Intelligent crop production – A view on the future of technology in farming and some of the technologies currently being tested
The need for precision and automation in agricultural machinery will continue to increase in the future in order to ensure the optimum development of crops with reliable yields and good quality, whilst reducing the use of pesticides and fertilisers. This means maintaining yields, saving costs and conserving the environment.
Amazone, the leaders in German innovation and technology, have set about delivering intelligent crop protection by focusing on solutions to many of the challenges they see for the futrue of agriculture. We take a look at some of the innovations which Amazone have brought to market and are in the process of developing and testing, which may impact the future of farming.
Innovations in fertilising technology
One of the challenges in precision spreading is the application of different fertilisers which have been mixed together either to save on the number of applications and reduce operating costs. If the constituents have different physical characteristics, they segregate during spreading and are distributed over different working widths. This is more difficult at increasing working widths and finding the right setting for every constituent is usually impossible. AMAZONE have developed the EasyMix tool which works out setting recommendations for blended fertilisers and determines the best possible compromise for different mixtures. EasyMix will also be integrated into the new mySpreader App will be a combination of the existing FertiliserService App (which has been in use sucessfully for many years) the relatively new EasyCheck digital mobile test kit and EasyMix. The mySpreader App will be the first all-in-one package combining each of these tools for perfect spreader adjustment.
Further innovation in spreading technologly have been developed with HeadlandControl for the ZA-TS including further optimisation of part-width section control. Through automatic GPS-Switch control, the fertiliser spreader automatically switches on and off very precisely at the headland or in wedge-shaped fields for optimum lateral distribution on the headland.
Innovation in crop protection technology
An exciting innovation in crop protection comes in the form of the SmartSprayer joint project, where crop protection technology meets camera technology and expert knowledge with the combined expertise of Bosch, xarvioTM and AMAZONE. With SmartSprayer it now makes it possible to automatically detect weeds in row crops in real time, using software based on economic thresholds to make an application decision and perform partial area application of the latest crop protection technology down to individual plant level. Savings potentials of between 20 and 60 % are possible, since spraying only takes place when required.
Further development in weed control come in the form of the new AmaSelect Spot with DroneLink which offers part-area, site-specific weed treatment based on highly accurate drone photographs. The area to be treated is flown over by a drone equipped with a special RGB camera suitable for mapping. The photos are then geotagged and the individual pictures are merged into a total map. The DroneLink software then analyses the map and physical crop plants as oppose to individual weeds are discriminated between using artificial intelligence.
One of the challenges in crop protection is the potential under-dosing or over-dosing of plant protection products when driving round bends. Over-dosing may lead to significant weakening of the crop or even total crop failure. Under-dosing in the outside area may results in incomplete suppression of the weeds and fungal diseases and might lead to resistance developing as a consequence of under-dosing. These losses are now prevented by the AmaSelect CurveControl which keeps the application rate as constant as possible across the whole of the boom width when driving round bends.
An exciting new prototype by AMAZONE comes in the form of the Black Pantera 450350 Limited edition model to celebrate 50 years of AMAZONE crop protection. Like its namesake from the animal world, this limited edition Pantera comes in black and anthracit. It is equipped with intelligent vehicle and crop protection technology and is elegant, powerful, agile and 100% unique.
With innovation in all areas of expertise, it is AMAZONE’s goal to continue to serve as the global specialist in “intelligent crop production” and the first port of call for farmers, contractors and machinery rings.