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Agribot Technologies are Rapidly Advancing
Automated tractor
: Photo courtesy Flanders Mechatronics Technology Centre
Analyzing the type of terrain and the tractor, the system estimates the best possible speed and turning radius.
As qualified farm labor becomes more difficult to find, robotics solutions become more attractive.
By Emmet Cole

On the positive side, farms are getting larger as the sector consolidates. In 1992, for example, 62,000 U.S. farms accounted for 50 percent of sales of agricultural products. By 1997, 46,000 farms accounted for 50 percent of sales –a positive indicator for adoption of new technologies, since large-scale agriculture requires machines to seed, irrigate, cultivate, and harvest very large areas of terrain.

Companies need to understand that farmers are some of the “biggest gamblers on the planet,” says Kinze’s van Herle, but having already invested heavily in a risky and unforgiving business, they seek to minimize their exposure at every opportunity.

“Farmers are enormous risk takers. The risk is always going to be the weather: how much sunshine, how much rain, how many storms at the wrong time of the year and so on.’

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