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ag displays and crowd of attendees at Agritechnica Mark Moore
TECH-FOCUSED CROWD: Agritechnica is a biennial event that brings together companies and visitors from around the world to see new farm equipment and technology.

A trek to see new ag tech

Commentary: The upcoming Agritechnica event in Germany, and what’s ahead.

The march of agricultural innovation keeps marching on, and one place to see that is at major farm shows. Every two years there’s a farm show that draws crowds from around the world, and Farm Progress will be on hand, too. Agritechnica starts Nov. 12 in Hanover, Germany, and our bags are nearly packed as we get ready to make the trip across the pond.

Agritechnica is a unique event spread across 36 major buildings at Messe Nord, a sprawling exhibit facility that gets used by other industries throughout the year as well. A visitor has to plan the days carefully, and Farm Progress will be spending five days on the ground covering the event.

We’ll file some information from the event as it happens, and more in the weeks that follow given the nature of what’s on hand. The organizers of the event recently released a list of more than 320 innovations spotlighted by exhibitors, and while Farm Progress has covered many from companies that market in the U.S., there’s more to see.

One area that’s different is that crop protection companies do not have a major presence at the show; familiar crop protection names are on hand, but not with the presence they might have at other shows. However, for 2017 there is a focus on “future crop protection” products, and we’ll offer a look at those. The list ranges from nano-sensors for crop monitoring to new ways to spray. The companies range from John Deere to Kuhn, from BASF to Bayer.

Why make the trip?
Major farm shows are how we keep up on our industry. Farm Progress has its signature shows, but as journalists, we work to cover what’s happening beyond the shows as well. Agritechnica offers a different perspective. European equipment makers have a growing presence in the United States. Names like Horsch, Amazone, Kuhn and Claas are growing every year through acquisition and innovation.

And many innovations in tractor design often start in Europe, where the rules of the road are different. For example, there’s a new 3-meter standard for the traveling width of an implement. Yep, that’s 10 feet wide — which forces machinery makers to reengineer planters, tillage tools and other drawn implements to travel narrow.

In the 1980s — yes, I go back that far — there was a tighter standard for seeing an obstacle beyond the nose of a tractor. It was a shorter standard, but may answer a question for readers wondering why tractor hoods slope like they do. We get to see these machines and learn about the standards when traveling to Agritechnica.

Step counters — wow
One change on a personal level was the advent of the step counter. In 2015, my last visit, I logged an average of 17,000 steps per day moving through exhibits and traveling to media events. I have a better counter now — not sure what that means. But when you look at the count, at least you know why you're tired.

Beyond step counters, there’s plenty to see at the show. Our focus is usually companies that market in North America and a look at what they are introducing. Not everything we write about will come over, but they also show future design trends when the European influence is involved.

So check back during the week of Nov. 13 to see some coverage from the show — it’ll be on all Farm Progress websites. And we’ll share future installments in the weeks that follow, too.

TAGS: Technology
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