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New environment-friendly tractor debuts in Europe

Auga Group M1 tractor developed by the AUGA Group in Europe runs on biomethane and electricity
1ST OF ITS KIND: This tractor developed by the Auga Group in Europe runs on biomethane and electricity. Time will tell if it is the tractor of the future.
Hi-Tech Farming: Don’t expect to see the Auga M1 on your dealer’s lot just yet.

It’s green, but it’s neither John Deere green nor Oliver green. And unlike tractors that carry those names, it doesn’t run on gasoline or diesel fuel. This new tractor, the Auga M1, is reportedly the world’s first hybrid biomethane and electric tractor capable of commercial farm use.

The Auga Group, Europe’s largest vertically integrated organic food producer, developed the tractor. The goal was to tackle one of the biggest hurdles to making agriculture more environmentally friendly — burning fossil fuels, spokespersons say. Others have tried to produce eco-friendly tractors, but inefficient refueling and underdeveloped infrastructure for refueling stations stood in the way. Coming up with quick and convenient gas cartridge replacements that fit in the framework of the tractor helped solve the problem.

Auga, based in Lithuania, says the M1 tractor can work much longer in the field than other eco-friendly tractors people have tried to develop. Learn more at auga.lt.

Precision-spraying technology

You’ve likely read about spraying technology that can spray weeds and not crops on the go. That’s because Greeneye Technology, the Israel-based company developing the technology, has been working on it for a while. Greeneye Technology says it’s ready to launch the technology commercially in the U.S. in 2022. Expect targeted corn and soybean farmers in the U.S. to get a look at it first, with increasing availability in 2023 and launch in Europe in 2024.

This is significant because many companies choose to launch innovative technologies in Europe first. The technology has already been commercially launched on one of the largest farming operations in Israel.

Spokespersons say this artificial intelligence-enabled precision spraying technology can reduce herbicide use by 90% and cut costs by 50%, while offering the same or better accuracy than broadcast spraying.

John Deere has already launched See and Spray as an option on new sprayers. Currently, that technology distinguishes between weeds and bare ground, but can’t identify individual weeds for spraying. Spokespersons for Deere say that capability is coming soon.

The people behind Greeneye Technology say the difference is that their technology can be integrated into existing sprayers without buying new spraying equipment. Syngenta is one of the strategic partners cooperating with Greeneye Technology to promote commercialization.

Inari accesses Stine’s corn germplasm

A strategic collaboration between Inari, with facilities in Cambridge, Mass., and West Lafayette, Ind., and Eden Enterprise Inc. will allow Inari access to Stine Seed’s elite corn breeding program. The goal is to further advance the development of unique, competitive corn products.

Harry Stine, president of Eden Enterprise, says they’re making the move because of the tremendous potential he sees for gene editing for both corn and soybean programs. Inari positions itself as an expert in using predictive design and multiplex gene-editing technologies to develop more productive genetic products. Inari also has arrangements with other seed companies.

Inari uses what it calls its SEEDesign platform to unlock new possibilities that will bring step-change corn and soybean products to market. You haven’t seen a bag with the Inari name on it offered for sale — instead, the company works in the development phase to help corn and soybean breeders arrive at improved products more quickly than they could using traditional methods. Inari’s goal is delivering a 10% yield boost for corn while driving down water and nitrogen use 40%. Visit inari.com.

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