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First impressions of robotic farming systems

First impressions of robotic farming systems


Daryl Bridenbaugh, Farm Industry News field reporter and product tester, sent this report for September 2011.

With all the rain hitting northwest Ohio in the last two weeks, we had time to get away from the fields and attend the Farm Science Review. We saw many new shallow tillage tools and lots of land rollers on display. 

At the John Deere booth, we learned about its GPS system where the cart tractor is automatically controlled. The combine and the tractor both talk to each other and match each other's speed exactly. The system was in use in the fields down there and is ready to be marketed. 

At Kinze's booth, we saw the company's new line of carts. Also, they had videos of Kinze's totally robotic system where the cart tractor is driverless. It runs beside the combine and then to the end of the field where the truck is waiting to transport the grain. The truck driver then climbs into the tractor and unloads the cart. Then the tractor waits for the combine to call it back to the field for the cart to be refilled. Kinze also has a driverless planting system. Once the driver goes around the outside of the field, the tractor can finish planting the field on its own. If there is a problem with the planter or it needs to be refilled with seed, it calls the farmer. 

The company has demonstrated both of these systems to its dealers, but at this point it is looking at the liability issues that might result before it markets the systems to farmers. -Daryl


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