2018 agriculture trends aim for accuracy

The North America Farm and Power Show will feature 181 companies with 310 booths at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. (Submitted photos)

March Farm and Power Show showcases latest technology

By: Anna Vangsness
February 1, 2018

The Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna is beginning to gear up for the North America Farm and Power Show, which runs March 15 to 17.
This year, 181 companies with 310 booths will be on hand as vendors, ready to interact with the nearly 21,000 attendees who will make their way to the expo eager to learn firsthand what’s trending in 2018 for agriculture equipment.
So, just what type of agriculture trends can attendees expect to see at this year’s expo? It’s all about technology updates, Tradexpos Inc. Show Director Brock Nelson said.
“There’s no new breakout technology that people must have this year, but there are small improvements on every front,” he said. “Dealers will be showing more tailored approaches for data and precision in agriculture.”
Technological advancements have paved the way for more efficient farming and agriculture businesses, Nelson said. Custom applications let the farmer know which part of the field needs the most fertilizer, making the process more cost effective.
Vendors like Kibble Equipment in Owatonna will use the Farm and Power Show to promote the ease newer technology will bring to farmers and other agriculture business professionals.
“This year’s biggest trend in agriculture is being accurate in everything that you do and buying equipment that is accurate, letting the user do more with less,” Kibble Equipment Salesman Brock Veldman said. “Technology has enabled the farming community to do things better. I would say that the down farming economy has pushed people to be more efficient.”
When Veldman first started at Kibble Equipment 15 years ago, basic GPS was just beginning to hit the market in agriculture equipment.

The North America Farm and Power Show will include vendors such as Boss Supply Inc., Kuhn and Broskoff Structure Inc., to name a few.

“There was just a basic light bar that said if you were driving on the line or not,” he recalled. “Now, new equipment has driving or field accuracy that’s controlled by GPS that’s more accurate than any human can drive.”
If you’re wanting to plant seeds in rows that are exactly parallel to one another, equipment over the last few years has been developed to do just that, Veldman said.
“The new GPS technology will let you do things like plant closer together in more fertile soil areas and farther away in less fertile areas,” he explained. “It will also let you use less fertilizer in one area if it doesn’t need it, rather than spreading on the same amount.”
The ability to be more accurate helps farmers become more efficient, thus lowering costs and improving the farmer’s net income by having more crops.
“They’re able to buy only as much chemical, fertilizer and feed that they need,” Veldman said. “In the past, we would put down way more than was needed and it may have hurt the crop’s yield. Now, with better spraying and fertilizer accuracy, the better the soil and the environment. It’s more responsible in every way.”
Veldman said the past few years has seen a surge in people adapting to equipment with better technology, but it’s beginning to level off this year as it becomes more available.
“There’s ways to add technology to older equipment or to buy used technology so you don’t have to buy it brand new anymore,” he said. “You always want to keep up with technology that’s improving a bit, and the biggest challenge today is making it useful and easy for customers to use. The technology isn’t that new, it’s just about learning how to make it easier.”
He said he’s always surprised at the pace of which technology is changing, and is intrigued to see where the future of agriculture trends will go and what Kibble Equipment may be able to showcase at upcoming Farm and Power Shows.
“We don’t have equipment that will purely run itself, at least in this country, but I don’t think it’s that far down the road,” Veldman said. “I could see equipment in a few years that has one operator in a field controlling multiple other tractors.”
Tradexpos purchased the North American Farm and Power Show for the 1996 season from the Minnesota South Dakota Equipment Dealers Association. Originally held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Tradexpos has been hosting the large-scale event in Owatonna since 2003.
“Logistically, the convention center in Minneapolis was difficult for the large equipment to get in and out of downtown,” Nelson said. “The Four Seasons Centre’s spacious grounds have the flexibility of indoor exhibit space, along with hard surface outdoor area.”
The upcoming March show will be Nelson’s first in Owatonna with Tradexpos and he said it provides a great opportunity for companies to market to every-day farmers.
“The show lets people interact with a live person,” he said. “You can read about new technology in papers or online, or you can come to the Farm and Power show to ask things like what’s new with irrigation or ask if your fields would be suitable for irrigation.”
In addition to Kibble, this year’s large vendors include Northland Farm Systems Inc., Boss Supply Inc., Sanco Equipment Co., Manke’s Outdoor Equipment and Appliances, Timpte Inc., Wilson Trailer Sales of Minnesota, Arnold’s Inc., Broskoff Structure Inc., K & S Millwrights Inc., and Quality Craft Tools.

If you go:
Catch the North America Farm and Power Show 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 15 and 16 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 17 at Steele County Four Seasons Centre, 1525 S Elm. Ave., Owatonna. For more information, visit tradexpos.com.

Anna Vangsness works in the healthcare communication field in Mankato and is a freelance writer. She resides in New Ulm with her husband. 

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