Since revealing the autonomous concept vehicle, Case IH has been evolving the technology and further defining automation and autonomy as it relates to agriculture, and has been in discussions with customers around the world to study how this technology can be implemented for maximum benefit in their operations. Now, through its Autonomy and Automation Programme, Case IH is researching and piloting autonomous technology in real-life scenarios.
“While the autonomous concept vehicle revealed in 2016 showed the world what’s possible with autonomous vehicles, it was just that — a concept. This working tractor provided a platform for us to start discussions with farmers and the industry about the technology needed for High-Efficiency Farming operations today and in the future,” said Robert Zemenchik, Case IH AFS global product manager. “We’re ready to show how automation and autonomy applies across agriculture and how it can advance the precision farming solutions our customers are currently using on their farms.”
Diverse farming operations around the world require varying levels of automation. Through extensive Customer Driven Product Design research, Case IH found that current and future technology needs fall into five categories of automation for agricultural field applications. The categories and types of activities associated with each include:
Coordination & Optimization
Operator Assisted Automation
“It’s exciting to explore the efficiencies that automation and, eventually, full autonomy can bring to each farming operation,” Zemenchik said. “The logic behind the categories is to provide a vision of what’s possible. They are not linear, and a given fleet may even fit into more than one category at a time. Today, many of our customers are already operating in the Guidance and/or Operator Assisted Automation categories.”
The five categories defined by Case IH start with automating specific tasks on a piece of equipment. Case IH led the way by first providing producers with automation technology in the 1990’s with AFS AccuGuide autoguidance, and it continues today with more advanced solutions, such as AFS AccuTurn automated headland turning technology and AFS Soil Commandseedbed sensing technology.
In 2018, Case IH is collaborating with Bolthouse Farms on an autonomous tractor pilot programme. The goal of the program is to understand how new autonomous technology can be used and how it meets real-world, on-farm requirements.
“The only way to validate on-farm uses for autonomous technology is, quite literally, with field pilots where farmers use it on their own farm, integrate it into their own fleet and conduct their everyday activities,” Zemenchik said.
As one of the largest carrot producers in North America, Bolthouse Farms is a year-round operation that farms extensive acreage across four US states and Canada. The company’s focus on and openness to advanced technology, coupled with their desire to improve productivity, makes it ideal for the pilot for the Case IH Autonomy and Automation Programme.
The pilot program will focus first on primary tillage and deep tillage — both highly repetitive tasks that Bolthouse Farms conducts year-round — and a small fleet of autonomous Quadtrac tractors pulling a True-Tandem disc harrow or Ecolo-Tiger disc ripper will be used. This will help evaluate autonomous machine control in a variety of applications, soil types, meteorological conditions, and sensing and perception activities.
“One of the primary goals is to receive agronomic and operator feedback on the use of autonomous technology in real-world farm conditions so Case IH can further develop and refine our technological control and machine optimization systems,” Zemenchik said. “Additionally, we will be able to learn from Bolthouse Farms what uses they envision for automation and autonomy that we might not have already thought of.”
Brian Grant, Bolthouse Farms’ vice president of agriculture, views the autonomous tractor pilot programme as an opportunity to find new ways to make the company’s operation more efficient and deliver high-quality food for the growing population.
“We’re just now starting to play the ‘What If?’ game — where we’re asking ourselves and the Case IH engineers the questions about what autonomous tractors are capable of,” Grant said. “And the answers to these questions are not ‘if.’ It’s ‘when.’”
Case IH will provide periodic updates throughout the course of the pilot programme.
“We are extremely pleased that George Marshall will be representing Ovlac in this important
ploughing region and great to get off to a flying start!” said Nick Clark Ovlac UK sales
G Marshall (Tractors) ltd was formed in 1977 by George Marshall and during the last 40years has
built up a strong and loyal customer base. Ovlac have been manufacturing ploughs and cultivation equipment since 1936, having built up a large portfolio of primary cultivation machinery.
George Marshall and his team were impressed with excellent build quality and standard of work and
Ovlac’s growing presence across the Country. “We have seen Ovlac gradually increasing their foothold in the plough market over the last couple of years and we look forward to working with
them to gain further advances in the future,” said David Marshall.
