Top 10 Machinery Innovations for 2014

  • Top 10 List

    As the Innovations Editor for Agriculture.com, Successful Farming magazine, and the Machinery Show, I get to see the majority of new farm equipment each year. Sometimes even before it’s announced to the public! In no particular order, this is my list of the most innovative equipment, including items that have broad implications in ag to some game-changing pieces for particular segments of the industry.

  • High-speed planting

    1. High-speed planting
    With the introduction of high-speed planters and multi-hybrid planting, planters have made a huge leap forward in 2014. Technology from John Deere and Precision Planting, shown at the left, removes the 5 mph planting speed limit and pushes the throttle forward to 10 mph.

  • Multi-hybrid planting

    2. Multi-hybrid planting
    Planting is arguably one of the most critical farming operations, contributing the most to your bottom line. The ability to plant two hybrids at the same time will allow you to maximize the yield potential on every acre of your farm. New row units from Kinze and Precision Planting make it possible to do this for the first time.

  • Smart Seeder

    3. Smart Seeder
    Another new product that will help to maximize yield in varying field conditions is the Clean Seed CX6 Smart Seeder.
    The drill’s unique variable-rate delivery system can apply different
    rates of six products from each opener, allowing you to place the right
    amount of fertilizer and seed on every square foot of the field. The CX6
    Smart Seeder achieves this level of variability by using six individual
    electric motors on each pod.

  • Multichannel sprayer

    4. Multichannel sprayer
    To make tedious plot spraying easier, Clemson University developed a multichannel sprayer that is capable of applying 24 different chemicals in a given field location. While it’s only for test plots at this point, the technology could be adapted to commercial farming with 10-section, 100-foot booms that would allow variable-rate, site-specific zone applications of chemicals.

  • On-board inflation systems

    5. On-board air inflation
    I’m cheating a bit on this one. On-board air inflation systems aren’t new, in fact they’ve been in Europe for 20 years, but they are rarely used in the states. These systems allow you to pump up or deflate tires on the go, reducing compaction and increasing field productivity. They are primarily offered as aftermarket items, like this Precision Inflation system, but down the road expect to see this as an OEM option.

  • Sportsman Ace

    6. Sportsman Ace
    There have been a lot of great ATV and UTV innovations, with equally awesome test drives, but the one machine introduced that is truly unique is the Polaris Sportsman Ace. The vehicle’s architecture is new to the industry and features a sit-in chassis that is nimble and comfortable to operate. To some extents this may not be as practical for the farm as a hardworking side-by-side, but it gets bonus points for innovation.

  • Peterbilt SuperTruck

    7. Peterbilt SuperTruck
    Most semitrailer trucks average from 5.5 to 6.5 mpg, maybe less than that if you’re running a much older model. This year Cummins and Peterbilt Motors Company developed the SuperTruck, which achieves 10 mpg when fully loaded through a combination of engine advances and aerodynamics. The increase in fuel economy would save about $27,000 annually for a truck traveling 120,000 miles per year.

  • Ford F150

    8. Ford F150
    The saying “any press is good press” was true for Ford’s F150 featuring an aluminum-alloy body. Some people loved the idea of reducing weight to improve fuel economy. Others doubted the strength of the new material. But love it or hate it, people were talking about the new truck. I give Ford props for looking to outside industries, the alloys are used in aerospace and commercial transportation, and applying the technology to trucks.

  • HydraCushion Suspension System

    9. HydraCushion Suspension
    At a press event, a new 9R John Deere
    tractor hauled a 170,000-pound dump truck across a lot with loose soil.
    The tractor struggled for traction and experienced power hop. The
    operator activated the HydraCushion Suspension system, the only
    front-axle suspension system in four-wheel drive tractors, and the
    tractor quit struggling and pulled smoothly across the field. It was an
    impressive display of the system.

  • Tires Meet Tracks

    10. Tires Meet Tracks
    For the first time, you can have a factory-installed tractor with front tires and rear tracks, giving you the maneuverability benefits of a wheeled machine with the flotation perks of a tracked model. New Holland’s version, the SmartTrax, is available in three models with three track sizes. The Case IH Magnum Rowtrac is available in two models with four track widths.

Innovative, game-changing farm equipment from the past year.

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