This year marks my fourth visit to Agritechnica, the premier global agricultural event, and it once again has not disappointed. Agritechnica is buzzing with activity as farmers and industry enthusiasts are here in droves, eagerly anticipating the latest in agricultural innovation and technology.
Comparing Agritechnica 2023 to the 2019 edition, there’s a sense of pragmatism in the air compared to the earlier lofty visions of the fully-electric future.
Today, the focus has shifted back to reality. That’s not to say that fully-electric power units won’t happen, but not as quickly as some anticipated. Alternative fuels, such as ethanol and renewable diesel, are gaining more attention, and there’s a notable emphasis on hybrid solutions, such as diesel-powered tractors with electric drives or implements. These ideas are much closer to reality and commercialization than a fully electric-powered tractor.
The trend to autonomy is still being showcased because it is closer to commercialization than sole electric power. There are still regulatory hurdles for autonomy to overcome in many jurisdictions, according to manufacturers. This push for autonomy also starts to address the labour shortages that farmers around the world are faced with.
Here in Germany, most of the autonomous robots from manufacturers on display are still shells and a concept, with a few exceptions. Autonomous tillage is getting most of the early attention.
I ran across several examples of smart implements with sensors to communicate to the tractor, working in tandem, and sensors and artificial intelligence assisting the operator in being more productive. This feature will also be very important when operators are no longer required in the cab.
RealAgriculture’s coverage of Agritechnica is brought to you by Optimum Gly, a new canola trait technology from Corteva Agriscience.