The weather was unusually beautiful for all three days of the show, but it was the crowds on the grounds that made the event feel like a return to normal. Not all was back to normal though. In the Farm Credit Dairy Center, I counted about one in every 15 booths not occupied. So that was still different from the full house one could expect of pre-pandemic shows.
Here three cool things I saw as I walked around the show:
New Holland had its new “methane-powered” tractor on display. Technically, the tractor runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). However, if a dairy is producing its own methane and scrubbing it to the quality that it could be put into the commercial natural gas grid, then they could use that fuel for this tractor. On a liquified basis, the onboard fuel tank is 50 gallons with a 70-gallon auxiliary tank front-mounted to the tractor. The manufacturer claims the tractor has the same horsepower as the same diesel-fueled model, but with a carbon-neutral footprint. Product mangers I talked to at the show said the tractor can run for about eight hours of light-duty work, six hours of medium-duty work or four hours of heavy-duty work with both tanks full.
Computer-enhanced beehives from Israeli developer Beewise will be in the U.S. later this year. With these new high-tech units, beekeepers can monitor the productivity and health of the hive and each individual comb with computer vision. The units look like square shipping containers and are built to be skid-loaded onto trucks for easy movement from site to site. The product developer I talked to said the hive automates everything related to beekeeping, except the harvesting of collected honey. They are placing 100 of these bee pods in the U.S. and Israel this year.
Several technology companies made announcements during the show. Connecterra announced a partnership with ABS, and Cow Manager announced a partnership with Zoetis. Users of each of these products will now have new integrations with these other products. It’s becoming clear to me that cow tech startups will be gobbled up eventually by an A.I. company, a feed company or a dairy co-op. These partnerships and integrations should give producers more confidence in the overall value and ROI of these technology products.
PHOTO 1: The weather was warm and sunny in Tulare, California, for the World Ag Expo in 2022.
PHOTO 2: New Holland’s new methane-powered tractor could help dairies as they seek to become carbon-neutral.
PHOTO 3: This is a view inside of a Beewise computer-vision powered beehive. Photos by Walt Cooley.
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