Archive for October, 2013
The quality of machinery—the iron, its design and functionality—will always be important. More often in the years ahead, though, customers will want to know what the machinery can deliver in the way of precision farming capabilities.
“Even with the exceptional productivity gains farmers have made in recent years,” says Bruce Hart, AGCO’s director, ATS Global Marketing, “there will continue to be expectations of greater gains to come. Things like uptime will need to be increased, so will in-field efficiency, yield per acre—even in less-than-perfect conditions. One of the biggest differentiators in the future to help with this will be electronics.”
In some ways, that future has already arrived. Ken Salsman considers that nearly every time he cuts hay using his Hesston® by Massey Ferguson WR9770 windrower equipped with autosteering. “I really like the accuracy,” says Salsman, who farms about 500 acres near Macon, Mo. “Each swath is the same as the one before. The bales can get lopsided if you don’t get the same cut every time you go through the field. Plus, I can cut for six to 12 hours and not feel nearly as tired as when I’d run four hours before we had this system. I save fuel because I’m not overlapping.”
Now, even more revolutionary and helpful tools are being incorporated into farming operations. The latest advancement allows the machines to recognize and communicate their own maintenance needs, while also helping make real-time adjustments in the field.
Much of that can be accomplished through AGCO’s new AgCommand™, a telemetry system that tracks the location and activity of machinery either via computers in the office or through a portable tablet or computer.
AgCommand has already gained traction with agricultural businesses such as cooperatives and agronomy service companies.
“Technology like AgCommand has shown us how inefficient we can be,” says Terry Schmidt, an agronomy manager with CHS, Inc., in southern Minnesota. “As a result of using the program, we went from having eight fertilization units to seven and yet covered more acres the very next year.”
Schmidt is working with AGCO toward the day when all 29 of the application units he now manages for CHS in the region can be dispatched through AgCommand. That, he says, would allow for even more efficiency in terms of getting the right machine in the right location without any confusion or delay.
The ability to monitor and control machinery remotely will also make it easier for farms to employ machinery operators who don’t necessarily have to understand what every screen in the cab is doing. That’s an important factor in an era where farmers can struggle finding qualified employees.
AGCO is also working to make sure AgCommand remains easy to learn and compatible with a variety of equipment, even with other brands.
Now that these pathways for the technology are being paved, the emphasis is shifting to working with the data that’s being collected. For example, readouts from the planter or cultivator might show that field conditions are actually still too wet to be worked—and may advise a two-day wait. Or the suite of technologies built into the system will have the ability to advise the best hybrids to use in changing conditions.
Missouri farmer Ken Salsman, 65, doesn’t doubt the potential of the technology. He recalls writing a paper in college on the future of agriculture that suggested tractors will drive themselves one day.
“I didn’t think I’d live to see that actually happen,” says Salsman. “But with autosteering, we’re seeing it now.”
Read the full story at http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/ground-control/.
Big congratulations to Dave Turner, Service Technician at Massey Ferguson dealership Highwood’s, Somerset, UK. Dave has just celebrated an incredible fifty years as a Technician at the Yeovil Depot. In 1966 Dave graduated from college with a 1st Class certificate in Agricultural machinery, maintenance and repair and had the original certificates to show us. Dave had some fascinating stories to tell us, “Over fifty years you get to meet all kinds of people and machinery” Dave told us, “I actually retired two years ago but I like to keep my hand in and my mind active. I remember how I used to race around the countryside with my colleague, Salesman Jim Tooze, he’d sell them and I’d support them. We were a proper double act.”
We asked Dave how life in the workshop differs now from fifty years ago, he explains, “The biggest difference over the years has been speed. Machinery has advanced so much and the pace of life has quickened. Customers need their equipment as soon as possible so we have to fix things quickly, there’s little downtime. It’s so important to retain driver and customer relations, it may put pressure on us but it’s all part of the service.
We asked Dave what he most enjoyed about the job, he tells us “It’s all about the people. I’ve been lucky, I’ve worked closely with dealers, customers and colleagues and all have supported me over the years. It really is an extended family working for Massey Ferguson, it’s all about family.”
Ben Manning, Group Aftersales Manager at Highwood’s comments “The modern professionalism of the manufacturer, dealership staff, customers and drivers have all impressed on Dave the move forward in agricultural engineering, it’s imperative that we have people like Dave working to meet our consistently high standards of support.”
In an amazing feat of endurance, Lincolnshire farmer, Steve Smith drove an MF 6490 in a 24-hour Plough-a-thon to raise funds for the UK farming charity the Royal Agricultural benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I.).
