Germany’s Agritechnica farm machinery show has 2,300 exhibits in a 74-acre indoor facility. Picking 10 highlights is a tough chore with so much to see

If you who can’t get enough of looking at new farm machinery, you must visit the Agritechnica show in Hannover, Germany. I attended the 2009 event, which ran for a week, starting with a media preview on November 8.

The show has over 74 acres of exhibition space, all indoors, stuffed with the newest offerings from manufacturers — and a sneak preview of some concepts still in development. Agritechnica is farm machinery’s equivalent of the Detroit Auto Show. With beer. And dancing girls. You won’t find an agriculture show with this flavour anywhere else.

A representative of DLG, the organization that organizes the biannual event, says anyone planning a visit should schedule at least three days to take it all in. That seems pretty accurate. Walking the aisles between the 2,300 exhibitors, you feel like you’ve completed a marathon run by the end of each day.

Here is a round up of the 10 most interesting displays at this year’s show, by my account at least.

AWARDS NOT ENOUGH? JUST ADD SHOWGIRLS

New Holland had a lot to brag about this year, with three machines on display that won Agritechnica innovation awards. The company’s FR9000 forage harvester took a gold award for its discharge auto sensing system, which automatically controls the position of the discharge chute for accurate trailer filling. New Holland shares this feature with Claas, which offers the same feature on its machine.

The automated fan speed control on the CSX7000 combine won a silver award. It changes speed as the combine moves up and down hills. The operator sets the level speed and the combine automatically senses the incline angle, changing the fan speed as required. That allows for more consistent cleaning, because the amount of material on the sieves varies with the combine’s angle.

And even though Case IH, NH’s sister company, showed their ABSequipped Puma as a prototype, NH already offers ABS on its “SuperSteer” models, which are also capable of 60 km/h. This feature took a silver innovation award.

Along with these innovation award winners, the New Holland display included CR9090, the world’s largest combine, and the new T7070 Auto Command tractor, which won both tractor of the year for 2010 and the Golden Tractor for Design award.

But when I said earlier Agritechnica has a unique flavour compared to other machinery shows, I wasn’t kidding. And here’s where you’ll really understand why.

To introduce its 30 displayed machines to the public, the company used a corporate spokesman. He walked around the 20,000-square-foot display with a microphone flanked by two exotic-looking women dressed in showgirl outfits, all while being followed by a cameraman beaming real-time images to oversized TV screens high above.

That attracted a crowd of wide-eyed men and it even had women staring. Yes, I did look away long enough to confirm that!

When the speaker’s presentation ended, another trio of girls burst into the room to the frantic

beat of jungle drums. They danced in front of the new T6090 as cameras flashed all around them.

The high-speed T6090 is powered by a 6.75-litre engine linked to a 19/9 “Power Command” transmission, which is offered in either 40 or 50 km/h versions. Company information describes the Power Command as having torque-dependent auto functions.

Also built on a T6000 platform is the company’s prototype NH2, the first — and so far the only — hydrogen-powered tractor ever displayed by a major manufacturer. Hydrogen is converted to electricity to power all the tractor’s drive systems. It can store enough hydrogen to operate at full power for about two hours with its current design. That’s not enough. So it is probably best described as a work in progress.

CAT POWERS 524-HP CLAAS XERION 5000

Claas, while hardly a household name in Canada, is a big player in the European market, and they had a large presence at the show. The German company is the only one in the industry still managed by members of the founding family. It also produces one of the most unique lines of equal-wheeled tractors on the market: the Xerions. I featured Models 3300 and 3800, available here in Canada, in a December Grainews article. Claas used the show to introduce two larger versions: the 487-horsepower 4500 and 524-horsepower 5000.

All control functions are on the updated “three-finger” lever, simplifying operation. Both models have a C-13, six-cylinder Cat engine. And like the two smaller models, they new Xerions have

front and rear three-point hitches and a CVT transmission with 50 km/h top speed. But these big models do not have the reversible cab.

