ASABE Awards: Best of USA

By: Andrew Hobbs

Presented by

While the majors dominated the long list of the top US agricultural innovations of 2019, there were some gems to be found among the smaller players

ASABE 50 innovation awards
ASABE 50 innovation awards

Claas, John Deere, Case IH, New Holland and Kuhn dominated the list of the most innovative designs in engineering products prepared by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

The society’s AE50 awards honour the 50 best products judged as having the greatest impact on the food and agricultural engineers by a panel of international engineering experts.

Claas won six of the awards for products commercially introduced to the USA in 2019 – the Lexion 8000-7000 series combine harvester, Jaguar 900 series forage harvester, Jaguar Terra Trac drive system, Axion 900 Series tractor, Orbis 750 header and the new Claas corn head.

The new corn head has gear-driven left- and right-hand main row unit gearboxes designed to cut down on drive chain maintenance, while new non-greaseable knife rolls ensure consistent season long performance.

Claas of America president Eric Raby says the awards are an "extreme honour".
"It has always been our goal to ensure an efficient and reliable harvest to our customers with our long line of premium equipment," he says.

John Deere had the same number of nominations, for its N500C Series Air Drill and its LS475 liquid spraying system, as well as for two mowers: the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut and E-Cut hybrid triplex mower and M & R series walk behind mower; and the Quik-Knect and MowerPlus Smart Connector attachment systems.

Case IH was recognised for three products, including its AFS Connect Magnum series tractor and its redesigned operating system which enables remote display viewing, service diagnostics and software update.

The Case IH 2160 Early Riser split-row large fold front planter was recognised for its wing wheel system, which provides optimal weight distribution between the tractor and planter and its Precision Air 5 series air cart received a nod for its curve compensation, which helps ensure proper product distribution across the drill in tight turns and corners.

New Holland also received three awards – for the automatic levelling and agitation system in its P-Series Air Car, the SideWinder Ultra tractor armrest and the Ground Speed Management II system available on New Holland’s T5 and T6 ranges of midrange tractors.


It wasn’t only the tractors and harvesters that won prizes, with judges recognising innovations in a variety of other fields.

Kuhn received two awards, for the OptiSense belt stall indicator on the MM 890 Merge Maxx hay merger and the Kuhn Optidisc Elite cutterbar, found on most Kuhn mowers and mower conditioners.

The OptiSense belt stall indicator alerts the operator when approaching the maximum capacity of the machine, giving them a chance to react before the machine plugs, while an audible alarm alerts the operator should it stall.

The Optidisc Elite cutterbar, available on select Kuhn GMD mowers and FC mower conditioners, has a lower profile with a flatter angle to improve cut quality in difficult field conditions while also reducing dirt and ash incorporation.

Vermeer won a prize for its ZR5 Self-Propelled Baler, which judges said reduced hay baling to the simple push of a button, while an independent suspension system gives the machine better handling.

Anderson Group’s Fusion720 combination inline and single bale wrapper won an award, with judges commending its modular mechanisms – meaning wrapping can be optimised according to stage size, crop quantity and other factors.

Woods Equipment Company won a prize for its BH100 Groundbreaker backhoe attachment, which has serrated edges on the thumb, dipper and bucket to help it dig in a variety of soil conditions, as well as grubbing out roots to remove stumps and reposition oversized materials.

Irrigation company Lindsay Corporation won an award for its FieldNET Pivot Watch, a solar-powered monitoring device that can attach onto any centre pivot irrigation system, while Valley Irrigation won for its Valley GPS Guidance system, which uses advanced power line carrier technology to communicate RTK GPS correction signals.

This technology works much like automated steering and tractor guidance and improves the reliability of communication with the corner arm, eliminating the need for radios.

Judges of these prizes will then whittle down the 50-strong long list to 10, with up to three of those likely to receive the ASABE’s Davidson Prize, last year won by Global Unmanned Spray Systems, the Swath Pro Aerial Application system and Ag Gateway’s Agricultural Data Application Programming Toolkit.

The prize winners will be announced in February.

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