Equipment/Technology

University of Idaho researchers aiding in development of solar-powered weeding robot

A pair of researchers from University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are partnering with a Washington company to develop a solar-powered robot that will rove autonomously through farm fields and eradicate weeds. The company behind the project, Aigen, based in Kirkland, Washington, hopes to have a prototype of the robot finished by late this summer. The robot will have wheels and will be roughly the size of a shopping cart, rolling between rows in farm fields before crop canopies close.

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Elea breaking into Chinese snack and chips market with new PEF system

Liwayway Marketing Corporation, with its brand Oishi and more than 100 product varieties, is one of the leading snack companies in Asia. From its humble beginnings of “gawgaw” and coffee 70 years ago, it has taken on bigger and more exciting adventures. In 2021, a first Elea PEF Advantage B1 system has been installed in Liwayway´s potato chips line in close cooperation with Elea’s regional partner for China Beijing Lenno Trade Co., Ltd.

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‘Storage costs pressurised as never before’, says potato storage specialist

In the second of two articles, potato storage specialist Adrian Cunnington of Potato Storage Insight (PSI) homes in on how to compile an accurate cost estimate. Ultimately all of those things are dependent on the basic cost of running a storage set-up, Adrian says, and it is important to have a really good grasp of what those costs are. “There is perhaps no time in the history of modern potato storage as we know it when costs have been so pressurised,” he says.

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Dewulf’s Structural 4000 belt planter now equipped with new features

Dewulf presents a couple of innovations for the Structural 4000 within its planting range. This 4-row Miedema Structural belt planter is now available as Smart-Float, previously known for the CP 42 cup planter. This innovation is made possible by an automatic depth control system (Smart-Float). As a second innovation, Dewulf is pleased to announce a portal steering system for the Structural 4000.

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The new PRO Sort: GRIMME UK and Haith reveal their vision for optical sorting

Designed to automate the removal of stone, clod and foreign debris from potatoes and help growers cope with labour shortages, demonstrations of the new PRO Sort are now being organised in the UK. GRIMME UK and Haith worked together on its development. As the PRO Sort is a modular unit, it can be used either in the field or on a farm and be easily integrated into a new or existing grading line. At the heart of the PRO Sort is a TOMRA 3A optical sorter.

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Greentronics’ crop yield monitoring product now comes with new features

Greentronics is excited to announce that integration of its RightYield product with John Deere series GS3 and now also GS4 is available. “Greentronics yield monitors are designed for root crop and vegetable harvesters,” says Bill Menkveld of Greentronics Ltd. Growers use yield maps in combination with soil and fertility maps to study and manage variability in their fields and generate report cards on their progress. By applying break-even points, yield maps can indicate areas with profit and loss.

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Little city creating $69mil solar farm on Canada’s main potato producing province

A new $69 million dollar solar farm is taking shape in Summerside, a little city on Prince Edward Island in Canada – population about 15,000 people. The solar farm is reportedly covering 30 hectares, and, by the end of this year, featuring more than 65,000 solar panels. The project is called Sunbank, and the city is banking on it moving them one step closer to energy self-sufficiency.

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Eco-friendly row forming and weed control made easy with AVR’s Combi machine

Shaping beds and preventing weed growth mechanically has never been easier than with AVR’s Combi machine, the company says in a news article. The AVR Combi machine effortlessly combines three functions in one frame: ecoridger, speedridger and weeder. By simply switching components, the machine operator can choose which function to employ.

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New eBook from TOMRA Food: ‘When Sorters Become Data Generating Machines’

TOMRA Food has published a new eBook to help food processors and packers enhance efficiencies and profitability by using information gathered by sorting machines. The easy-to-read, 21-page booklet, titled ‘When Sorters Become Data Generating Machines’, explains how businesses can “connect to possibilities” with the TOMRA Insight data platform, and the competitive advantages this gives.

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Viewpoint: ‘The reinvention of agriculture’

International economist Steven Cerier writes in this article, published by Genetic Literacy Project, that agriculture must become more productive to feed a growing world population. This can only be accomplished by the further application of science and technology, “and not as some suggest by going backwards in time to a much simpler and idealized form of farming that shuns the use of biotechnology and technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots and microchips…”

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HarvestEye to showcase innovative technology tool at World Potato Congress event

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is heading to the World Potato Congress at the end of May, as it continues to showcase on the global agricultural stage the actionable insights it places in the hands of growers. It comprises of a patented technology that provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over a whole field.

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AVR’s Ceres 450: The answer to the quest for precision potato planting equipment

The Ceres 450 is AVR’s 4-row trailed potato planter that can be combined with tilling equipment, such as the specially designed AVR GE-Force C ridge cultivator, the basic AVR GE-Force and with other brands. All new Ceres 450 planters can be built optionally with the new ISOBUS link. This allows the planter to communicate with a GPS system via the ISOBUS protocol.

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Canadian company to deploy real-time plant nutrient sampling technology into Maritime provinces

A New Brunswick company on the cutting edge of the province’s agricultural industry has just closed a $300,000 pre-seed investment round. The money will help Picketa Systems deploy its instant plant nutrient sampling technology into Atlantic Canada’s potato industry. “We’re developing real-time plant tissue analysis to be able to instantly tell farmers what nutrient concentrations their plants are, and what to buy,” founder and CEO Hébert-Couturier told Huddle.

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Belgium: How PepsiCo used a Lays potato chip plant to help heat neighboring homes

Belgian real-estate developer Ion was looking for sustainable heating alternatives for a new residential area in the city of Veurne when it received a proposal from a surprising source: PepsiCo. The vapor from cooking up to 20 tons of potatoes per hour could heat a water circuit, replacing natural gas with a more environmentally efficient process while simultaneously providing PepsiCo with a valuable carbon offset.

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Crop Systems Ltd introduces ‘SmartSola’, giving store managers full control of solar energy produced on site

“Always at the forefront of technology, our latest innovation SmartSola has been launched giving our customers full control of the solar energy they produce,” according to Ray Andrews, Managing Director of Crop Systems Ltd in the UK. SmartSola™ is a new software program that looks at the power needed to run a store and, if that power is available from a renewable source, like solar or wind, utilises that power in preference to it being exported to the grid.

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Tong highlights on-farm advancements and labour efficiencies at LAMMA

Tong Engineering is looking forward to returning to the NEC Birmingham on 4th & 5th May 2022, to exhibit once again at the UK’s largest farm machinery show LAMMA, on stand 7.668 in Hall 7. Since the industry last met at LAMMA back in 2020, the leading handing equipment manufacturer has launched several new products and equipment advances. And now, at the re-scheduled LAMMA event, Tong is set to showcase these latest developments.

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Solar solutions for potato stores

Potato stores require large amounts of energy, so is solar PV an attractive investment? Stephen Robb investigated for Irish Farmers Journal. Robb looks at two example potato farms with cold stores, storage sheds, processing/sorting facilities and packing facilities and analyses how installed solar PV systems impact on their overall operation and cost to maintain and operate.

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