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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.