The Nexat system with its combine attachment at work in sunflowers
The Nexat system with its combine attachment at work in sunflowers.

The future of global agricultural crop production has been revealed after being awarded a Gold Medal in the German Agricultural Society’s (DLG) Agritechnica 2022 Innovation Awards. The accolade has gone to Nexat GmbH for its holistic revolution crop production system that’s based around a single carrier vehicle that can be fitted with all the implements required for tasks from tillage to harvesting.

German company Nexat was formed in 2017 with the aim of revolutionising crop production. In fact, director Felix Kalverkamp said: “We don’t need further optimisation of existing technology, but something holistically new!” That’s a bold claim, but one that’s supported by the involvement of his father and fellow director Klemens Kaverkamp, whose CV includes senior managment roles at Grimme.

The company also has the support of other leading agricultural machinery manufacturers including spraying specialist Dammann, harvesting experts Geringhoff and cultivation and drilling giant Väderstad where chairman Crister Stark said: “For long-term, climate-neutral, resource-saving agriculture, a rethinking must take place, both agriculturally and technologically, in harmony with nature.”

The Nexat revolution concept: conventional farming versus the new system
The Nexat revolution concept: conventional farming versus the new system.

Nexat is keen to point out that its innovation is not just a vision or a dream of the future. The new crop production system has already been in use for several years in selected farms under real conditions. And with great success.

“It’s the synergy of 50 years of development expertise and cutting-edge technology from market-leading agricultural machinery manufacturers,” the company claims. “The result is Nexta revolution: the world’s first and only holistic crop production system that can answer the challenges of the future in technical, economic and ecological terms. It’s a milestone for the development of CO2-neutral agriculture in Germany, Europe and worldwide.”

At the centre of Nexat’s system is a powerful, wide-span carrier vehicle with interchangeable implements that can perform tillage, sowing, plant protection and harvesting tasks using modular attachments developed in close collaboration with well-known and reputable manufacturers. The modules can be swapped by one person in less than 10 minutes and there are plans to fully automate this process in the near future.

The Nexat revolution sprayer module is built by Damann and has a 70m boom
The Nexat revolution sprayer module is built by Damann and has a 70m boom.

It could be argued that tractor-mounted combines means there’s nothing new here, but Nexat revolution takes the concept several steps further: first, the system is 14m wide and designed for use in controlled traffic systems – this means only five per cent of the field is ever driven on, compared to 60 to 80 per cent under conventional agriculture; and second, the system has been developed form the ground up for autonomous operation.

Nexat says the new concept is closely aligned with the goals and challenges of today’s farmers, for example that of increasing their productivity per hectare and capita, and improving their farm’s profitability as a result. It also helps farmers to take significant strides towards more future-orientated, climate-neutral farming practices by managing valuable resources more sustainably and responsibly. The potential benefits are:

  • earnings potential >10-30 per cent increased
  • energy consumption >30 per cent reduced
  • costs/technique >20 per cent saved
  • profit increase >50 per cent possible
The Nexat revolution cab is there primarily for monitoring the operation of the autonomous system
The Nexat revolution cab is there primarily for monitoring the operation of the autonomous system.

There is a cab, or “peripheral monitoring system” that can be rotated by 270 degrees and used for process monitoring. This establishes the basis for fully automated machine operation and enables manual vehicle guidance during transport. The integrated implements are mounted between four large, electrically driven track running gear units that can be rotated through 90 degrees for travelling by road. At present, power is supplied by two independent diesel engines, each offering an output of 545hp, with generators, but the vehicle is designed to be futureproof som it can be used with alternative drive technologies such as fuel cells.

With the integrated NexCo combine harvester module, the Nexat revolution system achieves grain throughputs of 130 to 200 t/hr. A 5.8m axial rotor mounted transverse to the direction of travel is used in the innovative threshing concept. The flow of harvested material is introduced centrally into the rotor and at a tangent to achieve energy efficiency. The rotor divides it into two material flows. This enables roughly twice the threshing performance of conventional machines and establishes the prerequisite for uniform straw and chaff distribution with two choppers, even with a cutting width of 14m.

The harvested grain is stored in a 36 cubic metre bunker, as a result of which the combine harvester unit does not require a transfer vehicle on normal-length fields. Transfer to the transport vehicle can take place on the headland; with an unloading capacity of 600 lit/sec, the process only takes about one minute.

Nexat revolution system tools can be swapped in about 10 minutes - a process that will soon be automated
Nexat revolution system tools can be swapped in about 10 minutes – a process that will soon be automated.

The Nexat-NexCo combination therefore gives rise to a completely new dimension of threshing performance when you take into account that the carrier vehicle is used throughout the year. The concept heralds a paradigm shift in agriculture and is to be viewed positively in terms of resource economy and ecology.

Another bold claim is that Nexat isn’t just another development promising short-term gains in profit and yield. It’s a solid plan to bring farming permanently back into sync with nature.

www.nexat.de