200 and 6,200 litres - PowrSpray models feature two hydraulically-driven centrifugal pumps. The first fills the sprayer at up to 1,200 litres/min, while the second, a 1,000 litre/min spraying pump, uses the firm’s Direct Rate Control for fast changes of application rate.
The self-priming, low pressure filling pump only requires about 60l/min of hydraulic flow to work, reducing both fuel and noise, says the manufacturer.
In addition, the spraying pump is able to adjust between minimum and maximum output in less than three seconds, claims Deere, increasing rate control accuracy to a level that conventional systems cannot match.
Combined with ‘smart’ hydraulic control of the solution system, whereby a valve block regulates oil flow which is driving the pump, Direct Rate Control allows spraying to be done independent of the tractor engine rpm.
PowrSpray comes as standard with Deere’s Auto Filling, Auto Agitation Intensity control (where the tank agitation intensity decreases as the solution tank level lowers), Power Agitation (for maximum intensity agitation of difficult to mix products), Active Pause for (allowing the operator time to induct chemicals) and Auto Dilute rinsing system.
With the ability to map 1sq.km in 20 minutes, UK TopCon distributor, LH Agro, introduced the Sirrus drone at the event.
Fitted with a near infra red sensor, it uses an RTK signal to automatically map and measure crop development. Launched by hand, it is said to be robust enough to withstand up to 30mph winds and can cope with rain. Flying time between charges is about 50 minutes.
The 2.4kg machine cost about £37,000 and is expected to be a service offered by agronomists with LH Agro supplying the back-up.
Able to fit to any large trailed or self propelled sprayer, Lite Trac showed its latest boom development which has the ability to apply both liquid chemicals and granular products.
Duo Boom is the result of a four year development process, and is currently available in widths up to 36m. For granular or seed applications, product is fed along the inside of the frame, with no need for additional pipe work. It is then distributed via outlets spaced 1.5m apart, offering control of 24 sections.
Two hoppers, one for each side of the machine have capacities of 450 litres each. Each hopper features a fan to propel the product along the boom. The return oil supply pipes, which drive the fans, are also routed through the airflow, pre-heating the air to dry out any moisture in the granules.
One controller, either supplied by TopCon or Trimble, is said to be enough to control both the spraying and granular application.
With the optional ability to be used as a conventional cereals drill or a precision drill for crops such as maize, using its Precision Combi Seeding (PCS) system, Pottinger has revised its range of Aerosem drills.
When fitted with PCS, up to 10 individual seed elements, depending on width, offer row spacing of 375mm or 750mm and 125mm on the Aerosem ADD. Application specific fertilisation is also built into this machine. Using the standard metering system with a distributor head add on, fertiliser can be applied between the seed rows.
To do this the seed hopper is divided into segments, two, 200 litre hoppers for individual seed drilling (there are no individual tanks for each row) and 850 litres for fertiliser or grass seed.
Individual seed metering elements are located beneath the additional funnel, i.e. a maximum of 10 rows (working width four metres) is possible. The individual seed metering system is driven independently of the standard metering system. Seed separation system is mechanical, with the individual grains then conveyed to the coulter under pressure.
The drill can also be specced up with the firm’s Intelligent Distribution System (IDS) which affords a more consistent flow of seed to each row along with the ability to meet any tramline spacing, track widths, dual tramline systems and half-width switching to the left or right.
The Aerosem 1002 series is available in working widths of three and four metres and is mounted over the rear roller of a leading tillage implement, such as a Lion power harrow or Terradisc disc harrow.
Fully specced, the machine starts from a retail price of £41,000.
The benefits of central tyre inflation systems have been known for many years, but until recently the technology has only been available on a limited amount of equipment.
Bringing the technology to the masses, air brake specialist Tract Air has teamed up with German firm PTG, to offer its array of tyre inflations systems.
Three main systems are available; a simple entry level hand held kit, a fully integrated outboard wheel hub version, and a fully integrated inboard wheel hub system. The two latter models can both be used in conjunction with the tractor’s own compressor, with control coming from either the manufacturer’s own control box or via an IsoBus system. With it, tyre pressure levels can be altered on the go, and tyre pressure levels set and saved allowing for road and field modes, for example.
It is the transition from road to field work where Tract Air sees the biggest use for the system as the two different situations require very contrasting tyre pressure requirements if maximum efficiency is to be got out of the machinery, it says.
Ideal for slurry tanking, muck spreading or silage carting, tractor and trailer tyres can be deflated in the fields to spread loads, reduce compaction and increase grip, while back on the road, pressures can be increased to reduce rolling resistance and increase machine stability.
The firm says it works with all makes of tyres and tractors, as well as combines, self propelled sprayers and foragers, etc.
An external wheel hub inflation system fitted to a tractor on both axles retails at about £3,700.