Updated sprayers, clever planters and a raft of new farm management software, were just a flavour of the ’smart’ technology at Fendt’s recent Field Day event.
To speed up filling and minimise downtime, all Fendt Rogator models for 2019 will be equipped with a new five-way valve.
The new valve is said to improve the filling cycle by allowing water to be flushed into the inductor at the same time as the canisters are rinsed. For increased ease of use, customers can purchase an optional electric suction valve which can be operated via the machine’s OptiFlow control centre.
For greater flexibility, customers can now select the eQuadSelect nozzle carrier. This allows both its self-propelled and trailed sprayers the ability to switch between four mounted nozzles from the cab.
Able to work at widths of 18, 24 or 36m, Agco’s novel adaptive boom system is now available on the 6,000 litre self-propelled Rogator. Hinging from either end of the sprayer’s main 18m boom are two extra sections; one 3m and one 9m. Folding out the 3m sections (one either side) affords a working width of 24m, while the two 9m sections (with the 3m sections left unfolded), will achieve a working width of 36m. The system is said to be ideal for contractors who have to work to varying tramline widths.
A further option to the self-propelled machine is a hydraulic control unit able to power spreaders and independently control the rear steering of the sprayer. The latter allows for compensation on slopes, and the system comes with a joystick for control.
Making an appearance at the event was Agco’s newly acquired company Precision Planting. Famed for its use of sensors and controllers to more accurately establish crops, it showed an example of one of its planting units. Like many others, it comprises a hopper, metering wheel, openers, disc coulters and press wheels. However, to make the most of these elements, and gain a better understanding of the soil conditions, the company offers a raft of sensor and control technology.
Technology available includes a clever, automatic coulter pressure system, which constantly monitors pressure in the hydraulic system and adjust coulter pressure to suit, this avoids over pressurising which can cause soil structures to collapse, and under pressurising which would see the coulter ride out of hard soils.
At the soil engaging end, rather than use a conventional seed firmer, Precision Planting’s version incorporates optical sensors to measure organic matter, moisture content, residue levels and temperature within the seed furrow. This allows the drill to automatically adjust seed populations per planting unit, depending on the soil conditions, effectively giving real time auto-rate.
In addition to sensors, the firm has also developed an alternative to conventional gravity fed seeding tubes, which have a tendency to provide inconsistent seed spacing due to the seed bouncing off the sides of the seed tube. To prevent this, the firm has created what is essentially a mini elevator, which has the ability to consistently deliver seed to the coulters. Its speed also automatically adjusts in relation to working speed. This allows planting at speeds of up to 15kph, and still maintain the same accuracy as you would get at 8kph, says the manufacturer.
As well as row crops, OSR and wheat can also be established with Precision Planting’s units, it says. Its units can be retrofitted to most planters, including Monosem, John Deere, Case IH and Kinze, and the firm is hoping to grow its presence in Europe.
How data is managed and how data is used was a big talking part of the event, which has led Fendt to add and develop several new technologies. Fendt’s precision farming offering can effectively be split into four areas; Fendt Connect which is machine data, Fendt VariDoc which is agronomy data, Agrirouter which manages data streams, and Next Machine Management which is farm management software.
While VarioDoc has been able to record agronomy data from Fendt machines for the last eight years, new to the portfolio is Fendt Connect. The latter is essentially an evolution of Agco’s AgCommand telemetry technology. Via a portal designed for operators, and one for dealers, it allows machine data such as run time, fuel levels, engine hours, location and where it has been to be transferred and monitored via phone, tablet and/or desktop. This allows operators and managers to plan jobs, fuel stops, etc, now also aided by a new logistics app, while dealers can use it to schedule in service time and quickly spot any problems with the machine which may be developing.
Collecting and transferring data is all well and good if you only operate Fendt/Agco machinery, however, it is more likely a farm or contractor will be running various machine makes, which all talk a different language. And this is where Agrirouter, developed by DKE Data in partnership with various tractor and implement manufacturers, comes in.
Agrirouter enables the seamless transfer of data between machines, farm offices, producers and processors. For example, yield data could be transferred from a combine to a farm office management programme. There it can be interpreted, before it is sent on its way to a seed drill as a prescription map. On top of this, data, if allowed, can be viewed by agronomists which would allow the planning of spraying and drilling, for example. Likewise, processors and retailers can use it to plan stocks and deliveries.
To compliment Agrirouter, Fendt, also in partnership with several manufacturers, has created a farm management software. Next Machine Management has the ability to manage all aspects of the farming business, from incoming machine data via Agrirouter, to sales, invoicing and documentation.
Previously, Agco’s umbrella term for all this tech was Fuse. However, the firm has now deemed each of its brands gets specific software to match its needs.