Pictured Left to Right David Marshall -Nick Clark Ovlac- David Watson
The recent YAMS show marked the first public event for The Russell Group representing Pottinger in Yorkshire. The appointment of The Russell Group’s five Yorkshire depots stocking the full range of Pottinger machinery as of the 1st January 2018, comes hot on the heels of the appointment of The Russell Group’s Hallmark Tractors depots, located in the Midlands during the summer of 2017.
“It was clear after talking with Paul Russell, that we both as family owned companies shared many core values and principles. As such working together will offer great benefits to our existing and new customers” comments Shaun Groom, General Manager at Pottinger UK. “The enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment of The Russell Group will ensure Pottinger customers receive excellent local support from the well positioned depots across Yorkshire”.
“We are delighted to be representing the Pottinger brand in Yorkshire. It quickly became apparent that Pottinger share similar values to ourselves and their focus on the importance of after sales back up is paramount” states Paul Russell.
“Our ability to stock and demonstrate machines is enhanced through the introduction of the brand at both Hallmark Tractors and Russells providing more choices to customers. The quality of the products is excellent and a visit to the production facilities in Austria reinforced our view that the Pottinger brand will continue to develop over the next few years providing a full range of arable and grassland machinery.
A comprehensive training programme has been provided by Pottinger UK to ensure all our sales, parts and service people are ready for the season ahead. There is a significant number of Pottinger machines within Yorkshire and we have been delighted at the level of interest we have already received from new and existing customers”.
Arable farming and grain handling experts Greenshields Agri has improved the operational efficiency of one of its tractors, thanks to the impressive performance of its Michelin AxioBib and MegaXBib tyres.
Previously the firm’s John Deere 8345R operated on dual fitments, before Greenshields Agri decided to switch to 900/60 R42 AxioBib singles on the rear, and 750/65 R26 MegaXBib singles on the front. Designed to enhance soil protection and lower fuel consumption, the tyres’ narrower width versus dual fitments allows the tractor to go straight from the field and onto the road.
Gary Sands, Farm Manager of Greenshields Agri, says: “We’re farming land over rolling hills and steep slopes, and the Michelin tyres have provided us with tremendous stability which gets the job done just as effectively as with duals.
“Previously, when we wanted to go on the road with dual fitments we were limited on speed and required an escort. The AxioBib and MegaXBib single fitments have reduced the time it takes to make a journey and are narrow enough to mean we don’t need an escort, which has saved us money – they have become a real asset to the way we operate.”
The John Deere is used for a range of duties using ancillary equipment specifically procured for this tractor, including a 6-metre combination drill, a fully-mounted Kverneland land plough, a 6-metre power harrow, and a Simba cultivator. The tractor also clocks up regular journeys up and down the A1, travelling between sites.
Michelin’s AxioBib tyres can be set at low pressures as their patented Ultraflex technology allows the tyres to carry the same load at lower pressures, or heavier loads at the same pressure, in comparison with conventional agricultural tyres. This ensures better traction on dry and wet soil, a larger footprint with less soil compaction to preserve the land’s yield potential, plus improved fuel economy and driver comfort.
The MegaXBib front tyres provide ultra-low soil compaction and are the perfect tyre of choice for applications where flotation and reduced compaction are critical. Their wide footprint benefits from excellent casing endurance to withstand heavy loads, thanks to the integrated metal plies in the crown. This technology improves productivity and tyre life in the field, while also improving stability on the road.
Supplied by local Michelin Exelagri dealer Redpath Tyres, Greenshields Agri has also benefited from technical assistance from Michelin.
Commenting on the service received from Michelin, Sands continues: “Our account manager, Tony Powell, gives us great technical support. He came on site to weigh the tractor and gave us bespoke pressure recommendations to get the best performance possible in the field.”
Greenshields Agri has been in operation since 2010. It boasts an impressive 5,000 acres of farmland to cater for its operations in precision farming, grain handling and grain marketing services.
“Innovations for the future” is the motto at APV and the team lives and works according to the slogan “Inspired by farmers and realised by professionals”. The focus of the company’s activities is ensuring high quality for APV products designed and built in Austria.
