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DLG-Agrifuture Concept Winner 2022: Award shortlist of visionary and pioneering concepts out

As part of AGRITECHNICA 2022, for the first time, the German Agricultural Society (DLG) will be awarding the ‘DLG-Agrifuture Concept Winner’ for pioneering achievements and visions for the future in agricultural technology

The concept of Automated Fruit Picking System can be integrated into existing harvesting operations and work processes. (Image source: DLG)The concept of Automated Fruit Picking System can be integrated into existing harvesting operations and work processes. (Image source: DLG)

The new award focuses on the technical possibilities in the next five to 10 years and explores the realistic chances of implementation. In advance of the trade fair, DLG has published the shortlist of the 10 nominated innovations for the award at www.agritechnica.com/en/agrifuture-concept-winner. From this shortlist, five concepts will be selected in a second round by the jury of independent international experts appointed by the DLG. The award ceremony will take place online in the digital programme of AGRITECHNICA on 15 February 2022

Across the world, engineers are working on technical solutions. With their visionary agricultural engineering skills they deliver the inspiration for future viability of global crop production. However, not all ideas and concepts make it to a finished product. In some cases technical or legal factors impede their market entry. Many of these concepts however have the potential to provide inspiration and to stimulate farmers and engineering colleagues to think in new ways. The award underlines the relevance of this pioneering agricultural engineering work for the future of agriculture within the next decade. 

DLG-Agrifuture Concept Winner: Shortlist 2022 

Automated Fruit Picking System

Harvesting machines use innovative combination of wired drones and corresponding solutions for logistics. The drones are equipped with wind compensation which ensures safe and efficient operation in most weather. Reaching almost every fruit, and harvesting without any bruising, the drones detect and grade the individual fruit in real time, enabling pre-sorting and selective harvest. Information is transferred to the logistics system, optimising this harvesting step. Levels of automation are offered, from a simple 'navigation system' for tractor driver transporting the bins to fully autonomous carries which places empty bins and collects full ones. The concept can be integrated into existing harvesting operations and work processes. Benefits: Less food waste and yield increase of 20%. 

Bosch Off-Highway Vision System

In the Bosch Off-Highway Vision System, the data generated by various cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors are aggregated on a central display. The video stream of a multi-camera system is displayed and an overlay of the objects detected by radar and ultrasonic sensors is added. Thus these objects are highlighted visually. The intelligent combination enables machine manufacturers to perform rapid prototyping with a detailed comparison of the sensor systems. 

Common Coverage Map for Wireless In-field Communication

For machine-to-machine communication, which is both manufacturer-independent and direct wireless, the challenges of radio standards, transport layer protocols and secure communication methods have to be solved. The Common Coverage Map represents an extension of today's ‘section control’ functionality within the ISOBUS standard to include a multi-machine solution in mixed fleets for cooperative fieldwork. On this basis, several machines can work together in one field by exchanging guidance lines and field boundaries. 

Connected Protein

The Connect Protein concept offers every party along the value chain from producers to traders and buyers full transparency throughout the entire growth cycle of the crops. For this purpose, the agronomic data from all the various cultivation steps are collected centrally. After the harvest, a complete yield and quality report can be created covering the entire cultivation cycle. 

Controlled Row Farming 

The concept of ‘Controlled Row Farming’ is a new arable farming method for agriculture in which every crop-cultivation step is carried out in relation to a fixed row, offering yield optimisation despite lower use of fertilisers and pesticides. By cultivating crops in a fixed and uniform row spacing of 50 cm (grain in double rows) and including a row offset of 25 cm for positive crop rotation effects, both yield optimisation and maximum efficiency of farms inputs are achieved. The option of introducing companion planting between the rows of the main crop increases the value of the agricultural ecosystem. 

H2- Agrar Project

In the context of the climate change debate, alternative concepts for mobility are at the top of the agenda. The H2-Agrar Project aims to identify the potential and perspectives of hydrogen usage in agriculture. Innovative solutions are underway showing not only that decentralised hydrogen production and use in agriculture can be economically successful but also how hydrogen-powered agriculture with a corresponding hydrogen infrastructure can be integrated into an overall system of hydrogen supply and ‘sector coupling’. 

Hybrid Drivetrain Concept

Steyr’s hybrid powertrain concept is based on a hybrid electric transmission and is designed for modern high-performance tractors. The aim of the development is to increase the power density and load capacity of the tractor. For this purpose, parallel and serial hybrid architecture is coupled to the existing dual clutch transmission and supported by super capacitors. The new drive concept offers new hybrid functions that can significantly improve tractor productivity and driver comfort. 

Integrated Drift Management

The integrated drift management concept is based on the reading of information on the spray drift tendency and buffer zones as well as distance control shown on the labels of pesticides. When the pesticide is poured into the sprayer the saved information is translated into an application map. At the same time, wind direction and speed are recorded in the field in real time. If required, drift-reducing spray nozzles are activated and buffer zones and distance control are maintained, all automatically. The system records and saves all activities including weather information. 

Agriculture Process Automation

The project is an intelligent automation of tractor/cultivation systems with self-optimisation capabilities based on a machine learning approach derived from in-field data. Using this approach, the requirements for the agronomical quality of work can be met, independent of the skill of the operator. At the same time, efficiency is increased, which means fuel consumption and emissions are reduced, performance is increased and more acreage can be cultivated in less time. 

Spot farming - for a holistic and sustainable crop production system

The ‘Spot Farming’ concept places the living and growth conditions of individual cultivated plants at the levels of the plant, the field and the surrounding countryside at the center through the in-depth observation by the farmer. On this basis, an attempt is made to optimize four points: To select optimal crops or varieties for the respective site conditions, to improve spatial and temporal management practices, to increase the efficiency of agrochemicals and to strengthen functional structures in the agricultural landscape.


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