Archive for April, 2013

Making a 180° Turn for Better Ergonomics and Productivity

For most jobs tractor operators drive their machine forward. But there are some applications where changing direction will get more out of the tractor while also improving the work posture of the driver.
Changing direction when mowing significantly increases the tractor's efficiency
This is why Valtra has developed TwinTrac – a unique reverse drive system which is available on tractors from 99 hp up to 370 hp.

Working with Valtra TwinTrac increases productivity in a wide a range of applications: on the field, in the forest, on the farm yard or in municipal maintenance work. The operator benefits from

  • outstanding visibility and control of the implement
  • improved machine agility
  • further improved ergonomics with a reduced risk of neck strain

As a result the job gets done more accurately and quickly – the operator saves time and fuel costs!

Designed to work in both directions
Valtra TwinTrac reverse drive system
The TwinTrac reverse drive system features additional controls in the rear of the cab, including an extra steering wheel and forward-reverse shuttle, plus accelerator, clutch and brake pedals. The driver’s seat in Valtra tractors swivels through 180 degrees so it is easy to change direction without leaving the seat.

A recent study showed that working in reverse offers significant health benefits as twisted postures of the back and neck can be reduced to a minimum.

To find out more about Valtra TwinTrac visit



White Planters Introduces 9000 Series

White Planters today introduced its new 9000 Series, featuring the Model 9812-30 forward-fold, narrow-transport row-crop planter. With an enhanced seed meter design and a new cast-design row unit, the 9000 Series reaffirms White Planters’ reputation for delivering precise seed placement and machine longevity with minimal maintenance. Available with a full range of options and attachments, the new planters may be configured to fit any production system, from conventional to no-till and to plant crops ranging from corn, soybeans and sunflowers to sorghum, sugar beets or peanuts. White Planters 9812 30 row crop planter 72dpi 04112013

“The new 9000 Series is ideal for row-crop producers who expect exceptional performance in the field and appreciate simple planter maintenance and operation,” says Gary Hamilton, product marketing specialist with White Planters. “We’ve been building durable, long-lasting planters for nearly 40 years, and we’ve learned what it takes to deliver seed placement accuracy in a wide range of conditions.

“The extensive redesign of the 9000 Series puts it all together in one package and makes this the most significant introduction in a dozen years for White Planters,” Hamilton adds. The 9000 Series builds upon White Planters’ exclusive edge-drop technology: simple, positive-air seed metering system and reputation for long life. Keys to these 9000 Series planters’ improved accuracy are the redesigned seed meter and row unit.

The enhanced design of White Planters’ 9000 Series seed meter offers more consistent, uniform air pressure throughout the full circumference of the seed meter to gently, yet securely hold each seed in a seed cell until it is released into the seed tube. A longer, tapered cutoff brush helps hold even light seed, such as sunflower, in the seed cell to ensure critical seed singulation. In addition, White Planters’ positive-air metering system means the planter is far less impacted by changes in airflow or leaks and also eliminates the need for annual maintenance of seals required by vacuum-based systems.

The new cast row unit consists of only three components, reducing part count by 70 percent and providing greater strength and durability for long life. Machined assembly points also enhance durability and ensure precise alignment of all components. Maintenance has been minimized with the elimination of grease zerks in the row unit itself, and accessing the seed meter, removing the seed hopper and changing the seed disc are still extremely easy and convenient.

Larger, 16-inch double-disc seed trench openers allow planting depth to be increased to 4½ inches, and depth is now adjustable in quarter-inch increments. Closing wheel down-pressure adjustment (if desired) is made easier by simply slipping a 1 1/8-inch (29mm) wrench over the adjustment handle for more leverage. Easy adjustment and operation allow operators to quickly set the row units to deliver consistent seed-to-soil contact for uniform crop emergence and optimum yields. Changes throughout the row unit minimize maintenance and further enhance durability.

Featured in the 9000 Series introduction is the all-new 12-row, narrow-transport, three-section Model 9812-30, which offers 30-inch row spacing and the efficiency of a Central Fill System (CFS).

“We’ve had tremendous demand for a 12-row, 30-inch planter that provides the convenience of narrow transport and the productivity increases that come with a Central Fill System,” explains Hamilton. The 9812-30 joins two other three-section, narrow-transport models, the 9816-30, 16-row and 9824-30, 24-row 30-inch planters. These three-section frames flex 21 degrees up or down at each wing for consistent planting depth across irregular terrain and fold to a 12-foot transport width for convenient movement from field to field.

As with other planters in the Series, the White Planters Model 9812 may be equipped to fit the needs of nearly any production system. It carries 90 bushels of seed in the CFS hopper or may be equipped with either 2- or 3-bushel individual row-mounted seed hoppers. The 9812 is available with ground-drive or variable-rate hydraulic-drive seeding-rate control. Row shutoff control and variable-rate seed and fertilizer application are made possible with the addition of the C1000 or advanced C3000 terminal/monitors. A pneumatic row unit down-pressure system, two-section point-row shutoff clutches and individual-row auto-row shutoff system are optional.

