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Agritechnica 2017. Advanced technologies

2017.11.30

EkoNiva has come to the world’s largest trade fair for agricultural machinery in Hannover (Germany) bringing a team of fellow-thinkers – around 90 clients from all over Russia – along.

By Tatiana SIMONENKOVA

Over 80 machines, including the groundbreaking innovations which received medals, were showcased at the John Deere booth. John Deere and Kemper were awarded a top prize for their joint development StalkBuster, the first stubble-destroying technology to form an integral part of a maize header, which is relatively lightweight and has a relatively low power input requirement. AutoTrac system, a collaborative project of John Deere with Monosem, which facilitates row hoe control eliminating the use of the conventional shifting frame, and EZ Ballast Wheels system, improving traction and reducing soil compaction, were honored with silver medals.

‘They jokingly call me “green” at work’, says Mikhail Zaporozhtsev, Head of Maintenance department of Black Soil APK of Prodimex Group (Voronezh oblast), ‘because I am a fan of John Deere. We are quite happy with the dealer, but there are issues which can only be solved with the manufacturer. The trade show provides an opportunity for such dialogue.’

The John Deere novelties captured the guests’ attention. The light, manoeuvrable, yet powerful 5R Series received the Machine of the Year title in the Best Compact Tractor category. The American manufacturer presented a new lineup of S700 combines with automated harvesting technology. It features Integrated Combine Adjust (ICA2), automatically guaranteeing consistent output of the harvesting process whatever the conditions. Eliminating the need for regular manual adjustments, it gives operators the confidence their combine is operating as efficiently as possible. The programmable control centre is equipped with the Generation 4 display whose navigational features are similar to that of a smartphone.

‘Whenever we go for a self-propelled unit, we definitely buy John Deere, and for the best mounted and trailed implements we have come to the trade fair’, says Andrey Melikhov, General Director of APK-Mosalskoye (Voronezh oblast). ‘But anyway our supplier will deal out through EkoNiva. In the process of our cooperation, we have received valuable advice enabling us to lead our production in the right direction more than once.’

The new Vaderstad CrossCutter Disc has become the winner of the Machine of the Year 2018 award in the Tillage category. It is intended for intensive tillage at speeds up to 20 kmh.

‘Equipping CrossCutter Disc on the disc cultivator Väderstad Carrier gives a very intensive ultra-shallow tillage, providing great agronomic benefits to the farm’, says Crister Stark, Chairman of the Board at Väderstad.

There were 13 basic loader models at the JCB display. The visitors also gave recognition to the new models, i.e. the JCB TM420 Agri front loader with a durable telescopic boom and a high lift capacity, JCB 560-80 Agri Pro which is the most efficient machine of the entire Loadall lineup, the JCB Teleskid skid steer, the compact JCB 403 Agri wheel loader, and the JCB 419S Agri wheel loader.

Grimme unveiled Ventor 4150, a self-propelled 4-row potato harvester to handle large volumes of work. It was honored with a silver medal for double performance at smaller dimensions and received the Machine of the Year title.

The AGRI-Router universal data exchange platform received a silver medal, too. The tool ensures compatibility of agricultural software by different manufacturers.

‘It is an important step on the way to digitilisation’, says Ivan Leis, Head of Sales of Grimme. ‘The system combines machines and agricultural software to simplify operating procedures and improve economic efficiency.’ 

Fliegl received a silver medal for Buffel overloading station for haulm crops.

‘It is an alternative to rotary forage wagons and forage harvesters, combining different components of the two’, says Elena Bukhner, Specialist of the Marketing Department of Fliegl. ‘The platform features a rotor-based overloading system with intermediate hopper picks up the haulms, cuts and feeds them into the intermediate hopper, from where the material is overloaded onto a trailer.’

COUNTER SX, a joint development of Fliegl and Pоttinger, provides an inexpensive, flexible entry into smart farming technologies.

‘The system uses beacons and 3D sensors and provides automatic communication between the machines and the farm independently of mobile networks’, says Andrey Toshchevikov, Deputy Director General of Pоttinger Russia. ‘Besides, Pоttinger has received four silver medals for own innovations.’

EkoNiva as a dealer offers its customers not only machinery, but also services, which improve fieldwork efficiency. The clients have already appreciated the benefits of the comprehensive FarmSight servicing, which extends service life of the machinery.

‘I choose John Deere because I like the colour’, jokes Vladimir Selikhov, Head of Letyazhye (Novosibirsk oblast), ‘and the dealer – for going an extra mile to ensure long life of machinery instead of simply selling it. They accompany, guide and advise us. Service is necessary before something has already broken, maintenance should be scheduled. The same goes for a person who takes care of their health. Even more so now that the machines are smart and are able to show where it “hurts”. The expenses for comprehensive service pay off afterwards!’

Agritechnica gathered a lot of engineering solutions, products, creative and logistic ideas. Over 400,000 visitors of the trade fair came to see them. Having begun during the first exclusive days, the rush did not subside till the very closing of the trade fair. During the busy days, the EkoNiva booth was visited by prominent representatives of agricultural industry: Peter Bleser, a Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany, Vladimir Shaikin, Agricultural Attache in Germany, Dzhambulat Hatuov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Russia, and Pyotr Chekmaryov, Director of the Department of Crop Growing, Mechanisation, Chemicalisation and Crop Protection.

Stefan Duerr took part in a press-conference with the representatives of the German media. The journalists wanted to know how agriculture is developing in Russia on the whole, and in EkoNiva in particular. The president of the company stated his resolve to build dairies as long as he got state support and the milk price was good. 

‘The expansion is driven by favourable economic conditions in Russia: soft loans with a low interest rate and state subsidies for construction of new dairies’, says Stefan Duerr. ‘And the milk price is such that even new enterprises can make profit fast.’

Stefan Duerr called the sanctions a ‘saving shock’ for the Russian economy. ‘The embargo has caused a growth in the quality of processing, for instance, in cheese production, and enabled us to compete with foreign producers.’

A series of conferences took place during the trade fair, at one of which the potential of large-scale enterprises was discussed.

EkoNiva operates in six regions on an acreage of almost 250 thousand ha. It is one of the few Russian agricultural holdings with a full agricultural production cycle, which employs almost 5,000 people. Bjorne Drechsler, First Deputy General Director of EkoNivaTekhnika-Holding, shared a way to achieve maximum efficiency of such large-scale business.

‘We are looking for a point at which we are going to reap maximum profit at minimum costs’, says Bjorne Drechsler. ‘This can be done only with the use of modern management: automation, IT-support, monitoring, machinery, logistics, SmartFarming tools. For example, John Deere jointly with EkoNiva-APK Holding are introducing the Lead Farm pilot project, enabling operators to set the sowing rate, fertilizer and chemical application rate based on agronomic maps, thus significantly reducing expenses and making our holding competitive not only in Russia, but worldwide.’