Successful Farming - - START – UP SPOTLIGHT - By Lau­rie Be­dord, Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor, Ag Tech­nol­ogy

Iowa-based Smart Ag is re­leas­ing, on a limited ba­sis, the first ap­pli­ca­tion for its Au­toCart. This soft­ware fully automates a grain cart trac­tor. The tech­nol­ogy, says Colin Hurd, will al­low you to au­to­mate your ex­ist­ing equip­ment and max­i­mize its ef­fi­ciency and ca­pac­ity – re­gard­less of man­u­fac­turer. To date, it is com­pat­i­ble with 48 trac­tor mod­els.

“Farm­ing should no longer be de­fined by what the equip­ment in­dus­try de­cides is bet­ter or more prof­itable. We be­lieve agri­cul­ture is best when you have choices,” says Hurd, who is the founder and CEO of Smart Ag. “The best way to im­prove your op­er­a­tional ca­pac­ity is to en­able you to use au­to­ma­tion and driver­less tech­nol­ogy on your farm. With the cor­rect tech­nol­ogy and knowl­edge, you can do the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble.”

plug-and-play to au­to­mate

Au­toCart, along with the SmartHP trac­tor au­to­ma­tion kit, is a plug-and-play sys­tem that al­lows you to set stag­ing and un­load­ing lo­ca­tions in a field, ad­just speed, mon­i­tor lo­ca­tion, and com­mand the grain cart to sync pre­cisely to the speed and di­rec­tion of the com­bine. Af­ter it is loaded, the Au­toCart au­to­mat­i­cally re­turns to an un­load­ing point else­where in the field.

Ac­cord­ing to Hurd, Smart Ag’s driver­less trac­tor tech­nol­ogy “em­pow­ers you to leave the cab” and com­plete your oper­a­tions faster and with less la­bor than ever be­fore. “Au­toCart per­forms the same func­tion as a driver, only it is more prof­itable, more re­li­able, and safer,” he says. “Our tech­nol­ogy has the po­ten­tial to bring sig­nif­i­cant change to U.S. crop pro­duc­tion through im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity, prof­itabil­ity, and safety.”

Over two years in devel­op­ment, Smart Ag re­cently com- pleted com­pre­hen­sive beta test­ing on Mid­west farms dur­ing corn and soy­bean har­vest. Kyle Mehmen’s fifth-gen­er­a­tion MBS Fam­ily Farms near Plain­field, Iowa, was one of those test sites.

“The Au­toCart sys­tem per­formed ex­tremely well for us dur­ing our corn har­vest, and I fully ex­pect it to be a game changer for agri­cul­ture,” he says. “These are the kinds of tech­nolo­gies we’re go­ing to adopt on our farm one way or the other. It’s sim­ply a mat­ter of when and which ones.”

The Smart Ag plat­form in­cludes four com­po­nents.

• SmartHP. This is an au­to­ma­tion kit for the trac­tor and in­cludes all con­nec­tion har­nesses, equip­ment, hard­ware, and in­stal­la­tion in­struc­tions. Cost is $25,000 per trac­tor.

• SmartNX. This is the hard­ware that con­nects your com­bine or any other ma­chine to the cloud and any trac­tor with SmartHP.

• Au­toCart. This is the in­ter­face used in the com­bine to con­trol the grain cart trac­tor. Cost is $2,500 a year or $10,000 for five years.

• AAVI Au­tonomous Farm­ing. This is the free farm, field, and ma­chin­ery man­age­ment plat­form. Visit to learn more.

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