Three innovative products recently were selected from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers' 2020 AE50 award program to receive the annual Davidson Prize. The prize was designed to celebrate innovations in the areas of agricultural, food and biological-systems engineering.

“We’re excited about the advancement of agricultural engineering and the positive impacts it continues to have on farmers’ ability to work more efficiently,” said Curt Blades, senior vice-president of agriculture at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “The three products deliver on solutions that represent the spirit of J.B. Davidson and the innovative legacy of agriculture.”

John Deere Quik-Knect is designed to simplify the coupling of power take-off-driven implements. Examples are no power take-off spline alignment and hold-back requirements, automatic locking when the tractor power take-off is engaged, and integrated locking and coupling so no external restraint is required. John Deere’s approach can be used on power take-off drivelines and scaled to other power-driven units. Quik-Knect is compliant with existing driveline standards and doesn’t require modification to existing shielding, according to the maker.

The Smart-Apply Intelligent Spray Control System was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and universities. Smart Guided Systems LLC has a five-year exclusive technology-transfer agreement for the light-detection and ranging-based system. The system can be adapted to most models of air-blast sprayers in less than eight hours, according to the company. Published research reports have concluded the system provides performance improvements while providing equal or better crop protection – 47-percent to 73-percent reduction in spray consumption, 40-percent to 87-percent reduction in spray loss beyond tree canopies, as much as 87 percent less airborne drift and 68-percent to 93-percent reduction in spray loss on the ground.

Tractor Implement Management is a cross-product and cross-manufacturer ISOBUS solution. ISOBUS is an international standard that ensures compatibility and connectivity between displays, tractors and implements. Tractor Implement Management allows an implement to control certain tractor functions. An implement can send information to a tractor via standardized and secure communication. The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation has used the basic idea of the ISOBUS Class 3 solution and made progress with a new infrastructure for secure communication. A solution with digital certificates is the only way to ensure manufacturer-independent cooperation between tractors and implements for maximum brand flexibility, according to the foundation. Field operations become simpler because the solution assumes repetitive tasks.

The Davidson Prize was created by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers to celebrate innovations in agriculture. The prize is named for J.B. Davidson, considered to be the father of modern agricultural engineering. Winners were selected from the AE50 honorees, announced at the Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in February in Louisville.

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