APV is keen to conquer the European market and has recently unveiled a suite of new dealerships in the UK.
“We founded a company to achieve remarkable success and to manage our company creatively. A company can only be as good as its employees”, Jürgen Schöls and his wife were aware of this right from the beginning, and this is why they both place great importance on the personal growth of their employees and all those involved in core processes.
The company claims its extensive network of APV contract partners in more than 35 countries now ensure the highest degree of service expertise for our customers all over Europe.
Two charities dedicated to supporting the farming community have received a £74,000 donation from JCB as a result of a unique project.
JCB Chairman, Lord Bamford, presented The Louise Hartley Memorial Fund with £50,000 and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) with £24,000, which was raised through the auction of a one-of-a-kind Loadall telescopic handler.
The 541-70 Agri Pro – featuring JCB’s unique DualTech VT hydro-mechanical transmission – was built by 68 JCB apprentices to highlight the value of apprentices and attract new talent.
The donation was made possible through the generosity of long-standing JCB user Angus Wielkopoliski of Yorkshire Dairy Goats who was the highest bidder for the machine in an online auction.
Lord Bamford welcomed representatives of the two charities and Mr Wielkopoloski to JCB’s World Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire for the official presentations.
He said: “JCB’s apprentices worked as a team and did a wonderful job manufacturing this unique Loadall.
“I am not only delighted that one of our long-standing customers has supported the charity auction, but that the £74,000 he paid is helping two such worthwhile charities connected with the farming community, of which we are such a close part.
The Louise Hartley Memorial Fund was established in memory of the agricultural journalist who lost her life to cancer in 2016 at the age of just 24.
Louise’s parents, dairy farmers Sarah and John Hartley, of Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: “Louise was passionate about farming and the fund was set up in her memory to help young people pursue their ambitions and dreams in the farming world.
“The £50,000 donation will enable the fund to award a significant number of bursaries and help many young people to progress in their farming careers, so we are very grateful to both JCB and Yorkshire Dairy Goats for their kindness and generosity.”
Paul Burrows, Chief Executive of RABI added: “Our charity offers financial support to farming people of all ages.
“We have decided to use this generous donation to provide vital assistance to people with mental health problems, an issue which affects many of the families who approach us for support.”
The presentations brought to a successful conclusion the project which saw JCB’s young employees work across the company’s factories and departments over six months to manufacture the axles, gearbox, engine, hydraulics and cab of the Loadall. They also chose the colour scheme before it was assembled at the company’s World headquarters.
It was first unveiled during National Apprenticeship Week last year to highlight the individuals working in the company’s apprenticeship programme and generate an interest in attracting new talent for the future. The unique telescopic handler was also produced to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Loadall, a machine which revolutionised the lifting and placing of loads on farms and construction sites.
JCB graduate manufacturing engineer and project manager, George Shepheard, 24, said: “The project has been an incredible experience for all of the apprentices and for me as a recent graduate. We all learned so much from using our skills in a real-world environment and it helped us to understand the bigger business picture.
“As a group of young people it is great for us to see that our hard work is benefiting others who are starting out in their careers or who need support in difficult times. We feel we have contributed something really special.”
Yorkshire Dairy Goats managing director, Angus Wielkopolski added: “We already have three JCBs working on our 4,000 acre farm near to York. We were planning to buy another machine later this year, so when our dealers Wilfred Scruton told us about this special project, and especially the charity element, we decided to bring forward our plans.
“The Loadall will be a great addition to our fleet and we know the charities will put the money to excellent use.”
Amazone now offers the new AD-P 01 Special pneumatic seed drill in a 3 m working width for use in combination with the new KE 01 rotary harrow or the new KG/KX 01 rotary cultivators. In exactly the same way as is used on the Cataya and Centaya harrow-mounted seed drills, the AD-P 01 Special is mounted onto the relevant soil tillage implement via the QuickLink interface.
The level of specification of the AD-P 01 Special includes, from choice, either an 850 l or a 1,250 l seed hopper; both of which can be optionally increased by a 250 l hopper extension. For coulter systems, either the WS suffolk coulters or RoTeC Control coulters in row spacings of 12.5 or 15 cm are available. For optimum seed embedment, the Exact following harrow or, alternatively, the Roller harrow can specified from choice.
