The Hands Free Hectare harvest

This field planted and harvested without humans, aimed to be the first in the world.

The ground-breaking Hands Free Hectare (HFHa), run by Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions, tend and harvest a crop with only autonomous vehicles and drones, has come to an end after a successful harvest.

The Iseki tractor which was used earlier in the project for the spraying, drilling and rolling, was smaller and lighter than most tractors used nowadays. The team’s mentality that smaller is better was carried through to harvest which was completed with a combine harvester designed to harvest trial plots. The team believe that the use of smaller agricultural machines could improve soil and plant health.

Jonathan Gill, researcher at Harper Adams University, said:

“There’s been a focus in recent years on making farming more precise, but the larger machines that we’re using are not compatible with this method of working. They’re also so heavy that their damaging farmers’ soils.
If combines in the future were similar to the size of the combine we used in this project, which was a little Sampo combine with a header unit of only two meters, it would allow more precise yield maps to be created. They would also be much lighter machines.”

source Hands Free Hectare