John Deere 5R Series Tractors have received the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 Award recognizes innovative designs in product engineering as selected by a panel of international engineering experts.Introduced in 2017, 5R Series Tractors leverage existing technologies normally found in large tractors and feature four models ranging from 90- to 125-engine horsepower.“John Deere engineers designed tractor features to provide customers with unrivaled maneuverability, an easy-to-use transmission, increased visibility, loader integration and operator comfort,” said Nick Weinrich, product marketing manager for Deere.A 7.4-foot (2.25 m) wheelbase, paired with a 60-degree steering angle, provides a tight turning radius of 12.1 feet (3.68 m). “For customers working in confined areas such as barns, this is a big improvement because they can more easily maneuver the tractor while increasing their productivity,” said Weinrich.Customers can choose from two fully electronic transmission options, CommandQuad Manual and Command8. Weinrich said Deere made it easy for operators to toggle from B range through D range without stopping, thanks to a multi-range selection feature. Base equipment on 5R Tractors also includes AutoClutch, a feature leveraged from larger Deere row-crop tractors that completely eliminates the need for clutching. Operators can automatically re-engage the clutch by depressing the brake pedal.Deere engineers improved upward and forward visibility from the tractor to help make 5R Series Tractors an even better fit for loader applications. Engineers also integrated an interactive display into the tractor’s right hand cornerpost. Operators can use the display to customize a variety of tractor functions to fit their preferences.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Kinze Manufacturing, an industry leader in planter and grain cart equipment, is expanding its offerings with the addition of four high-speed disc tillage models, Mach Till 201, 261, 331 and 401.Susanne Veatch, Kinze president and chief marketing officer, said the new Mach Till high-speed disc products support farmer interest in faster tillage that enables them to stay ahead of the planter and be more productive by covering more acres in less time."Farmers will now be able to obtain three types of equipment from their Kinze dealer, all with the same standard of quality," she said.The new product line is based on a Canadian design, produced by Degelman Industries, that has been licensed to Kinze to build at its manufacturing facility in Williamsburg, Iowa. Kinze will exhibit one of its first tillage models - the Mach Till 331 - at the 2018 National Farm Machinery Show Feb. 14-17 in Louisville, Kentucky."We are constantly evaluating opportunities in the market for new products that would be a good fit for Kinze," Veatch noted. "The Mach Till product line allows us to improve our already strong brand and have instant access to the growing high-speed disc segment with an already proven product."In addition to high speed (8-12 mph) and high capacity, the versatile Mach Till lineup also offers simple setup and ease of use, maintenance-free parts and the ability to perform in various soil types, from fall primary tillage and residue management to spring secondary tillage and seedbed preparation. The product is built heavy for high speed and deep working depth, but provides great flotation for lighter seedbed preparation that minimizes soil compaction. Veatch said the tillage products will be available from Kinze dealers in the United States and Canada, as well as for export to customers in Eastern Europe and Russia. Pricing information will be released this spring, with product availability beginning in fall 2018.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
The New Holland T6.175 Dynamic Command tractor was crowned Machine of the Year 2018 in the Mid Class Tractor category at the Agritechnica trade show in Hanover, Germany. The machine received the coveted award for its technical innovation and the benefits it brings to customers, with selection criteria focusing on innovative features, performance, productivity, cost of operation, ease of use and operator comfort.“This award is testament to New Holland’s long-standing leadership of the mixed farming and dairy segment. It is a well-deserved recognition of the hard work and dedication of all those involved in the development of the T6.175 Dynamic Command tractor, who worked tirelessly to produce a tractor that meets the specific requests of our customers,” said Carlo Lambro, President of New Holland Agriculture Brand.In August 2017, New Holland announced it is expanding its acclaimed T6 Series offering with the new T6 Dynamic Command option. These new T6.145, T6.155, T6.165 and T6.175 are the only tractors in the segment featuring a 24x24 semi powershift transmission on the market. They are versatile tractors that will be an asset to the fleets of dairy, livestock, and hay and forage operations.For more information, visit: http://www.newholland.com/na
Producers looking for an affordable vertical tillage tool that sizes and buries residue in the fall or prepares smooth seedbeds in the spring have another option: The new Frontier VT17 Series Vertical Tillage Tool from John Deere.The VT17 Series offers fore and aft leveling adjustments that can quickly be made using a simple crank system. Gang angles on the implement can be adjusted from zero to 12 degrees for less or more aggressive tillage. Operators can fine-tune the machine’s operating depth from zero to three inches using a pin-and-clip adjustment.The VT17 comes with the choice of 20-inch straight or 22-inch concave blades. Each blade type is fluted for improved residue flow, sizing, and mixing, even with aggressive gang settings. The machine’s spring-adjustable rolling baskets run perpendicular to the blade direction to break up clods and improve field leveling and seedbed uniformity.Tandem dual wheels, standard equipment on all VT17 models, are mounted on a tubular carriage frame that’s hydraulically raised and lowered. As an option, an adjustable middle breaker can be mounted between the wheels on the center frame to disrupt soil in the center-line of travel that’s left open where the front and rear gangs do not overlap.Four sizes of VT17 Series Vertical Tillage Tools are available with working widths ranging from 10 to 15 feet. Tractor horsepower requirements range from 85 to 150 horsepower depending on the width of the model it’s paired with.Frontier equipment is available exclusively at your local John Deere dealer. For more information, click here.
May 3, 2016, Ontario – With the recent warm weather, soil temperatures have reached 10 C, which means that now is great time to scout for wireworms and grubs. Wireworm baits will be most effective right now and grubs will also be feeding close the soil surface, according to Tracey Baute in her latest blog. | READ MORE
Mar. 31, 2016 - Much of the tracks-versus-wheels debate on farms has focused on compaction and the ability to drive in wet conditions, but what about differences in fuel consumption? Testing done in southern Manitoba in 2015 confirmed long-standing research showing tracks require less energy to move in field conditions, dispelling a lingering misconception that implements on tracks require more horsepower to pull than wheeled units. Research conducted near Altona — the home of track-maker Elmer's Manufacturing — found fuel savings of 11 to 15 percent when pulling a grain cart on tracks instead of wheels. "We used a grain cart and compared wheels to tracks at the same weights. We tested on fresh tilled ground, tilled and then dried for a few days, untilled canola ground, and concrete for a reference." explains Mike Friesen, general manager and lead engineer at Elmer's. While wheels pulled easier than tracks on concrete, there was less resistance pulling tracks in all three field scenarios. That's because tracks "float" or stay higher on top of the soil, reducing what engineers describe as "rolling resistance." Since tires generally create deeper ruts, they have a greater rolling resistance than tracks on soft soil, as explained by researchers AJ Koolen and H Kuipers in Agricultural Soil Mechanics back in 1983. "In plain English, the tracks don't have to continuously try to get out of the rut they are digging like the wheel does," explains Friesen. Hartney, Manitoba farmer Tim Morden's experience pulling large capacity Bourgault cart on Elmer's TransferTracks supports the findings. "When we had duals on the back of the cart, dirt would build up in front of the wheels and slow it down, making it hard to pull," he says. "This didn't happen with tracks." Morden explains the biggest difference he's noticed with switching to tracks is the reduced compaction and rutting, especially in wet conditions. "The number one fact is it doesn't really leave a rut at any time, unless it's really wet, but it's significantly less than tires," he says. "We have much more confidence on the field with the track." The study also compared energy required to pull Elmer's large tracks versus Elmer's smaller TransferTracks, which concluded that, while both tracks pulled easier than wheels, the TransferTracks required less horsepower at weights below 35,000 lbs per wheel making it the ideal candidate for use with an air-seeder cart, small grain cart or a rolling water/fertilizer tank. The reduced energy requirement not only results in improved fuel efficiency, but it could also allow a grower to optimize their existing horsepower in other ways, such as driving faster or pulling a wider drill with the same tractor during seeding.
Two hay tool innovations from John Deere Ottumwa Works have been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018. The awards are for the BalerAssist feature on the large square balers and the Plus2 Bale Accumulator for large round balers, both introduced in late 2017. The AE50 Award highlights the year’s 50 most innovative designs in product engineering in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.The BalerAssist option on the L331 and L341 Series Large Square Balers was recognized for allowing the operator to more quickly and easily clear plugs between the baler pickup and rotor, without leaving the tractor cab. “This significantly reduces downtime and increases bale-making productivity, especially in tough crop conditions,” says Travis Roe, senior marketing representative for large square balers. “In addition, this feature makes it easier for operators to access service points inside the baler and improve overall operational control and maintenance.”Also receiving an award are the A520R and A420R Plus2 Round Bale Accumulators, which give customers the ability to carry up to two round bales behind the baler while making a third bale in the chamber. The Plus2 Accumulators are fully integrated into the design of the balers and can be used with 6-foot (1.82 m) diameter John Deere 7, 8, 9 and 0 Series Round Balers.“These accumulators allow operators to strategically place the bales where they can be removed from the field most efficiently,” says Nick Weinrich, product marketing manager for pull-type hay tools. “This dramatically reduces the damage to crop regrowth from excessive field travel, as well as fuel and labor associated with collecting individual bales scattered across the field.”ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems. The awards will be presented at the ASABE Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in February. Information on all award winners will be included in the January/February 2018 ASABE’s Resource magazine and on the ASABE website. Further information on the Society can be obtained by visiting www.asabe.org/.