DEUTZ-FAHR TAKES PAGE FROM VERSATILE

Deutz-Fahr’s eight-wheeled prototype, called XXL 1630, is reminiscent of Versatile’s Big Roy of late 1970s fame. The XXL moniker seems pretty appropriate for this giant — it’s extra, extra large.

The tractor has a conventional drawbar on the back and a large ball hitch above the rear bogies. It can handle a maximum gross vehicle weight of 32,000 kg. The Deutz 2015 V8 15.9-litre engine connects to an 18/6 full power-shift transmission.

The 1630 uses only two axles to deliver drive power to all eight wheels. Each axle has a unique design that splits the torque and delivers it to the fore and aft hubs on both sides. A few multi-axle prototypes have made appearances at European shows in the past couple of years, but none have yet made it into production. However, the 1630 has attracted considerable attention, and it was just featured in the latest German-language edition of Profi magazine.

ELECTRIC BELARUS WINS INNOVATION AWARD

The new Belarus 3023’s design is so unique it won an Agritechnica silver award for innovation. Yes, Belarus, the company that built its reputation on bare-bones simple technology at low cost, won an innovation award. Go figure! Apparently, times are changing.

Here’s why it won. Under the hood, Model 3023 has a 234-hp, S40E 8.7-litre Detroit diesel connected to an electric generator. Instead of using mechanical linkages, electricity performs nearly every drive function, including running the front-mounted PTO.

Using electric power gives the tractor continuously variable speed options, the equivalent of a CVT transmission. A pair of control switches allows the operator to effortlessly slow down or speed up. Electric drive also makes it possible to control implements electrically, a growing area of interest in future machinery design. The electric control concept may eventually make hydraulic systems obsolete.

A company spokesman, says the tractor is primarily aimed at the Eastern European market and won’t make it across the Atlantic anytime soon. It will go on sale next year.

FARMS MAKE THEIR OWN ENERGY

Alternative fuel technologies occupied an entire pavilion. Farmers in Europe are increasingly turning to new technologies to save costs and reduce their environmental impact. Government incentive programs have spurred the trend. Overall, renewable energy output in Europe has been growing at a rate of 10 to 13 per cent annually since 2001, according to industry statistics.

Kohler & Ziegler was one of several companies displaying a power generating system for farms to take advantage of on-farm biogas production. Biogas (which is essentially methane) can be obtained from any fermenting biological material, including manure.

The K&Z system can use biogas to run a modified gas engine powering a generator, providing electricity for a farm. The system includes an exhaust heat exchanger that warms water for any use, including circulating it back through the biogas source material. This speeds up the chemical reaction and increase the rate of biogas production.

Potential uses of biogas are expanding. Steyr, a regional tractor brand that originates in Austria and is now part of the CNH stable,

front and rear three-point hitches and a CVT transmission with 50 km/h top speed. But these big models do not have the reversible cab.

DEUTZ-FAHR TAKES PAGE FROM VERSATILE

Deutz-Fahr’s eight-wheeled prototype, called XXL 1630, is reminiscent of Versatile’s Big Roy of late 1970s fame. The XXL moniker seems pretty appropriate for this giant — it’s extra, extra large.

The tractor has a conventional drawbar on the back and a large ball hitch above the rear bogies. It can handle a maximum gross vehicle weight of 32,000 kg. The Deutz 2015 V8 15.9-litre engine connects to an 18/6 full power-shift transmission.

The 1630 uses only two axles to deliver drive power to all eight wheels. Each axle has a unique design that splits the torque and delivers it to the fore and aft hubs on both sides. A few multi-axle prototypes have made appearances at European shows in the past couple of years, but none have yet made it into production. However, the 1630 has attracted considerable attention, and it was just featured in the latest German-language edition of Profi magazine.

ELECTRIC BELARUS WINS INNOVATION AWARD

The new Belarus 3023’s design is so unique it won an Agritechnica silver award for innovation. Yes, Belarus, the company that built its reputation on bare-bones simple technology at low cost, won an innovation award. Go figure! Apparently, times are changing.

