For 32 years, members of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) have recognized and honored the most innovative advancements in engineering in the areas of agriculture, food and biological systems with the AE50 Award. The products selected save producers time and reduce cost and labor, all while improving user safety.
To be eligible for the award, each development —which could be a component, machine, structure, system, end product or procedure — must embody the application of new technology or the innovative application of an older technology. The technology must be new to the entire industry, not to an individual company.
Each year an international panel of industry experts in technology, design and product development gather to evaluate the entries and select up to 50 products for recognition.
Below are the winners of the AE50 Award.
Fast Ag Solutions A-Series Applicator
The A-Series Applicator from Fast Ag Solutions is towed behind a tractor to apply liquid nitrogen into or on top of the soil. The major benefit of this patent-pending product is its ability to fold from its 66 feet working width to only 12 feet transport width and 12 feet transport height, which allows operators to travel safely on public roads. The product tank and toolbar folding scheme on the A-Series Applicator were specifically designed to allow better rearward visibility from the tractor operator’s seat. This helps the operator see other vehicles behind the applicator and helps approaching vehicles see the operator. The 12-foot transport height reduces the risk of hitting low bridges, shed doorways and overhead powerlines.
Fast Ag Solutions Inc., Windom, Minn.
Praxidyn Mixmate Fusion
Praxidyn’s Mixmate Fusion measures flow for automated mixing of bulk products and includes a specially designed inductor that measures by weight, all in one compact unit. The inductor includes a high flow rate rinsing system for better handling of dry products, and the new software and electronics support a valve manifold that automatically routes multiple bulk inputs and rinse water through a single flowmeter. Mixmate Fusion uses the same patent-pending processing system as the original Mixmate to drain, measure, rinse, record and reconcile the data in about 12 seconds. The scale and flowmeter are pre calibrated, and no additional calibrations are needed in the field. Mixmate Fusion is compatible with existing Mixmate components for system expansion through CANBUS connections.
Praxidyn, Oakland, Iowa
Case IH Precision Disk 500DS
The Case IH Precision Disk 500DS is a precision disc drill that provides ideal seed and fertilizer placement in one pass. Seed is placed 1 inch to the side and 1 inch above the fertilizer row with the Precision Placement Knife. This fixed relationship provides excellent fertilizer efficiency while maintaining safe separation to reduce the risk of seed burning even while turning. The 500DS is offered with 10-inch spacing on four working widths: 30, 40, 50 and 60 feet. This drill also has superior ground following due to the shorter wheelbase and parallel-link row units. The shorter wheelbase is accomplished with a two-rank design, rather than three ranks, and the new parallel-link row units allow travel of 8.5 inches up and 11.5 inches down.
Case IH, Racine, Wis.
Kuhn North America IntelliMix Advanced Mixer Control System
Kuhn North America’s IntelliMix Advanced Mixer Control System includes the first continuously variable transmission (CVT) available on a total mixed ration (TMR) mixer. It produces a more thoroughly mixed ration, reduces mixing and feedout time and saves fuel and labor. This ISOBUS-compatible system automatically transitions between multiple auger speed setpoints throughout the mixing and feeding cycles, giving farm managers full control over the auger speed to provide the best mix quality without being limited to predetermined gear ratios. The IntelliMix CVT offers mechanical advantages never seen before on a TMR mixer. Tractor input speed can be reduced while independently maintaining auger speed. This provides fuel savings and allows a smaller tractor to be used with a larger mixer.
Kuhn North America Inc., Brodhead, Wis.
KMC 5610 Stalk Shredder Puller
The KMC 5610 Stalk Shredder Puller is a residue management tool that completely destroys stalks. With superior shredding and pulling capabilities, it performs multiple operations in single pass. Marketed as a high-speed 6-row machine, the KMC 5610 Stalk Shredder Puller has the additional ability to incorporate cover crops and remove the primary food source of pests, such as nematodes and boll weevils. The working speed is 6-10 mph, which can cover 12-20 acres per hour. Maintenance intervals have been minimized by using maintenance-free pivot bushings, self-adjusting pulling discs and durable rotor bearings. Spring-loaded rear rolling baskets help dislodge roots from the soil and enhance the ability to incorporate cover crops.
Kelley Mfg. Co., Tifton, Ga.
Claas Convio Flex Draper
The new Convio Series of flex drapers features a fully flexible cutter bar, dual side belts and center feed belt, a feed drum with adjustable retractable fingers, and a split cam-action flip-over reel. All models feature Claas-exclusive auto flex and auto belt speed technology to automatically optimize cutter bar flex according to ground conditions (in flex mode) and automatically adjust side and center belt speeds according to ground speed. The cutter bar can automatically alternate between rigid and flex modes when harvesting between standing and lodged grain crops. The Convio Series comes in 30, 35, 40 and 45 foot widths, and each model comes standard with dual (left and right) cutter bars and epicyclical knife drive.
