Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
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Big Reach for Autonomous Farming

For anyone interested in autonomous farming, the next week or two will be an interesting time for the evolution of the science and the technology. This spring, Craig Rupp and Kyler Laird are beginning their audacious journey to plant 10,000 acres of soybeans with a single, autonomous tractor and 18-row planter.
Rupp is CEO of Sabanto Ag, the company formed in October 2018 to test the notions of new production efficiency through autonomous farming. Sabanto is a "Farming-as-a-Service company performing row-crop operations using advanced autonomous equipment," according to the company's website, Laird is the co-founder of Sabanto and chief technology officer. Sabanto is co-located in Ames, Iowa, where Rupp resides and in Rensselaer, Indiana, where Laird farms 1,700 acres of family land.
Beginning as soon as next week, weather dependent, Rupp and Laird expect to be planting soybeans in Illinois using an autonomously equipped JCB Fastrac 4220 tractor with three-point hitch and an 18-row, 20-inch Harvest International planter, equipped with, among other technologies, Precision Planting's DeltaForce down force control. The high-capacity planter is 30 feet wide. The Fastrac has a maximum 235 HP and a road speed of 37 mph.
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