Closing wheel choices include angled rubber, angled cast iron and single-“V” trench press wheels to ensure seed trench closure in no-till or conventional-till fields. Various tillage and fertilizer attachments also are available. A 300-gallon liquid fertilizer system may be used with the CFS, and a 750-gallon liquid fertilizer tank is used with row unit–mounted versions.

For full details about the new White Planters 9000 Series and the all-new Model 9812, visit or see your local White Planters dealer.

Conditioning Tips for Superior Hay Quality

Done at its best, hay conditioning can shave two to five days off drying time, helping maintain harvest cycles and ensuring top-quality hay.

Superior Hay Quality

Producing consistent, top-quality hay requires tight management of harvest schedules to get hay cut at the proper time, then dried, baled and moved off the field quickly so the next cycle can begin.

Proper hay conditioning is a key element in meeting crop cycle objectives, says Dean Morrell, AGCO product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products and a 35-year-veteran of the quality-hay business. “If you don’t condition the crop, and condition it well, staying on a 28- to 32-day hay harvest cycle can be tough,” he says. “Conditioning can save two to five days in drying time, so it is a crucial aspect of keeping on schedule.” Keep in mind, hay plants at 80 percent moisture must lose about 6,000 lbs. per acre of water to produce a ton of hay at 20 percent moisture. Conditioning crimps the stem, opening up the waxy cuticle layer of the stem, letting the plant moisture evaporate faster.

Operators’ manuals provide full details on how to adjust and run specific conditioners. Here are tips from Morrell that outline four important steps in achieving superior conditioning results, no matter what the model:

  • Set the conditioner roll gap at 1/16 inch or less, which creates noticeable breakage of the stem skin to speed stem drying. Setting the gap too tight crushes leaves, increasing loss of critical nutrients. “Setting the roll gap is the most crucial adjustment of the conditioner,” says Morrell.
  • Set roll tension tight enough to achieve a consistent roll gap. If the crop is being over-conditioned, such as with less mature crops, loosen the roll gap tension. Reducing tension also can help solve plugging challenges. In addition, be sure to check that the rolls have not worn more in the center than the ends. Replace worn rolls, since consistent roll condition and diameter are vital to maintain uniform pressure and consistent results for even crop drying.
  • The third critical conditioning element is laying out an even windrow that is as flat and wide as possible without lumps, ridges or clumps of crop. This reduces drying time for better leaf retention and faster, more consistent harvest cycle time. For the widest possible windrow, set the swath board all the way down (at its lowest/flattest possible position).
  • It’s also critical to keep up to date on regular maintenance to ensure peak machine performance. Be sure to visit your local dealer to stock up on knives, cutterbar teeth, guards, ledger plates, common bearings, belts and other common repairs before the hay season starts, to minimize downtime from common breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of recommended parts for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.

A Home for Retired Horses

Dee Doolittle with R2

Dee Doolittle with R2

We pay homage to farmers and others in agriculture who give ’til it helps.

As she moves through the fields and stables at Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement near Salem, Conn., Dee Doolittle is telling stories. The director of the facility knows each of the 29 permanent residents at the facility. “That’s Tommy,” she says, pointing to an aging show horse who was shipped from Ireland to the U.S. as a youngster and “never matched personalities with his trainer.” Josie, the veteran mare who has been at Mitchell Farm the longest, “helps teach new arrivals how to be a horse again.”

And R2, the latest addition and a former Grand Prix jumper, had anxiety attacks when he arrived. “He paced, twirled in his stall, sweated,” says Dee. “He screamed. Just like a person.” But no more.

As a former vet technician and barn manager for a therapeutic riding farm, Dee saw a gap—more like a black hole, she says—in the care of horses who were at the end of their careers but not their lives. “I thought there should be a place for old horses and horses with infirmities—a sanctuary,” she says.

Working horses, especially on the show circuit, are likely to become colicky or develop ulcers. Their jobs are stressful. “And they never learn to just be a horse,” says Dee. They learn everything they know from humans, not other horses. At Mitchell Farm, horses like R2 can finally relax. “We’re not going to ask him to do anything,” says Dee. “All he has to do is eat.”

Owners who want their horses to live out their lives at Mitchell Farm actually sign papers to surrender the animal. Though they pay a one-time fee—roughly the cost of one year’s care—Dee says Mitchell Farm survives on grants and donations, along with fundraising events on the farm, and the hard work and input of about 30 volunteers.

Still, she says, it’s not always enough. At one time, more than 70 animals were on the waiting list, and the farm is over capacity now. “We have our fingers in the dike,” says Dee. “It’s a scary world out there for horses.”

Watch the video of Doolittle share a moment with R2, one her retired “residents.”

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