John Deere grain and cotton harvesting equipment have been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 Award highlights the year’s most innovative product-engineering designs in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.The John Deere S700 Series Combine was recognized for its significant innovations in “smart” technology, improved operator comfort and data capabilities for more efficient grain harvesting, said Matt Badding, John Deere marketing manager for harvesting equipment.“The S700 Combines integrate new technologies that optimize and automate grain harvesting, making it easier, faster and more efficient for the operator,” Badding said. “By automating more adjustment and calibration tasks, we’ve enhanced the operational intelligence of these machines while improving overall durability and productivity, based on each customer’s crop and field conditions.”The latest features include the Combine Advisor package that incorporates seven technologies to help operators set, optimize and automate the combine performance as crop conditions change; Auto Maintain and ActiveVision cameras for maximum threshing performance and grain quality; and Active Yield technology that automatically calibrates the mass flow sensor to eliminate the need for manual calibrations and ensure the best data is collected during harvest.In addition, the CP690 Cotton Picker and CS690 Cotton Stripper were recognized for innovations in precision cotton-harvesting technologies that include moisture sensing, round module weighing, Harvest Identification, Cotton Pro and John Deere Operations Center Field Analyzer.ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. From the many entries submitted each year, an expert panel of engineers selects approximately 50 products for recognition. The award-winning products are those ranked highest in innovation, significant engineering advancement and impact on the market served.
The most advanced grain harvesting technology from front to back is featured in the combines and headers John Deere is introducing for model year 2018 production. This includes four new S700 Combine models (S760, S770, S780 and S790) that offer producers significant improvements in “smart” technology, improved operator comfort and better data, along with the 700C/FC Series Corn Heads and 700D Drapers for more efficient grain harvesting.Building on the proven field performance of the S600 Combines introduced in 2012, the new S700 Combines incorporate the latest in automated harvesting technology. Many of these changes make it easier on the operator by allowing the combine to make needed adjustments automatically, on the go.To make it easier for operators to maximize the performance of their new S700 Combine, John Deere introduces the Combine Advisor package. Combine Advisor incorporates seven technologies to help operators set, optimize and automate the combine for the most effective harvesting performance based on their crop and field conditions.Auto Maintain is a function within Combine Advisor that is supported with ActiveVision cameras.Another addition to the S700 Combines is Active Yield technology that automatically calibrates the mass flow sensor. This saves time by eliminating the need for manual calibrations and ensures the best data is collected.The biggest physical difference customers will see in the S700 Combines compared to previous models is in the cab. This starts with a new state-of-the-art CommandCenter, providing a common user experience across Deere’s larger tractor and self-propelled sprayer lines, that emphasizes customization and operator comfort.Machine performance features of the CommandCenter include a Gen 4 interface and monitor with 4600 processer; CommandArm and multi-function control lever with greater ergonomic design and customizable buttons; premium activation with AutoTrac, RowSense and HarvestDoc; and Extended Monitor and mobile device features. In addition, operators will find set up and start up much quicker and easier, thanks to more intuitive harvest run and setup screens.The new cabs feature either leather or cloth seats that swivel 7.5 degrees left and 15 degrees right for improved visibility; enhanced seat ventilation for greater comfort; improved seat cushion with optional leather seat; and additional grain tank mirrors for improved visibility of the grain tank.New corn head and platform, tooAlong with the S700 Combines, John Deere is introducing the 700C/FC (folding corn head) Series Corn Heads with the RowMax row unit. The RowMax row unit provides up to a 50 percent increase in the life of the row unit gathering chains and features solid-alloy bushings that reduce pin and bushing wear.The 700C/FC Series Corn Heads are available in 6- to 18- row models, in 20-, 22- and 30-inch row widths. The StalkMaster stalk-chopping option is available on all models. Folding corn heads are available on 8- and 12-row units, which allow operators to spend more time harvesting and less time and hassle disconnecting, trailering and reconnecting heads when moving from field to field.For corn growers harvesting high moisture corn, there are several enhancements available specifically tailored to better handle this demanding crop. High moisture corn enhancements on the corn head include an auger floor insert to ease crop handling and a lower auger height to minimize crop damage.For small grains, Deere introduces the 700D Rigid Draper, which provides a 20 percent increase in capacity in tough harvesting conditions over the previous model. The 700D features a top crop auger that’s 50 percent larger in diameter (now 18 inches) with heavy-duty drives, high-performance gauge wheels, and a new center section seal kit that reduces center section grain losses by up to 45 percent in canola.For more information on the new S700 Combines, 700C/FC Corn Heads, 700D Rigid Draper and other harvesting solutions from John Deere, see your local John Deere dealer.
New Holland Agriculture has set a new World Record by harvesting 16,157 bushels of soybeans in eight hours with the CR8.90 combine. The record-breaking performance, which took place in the Bahia State of Brazil, was certified by independent adjudicator RankBrasil. The performance On record setting day, harvesting started at 10:30 am and finished at 5:30 pm, having harvested approximately 222 acres (90 hectares). CR8.90’s average throughput was 2,020 bushels/hour in a crop yielding an average of 72.6 bushels/acre, and 17 per cent average moisture content. The record-setting performance and efficiency was achieved by harvesting 73.5 bu of soybean per gallon of fuel. The CR series The CR8.90 follows the footsteps of the range topping CR10.90, which proved it is the world’s highest capacity combine when it captured the World Record for harvesting an impressive 29,321 bushels of wheat in eight hours in 2014 – a title it holds to this day. For more information on the CR series, click here.
Jan. 8, 2016 - XiteBio PulseRhizo now replaces previously registered XiteBio PeasRhizo, expanding on an enhanced label. PulseRhizo features the following enhancements: product use expanded to include faba bean on-seed compatibility with most popular seed treatments extended to 48 hours application methods expanded to include in-furrow as well as on-seed treatment XiteBio PulseRhizo works to invigorate the natural microflora in the soil while also adding fresh rhizobia for optimum nitrogen fixation. According to XiteBio Technologies Inc., PulseRhizo, the liquid inoculant for pea, lentil and faba bean, enhances crop performance and nodulation while maximizing yield. Along with XiteBio SoyRhizo, a liquid inoculant for soybean, XiteBio PulseRhizo is becoming the outstanding option for producers, exclusively available from XiteBio and its North American distributors and dealers.
Combine header selection is just one of many factors growers have to evaluate when considering straight cutting canola. In a three-year project launched in 2014, researchers in Saskatchewan are evaluating different header types to find out whether or not there are differences in headers and what factors make a difference. The project started in 2014 at two locations in Saskatchewan: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Indian Head Research Farm/Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation (IHARF); and Swift Current, at the Wheatland Conservation Area’s (WCA) southwest Agricultural Applied Research Management (Agri-ARM) site. A third site was added in 2015 at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) site in Humboldt. “We are using full-scale machinery and very large replicated plots for the trials,” explains Nathan Gregg, project manager with PAMI. “The combine is a CR 9080 and header widths are 35 or 36 feet, depending on the treatment, with individual treatments about 80 feet wide and 400 to 1000 feet long. The project is focused on combine header performance, not optimal combine performance, so we are using a fixed ground speed and other settings for better comparison between headers.” The four harvest treatments include swathing and belt pick-up as a control compared to a draper header, which is fairly common throughout the Prairies, a rigid auger header and a new style header (Varifeed) with an extendable knife. “The Varifeed header style has been used in Europe for a few years and is starting to be used in Western Canada,” Gregg says. “This header has an extendable cutter bar that can be moved forward about 23 inches. The one we are using in the project is hydraulically activated and can be moved from the cab, while there are other fixed attachment options that have fixed extensions.” Two canola varieties are being compared, standard hybrid variety InVigor L130, and shatter resistant variety InVigor L140P. In 2015, Dekalb 75-65 RR was added to the treatments. Factors such as yield, header loss and loss location, environmental shatter loss and various quality components will be measured. Although there are still two more years of data collection for the project, preliminary observations from the 2014 harvest so far aren’t showing any clear differences between the headers. “We are trying to evaluate specific treatments to determine if one header performs better than the others,” Gregg says. “However, in terms of yield in year one, we didn’t see any significant differences between harvest treatments. We measured header losses through the use of pans for shatter loss and throw-over from the header, and again the performance was very similar with relatively low losses. The Varifeed appears to show some advantage, although we need more data. It appears that the extended knife may be able to collect shatter losses induced by the reel a little better and may provide for smoother crop flow.” Researchers also tried to identify the location of the header losses by putting pans across the width of the header and into the zone just beyond the header into the adjacent crop. As expected, most of the shatter losses were concentrated at the perimeter of the header around divider points. Gregg says preliminary findings validate the assumption that the divider point contributes a good portion of shatter losses, while the reel isn’t contributing as much loss as initially anticipated. “We need to investigate further why we are tending to see a higher proportion of the losses at the divider and perimeter, and again near the centre of the header as the material moves into the feeder house.” Header dividers are of interest so the project researchers compared powered side cutters including a vertical knife on some configurations and a rotary knife on others. In 2015, passive end point dividers have been added to the treatments. “In 2014, we did see losses increase at the edges of the header,” Gregg explains. “The powered knife may be causing higher losses because sometimes whole pods and branches are lost compared to a passive divider that may shake the plants and cause a few pods to open. Although this is fairly common in swathers, the powered knives may be causing some additional losses, particularly in drier conditions.” Environmental shatter losses were also measured by putting out pans in adjacent crop at the same timing as the swathing treatment. The pans were collected just prior to straight cutting harvest treatments. The varieties performed fairly similar across all treatments, except at Indian Head in 2014 where a significant wind event caused substantial losses in the standard hybrid as compared to the shatter resistant variety. In those trials, the control swathed and combined standard hybrid plots out-yielded the other standard plots by about four bushels per acre. The shatter resistant variety performed well in all harvest treatments, with no significant difference in yield. “We expect to be able to provide more details at the end of the three-year project and provide some recommendations to growers,” Gregg says. “At this point, although we may find some differences in headers, any slight advantages may be marginalized relative to all of the other decisions and management practices that growers use. One header might reduce losses by a couple of bushels. However, losses overall may be reduced by properly timing harvest activities, making sure plant densities are optimized and other good agronomic practices that produce a good even high yielding stand.” Gregg notes there are generally intrinsic risks and losses with both systems and it comes down to which ones you want to manage and which ones fit your farm. “Straight cutting is just another tool in the toolbox, and works for some people on some farms in some years,” Gregg adds. “There is a whole management aspect of straight cutting that needs to be considered along with all of the other factors in a compressed harvest window.” A farm with a lot of combine power and labour availability might find straight cutting a good option because crops can be combined the day they are ready. However, growers have to be patient and may have to wait a bit later in the season. On the other hand, a smaller operator with limited combine capacity and limited labour may want to include swathing to spread out the already compressed harvest window. Preliminary project results will be presented over the winter at various extension events, and the straight cutting research will be included in upcoming 2016 field days. Once the project is complete, an economic analysis will be completed with final project results available in early 2017. The project is jointly funded by SaskCanola, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward II Bilateral Agreement, and the Western Grains Research Foundation.
