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Archive for July, 2010

Tractor Safety Tips

No matter how many days, years, or generations you have been farming it’s always good to remember the basics of farm and tractor safety. Take a look at these tips from National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division (NECAS) on tractor safety:

Develop a “safety first” attitude. Follow safe work practices all the time and set a good example for others. 
• Be physically and mentally fit when operating tractors. Fatigue, stress, medication, alcohol and drugs can detract from safe tractor operation. Take breaks.
• Read operator’s manual and warning decals. Pay attention to safety information.
• Equip the tractor with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) and wear seat belts.
• Inspect the tractor for any hazards and correct them before operating.
• Make sure everyone who operates a tractor has received training and is physically able to operate it safely.
• Shut down equipment, turn off engine, remove key and wait for moving parts to stop before dismounting equipment.
• Keep bystanders and others away from tractor operation area. Do not allow “extra riders,” especially children.

Inspection
• Are ROPS in place and seat belts used?
• Is a PTO master shield in place?
• Is the operator’s platform clear of debris?
• Is a reflective “Slow Moving Vehicle” emblem posted?
• Are lights and flashers operational?
• Are tires properly inflated?
• Is the hydraulics free from leaks?
• Are brakes can be locked together?
• Is a 20 lb. “ABC” fire extinguisher in place?
• Is a fully equipped first aid kit on the tractor?
Source: National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) – Tractor Safety

What was the first tractor safety tip that you ever learned and how did you learn it?

Gleaner Super7 Video

“Gleaner combines are totally different because they are better” said Kevin Bien, AGCO Product Marketing Manager for Combines. You may remember him from our previous post on the Gleaner Super7, built for the US & Canada. In the video below, you can learn about the history, innovation, and testing that went into engineering the new Gleaner Super Series.

Check out the discussion tab on the AGCO Facebook page to post your questions and comments about the Gleaner Super7.

Tips for Successful Hay Raking

Haying season is typically a race between weather and crop, with the prize being optimal protein content and more valuable hay. Some great strategic raking tips are offered by Joell Bagg, Forage Specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs:
“Raking is done to narrow the swath for the baler, and also to move the wetter material at the bottom of the windrow to the outside. Every time you rake hay there is some leaf loss, so rake strategically. The drier the hay is at raking, the greater the leaf loss. If possible, raking alfalfa at moistures between 30 – 40% is often a good compromise between low leaf loss and good drying. Leaf loss can be extremely high if raking at 20% moisture. Hay that is almost dry is less likely to shatter when raked in the early morning when the dew is still on.

Some rake designs are more aggressive and do a better job of fluffing, but are also more prone to leaf loss, particularly at lower moistures. Uniform, consistent raking without bunching is required to avoid wet bales.

If a partially dried hay field does receive a heavy rain, tedders or rotary rakes can break up a windrow that has clumped and matted into the stubble. Moving a windrow onto a drier surface, or fluffing onto stubble can speed drying. Tedders are better suited to grasses than alfalfa. Avoid using a tedder on alfalfa at moistures less than 50%. Avoid driving with tractor tires on the swath and causing leaf loss.” Source: Cutting, Conditioning & Raking For Faster Hay Drying

Massey Ferguson is introducing a new rotary rake series in the US & Canada, with MF3824 and MF3879 models available in New Zealand and Australia. The new RK Series rotary rakes are designed to help hay producers optimize hay quality by gently sweeping, rather than rolling the crop to the center which maximizes leaf retention for optimum protein content and more valuable hay. Find out more information from the product fact sheet for the new Massey Ferguson RK Series Rotary Rakes here.

Check out this video of the rotary rakes at the National Farm Machinery Show:

AGCO Video Contest: Your Chance at FAME!

Ever wanted to be famous? Well here’s your chance! AGCO is sponsoring our first ever video contest with the theme of “Fans on Film”. Submit your origional film with an AGCO product in it to be considered for a prize! First place wins an AGCO branded Flip camera and two runners up will recieve a $25 iTunes gift card each. By now, I’m sure you are wondering to yourself “how do I submit my video”? Well, I have an answer for you:

Click on the “contest” tab at the AGCO: Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Valtra Tractors and Farm Equipment fanpage on Facebook and click “Enter Now”. (“Like” us while you’re there!)

After that, you will be sent to a form with step-by-step instructions on how to upload your video to YouTube to be considered for the contest. Please note that by entering the contest, you agree to the terms and conditions on our AGCO website.

If you’d like to view the videos already submitted, you can see them on AGCO’s YouTube channel. If you have any problems uploading you video, just post a comment below and we will do our best to help you out.

Now get those cameras rollin’… ACTION!

Independence Day is Everyday When You Farm

The love of farming is based in many truths. You know you can trust things you cannot control. You get great pleasure in helping grow food, fiber and feed for others. And you have a deep appreciation for the independence you enjoy everyday.

This year as the US celebrated another Independence Day, I had the opportunity to reflect on the many freedoms that come with farming. Granted, there are also many, many responsibilities, but these are outweighed by the gift of freedom and independence. The freedom to be your own boss, the choice to put family first, and the autonomy to to be part of a greater community all combine into a distinct personality.

Farmers are a unique breed, whether they call a small-scale operation home or if they run a huge agribusiness. Those that earn their living by living off the land all share this desire for freedom and independence.

Yesterday’s July 4th holiday helped me to realize it was not a coincidence that Paul Mobley’s book, The American Farmer, was subtitled “The Heart of our Country.” (These amazing pictures were presented by Paul himself at the annual NAMA – National Agrimarketing Assn. conference this spring.) That same heartbeat of independence that drives America, and many other countries who have also fought hard for their freedom, also beats within the heart of a farmer.

As you enjoy this online version of The American Farmer, tell us what freedoms you enjoy most that come from being a farmer.
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