Claas of America Inc., Omaha, Neb.
Capstan Ag SwathPro Aerial Application System
SwathPro from Capstan Ag is a precision spray system for aerial application. It provides unlimited nozzle and boom configurations to address spraying conditions such as wind speed and direction, adjacent crops and non-target areas, and aircraft speed with the push of a button, while maintaining the desired spray pressure and application rate. Safety is improved by significantly reducing the exposure of the pilot and tender to chemicals that deposit on the nozzle bodies, and efficiency is improved by saving the time needed for nozzle or boom changes between jobs. Other features include the ability to proactively limit drift potential, and an aerodynamic boom that minimizes drag. SwathPro allows pilots to provide the best possible spray application every time they take off.
Capstan Ag, Topeka, Kan.
Amity Technology Active Height Control
Active Height Control (AHC) allows producers to more accurately and consistently defoliate their sugar beets ahead of their harvester. Using new technology that senses the tops of the sugar beets, AHC adjusts the height of the machine to keep the defoliator at the proper height as the machine moves through the field. During operation, there are a number of changing dynamics for ground level and sugar beet height, including uneven beets, sprayer tracks and mud building up on the tires. Amity’s AHC system constantly monitors the beet height relative to the ground level and adjusts the defoliator up and down as well as side to side. AHC provides full defoliation with less damage to sugar beet crops.
Amity Technology, Fargo, N.D.
Intelligent Agricultural Solutions Recon SpreadSense
Recon SpreadSense is the industry’s first blockage monitor for boom-type dry fertilizer applicators. Using Intelligent Agricultural Solution’s patented technology originally developed for air seeders, acoustic sensors are easily installed onto each deflector, where they listen to the material flow and send sound pulses through auditory tubes, similar to a stethoscope. These acoustic signals are collected by an electronic control unit (ECU), which transmits the information to an iPad in the cab. If a blockage occurs anywhere in the system, the operator receives an alert. Eliminating the need to visually detect flow issues allows operators to extend their run time in low-light conditions and increase their productivity. For commercial applicators, Recon SpreadSense helps ensure high-quality applications across their operations.
Intelligent Agricultural Solutions, Fargo, N.D.
Innoquest SpotOn Inversion Tester
The Innoquest SpotOn Inversion Tester is a handheld meter for quantifying the surface-level thermal inversions that affect herbicide and pesticide application. The volatility of dicamba-based herbicides, along with the high sensitivity of many plants to low levels of this chemical, has created the need for this product, given the role that thermal inversions play in off-target application damage. The SpotOn Inversion Tester features a two-button user interface and a backlit LCD for use in low light conditions. Simply waving the high-accuracy shielded temperature sensor at 1- and 3-meter heights provides an inversion indication in less than 3 minutes. The rugged rainproof design folds for easy transport and storage in the sprayer cab for in-field measurements prior to application.
Innoquest Inc., Woodstock, Ill.
ATI Inc. PowerFlex Trax with TerraForm Suspension
PowerFlex Trax with Terra Form Suspension is a fully suspended track system for combines. This new design maintains a constant load distribution between the axles independent of the vertical load and allows each idler axle and bogie wheel to follow the ground contours. This reduces machine vibration for less downtime, lower operator fatigue and greater productivity, with enhanced field speeds and smooth travel speeds up to 25 mph. The smooth ride provides a stable platform for combine headers, reducing grain losses. Maintenance is minimized, and transparent hub caps allow quick checks of hub oil levels. The belts are a heavy-duty design with wider lugs for longer life. The 30% larger footprint enhances flotation in soft soils and reduces compaction.
ATI Inc., Mt. Vernon, Ind.
Sukup Intermediate Sump Gate Warning System for Grain Bins
The Intermediate Sump Gate Warning System for grain bins shuts off the unload system and warns the grain bin operator if an intermediate sump gate is open when it shouldn’t be. This patent-pending warning system is designed to protect against off-center unloading, which is a top cause of failure in large grain bins. It can occur when intermediate sumps are opened before grain has stopped flowing through the center sump. Off-center unloading puts excessive downward pressure on the bin sidewalls and can lead to buckling or catastrophic failure. If an intermediate sump is opened prematurely, the warning system shuts off the unload system and alerts the operator with a horn, voice and/or flashing lights. Text-message warnings are optional.