It’s 5 a.m. on a calm, sunny morning in June. Perfect time to spray? Not so fast. A temperature inversion is likely, which could result in small spray droplets remaining suspended in the air and moving off-target.
A scientist from Agriculture Canada and an engineer from the University of PEI are teaming up on a project they hope will revolutionize how farmers deal with weeds in their fields. Their idea is to mount a camera and sensors on a sprayer.It then uses software to identify what's a plant and what's a weed and turn the sprayer on and off to target the weeds. This summer's work was the start of a five-year project, researchers are hoping to do field-scale demonstrations by year three. READ MORE
For the tractor-mounted sprayer market for 2017, John Deere introduces the Frontier LS11 Series 3-point Mounted Sprayers. These economical, efficient sprayers are ideal for making spray applications to pastures, small or large fields, road ditches, fence rows, specialty crops and for other types of crops and field uses.The LS11 Series Sprayers have many features of the larger pull-type sprayers, including breakaway booms, manual and automatic controls and optional foam marker systems, that help operators reduce skips and overlaps.The Frontier LS11 Series Sprayers come in four different boom-width models, from 25-ft. to 40-ft., that customers can select from based on their application needs. The LS11 Series Sprayers are available in two tank sizes, 250-gallon or 300-gallon; can be powered either hydraulically or by the rear power take-off (PTO); and are Category 2 or Category 3 quick-hitch compatible. For greater convenience, the heavy-duty poly tanks are specifically designed with a tear-drop shape to allow liquid to more completely drain from the sprayers.Additional standard features of the LS11 Series Sprayers include a handheld spray wand to reach small or hard-to-access areas; integrated parking stand and fork-lift pockets to make hook up, moving and loading the sprayer easier; and wet booms that extend the life of sprayer hardware. All models come with a single nozzle body; however, a triple nozzle body is available on the 40-ft. boom sprayer.For more information on the new Frontier LS11 Series 3-point Mounted Sprayers from John Deere, see your local John Deere dealer.
Spraying chemicals has expanded far beyond in-crop herbicides to include fungicides, pre-harvest, and other late season applications in many fields. Challenges arise as growers transition to spraying at different times of the year and into different crops, canopy heights and densities.
June 15, 2016 - Salford Group unveiled what it says is the largest pull-type pneumatic boom applicator on the planet. The whopping prototype is being shown for the first time in public at Canada's Farm Progress Show this week in Regina.
June 17, 2015, Regina, SK – Pesticide application has never been more important in Canada. Today's operators need to understand more than just how to operate a sprayer - one of the most complex and expensive agricultural machines. They also need to balance how weather, chemistry, plant canopies and many other factors affect performance and environmental fate. To help make sense of it all, a new website, www.sprayers101.com, has been launched by two Canadian sprayer specialists. "Applicators want to do the best job possible, and are always looking for information and advice," says Dr. Jason Deveau, application specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. "We recognized a need to provide that information more effectively. That's why we developed a site that combines horticultural and field crop information." Dr. Tom Wolf is a sprayer specialist based in Saskatoon with over 25 years of research experience in field sprayers. His company, Agrimetrix Research & Training, reaches thousands of applicators across Canada through presentations and workshops. "Each year, producers spend more time in their sprayers than almost any other piece of equipment. Most of my clients' fields are now treated three to five times per year. The investment, and the stakes, are high," says Wolf. "Applicators deserve the best information on how to maximize pesticide performance and minimize environmental impact. Sprayers 101 is the ideal means to provide that information." Deveau and Wolf use a variety of approaches to get their message out, relying on Twitter to invite applicators, agronomists and educators to Sprayers101. Facts, often spiced with humour, are delivered via stories, images, videos and apps. International sprayer specialists have begun submitting information for posting on the site, creating an unparalleled resource for all things "sprayer." The site is mobile-friendly and scales to the phones that applicators rely on for information gathering.
Growers now have a new option to access and manage their irrigation system from anywhere at any time. Reinke introduces RC10, a remote monitoring device providing advanced control options for improved irrigation management and better overall water management.“When we talk with growers about their irrigation system needs, saving time and increasing efficiencies and productivity are often at the top of the list,” said Reinke President Chris Roth. “RC10 is designed to address these needs and more with its ease of use and advanced command and control capabilities.”RC10 is cellular or satellite based, providing 24/7 mobile access from anywhere. Growers can monitor and control their irrigation system using the advanced control features such as sector, end gun and auxiliary programming.The device is the latest addition to the ReinCloudÔ platform, Reinke’s ag data service. ReinCloud allows growers to manage and monitor their irrigation system, analyze soil moisture data, check the weather and more from a single mobile web application. Through the platform, irrigation system data is collected, stored and analyzed for the grower. Growers can organize their operation by property, zone and equipment, making it easier to quickly gain access to control and monitor their ag-based equipment.RC10 is housed within Reinke’s patented, double wall tower box and can be mounted at the main control or end of the system. The device is compatible with most irrigation systems.Reinke RC10 is now available through Reinke dealers. For more information on RC10, visit www.reinke.com.
Plant-based sensors that measure the thickness and electrical capacitance of leaves show great promise for telling farmers when to activate their irrigation systems, preventing both water waste and parched plants, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.Continuously monitoring plant "water stress" is particularly critical in arid regions and traditionally has been done by measuring soil moisture content or developing evapotranspiration models that calculate the sum of ground surface evaporation and plant transpiration. But potential exists to increase water-use efficiency with new technology that more accurately detects when plants need to be watered.For this study, recently published in Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, lead researcher Amin Afzal, a doctoral degree candidate in plant science, integrated into a leaf sensor the capability to simultaneously measure leaf thickness and leaf electrical capacitance, which has never been done before.The work was done on a tomato plant in a growth chamber with a constant temperature and 12-hour on/off photoperiod for 11 days. The growth medium was a peat potting mixture, with water content measured by a soil-moisture sensor. The soil water content was maintained at a relatively high level for the first three days and allowed to dehydrate thereafter, over a period of eight days.The researchers randomly chose six leaves that were exposed directly to light sources and mounted leaf sensors on them, avoiding the main veins and the edges. They recorded measurements at five-minute intervals.The daily leaf-thickness variations were minor, with no significant day-to-day changes when soil moisture contents ranged from high to wilting point. Leaf-thickness changes were, however, more noticeable at soil-moisture levels below the wilting point, until leaf thickness stabilized during the final two days of the experiment, when moisture content reached 5 percent.The electrical capacitance, which shows the ability of a leaf to store a charge, stayed roughly constant at a minimum value during dark periods and increased rapidly during light periods, implying that electrical capacitance was a reflection of photosynthetic activity. The daily electrical-capacitance variations decreased when soil moisture was below the wilting point and completely ceased below the soil volumetric water content of 11 percent, suggesting that the effect of water stress on electrical capacitance was observed through its impact on photosynthesis."Leaf thickness is like a balloon—it swells by hydration and shrinks by water stress, or dehydration," Afzal said. "The mechanism behind the relationship between leaf electrical capacitance and water status is complex. Simply put, the leaf electrical capacitance changes in response to variation in plant water status and ambient light. So, the analysis of leaf thickness and capacitance variations indicate plant water status—well-watered versus stressed."The study is the latest in a line of research Afzal hopes will end in the development of a system in which leaf clip sensors will send precise information about plant moisture to a central unit in a field, which then communicates in real time with an irrigation system to water the crop. He envisions an arrangement in which the sensors, central unit and irrigation system all will communicate without wires, and the sensors can be powered wirelessly with batteries or solar cells."Ultimately, all of the details can be managed by a smart phone app," said Afzal, who studied electronics and computer programming at Isfahan University of Technology in Iran, where he earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural machinery engineering. He is testing his working concept in the field at Penn State.Two years ago, he led a team that won first place in the College of Agricultural Sciences' Ag Springboard contest, an entrepreneurial business-plan competition, and was awarded $7,500 to help develop the concept.Growing up in Iran, Afzal knows water availability determines the fate of agriculture. In the last decade, the Zayandeh River in his home city of Isfahani has dried up, and many farmers no longer can plant their usual crops. "Water is a big issue in our country," said Afzal. "That is a big motivation for my research."Afzal's technology is very promising, noted Sjoerd Duiker, associate professor of soil management, Afzal's adviser and a member of the research team. Current methods to determine irrigation are crude, while Afzal's sensors work directly with the plant tissue."I believe these sensors could improve water-use efficiency considerably," Duiker added. "Water scarcity is already a huge geopolitical issue, with agriculture responsible for about 70 percent of world freshwater use. Improvements in water use efficiency will be essential."In a follow-up study, Afzal has just finished evaluating leaf sensors on tomato plants in a greenhouse. The results confirmed the outcomes of the just-published study. In his new research, he is developing an algorithm to translate the leaf thickness and capacitance variations to meaningful information about plant water status.
