Comment – racing for technology

Its been a busy week in the hills, as you can see harvest was concluded this week with a green disc mower and a green round baler, not quite what I wanted given the almost ready state of the trusty 1974 MF 506 combine (other brands are available). It has chucked it down all summer and given that there were a couple of dry days and most of the oats were still standing, mowing and baling it was.

I note that AGCO have acquired an 85% interest in Trimbles ag portfolio, so all those blue and red tractors and yellow and red combines running ‘Trimble’ tech and the IP is now in the competitors hands. Mind you, this widens the choice for tech support and cross selling.

Elsewhere Claas, AgXeed and Amazone have announced a collaboration to accelerate the development, standardisation and market introduction of semi- and fully autonomous tractor-implement combinations. What that mouthful means is that there will be common operating and safety standards. A laudable approach, but will it be truly across the industry unless other manufacturers get involved?

On Friday yours truly visited the Hounsfield Facility at Nottingham Uni, which besides being one of the worst road trips for rain, flooding and traffic I can remember was also a fascinating insight into X-raying plants and plant root systems in soil. What has this got to do with the machinery trade? I will be prepared to bet that technology like this will begin to inform machine design and potentially be integrated into field equipment.  Despite there only being two facilities like this worldwide (and it’s something the UK is very very good at!) this tech gives all kinds of insights into seed and plant selection, traits and what’s happening underground. I mean, did we ever imaging electrocuting weeds? tractors driving in straight lines by themselves, or even without drivers. Watch this space.

If you really want to watch something try this lego movie of the Hounsfield Facility:

And the real info is here too:

Have a good week.