Here’s why it won. Under the hood, Model 3023 has a 234-hp, S40E 8.7-litre Detroit diesel connected to an electric generator. Instead of using mechanical linkages, electricity performs nearly every drive function, including running the front-mounted PTO.

Using electric power gives the tractor continuously variable speed options, the equivalent of a CVT transmission. A pair of control switches allows the operator to effortlessly slow down or speed up. Electric drive also makes it possible to control implements electrically, a growing area of interest in future machinery design. The electric control concept may eventually make hydraulic systems obsolete.

A company spokesman, says the tractor is primarily aimed at the Eastern European market and won’t make it across the Atlantic anytime soon. It will go on sale next year.

FARMS MAKE THEIR OWN ENERGY

Alternative fuel technologies occupied an entire pavilion. Farmers in Europe are increasingly turning to new technologies to save costs and reduce their environmental impact. Government incentive programs have spurred the trend. Overall, renewable energy output in Europe has been growing at a rate of 10 to 13 per cent annually since 2001, according to industry statistics.

Kohler & Ziegler was one of several companies displaying a power generating system for farms to take advantage of on-farm biogas production. Biogas (which is essentially methane) can be obtained from any fermenting biological material, including manure.

The K&Z system can use biogas to run a modified gas engine powering a generator, providing electricity for a farm. The system includes an exhaust heat exchanger that warms water for any use, including circulating it back through the biogas source material. This speeds up the chemical reaction and increase the rate of biogas production.

Potential uses of biogas are expanding. Steyr, a regional tractor brand that originates in Austria and is now part of the CNH stable,

introduced a model with dual fuel technology. It is capable of running on 100 per cent biogas. The grey box on the front is an extra 300-litre tank mounted on the front three-point linkage, giving the tractor up to 500 litres of fuel carrying capacity.

Steyr says the 6195’s engine reduces CO2 emissions by 20 per cent and oxides by 17 per cent when running on biogas instead of conventional fuel.

According to a German government report, biogas is a much more efficient alternative to other plant-based fuel sources. On a per-hectare basis, fuel yield from the production of plant-based biogas is triple that of biodiesel.

PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER FOR YOUR GRAIN

After this year’s variable harvesting conditions, many of you will like this idea. Frigor Tec’s Granifrigor unit is designed to cool down and dry damp grain. Basically, it’s a portable air conditioner, and it functions almost exactly like the one in your house. Mounted on a trailer, this unit uses electricity for power.

It takes in ambient air and cools it to 7C, which removes the humidity. It then heats the air back up to 10C and blows it into a standard aeration bin. The advantage is it can continue to dry grain on days with rain or high humidity, unlike conventional aeration systems.

Although the company doesn’t have a North American distributor, they say they’ll put one in a shipping container and send it to you if you pony up the dough. They have units that can fully dry 1,000 to 10,000 tonnes at a time. They cost between 20,000 and 70,000 euros, which converts to around $35,000 to $110,000.

If you want more info or for a closer look at the Granifrigor, visit the company’s website at

JOHN DEERE INTROS “STEER BY WIRE”

With John Deere’s new steer-by-wire feature, the steering wheel does not have a direct connection to the front axle through a mechanical linkage. Instead, the system is entirely electric. The main advantage of this system is it allows for variable sensitivity to steering wheel movements. The number of turns of the wheel can be altered from 3.5 to 5.5 revolutions from lock to lock.

This feature is driven by the ever higher speeds tractors are being engineered for. With electrical steering control, sensitivity can be exactly matched to high-speed road travel or very slow field speeds to increase safety and ease of operation. A John Deere spokesman says the steer-by-wire feature will be an option on 8R models for 2010.

MASSEY FERGU SON’S 9280 DELTA HYBRID COMBINE

AGCO introduced the new Massey Ferguson 9280 Delta hybrid combine at Agritechnica, and it won the “Combine of the year for 2010” award, as selected by a group of German agricultural journalists. The hybrid name refers to its use of both a conventional threshing cylinder and twin rotors. Even with rotors, apparently the 9280 leaves the straw in good condition for baling.

