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Ag shows to increase focus on farm robotics technology

Although agriculture is barely on the eve of widespread adoption of full autonomy in farm machinery, it is slowly becoming mainstream thinking across the equipment industry.

As a result, farm machinery shows are starting to tailor their events to better cater to showcasing it, even in concept and prototype machines.

DLG (the German Agricultural Society), which organizes Agritechnica, the world’s largest farm machinery show, has added a new feature to its upcoming outdoor Feldtage (field days) event to do exactly that.

“FarmRobotix is to become a platform that will supply farmers with relevant information,” said Malene Conlong, DLG’s international press liaison.

“The platform will celebrate its premiere as part of the DLG Feldtage field day event.”

Robotics have been part of the annual field days event for several years, including a design competition for field robotics. The FarmRobotix focus will emphasize that element of emerging technology.

“The Field Robot Event, a contest for international students, is regularly held at the DLG Feldtage,” said Conlong.

“That event includes field robots designed by students that can complete tasks like weed recognition.”

The purpose of the new FarmRobotix event is to bring together farmers, manufacturers, startups and suppliers of farm robot technology.

According to a DLG news release, the event allows for “a comprehensive and practical overview of farm robotics that aids decision making for the farm and offers impetus for product development. Also, attracting representatives from science and research as well as development engineers, investors and venture capitalists who come to network, transfer knowhow and explore innovative technologies, FarmRobotix promotes business networking.”

However, the FarmRobitx focus on emerging autonomous technology won’t be confined just to the annual field day event.

“Now with its own label, the FarmRobotix brand not only fits in with the DLG Feldtage, but will also complement the exhibition and specialist program at other DLG trade fairs in the future,” said Conlong.

“Robotics and automation were already a topic at previous DLG events, but now the DLG  expects the focus to be even greater. At last year’s Agritechnica, we already had 70 exhibitors presenting their robotics solutions. There is also a great deal of interest in the premiere at the DLG Feldtage.”

At the EuroTier exhibition in Germany this year — another event organized by DLG that focuses on animal husbandry — there will be a Barn Robot Event, a live demonstration of feed pusher robots.

The Feldtage event will be held this year from June 11-13 at the site’s permanent location in Erwitte, Germany. For more information, visit DLG-tradefairs.com.

Here In Canada, ag equipment shows are also paying attention to the trend.

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show at Woodstock, Ont., features a dedicated demonstration area specifically for autonomous equipment.

COFS and the Ag in Motion show near Langham, Sask., also have a demonstration area for new drone technology.

“At Ag in Motion, it’s a themed area of the trade show,” said Rob O’Conner, AIM’s show manager.

“Also at both shows, we are providing a stage to promote AgTech innovation. Many of these use AI to recognize weeds or individual animals. In these cases, the equipment either makes a decision based on parameters to act or provide advice such as a treatment protocol to the farmer who then makes a decision.

“We also showcase much of this technology in our Innovation in Ag program and awards the evening prior to the first day of the shows.”

Conlong said automation will continue to become more established in agriculture, making it an even more important market for suppliers and buyers.

“Take crop cultivation, for example, where automation will become even more important over the next 10 years against the backdrop of sustainable cultivation.”

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