Four full days and several thousand steps weren’t enough to travel through all the 2023 National Farm Machinery Show had to offer. In mid-February, several thousand people flooded the Kentucky Exposition Center to see what the extensive list of machinery companies had to offer. After browsing the aisles of the show and absorbing all I could, here are my five takeaways on products and ideas that deserve some extra attention going forward.
Sense and spray technology
When efficiency is the name of the game, blanket spraying is a thing of the past. This technology uses advanced detection systems to single out each weed in a field, and apply a shot of herbicide directly to the weed. The Weedseeker 2 system by Trimble boasts that it can reduce herbicide resistance by up to 90% with its technology.
Other big names in the industry are releasing products using sense and spray technology as well, including John Deere’s ExactShot technology that can reduce starter fertilizer by up to 60%. With the reduction of herbicide resistance and the goal to become more efficient, sense and spray technology may soon become the standard in the industry.
Portable drone headquarters
While autonomy may be a buzzword in the industry, implementation is a different beast. The Drone Trailer – equipped with Pegasus Robotic drones in partnership with Top Notch trailers – serves as a mobile command center for the transportation of drone equipment, preparing the robots for flight and the ability to refuel at a convenient location. Seeing the trailer in person helped bring another level of understanding of how autonomy can be practically applied to an operation.
The 360 Yield Center
With almost a dozen unique displays as a whole, the 360 Yield Center was the equivalent of a hands-on science museum display. While each product had unique characteristics, it was a visualization of why efficiency plays such a role in modern agriculture.
Pictured is the 360 Rain, which claims to revolutionize pivot irrigation by providing water directly to the base of the crop and providing complete coverage for irregular shapes – no corners left behind.
The entire 360 display rethinks traditional methods to prove how minor changes and a new way of thinking will carve a path forward.
Implements to fight soil erosion
Mandako released their Cover Crop Crimper in the fall of 2022. This tool adds to the list of equipment working against soil erosion. The Cover Crop Crimper can be used to knock down crop residue to create a suppressing mat, which can be more resistant to soil erosion and increase water retention.
With organic farming and the goal of using fewer tillage implements becoming more popular in the industry, alternatives like this implement have a growing market.
Thinking small for big changes
If you have ever been fortunate enough to attend the National Farm Machinery Show, then you’ll recognize this picture. The "American Dream" model display represents what so many producers across the country strive for. It was my first time seeing the model, and what stuck out to me was the attention to detail – down to the landscaping of the working river to maximize water usage. It captures what so many of the equipment companies showcased during the show, the ability to rethink minor design choices to create the most functional and efficient product on the market – the true dream of the American farmer.