Feeding livestock can bring with it several challenges including labour shortages, wasted feed, higher prices for smaller quantities, intake monitoring and dominant animals bullying more timid individuals.
The new technology was spotted recently on social media, with a video showing one of the company's large red planters being towed to a field by a truck, then being put through its paces drilling corn. The development has been confirmed by chief executive Phillip Horsch with the Robo planter undergloing real planting trials.
"The Robo works well, planting autonomously and making turns unaided on the headland etc," he explained.
Horsch also noted that because safety regulations in Germany are so strict for fully autonomous vehicles that a supervisor/operator has to stay within 600 metres and always be watching the machine.
He confirmed that two more autonomous "concepts" would follow the Robo planter by the end of the year. The autonomous machine is likely to be released in about two years, subject to ongoing efforts to relax the current stringent regulations. The company also manufactures trailed and self-propelled sprayers and is said to be keen to develop robotic versions of these machines as well.
Horsch says the autonomous planter was likely to be released for sale in about two years, depending on efforts to change current regulations.
Running on a twin-track system, the Horsch Robo is equipped with a Trimble navigation system and fitted with a large seed hopper that supplies the 24-row Maestro seeding element.