Autonomy in Harvest Application: The Time Is Now

by Brynna Sentel
5 minute read
A gravity wagon and a combine fill a trailer full of soybeans

What do you do when your key operator falls ill or doesn’t show up at the height of spring or fall field work? That’s the driving force behind autonomy, and why the latest developments are on the application side. “All of the technology is already on the unit, so moving to a model like the Case IH Trident just makes sense,” says Darren Dalenberg, Director at Jenner Ag, who is currently the only dealer in Illinois offering Raven Autonomy products.

Raven OMNiDRIVE™ Autonomous Application

After hosting multiple field demonstrations of Raven OMNiDRIVE™ driverless harvest application, which enables farmers to pull a grain cart without being in the tractor, Jenner Precision, the precision ag technology specialist at Jenner Ag, is excited about the new future on the harvest application side.

“Farmers and ag retailers are thinking all the time about how to get a job done well and then move to the next job more quickly,” says Bryan Fehr, manager at Jenner Precision. “The labor shortage has put even more focus on that, and that’s where autonomy is paying off – it’s about more efficiency and productivity.”

Currently testing in a Case IH Trident combo applicator on a Canadian farm, the automated technology includes guidance, steering, and propulsion controls; perception and object detection sensors; and path planning software. An integrated package, the perception system continuously sweeps a 360-degree range around the machine using a series of cameras and advanced radar sensors. Artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning works together with hardware and software to detect motion and obstacles.

On the Case IH Trident, the technology offers “supervised autonomy,” says Dalenberg. “You literally drive the machine to the field, push a button, and it goes to work. It’s running off of a field map the operator created to do its job.”

Benefits of Autonomous Farm Technology

Autonomous technology lets farmers take care of the challenging harvest application tasks, like navigating around corners and oddly shaped field edges, while it makes quick work of back-and-forth fertilizer application. “Putting it on the Trident just makes sense, because it is the future of application – a year-round unit that lets you spread dry or run liquid,” says Dalenberg.

Jenner Precision anticipates quick adoption of this automated technology. “Autosteer took 15 years to be adapted on nearly every farm, and now when it goes down, we’re their first call because they know the computer can do the job more efficiently than they can,” Fehr says. “Autonomy is only going to take five years to gain traction. It’s here today, and farmers are ready for it.”

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