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Motivo Engineering’s Harvest tractor
SOLAR POWERS: Motivo Engineering’s patented Harvest tractor gets part of its energy from solar collectors that recharge its batteries.

Tomorrow’s tractor could run on sunshine

Hi-Tech Farming: A new patent could open eyes about future power options for machinery.

One look at Motivo Engineering’s Harvest tractor and you may say it’s a machine that will never work on your farm. I know a farmer who said that about autosteering 15 years ago. Try to take it away from him now!

The California-based global ag tech company received a patent for a prototype tractor that features what’s called a “mobile power conversion and distribution system.” What the Harvest tractor represents is a multipurpose, sharable, mobile power delivery system for agriculture, spokespeople say. The power module integrated within Harvest provides mobility, rotary power and electrical power from a single zero-emissions platform. The tractor can collect power from solar panels, wind turbines or intermittent electrical grids, store it onboard in a battery, and deliver it upon demand.

The company says the tractor can be rented, tracked and updated via a cell network. Several Harvest modules can be tied together to form a micro-grid with scaled-up output capability. Dubbed a “Swiss army knife” for ag power by the company, it was successfully tested for a year in India. Even if you’re not ready to park your diesel tractor and order one, learn more at

High-tech tillage control
Topcon wants to turn your tillage tool into a high-tech machine, and the company wants to do this now, not tomorrow. Topcon Agriculture introduces Norac Tillage Depth Control. It’s the same technology that controls sprayer boom height.

However, now the system, which uses ultrasonic sensors, will automatically compensate for changing terrain and soil types and maintain a consistent implement depth. It’s designed as a “set it and forget it” system adaptable to any tractor type. Visit

Future seed treatments
BASF launches Vault IP Plus seed treatment and Obvius Plus fungicide seed treatment, both recently registered by U.S. EPA. Look for commercial introduction in September. Vault IP Plus will be the only combined inoculant and EPA-registered biofungicide for soybeans, with two active biofungicides. Obvius Plus will offer four-way protection against four tough customers: phytophthora, pythium, fusarium and rhizoctonia. Visit

Wheat herbicide
Arysta LifeScience launches Batalium herbicide for wheat after receiving U.S. EPA registration. It’s a cross-spectrum herbicide that works on grasses and broadleaves. With three modes of action in site-of-action groups 2, 4 and 6, it’s valuable in weed resistance management. Visit

New crop stress index
Ceres Imaging, a California-based precision ag company, introduces the Cumulative Stress Index for 2019. Developed from a mix of computer vision and deep learning techniques, the index can accurately predict how much a combination of crop stresses will impact yield, according to spokespeople.

Reports indicate that in trials, the index was remarkably accurate in predicting the percentage yield difference in two almond fields, based upon the difference in stress each experienced. Expect it to be particularly useful in demonstrating the correlation between applied water and yield. Visit

Heavy-duty drone
Nobody will accuse Drone Volt’s Hercules 20 of being a “toy” drone. Built for professional heavy lifting, this new release from the French company combines versatility, heavy lifting and long range.

If spraying crops by drones becomes commercially available, this drone is ready. It can carry a reservoir onboard. See

Raven expands
Raven Industries acquires AgSync Inc., Wakarusa, Ind. AgSync’s strength is in developing ag software for customers with large fleets and multiple locations. Raven spokespeople say it enhances their Slingshot platform. Visit  

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