Sukup Mfg. Co., Sheffield, Iowa
Group Anderson RBMPRO 2000 Self-Loading Wrapped Silage Bale Mover
The RBMPRO 2000 self-loading bale carrier picks up, carries and unloads wrapped round bales. The RBMPRO 2000 is fully automatic and features a loading arm, an in-motion loading system and a rotating grabber. Wrapped bales can be grabbed at a travel speed of 3 kph without damaging the plastic. Bales can be collected vertically or horizontally when traveling the same path as the baler-wrapper. The RBMPRO 2000 also features an adjustable roller bed platform that can carry up to 20 bales from 4×4 feet to 5×5 feet, and rear hydraulic stoppers that allow unloading of bales on their flat ends or on their sides. The RBMPRO 2000 is a time-efficient and cost-effective way of transporting wrapped bales.
Groupe Anderson Inc., Chesterville, Que.
Dion-Ag Scorpion 350 Harvester
The Scorpion 350 pull-type forage harvester (PTFH) from Dion-Ag incorporates technology previously found only on self-propelled forage harvesters. It is the only PTFH on the market with full ISOBUS controls, which integrate an easy-to-use graphical display, assignable auxiliary functions, and advanced features such as a volume counter and load monitoring. With a 350 horsepower PTO rating, it maximizes profitability by exploiting technology offered on modern high-horsepower tractors. The hydraulic feedroll drive, powered by the tractor’s load-sensing power beyond ports, allows an infinitely adjustable length of cut and smooth starts. An industry-unique ultra-fast solenoid valve ensures reliable emergency stops and metal detection. The Scorpion 350 harvester shares the efficient straight-through design, simplified sharpening, and optional Stringer side-loading spout offered on other Scorpion models.
Dion-Ag Inc., Boisbriand, Que.
Lindsay FieldNet for iOS and Android
FieldNet by Lindsay has released a new mobile software application for iOS and Android that combines all the benefits of FieldNet remote control and monitoring capabilities, FieldNet Advisor’s irrigation decision support and variable rate irrigation (VRI) prescriptions, and GrowSmart Precision VRI optimization into a seamless application that can be accessed anywhere via a smart mobile device. With FieldNet for iOS and Android, growers now have access to three irrigation management technologies that can increase their water and energy savings. They can monitor the status of their irrigation systems, view the irrigation prescriptions provided by FieldNet Advisor, update and edit their GrowSmart Precision VRI plans and control their irrigations systems with a single, intuitive user interface and an enhanced level of mobility.
Lindsay Corp., Omaha, Neb.
GUSS Autonomous Orchard Sprayer
GUSS (Global Unmanned Spray System) is the world’s first autonomous orchard sprayer. A single operator can monitor up to 10 GUSS sprayers at a time with a laptop and a cellular connection. GUSS uses a combination of sensors, including an onboard camera, obstacle detection and an impact-sensing bumper, to drive itself through the orchard. In addition to the benefit of labor reduction, GUSS excels in application precision, efficiency and safety. Exact parameters are programmed for each application, including vehicle speed, material flow rate and fan speed. Efficiency is maximized by reducing the amount of downtime and eliminating human error. GUSS is safer than tractor-pulled sprayers because it eliminates the possibility of exposing the driver to the spray.
GUSS Automation, Kingsburg, Calif.
DeLaval Voluntary Milking System VMS V300
The DeLaval Voluntary Milking System VMS V300 is a milking robot that allows each cow to be milked according to her individual needs and capacity. The system includes DeLaval InControl, a user interface for improved remote access to the milking system; DeLaval PureFlow, a teat cup that cleans and prepares teats for milking with a transparent design that allows the dairyman to verify teat preparation; and DeLaval InSight, a machine vision technology that ensures fast and accurate attachment of the cups to the cow. The DeLaval Automatic Milking System (AMS) Service Tool allows service technicians to connect wirelessly to the VMS V300 to view, test, and calibrate all robotic systems, as well as valves, pumps, and sensors.
DeLaval, Bannockburn, Ill.
Oxbo 6170 Pea Harvester
The Oxbo 6170 Pea Harvester advances the art of harvesting peas and lima beans by using a new threshing auger beater with independent speed control and an automated load control system. The result is optimized ground speed and crop flow, increasing capacity by 5% in weedy and hilly conditions and increasing ground speed by up to 80% in lima beans. The 6170 features a mechanical 6WD option, increasing road speed by 25%, increasing braking capacity by 300%, and enhancing traction in the field with gear-driven bogies and a mechanical differential lock, which were not available on previous hydraulic wheel motor drive systems. The new Tier 4F engine increases power by 12% and reduces fuel consumption by over 20%.