If you leave your pivot exposed all through the winter, you’re going to be working on it a lot longer in the spring,” says Jeff Ewen, an irrigation agrologist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in Outlook, Sask. To help producers prevent damage from winter’s storms and bone-chilling temperatures, Ewen offers a number of winterizing tips.
Apr. 21, 2016 - Deciding on the correct water application solution is vital to your center pivot's performance. Here are three questions you need to ask yourself before picking out a sprinkler package with your dealer. 1. What is your soil type and texture? Proper sprinkler design and selection helps reduce soil sealing with medium to heavy soils.2. What crops are you growing? A significant challenge with sprinkler head design is its ability to penetrate the crop canopy.3. What does your field's terrain look like? The slope of your field must be considered when choosing sprinklers to minimize runoff and to keep water where it does your crop the most good. By using your answers to these questions, you will be prepared to work with your dealership's water application experts to help determine how best to reduce energy cost, save water on your farm, and maximize your profitability. For more information on sprinkler packages and water application solutions, get your free eBook 8 Tips to Accurately Check Your Center Pivot Sprinklers.
Every 15 minutes, 685 kilometres out in space, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite known as SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) records the earth’s soil moisture and temperature. NASA then uses that data to produce the most accurate maps of global soil moisture, temperature and freeze-thaw states ever created with data from space. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Environment Canada and university scientists are assisting NASA in validating SMAP soil maps. AAFC is also producing higher resolution soil moisture maps from the Canadian RADARSAT-2 satellite. The maps from SMAP and RADARSAT-2 are valuable tools that help improve people’s understanding of the processes affecting weather and climate. This, in turn, can help agricultural production. “Soil moisture is an important variable in the development of extreme events,” says Heather McNairn, the AAFC team lead and a research scientist for geomatics and remote sensing in Ottawa. “If we don’t have enough water in the soil, drought can develop; if we have extended periods of wet soils, it puts us at risk of flooding.” This is where the information from SMAP and RADARSAT-2 comes in. It reveals how much moisture is in the soil so scientists – and producers – can understand the risks for drought or flooding. “Knowing how much water is available in the soil can help us understand drought risk, where drought might be developing and how severe the drought might be,” McNairn says. “If we can measure how much water is in the soil, we can determine if the soils have enough reserve space to absorb spring snow melt and rainfall. If the soils are saturated, they are unable to accommodate additional water and this tells us the risk of flooding is high.” From an agricultural perspective, monitoring soil moisture will enable the sector to better mitigate agricultural risks regionally and nationally. It will also help Canadian producers make informed decisions for their farm operations based on changing weather, water and climate conditions. For example, producers could use the data to determine their variable rate irrigation needs. Environment Canada will use data from SMAP for improved weather forecasting since the amount of water in the soil significantly affects temperature and rainfall forecasts. “We don’t currently have good data on soil moisture across Canada,” McNairn says. The data will also help researchers outside of Canada, such as in Chile where agronomists are looking at variable rate irrigation. “Producers don’t know how to variably apply water because they don’t know where the moisture is in their fields,” McNairn says. She is assisting researchers in Chile to integrate soil moisture maps from SMAP and RADARSAT-2 into their variable rate irrigation practices. While NASA launched SMAP in January 2015, AAFC began working with the space agency three years earlier. That’s when an AAFC team from Ottawa and Winnipeg took part in SMAPVEX12, a six-week field-testing campaign that involved government and university scientists collecting soil and plant measurements in southern Manitoba while NASA flew two aircraft equipped with the same sensors as the SMAP satellite. The measurements from that mission were then used to calibrate and validate the processing models NASA was planning to use with SMAP. During the SMAP mission, which is expected to run at least three years, AAFC will provide NASA with data from its network of 12 soil monitoring stations in Manitoba and five in Ontario, all installed at private farm sites. The SMAP team will use this data to assess the accuracy of SMAP’s soil moisture products. The 2012 SMAPVEX experiment used data from NASA aircraft to simulate what soil moisture maps from SMAP would look like. Now that SMAP is launched, NASA is returning to Manitoba this year for a second experiment. SMAPVEX16 will validate actual data from the satellite, and NASA will use what is learned during SMAPVEX16 to improve its models and SMAP’s global soil moisture maps. Canada also collects data from its own satellite, RADARSAT-2, to produce soil moisture maps at resolutions higher than those produced by SMAP. These methods will be carried forward and used with Canada’s next generation of satellites, the RADARSAT-Constellation scheduled to launch in 2018. With this Constellation, data for use in soil moisture mapping would be available from three satellites. “SMAP and RADARSAT-2 can work together to provide a range of soil moisture products,” McNairn says. The SMAP sensor provides very coarse resolution images covering approximately 1,000 kilometres, which are very good for large scale forecasting of weather and floods, but not detailed enough for field scale mapping. This is where higher resolution data from RADARSAT-2 can help. Scientists are validating the maps from SMAP and also tackling how to downscale SMAP data to improve the resolution of soil moisture maps from this NASA satellite. Downscaled SMAP soil moisture products would provide producers with better data for use in variable rate irrigation and determining the disease risk at the field level. For example, “the risk of some crop diseases increases if the soil is wet for many days,” she explains. “The temporal persistence of wetness tells about risks and if we can determine this risk, this information will help producers make decisions in managing this risk.” For now, it’s exciting that NASA is providing soil moisture maps for the whole world every three days, McNairn says. “We couldn’t do that without satellites.”
Mar. 21, 2016 - Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) undertakes a number of research projects to ensure the quality and safety of land, air, and water for our food producers. Although long-term monitoring shows the overall quality of Alberta's irrigation water is good or excellent, a study is currently underway to use DNA fingerprinting techniques to determine the sources of contamination of irrigation water. While there are no current concerns, this is an opportunity to improve water quality for the future. The Water Quality Section of AF is currently working with the Taber Irrigation District on a pilot study to understand the sources of E. coli in irrigation water. The study is funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The District has made water quality a key part of their mandate to ensure farmers are growing the best quality crops. Often, irrigators are required to have water quality tests completed to market their produce, and with recent changes in regulations in the United States (US), this need may increase. In the US, the Food Safety Modernization Act requires testing of water that is used to irrigate fruits and vegetables which are consumed raw. These regulations may affect Alberta producers with irrigated crops destined for export to the US. This study will assist in identifying opportunities to continue to improve water quality, and help producers meet their food safety requirements for the global marketplace. The key item being measured in the study is E. coli. Generic E. coli are present in the intestines of most people and animals, and are excreted in feces. E. coli are therefore used to measure fecal contamination in water. The testing is complicated, as there are "naturalized" E. coli that occur in the environment and are not indicative of fecal contamination. "Research gives us a better understanding on the amount of fecal and naturalized E. coli in irrigation water. The discovery of naturalized E. coli is very important because food safety is concerned about fecal contamination. If we find E. coli in water, we need to determine whether it is fecal or naturalized, which then determines if there is a food safety concern or not," says Andrea Kalischuk, director of water quality, AF. "Our study in the Milk River area showed cliff swallows and cattle contaminated some of the water, but a significant proportion of naturalized E. coli was also observed" says Kalischuk. Whatever the study identifies as a source of contamination, the research team and irrigation district will need to work with producers to seek a balanced solution that supports both the agriculture industry and wildlife habitat, while meeting food safety requirements. This is the final year of a three-year study, and a summary report will be shared with producers on AF's website in the fall of 2017.
