Farm equipment is becoming bigger so that farmers can cover more acres faster. However, this means more weight gets added to the vehicles, which can potentially lead to soil compaction. Soil compaction can reduce crop yields. In order to tackle this issue, tyre makers are developing novel tyre technologies to distribute the weight across a much larger area. This has resulted in tyres today being 7 to 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide and having more flexible sidewalls that can withstand more aggressive weights than standard radials can. The basic idea is that the larger the footprint, the tighter will be the pressure applied on the ground. It can be compared to a 100-pound woman in high-heeled shoes exerting more weight per square inch than a 200-lb. man in work boots: the distribution of weight is the issue, not the weight itself. New tyre technologies have the following categories: increased flexion, very high flexion, and radial plus flexion.
Soil And Crop Sensors
More and more farm equipment is being fitted with smart sensors today that can sense everything from plant vitals and water requirement in the crop to the levels of nitrogen in the soil. These sensors enable the real-time application of inputs depending on the field conditions at the time. The latest area of sensor use in the irrigation sector is where the sensors measure water requirement. These sensors help optimize the use of water and help avoid yield loss.
New optical-sensing technologies are also being used to determine crop health, including Ag Leader’s Opt-Rx, Trimble’s GreenSeeker, and Topcon’s CropSpec. These intelligent systems measure the light reflected from the crops that translate to nitrogen levels in the plant and thereby the soil.
More biological pest control and growth enhancements may be seen in the near future as farmers look for more cost-effective and environmentally friendly crop inputs. There are also advanced technologies, like high-throughput screening, that are also helping companies to multiply beneficial organisms at faster rates, thereby driving the development of new biologicals. Products such as Votivo, a biological nematicide by Bayer CropScience, and the Harpin Alpha Beta protein that allows for early plant growth in Monsanto’s Acceleron seed treatment are all examples of biologicals being promoted by substantial multi-million dollar crop protection companies. Induced Gene Expression Triggers (iGET) technology by Advanced Biological Marketing is being incorporated into many of its products such as SabrEx, a root inoculant for the corn plant.
Biofungicides such as AgraQuest’s Ballad and Vault HP by Plus Becker Underwood, are used to protect soybeans. Polymer 1172-O, a water-soluble seed polymer designed to tether biological performance enhancers to seed protectants was introduced into seeds by Becker Underwood in organic production systems.