New Holland unveiled several new precision components of their farming network last week at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville.
These launches were under the Precision Land Management (PLM) umbrella. Luke Zerby, Brand Marketing Manager for New Holland, walked AGDAILY through them.
- A Drone Data Management plan that “yields a very quick return on investment” for NH customers. The company’s package includes a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone and software powered by DroneDeploy. “It’s not just going out there and capturing an aerial image. You can go out and pull aerial images, and that alone doesn’t do a lot for you. But to be able to analyze it and pull usable, valuable data that you can make decisions off of, that’s key,” Zerby said. The goal is to provide same-day information and to make it possible to spot border areas, areas that need more attention, and gauge things like seed emergence. The app is available both on Apple and Android devices.
- The IntelliTurn, which are intelligent automatic end-of-row turn systems, is a feature that has roots in the research that went into NH’s autonomous tractor (see below for more on NH’s Drive). Our tractor technology “is intelligent so that when it makes its turn, you won’t be running over seed that’s already in the ground. It calculates more accurately where it needs to go, and it can adapt to odd shapes as well,” Zerby said. No more reliance on a standard U-turn. The IntelliTurn is available for tractors beyond the autonomous Drive model and is intended to mimic what an operator would do, with a smart, intuitive set up that utilizes existing parameters for easy operation. “It communicates back and forth with the operator very well.” To incorporate it with IntelliSteer, only a software upgrade at the dealer is needed — no additional hardware will be required.
- The Cygnus-A-MidRange GNSS Receiver was the final precision item released by NH at the show. The receiver is a mid-range receiver that works with NH’s IntelliSteer LITE system. “This is a good fit for a lot of guys out there who have an older New Holland tractor or other machine that already has a monitor in it,” Zerby said. One hope for NH is that this mid-range receiver offers a more competitive price point over the company’s full-blown receiver.
NH Drive concept autonomous tractor
If you missed it at the Farm Progress Show last year, you had every opportunity to check it out again at the National Farm Machinery Show. New Holland’s autonomous tractor was a draw for many at the show who were eager to get a look at the likely future of farming.
We say “likely” because, while the prototype is built, the piece is still in the testing phase with no actual target date for full-scale production set.
It’s certainly impressive nonetheless.
But to understand where NH is going, it’s important to understand the company’s roots. One of the most important is the connection to the Ford company and the celebration this year of the 100th anniversary since the creation of Ford’s Model F Tractor — the first mass-produced tractor. Henry Ford brought mechanization to farmers, just as he did to the automotive industry.
As a planet, we are looking ahead to a population of 9 billion on the horizon and a total number of arable acres that is likely decreasing (unless they cut down more rain forests). To build on that, the absolute number of people in agriculture is also declining.
“Our founders were very passionate about making a significant impact and changing agriculture. We at New Holland are continuing that spirit,” one NH worker explained.
So how does an industry feed more people with fewer laborers? How does it reduce waste and become more efficient?
There have been guidance systems, and then section controls and variable rate applications — all things that have allowed farmers to be more efficient with the labor they had, to the point where someone with less skill could still plant straight rows with no gaps or overlap.
“What are you going to do in 10 years when you can’t get those with less skill or get college kids to come out and work on the farm?” he said. “That’s where the New Holland Drive comes into play. What it allows is for farmers to continue to do what they love, while being more efficient at it.”
The details of the tractor are still being tweaked, but the foundation is there for a bright future. This turned out not to be a writeup about the Xs and Os of the Drive but rather about why we as an industry should see value in this kind of technology.
Some final bullet points
- New Holland is celebrating 50 years of continuous production on its Rolabar Hay Rake. Though production began back in 1957, the rake still has the same model number and has maintained the same features over time. The company is giving two of those rakes away this year, each sporting vintage decals. One NH staffer noted: “Everyone who comes on the lot says, ‘I remember that rake,’ or, ‘I used to have one of those.'” It brings back fond memories.
- New Holland is another company really tapping into the utility vehicle market, for which there is hefty demand. This year, they’ve released a new Rustler model that was on display at the show.