The Government of Saskatchewan recently approved a new recycling program for agricultural grain bags. The program, set to launch this month, provides a responsible option for producers to return these large, heavy bags for recycling and to prevent environmental harm from open burning or improper disposal.The recycling program will be operated by Cleanfarms, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization, and regulated by The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations, which came into effect in July 2016.With the assistance of funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cleanfarms will establish 20 grain bag collection sites in 2018, with more sites planned for 2019.The Ministry of Agriculture funded a grain bag recycling pilot program from 2011 to 2017, operated by Simply Agriculture Solutions. Through the program, 4,209 metric tonnes of material was shipped to recyclers – equivalent to approximately 28,000 grain bags.The new program will include an environmental handling fee of $0.25 per kilogram, which will be paid at the point of purchase effective November 1, 2018.
Canadian National Railway Co. is apologizing for failing to keep grain shipments moving reliably by rail, and says it’s taking immediate steps to clear the backlog – including mobilizing more train cars and workers.
Bill Prybylski produces thousands of bushels of grain on his farm in Willowbrook, Sask., about two hours northeast of Regina.But most of his product is still in storage or loaded onto trucks when it should have been shipped already. Prybylski is one of thousands of people in Canada's agriculture industry affected by a rail car crunch.Just 25 per cent of Prybylski's grain has been transported this season. Usually, he said, 50 per cent of his product is hauled by now. | READ MORE
If you are a part of the farming industry or run an agriculture-based business, you must already be aware of the importance of accurately ascertaining the output your day-to-day activities yield. The accuracy of the said measurement is especially important as your overall profitability is directly depending on it. It also helps you understand how much output you are able to produce with the given resources and plan for the future accordingly. In order to bring about accuracy in measurements, you must think about incorporating the right type of weighing scales into your process in order to assess your output and optimize operations.Following are the most popular farming weighing scales available:1. Grain cart scalesGrain cart scales are the ideal harvest weighing system for grain and crop produces. Being able to scale your grain farming is especially important as it is a very specialized form of farming and requires a lot of attention to detail due to the large quantities of produce. Therefore, grain carts are also designed in a manner that help grain farmers accurately weigh their produce while keeping in mind the intricate details that go into harvesting grain produce.2. Weighbridge truck scalesIf you run a larger farm or are planning to scale your operations, you can also go for weighbridge truck scales. Weighbridge truck scales are perfect for larger, high-volume applications for multiple types of crops in order to cut down on labor hours. However, these scales are not beneficial to small scale farmers as their yields are much lower.3. Yield load scannersThe yield load scanner is the ideal option for farmers who are planning on automating their harvest management process to optimize their operations. These scanners feature a 3D scanning device that converts volume data into weight using advanced software to provide accurate measurements.4. On-board weighing scalesOn-board scales are a type of weighing scale that are integrated on trucks and different types of equipment. These scales offer immediate weight readings without the requirement of an external scale unit, making it the quickest way of measuring your harvest. Since these scales are directly attached to the equipment, it can measure larger quantities of output, thereby reducing labor hours required and bringing about efficiency in operations. If you produce large quantities of crops, you must consider installing on-board weighing scales at your farm.Implementation of electronic weighing scales can enhance the overall harvest operation by bringing about accuracy while reducing the amount of manpower required by automating the harvest procedure. Carefully understand your requirements and pick a scale system that is best suited to your operations.Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is calling on the Senate of Canada to pass Bill C-49, The Transportation Modernization Act as quickly as possible. This Bill will give grain farmers and shippers important tools that will create a more accountable, fair and efficient rail transportation system. Growers are concerned that without these powers in place, there will be increasing delays and costs in getting grain to market.“International customers are always looking to Canada for our top-quality grains and oilseed products, but over the years our reputation as a reliable supplier has been put into question, in large part due to our rail logistics system,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC president. “We are anxious to have the C-49 measures in place as they will not only give us some competitive options but will allow shippers to hold the railways accountable when they fail to meet their contractual service obligations.”The grains sector in Western Canada is now into its most critical time as the value chain works together to move another very large crop. “We are already experiencing signs of deteriorating service,” continued Nielsen. “With car order fulfilments decreasing, growers are becoming increasingly concerned we will find ourselves in another devastating grain backlog like we experienced in 2013-14.”To rebalance the relationship temporary measures were put in place to address the 2013-14 grain crisis, including extended interswitching distances up to 160km. Those provisions expired in August 2017 and shippers have been left with no meaningful tools to secure accountable, fair and efficient service from the railways. Bill C-49 contains legislative amendments that will give shippers permanent tools, including access to reciprocal penalties, long haul interswitching and improved data collection and transparency.“The measures contained in C-49 have been a long time coming for the grain sector,” said Art Enns, GGC Vice-President. “We cannot afford another year without provisions in place that are critical to rebalancing commercial relationships and creating a more competitive and efficient rail environment. Grain farmers across Canada urge the Senate to do the right thing and pass Bill C-49 as quickly as possible.”
In a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) urged the quick passage of Bill C-49 – historic federal legislation that promises to provide long-term solutions to Canada’s grain transportation issues which have plagued the industry for decades.AWC’s presentation also recommended amendments to the legislation that would improve the effectiveness of long haul interswitching as a tool to improve railway competition. As currently proposed, AWC believes the new interswitching provisions may be less effective than those enacted under the former Bill C-30.Overall, AWC is pleased with measures in Bill C-49 – the Transportation Modernization Act, that will help correct the imbalance between the market power of railways and shippers and ensure that the cost of system failures are not passed down the supply chain to farmers.“AWC appreciates the federal government’s commitment to legislation that will improve railway competition and accountability in Canada,” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chair. “AWC has been pressing for rail reform since our organization began in 2012 and we saw the invitation to speak today as another opportunity to ensure the farmer voice is truly represented as this legislation is developed.”As a member of the Crop Logistics Working Group (CLWG), AWC also supports a series of suggested amendments that deal with more timely reporting of railway service data and requirements that the railways provide more detailed volume forecasts and operational plans to the Minister at the beginning of each crop year. The CLWG is a regular forum for grain industry stakeholders to identify supply chain challenges and commercial solutions aimed at enhancing the transparency and effectiveness of the grain handling transportation system.“We see our membership with the CLWG as an excellent opportunity to pass producer feedback directly to Minister MacAulay as it relates to grain movement by rail,” said Auch. “In providing these amendments, we hope to see long-awaited legislation that fosters growth of the agriculture sector and supports Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier of grain to our international customers.”AWC encourages the federal government to continue the conversation with Canada’s agriculture sector as it works to develop the regulations to support the spirit and the intention of this legislation that seeks to create a more responsive, competitive and accountable rail system in Canada.
Bayer has launched Zone Spray, a feature inside Bayer Digital Farming’s Field Manager. Zone Spray's main goal is to ultimately "help canola farmers improve their economic return by using data to optimize fungicide applications," according to a press release. The feature uses satellite imagery to assess field biomass, where it's categorized into zones. Farmers are able to review and then control where they want to apply a fungicide. By targeting higher biomass field zones, farmers can use inputs more sustainably by applying the fungicide exactly when and where it is needed.Zone Spray utilizes a simple interface and is designed to integrate with precision agriculture equipment already available in cabs.For more information, visit digitalfarming.ca.
Horsch has introduced two new models to its line of Joker RT high-speed discs: the RT18 and RT22.
