Thursday, May 14, 2020

"Farmers Hire Robotic Firm to Plant Soybeans"

From DTN Progressive Farmer, May 6:
SAC CITY, Iowa (DTN) -- Three tractors and planters seeded more than 500 acres of soybeans at a northwest Iowa farm last week with no one at the wheel.

Sabanto, a Chicago-based robotic farming company, helped Bellcock Farms plant using remote-controlled utility tractors, each pulling five-row planters. Several other farmers in Iowa and Illinois have also hired the company to provide robotic planting help this year.
Autonomous farming has moved from the proof-of-concept stage to commercial reality for the company.

"This is the real deal ... it will change agriculture," said Sabanto co-owner Craig Rupp as he watched one driverless tractor plant while another passed nearby on the way to a seed tender to refill. "We've gone from one tractor and planter to multiple machines operating remotely at the same time."
Sabanto got its feet wet last year planting several thousand acres of soybeans throughout the Midwest with one remote-controlled tractor and planter. Rupp and co-owner, Kyler Laird, tested equipment and worked on software, networking, logistics and other issues to scale up autonomous operations in 2020....