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  • Fairbury News staff

Ag autonomy demonstrated

Farmers gather in Ben Meister's field near Fairbury last week to witness ag technology.

The Meister farm on the west edge of Fairbury resembled an outdoor farm show last week as local farmers witnessed driverless cab technology out in the field.

Jenner Precision hosted the field day for Raven’s newly introduced OMNi brand of autonomous solutions. The new platform allows farmers to perform multiple tasks simultaneously without a driver.

This is just the beginning as ag automation is here. Jenner manager Bryan Fehr feels technology will advance faster in the next 10 years than the last 30.

“There is a roadmap of more things to come down the road,” Fehr explained.

Farmers witnessed a tractor and grain cart traveling through the field without anyone in the cab – a first for this area. Everything is controlled by the combine operator.

“Basically, you flip the switch to autonomous mode then the operator in the combine has the option of sending it to a stage point, a mid-point or an unload position then he can sync it with the combine,” Fehr noted.

Raven started down the autonomy path a couple of years ago with the acquisition of Smart Ag. They also purchased a path planning software group that will bring all of this together, allowing the company to effectively manage the paths of tractors, sprayers or spreaders.

“Our path to autonomy is full speed ahead,” said Greg Witt, Raven’s CNH sales consultant.

Those attending the recent Jenner field day at the Meister farm in Livingston County also saw demonstrations for Raven row guidance for applicators and sprayers. A row image is used to automatically steer a machine between the rows.

“That allows us to run over less corn and just do a better job from a steward standpoint,” added Witt.

The OMNiDRIVE driverless ag technology for grain cart harvest operations is available for purchase. Fehr said Jenner has systems on order and anyone interested should reach out to 815-692-6655. On-farm demos will be offered to farmers in the fall.

“I don’t think folks really understand the power behind not having somebody in the cab and it’s fun to watch the perceptions change,” Witt observed.

Jenner Precision is one of only two dealers in Illinois to offer this new ag technology. OMNiDRIVE features include predictive path planning, remote operation management, transfer precision controls and camera technology to keep people safe while not disturbing unharvested crops.

The aftermarket system installs easily and is easy to use, according to Jenner company representatives.

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