The bi-annual flood of press releases from equipment companies proudly announcing their new ideas for farm machines, some market ready, some not, are starting to fill my email inbox. Why the sudden influx? Simple. Agritechnica, the world’s largest farm machinery show, will kick off in Hannover Germany in a couple of weeks.
Agritechnica, which is held every second November, has become the primary venue for manufacturers all around the world to unveil their newest and most cutting-edge ideas. While brands obviously want to highlight what their dealers are ready to sell, some also want show off the products they have under development and won’t be readily available for a while, if ever. It’s a bit like the automakers showing off concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show. It’s an indication of the future direction of the industry.
In past years, we’ve seen AGCO’s Fendt brand use the show to introduce its Electronic Drawbar system that allows one driver to control two separate tractors working together in the same field. That system was initially scheduled for release in Germany, but I haven’t heard much about it since. More recently the brand also debuted a new tractor model there that provided heavy duty electrical power to implements as a substitute for hydraulics.
New Holland debuted its Hydrogen-powered tractor there, too, and they now have a methane version that is sure to be on display at the show this year. At the last event ,Merlo debuted its hybrid-drive telehandler, the first in the industry.
A look at some of the gold medal winners this year reveals some really interesting concepts, like Krone’s in-field pelletizing machine that allows forage producers to create feed pellets right behind the tractor. So you can haul your hay back to the yard in a grain truck and auger it into a bin.
Then there is the Dutch company that is debuting its system’s ability to install or remove dual wheels on a tractor in seconds. Drive into the field and the wheels are installed, when you’re ready to hit the road home they come off again without requiring the driver to get out of his seat. Granted that’s a technology better suited to countries where road travel widths are much more restrictive than Western Canada’s. But it gives you an idea of the flavour of what will be on display.
That, apart from the sheer scale of the event, is what makes this show really unique. And the scale is impressive; all of it takes place indoors.
So the emails inviting media to displays to see those new and novel concepts are starting to arrive. And if I go to see those innovations, that means Grainews readers will too, by reading about them in the pages of future issues. We will be covering Agritechnica again this year, and if those emails are any indication, there will be plenty of fodder to fill those pages.
Getting to the show this year means I will have crossed both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in the same calendar year—and eaten my fair share of airline food. But that’s what it takes to keep readers up to date on what’s going on in ag machinery. When it comes to agriculture and ag equipment, what’s going on elsewhere in the world is becoming increasingly important to prairie farmers.
It’s the nature of the industry these days.