The challenge took place close to his home at Market Rasen and local landowner, Charles Jackson loaned the tractor and plough.
“The R.A.B.I. has been fantastic in helping both me and my brother who have worked hard on the land for most of our lives,” Steve commented. “I wanted to do something to give back to the charity and support other farming families in need.”
A presentation evening took place on 19 September, 7pm at The Nags Head in Market Rasen where Steve handed over a cheque to the R.A.B.I. He’s hoping that agricultural businesses and rural people will all get behind him to help swell the funds.
Anyone wishing to support him can donate online by visiting:
As a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, David Garfrerick jockeyed a rocket while helping to protect his country. He broke the sound barrier and mastered the art of aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings, piloting a 20-plus-ton jet loaded with ordnance and fuel on and off a football-field-size runway.
“It was a thrill, a challenge,” Garfrerick says, after a little cajoling on the subject. “It’s like being thrown off into the wild, out of control, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Even while flying high, Garfrerick says he’s always been fascinated by something decidedly more down to earth: gardening. While still in the Navy, he raised a variety of vegetables and other plants. “I’ve just always loved growing things and wanted some land to retire on, and bought this land, and just started growing things. It got bigger and bigger,” continues Garfrerick about the property near Alpine, Ala., “and at some point, I guess, I just had to start calling it a farm.”
All told, he and wife Dede own about 200 acres of rolling hills, including 80 acres of timber, 80 acres of pasture for his cattle, and about 5 acres of crops and orchard, from which he grows fruits and vegetables.
His produce and meat have a starring role in his latest “adventure,” a restaurant he owns and runs in Oxford, Ala., about a 45-minute drive from his home and farm. Opened in 2008, the philosophy behind the restaurant, Garfrerick says, is that “fresh, healthy food can be delicious.”
With so many responsibilities, Garfrerick counts on his MF275 to help him get the job done. The MF275 performs a multitude of chores on the 200-acre farm. It’s used to operate a vertical tiller, move hay for cattle, maintain the roads on his land, work a front-end loader, pull a wagon—and that’s just a sampling.
“The Massey is the only thing I’ve ever used, and I find it very convenient,” says Garfrerick. “It’s easy to change out implements and maintain. It just saves a whole lot of physical labor, having a good-size tractor like that.”
It’s also reliable, he says. “We don’t have to do a lot of repair work on it, which is a surprise because it’s old.” Garfrerick, who bought the tractor used, hazards a guess it’s at least 30 years old.
Because of the tractor’s age, maintenance is all the more important. “It’s the only one we own, so it’s critical we keep it running,” he says, adding that his dealer, Bannister Tractor Co., in Oxford, Ala., “keeps me advised on what to do.”
“They’re familiar with the parts and the typical things that will solve issues when I need maintenance and repair. And they’re familiar with the preventative maintenance I need to keep up with. They’re just knowledgeable about the tractor itself.
“That’s a huge help for me,” says Garfrerick, noting that, with running a restaurant and farm, he’s got a lot going on. “Taking care of the tractor is one less thing I have to worry about.”
With the new Massey Ferguson® 1700 Series, customers can create a tractor for their specific needs and budget. Here are just a few of the options from which to choose.
Each model runs on a new diesel engine from Mitsubishi® that features a turbocharger with intercooler for greater combustion potential. Such design allows for more power that’s produced extremely efficiently and meets all EPA requirements to be Tier 4 final emissions compliant.
Transmission choices include either a mechanical 12 x 12 power shuttle or a three-range electronic-servo hydrostatic (HST) option.
For use with mid-mount mowers and front-mount attachments, a mid PTO is available as an option on all MF1700 tractor models.
Customers also have a choice of an open-station platform with a flat floor or a newly designed, climate-controlled factory cab.
Models equipped with the servo HST include:
Max Speed Control: allows the operator to set the maximum desired speed using a simple rotary dial, providing tighter control over a precise speed range.
Response Control: lets the operator adjust how aggressively the transmission reacts when a travel pedal is pressed.
Electronic Cruise Control: lets the operator set a travel speed.
Stall Guard: automatically monitors the engine’s performance and reduces travel speed when necessary to maintain engine power and torque to prevent engine stalling.
The standard 540-rpm independent rear PTO is also gentle on the engine and powertrain. A button on the dash allows the operator to modulate the PTO startup for a slow, “feathered” engagement of heavier implements to reduce shock load and prevent driveline damage.