Archive for April, 2013
Although it seems like yesterday, three years ago today we launched the AGCO Blog. We’d like to give a big thanks to our readers and contributors; we appreciate you continuing to read, respond and engage on our blog! Our goal remains to give our visitors – a global mix of farmers, agriculture industry professionals, investors and AGCO employees around the world – the opportunity to take a look inside AGCO and our brands, as well as interact with us. It also serves as a platform to exchange information, find answers, and get expert advice from one another.
As we look back during the past year, we wanted to share some of your favorite blog posts:
Top 3 Blog Posts from Past Year:
- AGCO Launches Mobile App for Professional Farmers – The announcement of our new mobile app, AGCOMMAND, an innovative app for farmers around the world.
- Massey Ferguson 9500 series Combine Proudly Waves the Maple Leaf – Featuring an image of a combine wrapped in the Canadian flag.
- AGCO Publishes First Sustainability Report – When AGCO published the first global sustainability report.
There were many great blog posts throughout the year, and we look forward to sharing more with you in the future. Share in the comments below which blog post was your favorite.
We look forward to many more years of bringing you the best in agriculture!
In exchange for a little TLC, Rich Bennett’s fields produce healthy yields of grain, while saving him fertilizer, herbicide, fuel and time.
Rich Bennett has gone old school. Like generations before him, he uses cover crops. As a result, he conserves valuable soil, not to mention improve it, as well as save money on fertilizer and fuel. All the while maintaining average yields of corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,100 acres in northwestern Ohio.
“My goal is to keep something growing, to put some value-added material and organic matter back into the soil to produce the next crop,” says Rich, who operates the farm with his wife, Jeannie, and informal partner Ken Griffith. “Our yields are comparable to others in the area, and we don’t have to use the high levels of fertilizer that we once did.”
His soybeans normally yield 40 to 60 bushels per acre, and his corn is in the 165-bushel range. By using cover crops, he figures he saves 30% on the cost of fuel, fertilizer and herbicide—the rye also acts as a weed barrier. There may be a slight yield decrease from a reduction in fertilizer, but it isn’t much.
Rich also reduces tillage. “No-till soybeans into rye saves at least two passes with a disc or finishing tool, and that saves $7 per acre in fuel costs,” he says. “There’s the added benefit of soil protected from wind and heavy rains, plus rainwater infiltration through the rye root structure through the soil, leaving no standing water.”
It’s easy to tell the difference in soils that have benefited from cover crops, according to Rich. Water may stand for many days in other fields, but for only one day at the most where there are cover crops.
The Bennetts also attribute their success to using the right equipment.
They’ve used AGCO-brand and Allis equipment for decades, but made the switch to Massey Ferguson, with a MF7485. “It’s our catch-all tractor,” says Rich, who still uses his AGCO DT180.
“I had an Allis 8050 and a 7045 and wanted to update them, and I did it with the Massey 7485. It’s a good tractor to do anything from hauling grain wagons to planting soybeans. It was the first red tractor Mitchell Farm Equipment sold when they switched from orange to red.”
Everyone on the farm gives high marks to the tractor’s continuous variable transmission (CVT). Rich is totally impressed by the CVT that’s standard on his MF7485. “It’s just so smooth,” he says. “And you can go at such a slow speed. It really takes the stress out of operation. We’re really learning to take advantage of it. With a clutch, you’re always changing gears, but with CVT, you don’t have to be shifting.”
Whether you are cutting, conditioning, raking or baling, all steps in the process of making high-quality hay require attention to detail. Any slip-ups along the way can compromise the end result. Raking is perhaps the most critical step in the process, as more leaf loss can be caused by improper raking than by any other step in the harvest process.
“A good job of raking can make baling high-quality hay relatively easy,” says Dean Morrell, AGCO hay and forage product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson and a 35-year veteran of the quality hay business. “On the other hand, if raking is done poorly, the result can be poor-quality bales that are subject to spoilage.” Morrell reminds producers to avoid raking alfalfa or clover when the forage moisture is less than 35 to 40 percent to prevent the loss of nutrient-dense leaves. Leaves contain two-thirds of the protein and 75 percent of the total digestible nutrients (TDN) in alfalfa hay.
Raking can’t be avoided, because this process gathers a mowed swath into a windrow or gathers two or more windrows into one for more efficient baling. By creating windrows that are uniform in width and in the amount of hay they contain, producers help ensure bales are consistent in shape and density. Also, by creating windrows as large as possible to meet the baler capacity, the amount of loss during the baling process can be minimized when hay is at its driest and most subject to leaf loss from handling.
In addition to proper timing and technique, properly setting the rake ensures good results. Overall, wheel rakes are simplest to set, but rotary rakes, which have more adjustments, often provide superior results, with less dirt contamination in the hay, and therefore less ash, which reduces forage digestibility. Check the operator’s manuals for full details on best practices for setting and operating your style of rake for superior hay production.
Here are several tips on how to set and operate rakes. Except where indicated, tips are for rotary rakes:
- Set rake tines of rotary rakes to skim just above the ground, so they don’t dig up dirt, contaminating the hay and wearing down tines unnecessarily. Set wheel rakes to have as little contact with the ground as possible.
