WITH so many financial pressures on farmers these days, forking out bags of cash on new technology is an investment that needs serious scrutiny.

However, with labour shortages across the sector becoming more common, sometimes the only solution to get work done is via technology. That was one of the key messages that visitors to the huge Agritechnica Show, in Germany, took home with them last week when more than 450,000 farmers, contractors and machinery enthusiasts took in the many sights and sounds of the week-long event.

Machinery manufacturers use the show to launch their latest innovations and technology that may or may not make it into full scale commercial production some day. The agricultural world of machinery is changing rapidly in terms of engines, design, size, and of course price, and exhibitors at Agritechnica were keen to highlight why theirs was better than the next one.

Some of the key focuses at Agritechnica included producing engines fuelled by alternatives to diesel, developing smart technology that is affordable to smaller farmers and increasing the use of autonomous vehicles.

From the smallest plough to a gigantic self-propelled manure spreader, Agritechnica had it all. While the machinery comes from a wide plethora of countries and are manufactured for a huge number of uses the one sentiment that connects them all is that smart farming should provide for a better future.

In total, 2819 exhibitors from 53 countries exhibited their wares with a number of joint ventures between competing brands surprising some of those in attendance. The end goal, though, of developing a machine that is efficient and saves costs, remains the primary focus for manufacturers even if the guaranteed future of that machine is a good few years down the line.

Here are some of the highlights:

Fliegl’s crawler trailer will get you out of a rut

A rather interesting transport trailer, the Vario from Fliegl caught the attention of visitors at the show with its tracked chassis.

Not only does this trailer offer increased efficiency at harvest time, it also is less harmful to the ground with its new crawler technology.

With 24 balancing rollers, a track width of 800mm and a chassis height of 1050mm, the trailer protects the soil structure with increased traction.

There are six different models from 20 to 45 cubic metres capacity with load discharges of around 10 tonnes per minute. The Varios have width-adjustable side walls which can be reduced to 2.55m for road transport, extending to 3m for field work.

Russian maker reveal huge tractors

MAKING its international debut at Agritechnica was the huge Russian-built RSM 2000 series tractors from manufacturer, Rostselmash.

There are two tractors in the series, the RSM 2375 and RSM 2400, both powered by Cummins engines. Unlike most of Rostselmash tractors from other ranges, the RSM 2000 machines come solely with a manual transmission for maximum performance.

For the European market, the tractor is available with the Cummins X12 405hp engine (Stage V) and the Quadshift 12/4 manual transmission, which ensures its optimal horsepower-to-traction ratio.

The high-performance 230 litres/min hydraulic system has five pairs of couplings available for connection, a low-pressure back-flow coupling and a 'Power Beyond' kit which allows attaching almost any pneumatic grain or row-crop seeders.

The big RSM 2400 tractor has an open frame design articulating up to 42° horizontally and up to a total of 30° vertically.

Reducing pesticides with new Horsch harrow

DESIGNED to help organic farmers keep weeds at bay and reduce pesticides use on other farms, the new Horsch Cura ST was launched at Agritechnica.

This three-point linkage harrow comes in different widths ranging from 6m to 15m and comprises of a six bar design with tine spacing of 2.8cm.

The support pressure of the harrow tines is continuously hydraulically adjustable. Every harrow tine can be charged with a pressure ranging from 500 to 5000g and maintains almost the same forces for the whole spring deflexion. Another benefit is that every tine is fastened individually and efficiently secured against being pushed to the side meaning they can be easily changed if need be.

The machine on the stand was a 12m version with a retail price of around €28,000.

John Deere's robotic sprayer

ONE of the many new concepts introduced at Agritechnica was John Deere’s autonomous electric-powered sprayer.

This novel machine has been designed purposely smaller in size to operate 24 hours per day and to work as part of a team of multiple units.

It has a 560-litre spray tank and a 30-feet boom. The high ground clearance of 1.9m and four-wheel steering make it extremely versatile, while the four tracks minimise ground pressure and greatly extend the operating window.

Although there is a lot more development work required before this machine becomes a reality, John Deere says it is confident this approach will be popular in years to come.

Say hello to the new McHale V6 750 baler

IRISH machinery manufacturer, McHale, introduced its new V6750 round baler at the show fitted with a load of features aimed at grassland farmers.

This is a semi-automatic variable chamber baler fitted with a 15-knife chopper unit and heavy-duty rotor. It is equipped with a double drive system which allows the machine to operate in the toughest of conditions.

The machine has a high capacity pick up with a working width of 2.1m, has five tine bars and a tine spacing of 70mm.

It comes with centralised grease blocks as standard, but automatic greasing is available as an option. Net and bale density can be adjusted from the cab through the Expert Plus control console.

Bale size from this unit varies from 0.6m to 1.68m. Fitted as standard with 500/50-22.5 tyres, the new V6 750 looks as if it could virtually go anywhere.