Archive for June, 2010

Keep Your Cows Happy in the Heat

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but it is very hot and humid here in Georgia. Being that it is dairy month, we thought it important to share this article on keeping your cows (and other livestock) happy and healthy in the summer heat. The Dairy Farming Information Centre in the UK, DairyCo’s extension officer Richard Davies offers the following tips to help manage heat stress in your herd:

Providing spray cooling and helping the airflow in the collecting yard can really help,” adds Mr Davies.

“Increasing airflow over a cow also has a dramatic effect, evaporating heat loss from the skin. The results of research from the USA suggest that airflows as low as 10km/hr can reduce respiration rates in heat stressed animals by as much as 50%.”

“Providing plenty of water might seem an obvious point, but given that a cow needs up to 85 litres of clean water a day normally you need to be aware that in hot weather they can need up to half as much again due to sweating and respiratory losses.

Shady areas are vital outside but I’d advise keeping cows in during the hottest part of the day,” says Mr Davies.

Jamie Robertson of Aberdeen University agrees, “cow comfort is really important in the heat,” he says. “Cows will be in the collecting yard for up to four hours a day, so get holes in the roof or along the roof ridge, or take cladding off the sides.

“I don’t like to use ballpark figures but an open area in the roof of around 0.12sq m per cow is around the amount you should be looking at. Solutions don’t need to be complex, it can be as simple as taking an angle grinder to Yorkshire boarding or taking off sections of galvanised steel to allow more air into the building.

“If you have more of a budget, think about replacing boarding and breeze blocks with climate controlled blinds, which use heat and humidity sensors to open up automatically.” Source: Managing heat stress in your herd – 16/06/2010 – Farmers Weekly

What are you doing to make your animals more comfortable in extreme weather conditions?

Massey Ferguson 6400 Tractor with Dyna-6 Eco Transmission

The Massey Ferguson 6400 Dyna-6 transmission with a 24F/24R gear range provides operators with six-on-the-move clutchless gear changes for all four ranges, making light work of driving on the road and in the field. Check out a tour of the MF 6400 Dyna-6, one of the best mechanical transmissions:

Learn more here.

17 Tips for Tuning up Your Planter

Last week I blogged about an article I found in Advantage Magazine about tractor safety. Here’s some tips I found about tuning-up and taking care of your planter.
  • Look for wear on double disk openers and seed tubes.
  • Make sure sprocket settings on the planter transmission are correct.
  • Assure the controller and monitor are calibrated on hydraulic prime models.
  • Make sure the meters have all been cleaned from the previous season.
  • Check for worn chains, stiff chain links and tire pressure on ground-drive units.
  • Lubricate all chains and grease fittings.
  • Check the bearings/bushings on the parallel linkage to ensure that all row units are tracking correctly.
  • Make sure seed drop tubes are clean and clear of any obstructions.
  • Clean seed tube sensors and make sure the wiring hasn’t been damaged if you are using a planter monitor.
  • Ensure coulters and disk openers are aligned properly.
  • Check the planter’s depth-control settings to make sure they are accurate.
  • Make sure the closing wheels are correctly aligned.
  • Make sure the hitch is correctly adjusted so the row units are level.
  • Check metering units on fertilizer and insecticide applicators.
  • Make sure transport lighting is working properly and reflectors are in place.
  • Inspect air tubes for cracks and check the condition of hopper lid seals.
  • Make sure the drive and transport tires are inflated to specifications.

“Planter Tune-Up Checklist” by Tharran E. Gaines appeared in the Spring issue of Advantage magazine from AGCO and Red Barn Publishing. If you don’t receive Advantage magazine, visit your local AGCO dealer to sign up.

Do you have any tips to add to the list?

Pimp Your (Tractor) Ride

Valtra is the agricultural machinery brand that epitomizes customization. Renowned for their versatility and reliability, Valtra tractors are designed specifically for each customer and engineered to withstand harsh climates and deliver high performance in demanding work conditions. Customers work in close partnership with their sales representatives to determine the ideal specifications for powering their operations, choosing from a wide array of colors, engines, transmissions, hydraulics, cabs and other options. You can even visit the Valtra factory to observe your tractors being custom-built. Valtra delivers on its promise “Power of Choice.”

If that wasn’t enough, you can personalize your own virtual Valtra tractor online with a fun game! See mine in this post (I know, it’s awesome). Now, I don’t think you can actually order a satellite dish and a cat with your Valtra tractor, but I thought it was pretty fun. You can also submit your design to a gallery and view other peoples’ creations too. Have some fun today and design your new Valtra tractor … then post your creations here if you dare to compete with mine!

Learn more about Valtra tractors here.

FFA Stonger Than Ever

Congratulations to the Future Famers of America for breaking their previous membership record! AGCO is a proud sponsor of the FFA and fully supports their mission to develop students into leaders through ag education.

“The National FFA Organization, the largest youth organization in the US, has gotten bigger. The organization has crushed its previous membership record by surpassing 520,000 members. The previous record membership was set in 1977 with just under 510,000 members across the nation.

Dwight Armstrong, the national FFA chief operating officer, attributes the jump in membership to the increasing popularity in affiliate membership. Affiliate membership allows high school teachers to extend FFA membership to all students enrolled in an agricultural education class by paying a flat fee based on chapter size. Armstrong also notes that the membership number may be even bigger when the official membership year ends in August.” Source: FFA breaks membership record | Brownfield

Learn all the FFA has to offer here.