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New products released during Farm Progress Show virtual event

By Kriss Nelson - Farm News editor | Sep 28, 2020

By KRISS NELSON

editor@farm-news.com

The 2020 Farm Progress Show wasn’t held in person this year, but took to the airways, rather during a virtual event held Sept. 15-17.

Although those virtual gates have closed, the programming is still available — video presentations, show demonstrations and breakout sessions are available for viewing at your own pleasure.

Several agricultural industries took advantage to release new products during the virtual event include John Deere where they made their debut of their new X series of combines.

Making up the series is the new X9 1000 and X9 1100 — the new editions bolster a lineup that includes the companies S series combines.

“The X9 is at the top of our performance category,” said Cory Friedli, product manager for John Deere. “It is really for that high capacity, high acres customer that needs that to get through his acres in a short harvest window.”

Friedli said the technology featured in the S series has been carried over to the X9.

“The rotary, threshing system, 270 degrees of feeding into the machine and separation tactics are all the same in the S series compared to the X9,” he said. “The technology packages are the same technology offered in the S series. Customers get what’s offered in the X came from the S series.”

But what makes the X9 different?

The X series feature a wide feeder house, dual separator and the industry’s largest cleaning shoe, that work together to improve crop flow and increased harvesting capacity.

Friedli said the X9 is capable of harvesting up to 7,200 bushels and hour.

“That’s two bushels a second coming into the machine,” he said. “Obviously, we are excited about the capacity and efficiency — those are the top two features from the X9 standpoint.”

Friedli said there are units available for demonstration this fall and the company is now taking orders for next year with a limited capacity available for next harvest season.

AFS Connect Steiger series tractor

The AFS Connect Steiger series tractor was actually launched at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio earlier this year, but took to the fields during the Farm Progress Shows’ virtual event.

Nate McGraw, tractor product specialist for CASE IH said the series is being built and shipped and is fully available on the market place.

“What this tractor has to offer that hasn’t in the past, is, it is now a connected vehicle,” said McGraw. “From a data management standpoint, a file transfer standpoint, from remote services capabilities: software, firmware – all that is able to be done on our tractor as well as they have made a few small mechanical improvements as well.”

Does all of that sound confusing?

According to McGraw, the new system is actually easier to use.

“The biggest advantage of it, aside from the iron itself being the best articulated tractor, best four-wheel-drive; the operator platform is very intuitive,” he said. “It was built that way so anybody can get in the machine with very little to no training and very quickly pick up on how the system operates. Setting guidance is very easy. It is not complicated.”

According to CASE IH, the AFS Connect portal allows farm managers to precisely manage their farm, fleet and data from a desktop or mobile device anywhere, while feeling assured their data is securely transferring to and from the cloud.

Users can log into AFS Connect to view current field operations, fleet information, agronomic data and more, remotely keeping and eye on their operation as if they are in the cab.

Farm owners and managers then have the freedom to share selected agronomic data with third-party partners of their choosing.

“One of the valued propositions of this tractor is the freedom to adjust, manage, monitor, partner and transfer the way you want to — you being the grower and with this system, you determine who you want to share your agronomic data with,” said McGraw.

AFS Connect was launched in CASE IH Magnum tractors in 2019.

McGraw said he wished they were able to show the new system off to customers in person, but said doing it virtually was the next best thing.

“We are doing the best we can during the times we’re in,” he said. “We have several tractors across the nation in different territories for demo. Go to your dealer, if they don’t have one yet, have them contact their CASE IH representative and we can get one out there to demo.”

Dot

Raven demonstrated its autonomous platform, Dot for the first time at a public farm show in the United States at the Farm Progress Virtual Experience.

Wade Robey, executive director of Raven Autonomy said the company fully acquired Dot in June.

“About three years ago, we approached SeedMaster who was developing Dot. They were trying to bring this technology to market, but needed assistance from a company like Raven to bring the technology components on the platform,” he said. “We started with them, with a joint development agreement — brought the steering, guidance, communications, all the different technologies necessary for Dot to work.”

To help bring Dot full circle, Robey said Raven also made the decision to acquire SmartAg, a startup company from Ames to help bring additional technologies such as obstacle avoidance and a perception system.

There are currently three implements that can be mounted on Dot: a spreader, a sprayer with a 120-foot boom with all Raven technology and a SeedMaster seeder featuring a 30-foot seeder.

“Having three implements gives us the ability to build a return on investment for the grower, being able to use this machine through multiple applications throughout the year,” said Any Syrcle, commercial director for Raven’s autonomy sales in Canada.

Syrcle said there has been requests for Dot to be used in multiple applications throughout the year.

“We have a lot of requests out there from everything from a rock picker, roller, hay bale picker — anything you can think of people have asked us to build the implements,” he said. “Our goal is to partner with implement companies throughout the world to fit the needs of each individual area.”

Why is there a growing need for autonomous equipment?

“The obvious need is labor and that’s the one people go to first with autonomous systems is to be able to remove labor from the field,” said Robey. “We have found, over the last decade or so, there are fewer and fewer folks that farmers can hire to bring on the farm. Autonomy allows you to remove that labor and really bring the ability of the machine to perform in a more optimized way that is sometimes hard to train people to implement.”

In addition to helping to solve the labor issue, but it’s also targeted at efficiency.

“With a system like this, and the ability to work with multiple machines in the field and make an integrated and enterprised operation, you can just do things more efficiently which will allow the spraying, spreading and seeding operations done more appropriately within the constraints of both the regulatory – those requirements – as well as what the farmer desires to have the assurance it is all done with a chain of custody that just isn’t possible today,” said Robey. “The overall efficiency will also improve and that helps drive literally the largest part of the value proposition.”

For some people, they think autonomy is giving up control of an operation.

“We see farmers who are already outsourcing certain operations on their farm to hired help or other people that are actually striving for autonomy,” said Colin Hurd, founder and CEO of SmartAg and a Raven business development team leader in autonomy. “Autonomy is a way they can have more oversight, more understanding at any moment where they are in the field. It’s not just about driverless technology, that is kind of the summit of it, but as you progress into precision technology –steering, remote management, fleet tracking — things Raven has done for years, there is a natural progression, I think, towards having complete oversight and operational control from anywhere in the world, frankly.”

Is there autonomous farming coming to Iowa fields soon?

“It’s going to continue to progress,” said Hurd. “No one is saying it is not going to happen. It’s only increased in its relevance in conversations on the farm. I would say, within 10 years, if you don’t have the option to farm almost completely driverless, I would be surprised.”

Farm Progress Virtual Experience

In addition to these and other products, the rich information provided in the trade show will remain active well into 2021. This in-depth, searchable database of products includes a wide range of tools you can use on the farm. Know a company name? Use the alphabetical search at the top of the page. Looking for a specific product and want to know who makes them? Search by category and see all that’s on hand.

A visit to FPVexp.com can be time well spent.

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