Expo-champs: 5 new trends for 2018

We visited the Expo-Champs farm show so we could tell you about some new equipment that's likely to become indispensable on the farm and in the field.

√Čtienne Gosselin | Agronomist | Journalist

No one knows better than farmers that resources can't keep up with needs.

We visited the Expo-Champs farm show so we could tell you about some new equipment that's likely to become indispensable on the farm and in the field. 

1. Feed pushing
Lely isn't the only robotic feed-pusher on the market anymore. Besides the GEA FRone, Rovibec Agrisolutions offers the first feeding robot designed and assembled in Quebec. The RoviRANGER has a distribution speed of 40 feet/minute. Following a small magnetic metal strip inserted in the concrete, this robot capable of rotating on both sides at 3 rpm cannot be lost, says Rovibec's Serge Létourneau.

Surprisingly, 80% of the 220 robots that the business has sold so far were for herds in stall housing. Besides stimulating consumption and production, the robot has the advantage of keeping the cows cleaner, because they don't have to move as far in the stall to reach the food and they defecate in the gutter.

2. Stone crushing
Before, fields were cleared by hand and later cleared mechanically. Since 2016 in Quebec, Philippe Goubau of the French company Bugnot has been recommending that stones be crushed in one go and fragments left in place--rocks often contain calcium that has a "liming" effect. 

Operating with carbide-tip anvils rotating at 800 to 1000 rpm to break up rocks up to 20 inches in diameter, the crushers are available in widths of 1.15 to 3 metres with working depths of up to 16 inches, in the case of the biggest model, appropriately named the OBL'X.

3. Prevention of soil compaction 
With an ingenious experimental device composed of two compaction pits where successive layers of sand and clay alternated, Alain Tremblay demonstrated the effect of Michelin Ultraflex tires on compaction.

A flex zone on the sidewell of the tire increases the footprint and distributes the load more evenly. This tire, which requires inflation of 23 PSI--40% less than the 41 PSI on conventional radial tires- reduces the rut depth by 26%. And fuel consumption? This low-pressure tire doesn't increase consumption; it lowers it by 10%. These high performances command a higher price, though--about 10 to 20% more than regular tires.

4. Multi-purpose tractors
Can't decide between a mono-directional tractor and an articulated tractor? Simon Bourque d'Agco eliminates this choice with a tractor mounted on a single chassis, the most powerful in the world.

For the past year, Fendt has been offering four 10o0 series models ranging from 380 to 500 HP. With a suspension that becomes rigid on the road to reduce pitching movements, these tractors deliver--in the garden or the yard, up to 50 km/h. 

5. Making your own timber
When you count on resources, it's economical to make your own construction wood. Scierie Mobile Gilbert's Antoine Labrie presented 7 saw models ranging from 9.5 to 30 HP to make planks and posts from trunks with a diameter of no more than 40 inches.

Scierie Mobile Gilbert relies on manual movement of the carriage so that the sawing isn't too quick, which can result in uneven thickness in the planks.

New: a 14-HP planer can now be fitted on the same chassis, so you can plane on a 21-inch-wide x 24-inch-high surface. 

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