Categories: Articles, MechanisationPublished On: 21st April 2024

Technews: The latest in agricultural technology from around the world

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Landini Looking forward to the next 140 years

Landini, historic tractor brand of the Argo Tractors group in Italy, is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year with the release of the recently developed REX4 Full Hybrid tractor. The REX4 is a hybrid tractor with a diesel engine combined with an electric motor.

The key innovations of the Electra–Evolving Hybrid system are its electric front wheel drive with independent wheels, electronically controlled cab suspension and semi-automatic transmission, which lend the Rex 4 even better handling, greater comfort, and ease of use. The most significant new feature is the fully electric front wheel drive with suspended axle, sporting two independent electric motors and associated sensors, electronic controls, generator, and battery dedicated to energy recovery under braking and deceleration. The entire system is controlled by the PMS (Power Management System), which supervises the operation of all devices, including the battery and controls motor and generator via their respective inverters.

With the Hybrid tractor Landini promises the following advantages:

  • Enjoy a 10% fuel saving on your tractor.
  • Benefit from 15% better steering angle for improved manoeuvrability and easier operations.
  • Experience greater stability during transport thanks to full integration with the current electric steering system.
  • Choose the ratio between the front and rear wheels to suit your needs.
  • Enjoy the new electronically controlled cab suspension featuring a semi-active system similar to that already available on high-end open-field tractors. Suspended on four points, the cab is equipped with two passive front suspension systems, while two anti-damping hydraulic shock absorbers governed by an electronic signal reduce vibration at the rear.
  • Shifting gears is even easier thanks to the introduction of the semi-automatic transmission that features a joystick instead of a conventional mechanical lever (drive by wire). The joystick sends its inputs to the electronic control unit (ECU) that operates the actuators that move the transmission control. In addition to fully automated shifting, this solution offers the added benefit of lower noise and pollutant emissions.

A rich history

It was 1884 when Giovanni Landini founded Officine Landini, a wine-making machinery factory in Fabbrico, Italy where Argo Tractors’ headquarters are still based today. In 1910 the first fixed hot-bulb engine was produced, whereas it was in 1925 that the first tractor went into production: the Landini 25/30 HP.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Landini’s acquisition by the Morra family, which, together with the subsequent addition of McCormick, would lead to the founding of Argo Tractors in 2007. In 2021 Argo Tractors joined Motor Valley, an association that represents a strip of land in northern Italy that has become world-famous for mechatronic production and is home to famous automotive brands, among which Ferrari and Maserati. “Passion and innovation are the key drivers that have guided us over the years,” commented Valerio Morra, President of Argo Tractors.

“This makes us ambassadors of ‘Made in Italy,’ proudly represented abroad, where we have expanded our presence with the creation of new branches and consolidated our network. 140 years is a historic milestone that places us among the world’s oldest manufacturers, and is also a reason to move proudly on.”

Landini is participating in many major events this year displaying their new slogan: Feel the change.

Farmers welcome the new technology in the Ecorobotix ARA sprayer

Applying AI-technology in practical solutions may hold the key to the future success of agricultural companies. One such company clinching the deal is Ecorobotix, based in Switzerland, whose intelligent ARA sprayer has led to multi-million-dollar sales in a very short time. In the Netherlands alone the company has to deliver 90 new machines this spring. This machine offers a combination of speed and accuracy which results in savings on time and chemicals.

The company promises on its website: “With respect to conventional spraying methods, ARA enables you to reduce the use of crop protection products by up to 95%!”

The 6-metre wide sprayer can be towed by a standard medium size tractor and has its own control screen mounted in the cabin. It can be used in most of the main crops such as vegetables, other row crops and even pastures. Cameras monitor the crops at a working speed of 7 km/h and algorithms are applied through artificial intelligence to detect wanted and unwanted plants. Each of the 156 nozzles is equipped with a solenoid valve that can open and close in a fraction of a second to spray directly onto the target with a precision of 6 x 6 cm.

ARA can treat four hectares an hour, and it can work day and night.

All data is recorded and analysed in real time, and will allow the farmer to study the development of his fields by comparing the data collected with previous results. “With our system, there is a spectacular decrease in the usage of plant protection product, since ARA only sprays what needs to be sprayed – and nothing else,” says Loïc, Wüthrich, Technical Sales Engineer at Ecorobotix.

The company is refining the algorithms for maize, but initial results are impressive:

  • Decrease in plant protection product usage: 70 to 80%
  • Detection rate: 95%
  • Treatment rate: 95%

Follow this link to watch a video describing the ARA:

Homemade straw chopper/ spreader from down-under

If standard machinery does not do what you want it to do, then you make your own plan. That is exactly what the Wandel family from MR & HL Wandel Farms in Australia did. They have found that the chopped straw was not distributed widely and evenly enough behind their combine harvester, especially when working at high speed. To improve this, the farm built an impressive 18-m trailed chopper/spreader. Located at Scaddan in Western Australia, Neil and Mary Wandel and sons Scott and Mark, grow cereals and beans on more than 10 000 ha. The farm has operated a strict Controlled Traffic Farming policy since 2004 with all vehicles on a 3 m track width and 18 m tramlines.

However, in less-than-ideal conditions they found that there was too much chopped straw directly behind the combine and less on the outer metres. In the end, the family decided to chop and spread straw in a separate operation and Mark set to work to design and make the dedicated trailed machine. The robust chopper-spreader is towed behind a John Deere 8R 340. The twin-axle 18-m unit uses a pickup to collect swathed straw. Elevated to the shredder, it is transported via conveyor belts to six rotating straw spreaders.


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