What started as a move back to the Ontario family farm for Norm Lamothe turned into a big move forward in crop scouting technology for Canadian farmers.Lamothe left a 10-year career in the aviation industry to return to be the sixth generation on the family farm near Peterborough. At the encouragement of a neighbouring farmer, Lamothe bought his first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone in 2015. He had a small group of area farmers already signed up to have a block of acres viewed by the new technology and help share the investment risk."We quickly identified the opportunity for farmers to save money and increase their crop yields by mapping their fields to identify areas of stress," says Lamothe.Word spread and Lamothe was soon looking to expand across Ontario when a chance meeting with David MacMillan took his fledgling UAV imagery business to much higher heights. MacMillan was with a mining company called Deveron, looking to expand into the drone business.The two created Deveron UAS, a new Ontario-based company dedicated to UAV imagery in the agriculture sector across North America. With 15 pilots and their UAVs, the company is providing aerial crop scouting to farmers from Alberta to the Maritimes, and some parts of the U.S.For the first time, growers can make in-season decisions about their crop by using UAV imaging."We can scout 100 acres in 20 minutes, providing more accurate information than just walking the rows because we see the entire field," says Lamothe. "We measure plant stress using multispectral imaging and are able to see things we just can't see with the naked eye."Information from the UAV images arms on-the-ground agronomists and scouts to zero in on areas of higher plant stress to make recommendations and adjustments on fertility, pest and decision pressure, or even water usage.The technology lends itself to variable rate fertilizer application, and that's where Lamothe says customers are seeing the biggest return on investment in corn and wheat."We fly a field, take an image and a prescription is written based on the images captured," he says.The grower then applies nitrogen to fit just what's required for various areas of the field. In high value vegetable crops, the return on investment is similar for fertility, as well as detecting pest and disease infestations."The technology is proving its worth through increased yield and decreased input costs - because inputs are matched and used optimally to match the stresses in the field," says Lamothe.Deveron has recently partnered with The Climate Corp to provide growers with a new option for how and where they store on-farm data generated by UAV imagery."Efficiency is going to be a necessity on farms as they get larger and personnel is more difficult to find and retain," says Lamothe. "UAV technology has a big role to play, providing insights to make decisions that will help us grow more food on less acres."Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Vast amounts of data are being collected on Canada's farms through the advent of precision agriculture technology and the Internet of Things (IOT).Many types of tools, equipment and devices gather data on everything from crop yields to how many steps an animal takes in a day. However, much of that data is underutilized because it's collected by systems that don't or can't communicate with each other.The need for better decision-making on farms through better data use resulted in Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF), a partnership of agricultural organizations led by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) that's developing an open agri-food innovation platform to connect and share data.The goal, according to lead director Dr. Karen Hand of Precision Strategic Solutions, is getting data, wherever it exists (both data repositories in industry or government and data generated by countless sensors) so it can be used to help advance important food production issues like food safety, traceability and plant and animal disease surveillance.For example, information about the prevalence and control of insect pests like cutworms that damage soybean crops lies with many different people and organizations, including university and government researchers, crop advisors, input suppliers and farmers."There is no single spot where all of the information about a particular pest can be accessed in a robust, science-based system and used in decision-making and that's where OPAF's platform will help," Hand says.Pilot projects are underway with Ontario's grain, dairy and poultry producers to identify their needs in areas like crop protection, sustainability and food safety and how OPAF can provide data-driven solutions to benefit farmers."We sit down with farmers, advisors, associations, government and researchers to find out what data they have, where they exist and if we were able to connect them, what value or benefit that would offer participants - either specific to the commodity they are producing or on larger food-related issues such as food safety or impact on trade," she explains.And OPAF's efforts are gaining global recognition. Earlier this year, Internet of Food and Farm 2020, a large project in the European Union exploring the potential of IOT technologies of European food and farming, recognized OPAF as one of three global projects to collaborate with."This is going to be changing the face of data enablement in Canada and contributing globally," says Tyler Whale of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT). "We are creating a platform that is the base of something new, and although we are piloting this in Ontario, it will be available nationwide to those who want to use it."OPAF partners include OAFT, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Niagara College, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Farm Credit Canada, Ontario Agri-Business Association, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, and Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Alliance.This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with GF2 delivery in Ontario.
Few agricultural technologies capture people’s imaginations as much as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones. Since the first day a UAV looked down on a crop field, farmers have dreamed up a million ways that a bird’s eye view and remote access could improve agricultural operations.
John Deere has introduced its latest advanced guidance and machine data sharing technology with the addition of three new AutoTrac applications and a new In-Field Data Sharing application for its Generation 4 Displays.AutoTrac Turn Automation, AutoTrac Implement Guidance, AutoTrac Vision for Tractors, and In-Field Data Sharing applications are being sold as bundled activations for the John Deere 4600 CommandCenter and as bundled subscriptions for 4640 Universal Displays.“These new applications are machine-specific bundled activations with the 4600 CommandCenter and provide late-model John Deere machine owners with outstanding technology value,” said John Misher, precision agriculture product marketing manager with John Deere. For owners of machines equipped with a 4640 Display, the applications are offered as bundled one- or five-year subscriptions.AutoTrac Turn Automation makes end turns smooth, consistent and comfortable for operators during tillage, planting, seeding or other pre-emerge applications when using straight-track guidance modes. Mishler said the new application for tractors provides automation across the field rather than just between headlands. It allows operators to focus on machine and job performance while reducing operator fatigue.When AutoTrac Turn Automation is activated, the machine functions previously required at the end of the field, when operating drawn implements, no longer require user input. “For example, making end turns, raising and lowering the implement, PTO control, 3-point hitch functions and speed can be established in sequences from one setup page to become automated,” Mishler explained.AutoTrac Implement Guidance (passive) enables the tractor to move off the intended path or guidance line in order to achieve expected accuracy of the implement. Mishler said implement drift can diminish accuracy of the implement while the tractor is traveling on the guidance line. “AutoTrac Implement Guidance helps operators improve pass-to-pass accuracy by placing the implement consistently on the guidance line, helping to reduce the impact of implement drift,” he explained.AutoTrac Implement Guidance is ideal for first-pass tillage, planting, seeding, strip till or other applications with drawn implements when using straight- or curve-tracking modes and when operating on hillsides. Differential-correction signals can be shared between the receiver on the tractor and the implement. Mishler said the application is easy to install, calibrate and operate.AutoTrac Vision Guidance was previously released for John Deere 30-Series and newer sprayers. Now, Deere is expanding the application to include 7X30 large-frame, 8X30 and 8X30T, 7R and 8R/8RT tractors. AutoTrac Vision can be utilized in post-season crop applications to detect the crop row and provide input to the machine’s AutoTrac system to keep the tractor’s wheels or tracks between the crop rows. This level of precision can be beneficial when side-dressing fertilizer, post-emerge spraying and cultivating.“This application is supported when the tractor is working in corn, soybeans and cotton at least 6 inches tall with up to a 90 per cent canopy. This level of advanced guidance minimizes crop damage, reduces operator fatigue and maximizes tractor productivity in fields with 20- to 40-inch row spacing,” Mishler added.In-Field Data Sharing makes it easier for producers to co-ordinate multiple machines working in the same field. Operators can use the application to share coverage, application, yield and moisture maps along with straight tracks and circle tracks with up to six other machines.The application helps machines to work together more efficiently, reducing skips, overlap, fuel and input costs for producers. During planting, seeding, harvesting, spraying and nutrient application, In-Field Data Sharing helps producers maximize each pass through the field.“It’s easy to share and check maps with In-Field Data Sharing. Operators can monitor machines’ as-applied maps to see if they’re properly calibrated and performing in a similar manner, thus maximizing machine performance,” Mishler said. “In-Field Data Sharing also lets users transfer guidance lines between machines without manually moving a USB stick from one machine to another. This is a real time-saver wheral machines are working in the same field. By using the application, operators can more efficiently manage nurse trucks, tenders and grain carts while decreasing operating costs.”Each of the four new applications is compatible with the John Deere 4640 Universal Display and with Gen 4 4600 CommandCenter displays. Activations and subscriptions are immediately available for ordering. Delivery will take place beginning in February 2018.Producers should visit their local John Deere dealer for additional information about hardware requirements and tractor platform, display and differential-correction signal compatibility.
The Truck King Challenge does “real world testing” in order to determine which truck will come out on top. The judges, a group of automobile journalists, drive the trucks on a course with no payload, then with payload, and finally towing a trailer – all on the same route, one after the other, back to back.
Are AgBots the way of the future for agriculture in Canada, or simply the latest in a long line of products marketed as must-haves for Canadian producers?Long used in the dairy industry for autonomous milking and herding, robotics technology is being applied in soil testing, data collection, fertilizer and pesticide application and many other areas of crop production.“Robotics and automation can play a significant role in society meeting 2050 agricultural production needs,” argues the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Robotics and Automation Society on its website. Farmers have a right to question the value of new technologies promising greater efficiency on the farm. But Paul Rocco, president of Ottawa-based Provectus Robotics Solutions, believes robotics offer a suite of potential new solutions for producers short on resources and averse to risk.“In a perfect world, farmers would have a machine that could perform soil sampling at night, deliver a report in the morning, and be sent out the following night to autonomously spray,” says Rocco. “We’re a ways away from that, but the technology is maturing and the capabilities exist already – it’s about putting it into the hands of farmers and making sure it’s affordable.”Provectus’ latest project involved problem solving for a banana plantation in Martinique, where human ATV operators are at risk of injury from chemical spray or even death due to unsafe driving conditions. The company recently developed a remotely operated ground vehicle that carries spray equipment and can be controlled by operators in a safe location.“We see applications in Canada,” says Rocco. “Why expose people to hazardous substances and conditions when you can have an unmanned system?”Robotics are not all bananas. For example, a Minneapolis-based company, Rowbot Systems, has developed an unmanned, self-driving, multi-use platform that can travel between corn rows – hence, “Rowbots” – to deliver fertilizer, seed cover crops, and collect data.RowBots are not yet commercially available, but CEO Kent Cavender-Bares says there’s already been interest from corn growers across the United States as well as Canada. As to whether the use of robotics is cost-effective for farmers, it’s almost too soon to say. But utility can be balanced against cost.“In terms of cost effectiveness from the farmer’s perspective, there’s a strong story already for driving yields higher while reducing production costs per bushel. Of course, we need to bring down the cost on our side to deliver services while making a profit,” says Cavender-Bares.He believes that as autonomy spreads within agriculture, there will be a trend toward smaller, robotic machines. “Not only will smaller machines be safer, but they’ll also compact soil less and enable more precision and greater diversity of crops,” he says.Case study: ‘BinBots’Closer to home, a group of University of Saskatchewan engineering students has designed a “BinBot,” an autonomous sensor built to crawl through grain bins and deliver moisture and temperature readings.The students were part of a 2015 Capstone 495 design course, in which groups of four students are matched with industry sponsors to tackle specific problems.Joy Agnew, a project manager with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI)’s Agricultural Research Services, stepped forward with a challenge: could students develop an improved grain bin sensor for PAMI?“It came about from the first summer storage of canola project we did, and the data showing that in the grain at the top of the bin, the temperature stayed steady during the entire sampling period, but the temperature in the headspace grain was fluctuating wildly,” says Agnew. “We realized the power of grain insulating capacity – there was less than 15 centimetres between the grain that was changing and the grain that wasn’t. That made us think: the sensors are really only telling you the conditions in a one-foot radius around the sensor – less than one per cent of all the grain in the bin.”The problem she set to the students: can you design sensors with “higher resolution” sensing capabilities than currently available cables?“We were looking at some high-tech ideas of how we could do that with radio waves or imaging, and we thought we needed more mechanical systems,” says Luke McCreary, who has since graduated. “We ended up with a track system in the bin roof with a robot on a cable. The robot has a couple of augers on it so it can propel itself through the grain, taking temperature and humidity measurements as it goes and sending that data to a logging source to create a 3D map of the temperature, humidity and moisture in the bin,” he says.Once built, the robot will be six inches in diameter and 14 inches long, with the ability to move laterally, vertically and transversally.Agnew says PAMI is applying for funding to build the robot, and has already had some interest from manufacturers. She says the technology could reach farmers’ bins between five and 10 years from now.“We think this is the way of the future to avoid the risk of spoilage,” she says. “The technology is advancing, and costs are declining rapidly.”
