International Perspective: AGRISHOW 2011
Nick Ohrtman and I attended the AGRISHOW in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil during the first week of May. AGRISHOW is a large outdoor farm show similar in size to Farm Progress Show here in the US. The major OEM’s (both international and domestic) have elaborate booths showcasing their new products, and customers have an opportunity to talk with factory representatives about equipment they are interested in.
However, one major difference between AGRISHOW and Farm Progress Show is that farmers come to AGRISHOW to buy products. The manufacturers typically have their best deals running during the show to entice farmers to buy. The large manufacturers set their booths up like a dealership. All the equipment is on display and they have meeting rooms to discuss the different options of the equipment and negotiate pricing. They even have financing available right in the booth so the deal can be closed on the spot. I have not heard sales figures for the 2011 AGRISHOW, but in past years there has been up to $550 million dollars of equipment sold during the five day show.
Precision farming was well represented at the show, with all the major players having booths and all the OEM’s showing some form of precision technology on their equipment. The most common products farmers are after in Brazil are guidance and steering, followed by planter monitoring and variable rate application. These have been popular features for several years now.
However, the Brazilian farmers are starting to look at other technologies as precision farming continues to grow. There was increased interest in clutch control and crop sensors at the show, as well as software to manage all the data. Brazilian farmers are increasingly interested in data collection. Since the Brazilian farmer does not operate the equipment on their farm – rather it is done by contractors or hired labor – they rely on information collected through precision farming to help them make decisions. The more information they can collect, the better decisions they can make.
Some of the more interesting equipment on display at the show were the sugarcane harvesters, large planters and a robotic sprayer. The sugarcane harvesters are always fun to look at, as they are just so different from what we are used to seeing in the US (unless, of course, you are from the South).
The large planters in Brazil are not like they are here in the US. Rather than making one large planter that folds up for road transport, the Brazilians just link several small planters together with a drawbar. The planters are transported individually and then bolted to the drawbar in the field.
The robotic sprayer was designed by Jacto for spraying orchards. It is programmed to drive down the rows of the orchard autonomously and has cameras mounted to it to look for obstructions. Several sprayers can be programmed to work together in the same orchard. Interesting technology from our neighbors to the South!