The seed drill’s efficient blower fan and the electric metering drive ensure consistent seed rates. The coulter pressure can be adjusted both mechanically with the aid of the universal operating tool, or hydraulically from the tractor cab. The control of the machine can be carried out either via the AMADRILL+ in-cab terminal or an ISOBUS terminal.
The new segmented distributor head on the AD-P 01 Special provides, depending on the row spacing, the possibility to switch 2 x 5 or 2 x 6 tramline segments. The tramlining is controlled directly in the segmented distributor head and can be matched very flexibly and easily to the track width and tyre size. When switching tramlines, the seed rate is reduced via the electric metering, in relation to the number of rows closed.
As a special option, and available for the segmented distributor head, is the electric half-side shut off, which, for asymmetrical tramline systems, enables the operator to start at the field’s edge using just half the machine width. In addition, automated half-side switching via GPS-Switch and AutoPoint in diagonal headlands and wedge shaped fields is also possible.
The most important advantages of the new KE 01 rotary harrow and the new KX/KG 01 rotary cultivators include, in particular, as well as a more comfortable machine adjustment via the universal operator tool, the parallel guidance of the machine via the roller. In addition, the levelling board is connected to the following roller. Thanks to the QuickLink interface, the relevant soil tillage implement can be separated from the harrow-mounted seed drill within just a few minutes so that the soil tillage tool can also be easily utilised in solo operation.
For reconsolidation of the soil, the AD-P 01 Special can be equipped, from choice, with the PW 600 tooth packer roller, the KW 580 wedge ring roller, the KWM 600 Matrix tyre profile wedge ring roller or the TRW 500 and TRW 600 trapezium ring rollers. In this way, the ideal roller is always available to suit the soil type.
Case IH’s line of Optum tractors, based on a high power, low weight design that can be ballasted where required, is to be expanded with the addition of a third model at the base of the range.
The new Optum 250 CVX tractor, with a rated power output of 250hp and a maximum figure of 273hp, joins the existing Optum 270 CVX and Optum 300 CVX models also built in St Valentin, Austria, and is available with a number of optional features designed to create a competitive package in terms of features and performance, yet serve as an attractive entry level model for the Optum range.
Claas outlet Manns has signed a franchise agreement with Stewart Trailers that it says will benefit its farming and contracting customers in East Anglia. Under the arrangement, Manns will provide sales, service and support for the company’s complete trailer range from its branches covering the area.
“We have been looking for a trailer franchise to complement our existing product range, and we’re very pleased to be able to offer a quality engineered range to our customers,” Manns’ franchise manager, Chris Chilvers, said. “We’re looking forward to working with Stewart Trailers to increase the number of their iconic blue trailers in our region.”
OPICO Ltd has announced the appointment of Johnsons of Cheadle to their Strautmann dealer network.
With two depots in Staffordshire, in Cheadle and Eccleshall, the dealership has gained a wealth of experience over the past twenty years and enjoys an excellent reputation in their area. They are ideally located to grow the Strautmann franchise in the North Midlands.
Massey Ferguson has added further to its trophy cabinet with the award of a Silver Leaf for its new MF 3700 tractors in the Innovation Awards presented at Italy’s Fieragricola Show for agricultural technologies.
These brand-new MF 3700 specialist tractors are aimed at vineyard, fruit, orchard and hill farmers. The prize was awarded by the expert jury for the machine’s front-axle suspension and new multi-function hydraulic joystick which groups the clutch, transmission and implement functions into one control.
Abbey Machinery and CLAAS Southern have joined forces to provide an extensive range of farm equipment for milk and meat producers, along with many other industrial applications. This new partnership was launched at LAMMA 2018 and follows on from the very successful co-operation with CLAAS Western.
“We had been looking for a like-minded partner in Kent, East and West Sussex and Surrey so we could get closer to customers and develop relationships with new customers”, remarked Michael A.O’Grady, Sales Marketing & Business Development Manager, Abbey Machinery. “CLAAS Southern is an ideal fit, both companies put back-up and support at the top of the agenda. Customers need the reassurance they are going to get a good quality product, backed up with excellent aftersales service”.