Mar. 16, 2016 - According to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) program, 13 per cent of farm-related fatalities across Canada are traffic-related, and most involved tractors. During the busy spring season, farmers often travel long distances between fields, and this requires transporting equipment on public roads throughout rural Alberta. Farm equipment is oversized and slow compared to other vehicles using the roads and when certain procedures are not met, this can lead to collisions and other incidents. "Maintenance is a contributing factor to the safety of transporting farm equipment," says Kenda Lubeck, farm safety coordinator, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). "Poor maintenance of equipment such as brakes or tires can lead to loss of control of the vehicle." Check all tires for air pressure, cuts, bumps and tread wear. Always lock brake pedals together for highway travel as sudden braking at high speeds on only one wheel could put the tractor into a dangerous skid. Equip heavy wagons with their own independent brakes. The number one cause of farm-related fatalities in Canada is machinery roll overs. To minimize the risk of severe injury or death to the operator, all tractors need roll-over protective structures (ROPS)," says Lubeck. "In addition, operators should always wear a seatbelt as ROPS are ineffective in a roll over without this restraining device." To avoid traffic collisions between motorists and farm equipment, farmers should ensure their equipment is clearly visible and follows all regulated requirements for lighting and signage. This will ensure approaching traffic has time to react to a slow-moving vehicle. Use reflective tape and reflectors in the event that large equipment is required to travel in dim lighting conditions. In Canada, reflective material should be red and orange strips. You can purchase tape in kits or by the foot at local farm or hardware stores. Dust-covered signage and lights make farm machinery less visible to motorists and dust-covered machinery causes poor visibility for the operator, who may not see oncoming traffic. Be sure to clean farm equipment prior to transportation to minimize the risk of collision due to poor visibility. "It's important to note that regulated requirements for lighting and signage on public roadways include the use of a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign," explains Lubeck. "The SMV sign must be properly mounted, clean and not faded. It must be positioned on the rear of the tractor or towed implement and clearly visible. SMV signs must only be used on equipment travelling less than 40 km/hr." For more information on the safe transportation of farm equipment on public roads, see AF's Make it Safe, Make it Visible or go to www.agriculture.alberta.ca for more information on farm safety.
Researchers used polyethylene tanks meant for fish, at Simpson, Sask. Note the grass growth on top and the drip line. Photo by Larry Braul, AAFC. Thank the Swedes for this idea: “biobeds” that promise to protect water quality for generations to come. The concept represents a low cost, environmentally friendly way to deal with the rinse water flushed out of agricultural field sprayers. According to Larry Braul, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada water quality engineer in Regina, the biobed is an organic filter for pesticides, using conventional low value material. The use of biobeds has become an accepted practice in Europe in the past 15 years. Braul and Claudia Sheedy, research scientist with AAFC at Lethbridge, Alta., are co-leading the project to develop a biobed model to support Canadian farmers. Starting with one biobed at Outlook, Sask. in 2014, AAFC expanded the project in 2015 to sites at Simpson, Sask., and Grande Prairie and Vegreville, Alta. An additional biobed was constructed in fall of 2015 and will be monitored in 2016 at Lethbridge. “At the end of 2016, we expect to have enough data to produce a construction, operation and maintenance manual for biobeds,” Braul notes. Initial results promising“The first year at Outlook, it was highly effective. It removed more than 98 per cent and up to 100 per cent of the pesticides it received. That was very positive, and the results we just got back for 2015 are very similar,” Braul says. “Our climate is much colder than Europe and we have more intense rainfall events. We are working to address those issues with designs revised for the Prairies,” he adds. In principle, a biobed is relatively inexpensive, easy to use and significantly accelerates the natural breakdown processes for pesticides. The most challenging aspect at this point is in finding or developing an inexpensive method to easily collect the sprayer rinse water. On most farms when rinsing, the sprayer arms are fully extended while water is pumped through the system. As a result, a catch basin for that spray would need to be up to 120 feet long by about 20 feet wide and would need to drain the spray to a point where it can be collected. Biobed ingredientsThe contained biobed for the rinse water uses a mixture of topsoil, compost and straw. It provides an ideal habitat for microbes to break down the pesticides carried in the rinse water, to the point they pose no threat to the environment. In the project’s first year, Braul and Sheedy discovered the biobed at Outlook was still frozen a few inches below the surface in May, when they hoped to use it. It needed to be warmed to about 10 C, so that microbes could process the rinse water. They resolved that issue for 2015. Braul says, “Microorganisms like warm conditions. In a new biobed, we put heat tape at the bottom. We can get them up to almost 30 C at the end of May, so they can really start breaking down the pesticides. With a little heat application at the right time, we are probably doubling the decomposition rate they’re getting in Europe.” European research found that half and up to 90 per cent of pesticide contamination in groundwater could be traced to the places where sprayers were rinsed, Braul says. Two factors go into that: there’s a concentration of pesticides in one place, and a lot of water washing it down. It’s too much for the microorganisms to process. Often the topsoil is stripped off and replaced with gravel at the site where the farm sprayer is rinsed. This removes the organic matter that absorbs pesticides and allows the pesticide to leach through the soil zone. Often, it’s fairly close to the well that supplies the water. “That’s the worst situation for managing the site,” Braul says. “It becomes quite a significant source of contamination. Instead, if we capture that rinsate, contain it and treat it, we can make a significant impact on the contamination problem.” The Swedes were first to address the problem. They collected rinsate and applied it to the top of a simple hole in the ground filled with the biomix material. “The Swedes applied the rinsate to the top of the biomix and let it seep through into the ground. It was the standard for six or seven years. It was a heck of a lot better than putting it on gravel, because it absorbed a lot of the pesticide. Now, with more sensitive instruments, we know that model doesn’t remove all the pesticides,” Braul says. Current practice is to build a contained biobed up to a metre deep. In the UK, that would be lined at the bottom with clay or plastic, and drained with weeping tile. For their first project, Braul and Sheedy built a wood frame structure. On later projects they also used open polyethylene tanks meant for fish. Plans call for putting the biomix into big tote bags already used for storing granular fertilizer or pesticide. “Really, you can use anything as a container for the biomix,” Braul says. The biomix material needs three basic components: topsoil (from a field is best, because it will already have microbes adapted to degrading pesticides); woodchips or straw (to provide the lignin for microbial food and structure); and, compost or peat (to provide the organic matter that absorbs the pesticides). Among design variations tried in 2015, the most efficient was a two-cell system about a half-metre deep. Each cell has a six-inch layer of crushed rock at the bottom. A sump pump collects leachate from below the crushed rock in the first cell and pumps it to the surface of the second cell. “Two cells remove a much higher percentage of the pesticide than single cell biobeds,” Braul notes. Although literature from the European experience suggests that nearly all the microbial activity happens in the top six inches of the biobed, most beds are one metre thick to provide additional absorption capacity. At the University of Regina, microbiologist Chris Yost is using DNA testing to determine the type and number of microbes at various depths. Yost hopes to determine the region of greatest microbial activity. At Outlook, a two-cell biobed only a half-metre deep worked better than expected, Braul says. In practice, degradation of pesticides in the biomix can take three to six months, he adds. There’s still a need to deal with the reasonably clean leachate coming from the bottom of the biomix, and a need for eventual disposal of the biomix itself. “Effluent has an extremely low level of remaining pesticide. We recommend spraying it on an area that has some organic matter and lots of microorganisms, and allow nature to do its work. One option is to put it into a tank and spray it someplace, or you can sprinkle it safely on grass or drip it along a row of trees. The little amount of remaining pesticide will be degraded in the topsoil,” he says. Setting up a collection pad for the sprayer rinsate would be the biggest single cost. It can be constructed from heavy plastic but a concrete pad is ideal. “If you want to collect everything you rinse out, you have a fairly large concrete pad. Depending on where you are, it probably could cost $5,000 to $10,000. That’s a big challenge – but some inexpensive creative options are possible,” Braul says.
