Ag Equipment: The Rise Of The Robots, Farmer-Manufacturer Relations – DTN

    Robots could help farmers with some of the work, while providing volumes of information to help plant, manage and harvest better crops. Photo: Kansas State University


    Sabanto Inc. has been named a winner in the 19th annual Chicago Innovation Awards program. The Chicago Innovation Awards recognize innovative new products or services.

    This Innovation Award cites Sabanto as a cutting-edge farming-as-a-service company performing row-crop field operations using small, cost-effective, autonomous machines. Sabanto has deployed intelligent robots throughout the Midwest in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana.

    “In this year of a global pandemic, innovation is needed now more than ever,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. This year’s winners are solving big problems in agriculture, healthcare, community and workforce development, education and finance, among others, he added.

    “We are proud to be recognized by a city with such historical significance in agriculture,” said Craig Rupp, the CEO of Sabanto.

    The winning organizations receive a variety of honors, including the opportunity to ring the NASDAQ bell in New York City and meetings with the mayor of Chicago, governor of Illinois, Cook County president and leaders from the United Nations Foundation. The award attracted 272 nominations this year and represents nearly 1,700 patents.

    Watch for more details on DTN about Sabanto’s technology in an interview with Rupp on Oct. 23.



    Equipment manufacturers understand the importance of designing and developing cutting-edge, innovative product offerings to meet the needs of their customers.

    AgFax Weed Solutions

    But according to a research report conducted by Clutch, they aren’t always well-equipped to maximize their relationships with those who use the machinery they produce. The research project is sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

    Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) must create a more direct relationship with the consumer, the report concluded. The research also found that it’s important for OEMs to maximize their dealer relationships.

    Here are some initiatives, the report identifies OEMs might take to strengthen their relationship with farmers:

    Technology. It’s no secret that advancements in technology have greatly affected what ag equipment is today. OEMs should make a concerted effort to educate their customers on their technological advances. One important way to do that is by maximizing their relationships with their dealers.

    Tech champion. According to a recent AEM survey on ag technology, 57% of equipment end-user respondents indicated they possess no “tech champion” in their operation who encourages investment in, and adoption of, technology.

    Cost. Ag equipment end users today can be a skeptical bunch. They don’t always trust they’ll get what they pay for in a piece of equipment. And while they’re aware there’s value to be gained in owning that equipment, end users want to know it’ll be worth the price of investment in the long run.

    A couple of interesting numbers: 68% of those surveyed want to make sure new technology works out before they buy it; 10% of respondents are usually among the first to buy new technology. The latter are the “tech champions.”

    Support. End users ultimately want two things: relevant information and transparency. As the volume of crops produced continues to grow over time, all while the window to plant and harvest those crops continues to shrink, it’s important for OEMs to be effective in their efforts to support farmers’ efforts to secure the greatest possible return on their investment in the equipment they purchase.

    Consolidation and complexity of operations is transforming expectations. Two-way dialogue will lead to greater customer satisfaction. There is an increased desire for more direct contact between OEMs and customers, but the dealer relationship remains key.



    John Deere has introduced three new snowblowers compatible with its compact track loader, compact wheel loader and skid-steer models. The SB72D, SB78D and SB84D snowblowers have a direct-drive motor at the auger and impeller, and two auger options, standard and serrated.

    The two-stage hydraulic snowblowers can throw snow up to 45 feet from the machine.

    The blowers feature poly-lined chutes and deflectors (for improved placement with in-cab controls), reinforced wrappers and adjustable skid, in addition to the two auger options. The D-Series models feature a 36-inch, high-volume intake shrouds. The chute rotates 270 degrees using a direct-drive hydraulic motor.

    For more information go here.



    John Deere has penned a distribution agreement with Douglas Dynamics, parent company of Western plows, to sell and support Western products through John Deere dealers.

    Through this agreement, John Deere dealers in the United States and Canada will sell and service Western snow and ice removal products that are compatible with Deere’s Gator utility vehicles.

    Initial product offerings include the following Western blades: 72-inch hydraulic straight blade, 72-inch hydraulic V-blade, 72-inch manually adjusted V-blade, 72-inch straight blade and 66-inch straight blade.

    Dan Miller can be reached at

    Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF

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