Oxbo International Corp., Byron, N.Y.
Weasler Engineering High-Torque Automatic Clutch
Weasler Engineering’s High-Torque Automatic Clutch is designed for high-torque and high-inertia applications, such as large square balers, combines and self-propelled forage harvesters. The unpredictable nature of the crops and undesirable materials encountered while operating such equipment can create a need to limit the power supplied to the implement. After a torque overload occurs, this clutch automatically reconnects at low speed, improving crop feeding characteristics moments before full reconnect, which allows the operator to remain seated with minimal interruption of the task. Designing reconnect characteristics into the clutch allows long life while rotating at speeds up to 1,500 rpm. This convenient, maintenance-free protection comes with maximum mounting flexibility to flywheels, sprockets, and more, giving machine designers optimal flexibility.
Weasler Engineering, West Bend, Wis.
AgGateway Agricultural Data Application Programing Toolkit Framework and ISOXML Plugin
AgGateway’s Agricultural Data Application Programing Toolkit (ADAPT) is a set of open-source software libraries that implement a common data model for farming operations, coupled with a system of plugin libraries (including the ISO 11783-compatible “ISOXML plugin”) that convert between the common object model and various formats of interest. All segments of the agricultural industry that either use or create field operations data will benefit from ADAPT, especially as leveraging data becomes critical for advancing productivity, efficiency, and sustainability. ADAPT was created through a collaborative effort of many manufacturers and developers throughout the industry, and is stronger as a result. As an international open-source project, ADAPT is offered free of charge for developers to adopt into their proprietary systems, to the benefit of growers.
AgGateway, Washington, D.C.
Grow Lites GrowFilm Cartridge
GrowFilm is a flexible LED light source that uses proprietary, patented technology and custom light spectra to shorten growing times and increase yields in controlled environmental agriculture. It is mounted on a thin backing that can be tiled to meet any size, configuration or form factor. Because GrowFilm produces minimal heat, it does not require heat sinks and can be placed closer to the plants than other light sources, providing optimum distribution of light. The result is the highest efficacy rating of any commercially available grow light, lowering the cost per pound for growers. This product was developed in consultation with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture and has been extensively field tested.
Grow Lites LLC, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Pentair-Hypro 3D Spray Nozzle
The 3D Spray Nozzle is an inclined, all-purpose nozzle designed for optimum spray coverage. The nozzle was developed using more than ten years of application and wind tunnel research to optimize the droplet spectrum and spray incline angle to provide maximum coverage. It was co-developed with Syngenta and has been proven in field trials to provide a 10% increase in pre-emergence weed control. The 3D Spray Nozzle comes standard with the new “SnapLock” cap that attaches more easily to nozzle bodies, requiring 73% less torque than the standard nozzle cap. This is also the first flat-fan nozzle to achieve LERAP drift reduction, with 60% to 75% drift reduction compared to a conventional flat-fan nozzle at low pressure.
Pentair-Hypro, New Brighton, Minn.
FloMetrix Real-time In-line Inclined Flowmeter (RIIF)
The Real-time In-line Inclined Flowmeter (RIIF) is a proprietary solution from FloMetrix for continuously measuring the flow rate and total flow of bulk materials when the materials flow on an incline, such as in a pipe, tube or conduit. Storage and handling of bulk materials such as seed, grain and fertilizer requires accurate and continuous flow sensing for process control, automation and inventory management. Currently, sensing technologies exist for vertical flow, but there is no sensor for measuring non-vertical flows without changing the operating geometry of the system, interrupting the flow or damaging the material. The RIIF flowmeter closes this technology gap. FloMetrix inclined flowmeters are affordable, safe, compact for installation in tight places, and do not damage bulk materials.
FloMetrix Inc., Ames, Iowa
RealmFive Connectivity Platform
RealmFive is changing the way customers interact with agricultural technology in areas including agronomy, inventory, irrigation, livestock and machinery. RealmFive’s Connectivity Platform has solved the problem of expensive and unreliable wireless connection to multiple types of sensors in tough crop canopy and noisy RF environments. Using highly improved long-range radio technology and easy-to-deploy devices, RealmFive enables remote monitoring, control, and data-driven decision-making. The RealmFive Connectivity Platform is modular and flexible, allowing simple third-party integration into the platform and a robust API to other digital farming platforms. With an expanding portfolio of applications including soil moisture, weather, irrigation monitoring and state monitoring, RealmFive is bringing sensor-to-cloud solutions to agriculture.
RealmFive Inc., Lincoln, Neb.