For the past nine years veteran automotive journalists have donated their time to act as judges in the only annual North American truck competition that tests pickup and van models head to head – while hauling payload and also towing. The Canadian Truck King Challenge started in 2006, and each year these writers return because they believe in this straightforward approach to testing and they know their readers want the results it creates. This year, nine judges travelled from Quebec, Saskatchewan and across Ontario to the Kawartha Lakes Region where we test the trucks each year. All the entries are delivered to my 70-acre IronWood test site days before the judges arrive so we can prepare them for hauling and towing. In the meantime they are all outfitted with digital data collectors. These gadgets plug into the USB readers on each vehicle and transmit fuel consumption data to a company in Kitchener, Ont. (MyCarma) which records, compiles and translates those readings into fuel economy results that span the almost 4000 test kilometres that we accumulate over two long days. These results are as real-world as it gets. The numbers are broken into empty runs, loaded results and even consumption while towing. Each segment is measured during test loops with the trucks being driven by five judges – one after the other. That’s five different driving styles, acceleration, braking and idling (we don’t shut the engines down during seat changes). The Head River test loop itself is also a combination of road surfaces and speed limits. At 17 kilometres long, it runs on gravel, secondary paved road and highway. Speed limits vary from 50 to 80 km/h and the road climbs and drops off an escarpment-like ridgeline several times; plus it crosses the Head River twice at its lowest elevation. The off-road part of our testing is done on my own course at IronWood. This is the third year that we have used the data collection system and released the final fuel consumption report that MyCarma prepares for the Truck King Challenge. It’s become one of our most anticipated results. But how do we decide what to test? Well as anyone who’s bought a truck knows, the manufacturers never sleep, bringing something different to market every year. As the challenge looks to follow market trends, what and how we test must change each year too, and the coming 2016 model year proved no different. In the full-size and mid-size pickup truck categories, we had a field of seven contenders: Full-Size Half-Ton Pickup Truck Ford F-150, Platinum, 3.5L, V6 EcoBoost, gas, 6-speed Auto Ford F-150, XLT, 2.7L, V6 EcoBoost, gas, 6-speed Auto Chevrolet Silverado, High Country, 6.2L, V8, gas, 8-speed Auto Ram 1500, Laramie, 3L EcoDiesel, V6, diesel, 8-speed Auto Mid-Size Pickup Truck Toyota Tacoma, TRD Off-Road, 3.5L V6, gas, 6-speed Auto GMC Canyon, SLT, 2.8L Duramax, I-4 diesel, 6-speed Auto Chevrolet Colorado, Z71, 3.6L V6, gas, 6-speed Auto These vehicles are each all-new, or have significant changes made to them. However this year the Truck King Challenge decided to try something else new by offering a returning champion category. This idea had been growing for a while having everything to do with the engineering cycles that each manufacturer follows. Simply put, trucks are not significantly updated each year and, to date, we have only included “new” iron in each year’s competition. However, we started to think that just because a truck is in the second or third year of its current generational life shouldn’t make it non-competitive. So, this spring we decided that for the first time the immediate previous year’s winner (in each category) would be offered the chance to send its current truck back to IronWood to compete against what’s new on the market. Thus, this year the invitation was sent to the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, a previous winner that accepted the offer to return and fight for its crown. All vehicles took the tests over two days with the judges evaluating everything from towing feel to interior features. The judges score each vehicle in 20 different categories; these scores are then averaged across the field of judges and converted to a score out of 100. Finally the “as tested” price of each vehicle is also weighted against the average (adding or subtracting points) for the final outcome. And this year’s winners are... Full-Size Half-Ton Pickup Truck – Ram 1500 EcoDiesel – 82.97% Mid-Size Pickup Truck – GMC Canyon Duramax – 76.30% The overall top scoring 2016 Canadian Truck King Challenge winner is the Ram 1500, Laramie, 3L EcoDiesel, V6, diesel, 8-speed Auto. Full details and scores are now available online at www.canadiantruckkingchallenge.ca.
For the past nine years, veteran automotive journalists have donated their time to act as judges in the only annual North American truck competition that tests pickup and van models head to head – while hauling payload and also towing. The Canadian Truck King Challenge started in 2006, and each year these writers return because they believe in this straightforward approach to testing and they know their readers want the results it creates. I started it (and continue to do it) for the same reason – that, and my belief that after 40 years of putting trucks to work I know what’s important to Canadians. Now, that’s a long list of qualifications, but in a nutshell it’s the concept that a truck can be pretty, but that alone is just not enough. It had also better do its job – and do it well. This year, nine judges travelled from Quebec, Saskatchewan and across Ontario to the Kawartha Lakes Region where we test the trucks each year. All the entries are delivered to my 70-acre IronWood test site days before the judges arrive so we can prepare them for hauling and towing. In the meantime they are all outfitted with digital data collectors. These gadgets plug into the USB readers on each vehicle and transmit fuel consumption data to a company in Kitchener, Ont. (MyCarma) that records, compiles and translates those readings into fuel economy results that span the almost 4,000 test kilometers we accumulate over two long days. These results are as real world as it gets. The numbers are broken into empty runs, loaded results and even consumption while towing. Each segment is measured during test loops with the trucks being driven by five judges – one after the other. That’s five different driving styles, acceleration, braking and idling (we don’t shut the engines down during seat changes). The Head River test loop itself is also a combination of road surfaces and speed limits. At 17-kilometres long it runs on gravel, secondary paved road and highway. Speed limits vary from 50 to 80 km/h and the road climbs and drops off an escarpment-like ridgeline several times; plus it crosses the Head River twice at its lowest elevation. The off-road part of our testing is done on my own course at IronWood. Vans are not tested on the off-road course, though it’s noteworthy that the Mercedes Sprinter was equipped with a four-wheel drive system this year. This is the third year that we have used the data collection system and released the final fuel consumption report that MyCarma prepares for the Truck King Challenge. It’s become one of our most anticipated results. But how do we decide what to test? Well as anyone who’s bought a truck knows, the manufacturers never sleep, bringing something different to market every year. As the challenge looks to follow market trends, what and how we test must change each year too and the 2016 model year proved no different. We had a field of 14 contenders at IronWood this year covering four categories. They were as follows: Full-size half-ton pickup truck Ford F-150, Platinum, 3.5L, V6 EcoBoost, gas, 6-speed Auto Ford F-150, XLT, 2.7L, V6 EcoBoost, gas, 6-speed Auto Chevrolet Silverado, High Country, 6.2L, V8, gas, 8-speed Auto Ram 1500, Laramie, 3L EcoDiesel, V6, diesel, 8-speed Auto Mid-size pickup truck Toyota Tacoma, TRD Off-Road, 3.5L V6, gas, 6-speed Auto GMC Canyon, SLT, 2.8L Duramax, I-4 diesel, 6-speed Auto Chevrolet Colorado, Z71, 3.6L V6, gas, 6-speed Auto Full-size commercial vans Ford Transit 250, 3.2L Power Stroke I-5 diesel, 6-speed Auto Mercedes Sprinter 2.0L BLUE-Tec I-4 diesel, 2X4 Mercedes Sprinter 3.0L BLUE-Tec V6 diesel, 4X4 Ram ProMaster 1500, 3.0L I-4 diesel, 6-speed Auto/Manual Mid-size commercial vans Ram ProMaster City, SLT, 2.4L Tigershark I-4 gas, 9-speed Auto Nissan NV200, 2.0L I-4, gas, Xtronic CVT Auto Mercedes Metris, 2.0L I-4, gas, 7-speed Auto These vehicles are each all-new – or have had significant changes made to them. However, this year, the Truck King Challenge decided to try something else new by offering a returning champion category. This idea had been growing for a while and had everything to do with the engineering cycles that each manufacturer follows. Simply put, trucks are not significantly updated each year and to date we have only included “new” iron in each year’s competition. However, we started to think that just because a truck is in the second or third year of its current generational life shouldn’t make it non-competitive. Certainly if you watch the builders’ ads it doesn’t! So, this spring we decided that for the first time the immediate previous year’s winner (in each category) would be offered the chance to send its current truck back to IronWood to compete against what’s new on the market. This year the invitation was sent to the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, Ford Transit 250 and Nissan NV200 – all previous winners that accepted the offer to return and fight for their crowns. They, along with the new vehicles, took the tests over two days with the judges evaluating everything from towing feel to interior features. The judges score each vehicle in 20 different categories; these scores are then averaged across the field of judges and converted to a score out of 100. Finally the “as tested” price of each vehicle is also weighted against the average (adding or subtracting points) for the final outcome. And this year’s segment winners are... Full-Size Half-Ton Pickup Truck – Ram 1500 EcoDiesel – 82.97 per cent Mid-Size Pickup Truck – GMC Canyon Duramax – 76.30 per cent Full-Size Commercial Van – Ford Transit 250 – 73.90 per cent Mid-Size Commercial Van – Mercedes Metris – 75.69 per cent The overall top scoring 2016 Canadian Truck King Challenge winner is the Ram 1500, Laramie, 3L EcoDiesel, V6 diesel, 8-speed Auto. Congratulations to all the winners and to the two repeating champions – the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the Ford Transit 250.
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