Why use both systems? Martin Frye, AGCO’s product manager, says the hybrid does a better job of dealing with tough and variable crop conditions, and it improves threshing efficiency. The 9280’s system also has a lower power requirement, which can save up to 10 per cent in fuel use over existing designs, producing a better, cleaner grain sample at the same time.

The 9280 is built on AGCO’s existing 9005-series wide-body combine platform. Frye says taking that route saved a significant amount in development and production costs.

A prototype for the 9280 was tested under North American conditions, but Frye says AGCO found the simpler designs currently in use here were better suited to our conditions. As a result AGCO will only offer the hybrid to European customers starting in late 2010 for the 2011 season.

DAMMANN-TRAC SPRAYER STRETCHES UP

One of the most noticeable aspects of this show was the sheer volume of sprayers on display, which included Challenger’s new RG645 — the largest on the market. The number of different designs and varieties was incredible. But the new Dammann-trac DT2000H Plus high clearance sprayer was one of the most unique.

This model is equipped with enhanced four-wheel independ-

introduced a model with dual fuel technology. It is capable of running on 100 per cent biogas. The grey box on the front is an extra 300-litre tank mounted on the front three-point linkage, giving the tractor up to 500 litres of fuel carrying capacity.

Steyr says the 6195’s engine reduces CO2 emissions by 20 per cent and oxides by 17 per cent when running on biogas instead of conventional fuel.

According to a German government report, biogas is a much more efficient alternative to other plant-based fuel sources. On a per-hectare basis, fuel yield from the production of plant-based biogas is triple that of biodiesel.

PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER FOR YOUR GRAIN

After this year’s variable harvesting conditions, many of you will like this idea. Frigor Tec’s Granifrigor unit is designed to cool down and dry damp grain. Basically, it’s a portable air conditioner, and it functions almost exactly like the one in your house. Mounted on a trailer, this unit uses electricity for power.

It takes in ambient air and cools it to 7C, which removes the humidity. It then heats the air back up to 10C and blows it into a standard aeration bin. The advantage is it can continue to dry grain on days with rain or high humidity, unlike conventional aeration systems.

Although the company doesn’t have a North American distributor, they say they’ll put one in a shipping container and send it to you if you pony up the dough. They have units that can fully dry 1,000 to 10,000 tonnes at a time. They cost between 20,000 and 70,000 euros, which converts to around $35,000 to $110,000.

If you want more info or for a closer look at the Granifrigor, visit the company’s website at

JOHN DEERE INTROS “STEER BY WIRE”

With John Deere’s new steer-by-wire feature, the steering wheel does not have a direct connection to the front axle through a mechanical linkage. Instead, the system is entirely electric. The main advantage of this system is it allows for variable sensitivity to steering wheel movements. The number of turns of the wheel can be altered from 3.5 to 5.5 revolutions from lock to lock.

This feature is driven by the ever higher speeds tractors are being engineered for. With electrical steering control, sensitivity can be exactly matched to high-speed road travel or very slow field speeds to increase safety and ease of operation. A John Deere spokesman says the steer-by-wire feature will be an option on 8R models for 2010.

MASSEY FERGU SON’S 9280 DELTA HYBRID COMBINE

AGCO introduced the new Massey Ferguson 9280 Delta hybrid combine at Agritechnica, and it won the “Combine of the year for 2010” award, as selected by a group of German agricultural journalists. The hybrid name refers to its use of both a conventional threshing cylinder and twin rotors. Even with rotors, apparently the 9280 leaves the straw in good condition for baling.

Why use both systems? Martin Frye, AGCO’s product manager, says the hybrid does a better job of dealing with tough and variable crop conditions, and it improves threshing efficiency. The 9280’s system also has a lower power requirement, which can save up to 10 per cent in fuel use over existing designs, producing a better, cleaner grain sample at the same time.

The 9280 is built on AGCO’s existing 9005-series wide-body combine platform. Frye says taking that route saved a significant amount in development and production costs.

