The Van Trump Report

All-in-One “NEXAT” Farming System Cultivates, Sows, Sprays, and Harvests Autonomously

German agtech developer NEXAT GmbH is not a well-known name in the US but that may not be the case for long. The company’s all-in-one machine is dubbed “the world’s first complete holistic crop production system.” Specifically, the NEXAT system is an autonomous, 1,100 horsepower carrier unit with interchangeable implements that can tackle every step of crop production, from plowing and tilling, to planting, spraying, and harvesting.

Joseph Jandrisch, co-founder of NEXAT parent company Kalverkamp Innovation, says the machine is designed more like a locomotive than a tractor. At present, NEXAT’s electric generators are currently powered by two independently driven 550 hp diesel engines, though the company is also working on a hydrogen engine, according to Jandrisch. One of the diesel engines fuels an electric drive that regulates the amount of power fed to the motor.

The system has working widths from about 19 feet to nearly 79 feet. As each module is integrated, its weight is transferred onto the carrier vehicle and optimized so that it becomes a self-propelled machine. This enables the implements to be guided more accurately and with less slip, reducing the vehicle’s fuel consumption and CO2-emissions. NEXAT says the system delivers 50% more power with 40% less weight.

Jandrisch says the modular system is designed to replace traditional fleets of farm machines. Swapping modules can be done by one person in 10 minutes — with plans to automate this step in the future. The system also does not require additional, separate undercarriages. 

NEXAT can also be driven horizontally in the field and vertically on the roads. It is equipped with a peripheral monitoring system and a cab that can be rotated by 270° is available for process monitoring.

The vehicle is ready-made for controlled traffic farming, a management practice used to reduce the damage to soils caused by heavy and repeated machinery passes. NEXAT says 95% of the total arable area is never overrun again by the machine, providing a possible 10-20% yield increase. Typically, farm equipment drives over 60-80% of the field.  

The company envisions growers using the machine will experience additional benefits like sustainable soil improvement through continuous humus build-up, significant CO2 savings, and erosion prevention. The system has been successfully used in crop production under real conditions for 3 years, including its first US trials that began this past spring. That trial featured the debut of the system’s new 135-foot spraying module from Fast Ag Solutions. NEXAT also won a gold Agritechnica Innovation Award in 2022.

As for the price, it won’t be cheap but it could end up saving farmers money in the long run. “We feel that a farmer will be able to get into the entire package for $2 million,” said Jandrisch. “Comparatively, you would need $4 to $5 million for similar performance equipment through the conventional system.”

NEXAT has partnered with Washington-based machinery maker “Terrakamp” to bring its system to North America. There is no specific date yet for when units will be available in the US but Terrakamp is accepting reservations. The most recent update from the company said it aims to deliver orders starting in 2024. Learn more HERE.

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