Top of the crop at World Ag Expo

With more than 1500 exhibitors and vendors planning to show off their wares at the 2016 World Ag Expo, just about anything needed on a farm is likely to be on display during the three-day event. Source: Visali Times Delta

A favorite part for many attending of the Expo in Tulare, one of the largest agricultural trade shows in the world, is checking out new products and variations on existing products being introduced.

Each year organizers of the Expo look at the dozens of new products and narrow down the 10 that they believe represent the very best.

This year’s top 10 include a lift gate for trucks that can be removed when it isn’t needed, a battery-operated backpack sprayer that can hold an eight-hour charge and a machine that washes solar panels with a large, spinning brush, like the kind used at automated car washes.

Megawash, Coldwell Solar, Inc.

Coldwell Solar say they’ve come up with a better method of cleaning solar panels by using the MegaWash, which looks like a small tractor mounted with a mechanical arm and a 13-foot-long spindle attached.

That spindle is lined with microfiber cloths like the cleaning arms of car washes. But this spinning spindle can be extended over the solar panels and clean them off with water pumped from a tank mounted in the rear of the tractor.

MegaWash uses about 80% less water than other solar-panel cleaning methods, and the machine can do the work in about 75% less time.

Gemini Dual Pump Kit, Ace Pump Corp.

This is a product that allows farmers to spray more than one chemical at a time using a second valve that can be hooked up to a second pump on a spraying vehicle. The valve adjustments can be done by hand, or the device can be hooked up to a computer programmed to make more precise adjustments of the application rates throughout a farm.

Hesston-Built WR9800 Series RearSteer, AGCO Corporation

A wind rower is easy enough to maneuver in a field with a heavy draper head mounted on front cutting down rows of hay and other forage grasses. But driving them on roads to get from one field to the next or from one farm to the next is a challenge. But AGCO has come up with a solution by creating a “RearSteer” system and installing it in its 9000-series rowers.

With the new design, the driver can switch off the front-wheel steering system when getting onto the road and activate integrated hydraulic cylinders connected to the rear wheels so they steer while the front wheels continue providing power to advance or back up. This steering method allows for better maneuverability on roads, even with a wide draper head attached so they don’t have to be removed and towed to a new site.

PJB-16 Battery-Operated Backpack Sprayer, Jacto, Inc.

The designers decided to forgo nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries in favor of using newer-generation lithium-ion batteries in this sprayer. The result was a lighter automated sprayer that weighs about as much as a standard backpack model with a hand pump. In addition, the lithium-ion batteries can operate for eight hours on a single, full charge.

Intelligent Wireless Irrigation Control, ANC Technology

After 10 years of work, Noble, ANC’s director of engineering, said he has created a system that uses ground sensors to monitor moisture on farms while individual “zone” control devices use that data to control irrigation systems in various parts of a farm.

And those zone controls each have individual solar panels to keep them powered without the need to be wired into an electrical system.

All are connected to a main control system that can control up to 60 zone controllers via radio links. That main controller — about the size of a computer tablet — also can be accessed via a WiFi signal through a computer, tablet or smartphone to monitor moisture levels and to alter the irrigation program.

RedFox Safety Products Fox-Paws

The Fox-Paws wireless shut down safety system received a 2016 World Ag Expo Top 10 New Product recognition. Inventor Mr Lacy said his coat was caught in the belt of a seed cleaner while making adjustments on a handle and he recalls attempting to get loose, but was unable to. The machinery was connected to a wireless shut off system, which had been previously installed while trying to find how far away equipment could be turned off. After stopping the seed cleaner, Mr Lacy was able to free himself. The Fox-Paws is not limited to seed cleanersand can be used on water pumps or chippers.

Stanley Convergent Security Solutions VideoFied Ag Alarm System

Alan Roberts said farmers were victims of theft as chemicals and other valuables are stored in remote areas. The VideoFied, which is battery operated and includes a video camera and infrared readers, can be installed to provide a vigilant eye for large outdoor areas. If there’s a break in, police can be called and respond immediately as the instance is a confirmed criminal act. The system also records video, which could be available for use. The security system can be used for barns and buildings, machinery, storage, crops, irrigation and even areas where livestock is kept.

Orchard Machinery Corporation Fully Automated Shaker Technology: Tree Seeker

Orchard Machinery Corporation has a prototype that reduces the repetitive motions of operating a nut shaker machine. Designed for almonds and small walnut trees, the prototype reduces the amount of repetitive motions the operators must do driving down a grove. The prototype is set at a cruise control like mode, including auto steering.

M25 LiftGator LiftGator XTR

Justin Russo said he developed the LiftGator, which attaches to a truck’s hitch and whose platform folds in after use, when he needed to load tools and a welder into his truck. The lift can handle up to 1200 lbs with the ease of a single button. The lift also includes supports that easily be adjusted, making it the product mobile.

The LiftGator received a 2016 WAE Top 10 Product award.

GS58 Tule Technologies

Tule received a 2016 World Ag Expo Top 10 New Product award for its FieldStat, which measures and monitors crops’ water stress and use. It provides the information remotely, preventing farmers and growers from having to drive to locations and perform measurements. The readings from FieldStat are more comprehensive than pressure bomb readings, which give reading of one plant. According to Tule, FieldStat provides information for plant water status in areas of up to 10 acres. FieldStat can be used in as many as 13 crops.