- Make sure rotary rake bogey wheels beneath the rotor are level. The rotor should have one-half to 1 inch of ground clearance on all sides at all times.
- Set the tine arm release based on crop conditions and the size windrow you desire. A dry, fluffy crop requires an earlier release setting. For a heavy, wet crop, use a later release setting.
- For maximum drying, set the windrow as wide as possible.
- If the rake is PTO driven, synchronize the field speed and PTO speed for a gentle lifting and turning action. This helps avoid aggressive handling that can cause excessive leaf loss.
- Operate the rake at a consistent speed to create an even windrow for uniform drying and fewer slugs of wet, bunched hay, thus allowing hay to be fed smoothly and evenly into the baler for superior baler performance. The end result will be high-quality bales and reduced risk of crop spoilage.
- Stay up to date on regular maintenance to ensure peak machine performance including daily greasing of pivot points and hinges. Tighten bolts and replace broken or worn tines. Check tire inflation regularly.
- Be sure to visit your local dealer to stock up on replacement tines and basket and rake wheel bearings before the season starts to minimize downtime from common breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of parts recommended for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.
Hesston has been providing innovation and solutions to farmers since 1947, and is the industry leader in hay-harvesting products. For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson products or to find a dealer near you, visit hesston.com.
AGCO is proud to support Jack’s world record-breaking mission to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world and break the current Guinness Book of World Records™ title in May 2013 in a project called SOLO 20/13.
A Fresno, California native, Wiegand, 20, plans on breaking the current record held by Carlo Schmidt of Switzerland who was 22 years old when he took the title.
Wiegand will depart on this historical voyage in early May from Fresno and head east making 24 stops, flying approximately 21,000 nautical miles, crossing three oceans and visiting 14 different countries. Wiegand will circumnavigate the world in a high-performance Mooney Ovation2 GX for the trip that is expected to take no more than 50 days.
The title of the mission, SOLO 20/13, holds personal significance to Wiegand as it highlights some key elements of his journey, in that he began flying at the age of 13, he will take off on his SOLO flight in the year 2013, and will be 20 years-old when he attempts to break the Guinness Book of World Records™ title.
“I think finishing the trip will just be an amazing feeling, having accomplished something that big,” said Jack Wiegand. With the success of the SOLO 20/13 mission, Jack will realize his long awaited dream of flying around the world and have the opportunity to inspire others to dream big and to never stop exploring.
This expedition will not only be one of historic achievement but will also be utilized as a platform to raise awareness and support for worthy charitable causes. These organizations include Big Brothers Big Sisters, invested in building relationships with children facing adversity, and the Ag Warriors project of the International Agri- Center, benefitting returning veterans by preparing them for careers in the agriculture industry.
For more information on SOLO 20/13 please visit www.SOLO2013.com.
Two identical Massey Ferguson compact tractors are winning praise from course managers and staff at St Andrews Links for their gutsy performance, fuel economy and well-balanced configuration on tasks ranging from pallet handling to overseeding and deep tine aeration to trailer work. Purchased in 2012 by St Andrews Links Trust from local Massey Ferguson dealer, Reekie Cupar, the two 46hp MF 1547 tractors replaced a pair of similarly-sized tractors that had reached retirement age, explained workshop manager, Willie Redpath.
“Having drawn up a shortlist and arranged comparative demonstrations, we settled on the Masseys due to their impressive operating environment, sound build quality and ease of use. The proximity of MF dealer, Reekie Cupar, just 15 minutes away was also a relevant factor in selecting a tractor model that is new to St Andrews Links.”
Willie pointed out that although the Links Trust has owned larger MF tractors previously, the two MF 1547s are the first Massey Ferguson compacts to have worked on any of St Andrews’ seven public golf courses.
One of the new MF 1547 tractors joined the machinery fleet on the famed Old Course, managed by Gordon McKie, while the other is working primarily on the Eden, Strathtyrum and Balgove Courses, where Kevin Muir heads the greenkeeping teams.
In addition to everyday turf maintenance tasks, either tractor may be called on to help out on the practice range or any of the other three courses managed by St Andrews Links Trust.
Gordon McKie commented that the MF 1547 tractor is proving a hit with staff on the Old Course. “You can tell that by the fact that everyone gathers around the Massey first thing in the morning, hoping they will be allocated the tractor for the day’s work,” he said. “To be frank, it’s a very good tractor that does everything asked of it without complaint. A particularly good feature is its long nose which ensures good balance when operating heavy rear-mounted equipment, in particular pallet forks fully laden with rolls of turf.”
Fellow course manager, Kevin Muir, echoed Gordon’s sentiments, adding that the spacious air-conditioned cab makes the tractor a pleasure to drive, enhanced by excellent all-round visibility and low sound levels.
“Both tractors have MF’s DynaQPS transmission which combines forward/reverse power shuttle with push button change-on-the-move across all four gears in each of the three main ranges,” said Kevin. “This feature makes driving the tractor a doddle and is ideal for turf aeration when looking to maintain accurate holes spacing across greens.
“All in all, the tractor is an invaluable member of our machinery fleet, equally happy working at creep speeds on turf as it is hauling loads at road speed up to three miles from the turf nursery. Everyone likes driving it.”