Machinery Meeting Point

December 9, 2011 06:15 PM
Machinery Meeting Point

Agritechnica boasts more than 80 acres to explore

Every other year, Agritechnica takes the ag machinery industry to a new level. This year, the show covered more than 80 acres, hosted 2,748 exhibitors and attracted 415,000 visitors.

Organized by DLG (the German Agricultural Society) in Hanover, Germany, the show provides a global platform for companies to display their new machinery and technologies.

"We expected the show to be big, but not this big," says Paul Kummer, who farms corn, soybeans and sugar beets near Colfax, N.D. He and his son, Blaine, attended the show after winning a contest hosted by DLG and Farm Journal. "We were surprised at how professionally everything is done. As an industry, agriculture is shifting toward being more efficient—with labor, fuel, time and more. That is a lot about what this show is about."

Blaine says he was impressed with the diversity of the exhibitors. Going from one hall to the next offered completely different types of displays.

"We’d be looking at the most high-tech integrated monitor, then the next thing we’d see is a piece of heavy-duty tillage equipment bound for the former Soviet Union," he says.

In that way, Agritechnica is a meeting place for companies representing the diverse global ag industry. Exhibitors came from 48 countries, and, for the first time, international exhibitors repre-sented more than half of the companies.

"Agritechnica is a presentation of innovations and a sounding board for conversations in trends and policies," says Reinhard Grandke, CEO of the DLG. "In 2050, we will have a global population of 9 billion, and agriculture will be the industry to provide the food and energy resources demanded."

Best of show. Many companies go to the event to launch new products and display new accomplishments in engineering. The DLG presents gold and silver medals for notable innovations; this year, two gold medals and 39 silver medals were awarded.

One of the top awards went to Fendt for its GuideConnect system, which programs a second tractor without an operator to follow the first tractor through the field on a designed path. This is another way that machinery companies are developing automated machinery systems. John Deere’s Machine Sync, which synchronizes the combine and grain cart tractor, was awarded a silver medal. Claas displayed its ETRION, a concept vehicle that promotes electrical systems as a new way to think about farm power.

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From a compact loader turned into an iron giraffe (top) to concept vehicles powered by electricity (the ETRION 400 from Claas, third from top) and hydrogen (the New Holland NH2, second from top), the exhibit halls had a surprise at every turn. You had to look up to see the massive machines that were elevated, such as this John Deere combine (above).

Also looking at electrical power, Swiss company Rigitrac worked with a technical university and a specialized engineering firm to develop its EWD 120 diesel-electric tractor. The tractor garnered a silver medal for its innovation in displaying a traditional axle frame alongside four electrical wheel drives that provide power for implement control. The idea for on-board electrical generation was displayed at Agritechnica in 2007 by John Deere and in 2009 by Belarus.

Another trend that started gaining momentum at Agritechnica is the ISOBUS standard for universal equipment control. The ISOBUS standard was further developed this year, with silver medals given to Amazone, Grimme and Krone systems.

The second gold medal went to Krone for its continuous round baling system that bales, wraps and unloads on the go. This system is said to increase harvest efficiency by 50%. Other hay, forage and material handling equipment awarded medals for innovations included automatic front-loader control systems and vertical-lift stabilizers for telehandlers.

Claas took the opportunity to celebrate two milestones: a world-record wheat harvest and the manufacture of the 30,000th Jaguar self-propelled forage harvester. Helmut Claas and his daughter Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser were presented with a certificate by Jack Brockbank, a Guinness World Records representative, at the Claas booth, where they were joined by the 13-member team that harvested 24,832 bu. in an eight-hour time limit. The record-setting harvest took place in September in Lincolnshire, UK. To commemorate the 30,000th Jaguar to be built, the company painted the machine black and put it on display at the show.

To complete its line of equipment, Fendt unveiled the Katana 65 self-propelled forage harvester. AGCO plans to put 30 Katana harvesters in the field in Germany in the next year, but plans for a North American introduction are unclear.

The exhibition also included an entire pavilion dedicated to smart farming and how precision technology is changing agriculture. A "Workshop Live" presented ongoing interactive demonstrations of technical repairs.

The next Agritechnica show will be held from Nov. 10 to 16, 2013.

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