ON ITS OWN – In the field, whether spraying, rolling, planting or hustling grain carts, the Dot units are capable of field speeds up to 12 mph and feature redundant fail-safe options in case the machine veers from its course or encounters obstacles. (Photo Courtesy of Dot Technologies Corp.)

Offering Efficiency and Flexibility, Autonomous Power Platform Ushers in the Future of Farming

Canadian manufacturer sees labor shortages and engineering challenges of building larger equipment as a possible tipping point to popular acceptance of driverless farm equipment.

The following article is based on Norbert Beaujot's presentation at the 2019 National No-Tillage Conference. To watch the presentation, click here.

If, like many farmers, you can’t imagine driverless farm equipment on your place, and take comfort in the thought autonomous farming is still years away and your current methods are working quite well, one long-time ag engineer says technological limits and population trends across the globe may be working against you.

Norbert Beaujot has spent his career developing farm equipment in the western prairies of Canada and is well known for his work developing very large seeding equipment for small grains with his family-owned business, SeedMaster Manufacturing, located at Emerald Park, Saskatchewan.

“We’ve built a reputation at SeedMaster since 2002 with our large drills. We were the first in North America to come up with a 70-, then an 80-, then a 90- and then a 100-foot drill,” Beaujot explains. “As an engineer and farmer, however, I realize the frustrations associated with building bigger equipment because of inefficiencies and transport safety issues associated with every-increasing implement sizes.

“We’ve been good at it. We distribute the seed and fertilizer and get it precisely placed in the seedbed, but when you double from a 50-foot to a 100-foot drill, you definitely don’t double your productivity.”

Those inefficiencies, many of which are associated with the need for ever-larger tractors and harvest equipment, are constant challenges for ag engineers seeking to provide farmers with more productive equipment. But Beaujot says another related…

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Dan crummett 0618

Dan Crummett

Dan Crummett has more than 35 years in regional and national agricultural journalism including editing state farm magazines, web-based machinery reporting and has an interest in no-till and conservation tillage. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Oklahoma State Univ.

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