Farm Industry News Blog

Next-generation farm machinery: 3 technologies industry is working on

Machinery automation, Tier 4 engines, and fire suppression technologies were the hot topics discussed at the 2011 Agricultural Machinery Conference

To get an inside look at what the farm machinery industry is working on, Farm Industry News editor Karen McMahon and I travelled to Waterloo, IA, where the annual Ag Machinery Conference (AMC) is held each year. There, we listened to about 300 agricultural engineers swap ideas on developing technologies. Here’s a look at the hot topics covered this year.

Vehicle automation: Ever since tractors replaced horses, machinery automation continues to transform the business of farming, making it easier and faster to raise a crop. Don Bruns, precision ag specialist with Raven Industries, says automation took a huge leap when GPS technology took over steering and the manual process of turning on and off the flow of crop inputs. He says telemetry will be the next big step in automation, allowing farm operators and dealers to tap into the cab and remotely monitor tractors and other farm vehicles. Bruns says the technology will bring us one step closer to unmanned machines, now used in mining. 

Engine emissions technology: Cummins shared its engine technology to meet EPA’s Final Tier 4 engine emission regulations, which take effect in 2014 for engines rated 174 hp and higher. Cummins is the first engine manufacturer to announce its solution, which pairs current cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology with an engine aftertreatment called diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to virtually eliminate soot and smog (see

Fire suppression technology: Tier 4 engines, in many cases, are going to run hotter than engines made prior to 2011, when the first wave of Tier 4 emissions requirements took effect. Because of the higher engine temperatures, fire becomes more of a concern, industry experts say. So ag engineers are developing “fire suppression systems” to prevent or extinguish these flare-ups. Technologies include a fire-resistant spray and sprinkler systems installed under the hood to douse flames.

For the complete listing of what was covered at the 2011 AMC, go to

Discuss this Blog Entry 24

on Jan 31, 2014

I live in a semi-rural area of California and drive on county-maintained roads through farmland on the way to work. These tractors don't have license plates, park playground equipment, or orange 'slow vehicle' triangles. Are these drivers breaking the law, or is there an exemption for farm equipment?

on May 30, 2014

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on Jun 12, 2014

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on Aug 9, 2014

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on Oct 11, 2014

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on Sep 17, 2014

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on Sep 20, 2014

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on Apr 22, 2014

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on May 5, 2014

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on May 21, 2014

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on Jun 5, 2014

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on Jun 9, 2014

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on Jul 13, 2014

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on Jul 16, 2014

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on Jul 18, 2014

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on Jul 19, 2014

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on Jul 24, 2014

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on Jul 27, 2014

Bigger companies have a strong insurance regarding employees involved in hard labor, like US Diamond, because all new machinery and tools are dangerous. They also invest in prevention-awareness courses and have a strong policy for the safety of the employees.

on Jul 27, 2014

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on Aug 3, 2014

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on Aug 5, 2014

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on Sep 16, 2014

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on Oct 15, 2014

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