A prototype for the 9280 was tested under North American conditions, but Frye says AGCO found the simpler designs currently in use here were better suited to our conditions. As a result AGCO will only offer the hybrid to European customers starting in late 2010 for the 2011 season.

DAMMANN-TRAC SPRAYER STRETCHES UP

One of the most noticeable aspects of this show was the sheer volume of sprayers on display, which included Challenger’s new RG645 — the largest on the market. The number of different designs and varieties was incredible. But the new Dammann-trac DT2000H Plus high clearance sprayer was one of the most unique.

This model is equipped with enhanced four-wheel independ-

introduced a model with dual fuel technology. It is capable of running on 100 per cent biogas. The grey box on the front is an extra 300-litre tank mounted on the front three-point linkage, giving the tractor up to 500 litres of fuel carrying capacity.

Steyr says the 6195’s engine reduces CO2 emissions by 20 per cent and oxides by 17 per cent when running on biogas instead of conventional fuel.

According to a German government report, biogas is a much more efficient alternative to other plant-based fuel sources. On a per-hectare basis, fuel yield from the production of plant-based biogas is triple that of biodiesel.

PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER FOR YOUR GRAIN

After this year’s variable harvesting conditions, many of you will like this idea. Frigor Tec’s Granifrigor unit is designed to cool down and dry damp grain. Basically, it’s a portable air conditioner, and it functions almost exactly like the one in your house. Mounted on a trailer, this unit uses electricity for power.

It takes in ambient air and cools it to 7C, which removes the humidity. It then heats the air back up to 10C and blows it into a standard aeration bin. The advantage is it can continue to dry grain on days with rain or high humidity, unlike conventional aeration systems.

Although the company doesn’t have a North American distributor, they say they’ll put one in a shipping container and send it to you if you pony up the dough. They have units that can fully dry 1,000 to 10,000 tonnes at a time. They cost between 20,000 and 70,000 euros, which converts to around $35,000 to $110,000.

If you want more info or for a closer look at the Granifrigor, visit the company’s website at

JOHN DEERE INTROS “STEER BY WIRE”

With John Deere’s new steer-by-wire feature, the steering wheel does not have a direct connection to the front axle through a mechanical linkage. Instead, the system is entirely electric. The main advantage of this system is it allows for variable sensitivity to steering wheel movements. The number of turns of the wheel can be altered from 3.5 to 5.5 revolutions from lock to lock.

This feature is driven by the ever higher speeds tractors are being engineered for. With electrical steering control, sensitivity can be exactly matched to high-speed road travel or very slow field speeds to increase safety and ease of operation. A John Deere spokesman says the steer-by-wire feature will be an option on 8R models for 2010.

MASSEY FERGU SON’S 9280 DELTA HYBRID COMBINE

AGCO introduced the new Massey Ferguson 9280 Delta hybrid combine at Agritechnica, and it won the “Combine of the year for 2010” award, as selected by a group of German agricultural journalists. The hybrid name refers to its use of both a conventional threshing cylinder and twin rotors. Even with rotors, apparently the 9280 leaves the straw in good condition for baling.

Why use both systems? Martin Frye, AGCO’s product manager, says the hybrid does a better job of dealing with tough and variable crop conditions, and it improves threshing efficiency. The 9280’s system also has a lower power requirement, which can save up to 10 per cent in fuel use over existing designs, producing a better, cleaner grain sample at the same time.

The 9280 is built on AGCO’s existing 9005-series wide-body combine platform. Frye says taking that route saved a significant amount in development and production costs.

A prototype for the 9280 was tested under North American conditions, but Frye says AGCO found the simpler designs currently in use here were better suited to our conditions. As a result AGCO will only offer the hybrid to European customers starting in late 2010 for the 2011 season.

DAMMANN-TRAC SPRAYER STRETCHES UP

One of the most noticeable aspects of this show was the sheer volume of sprayers on display, which included Challenger’s new RG645 — the largest on the market. The number of different designs and varieties was incredible. But the new Dammann-trac DT2000H Plus high clearance sprayer was one of the most unique.

This model is equipped with enhanced four-wheel independ-

About the author

Contributor

Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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