To help producers overcome farming’s many challenges—as well as adapt to favorable market conditions—AGCO has recently introduced Fuse® Connected Services. Backed by AGCO Parts, AGCO Service and AGCO Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS), Fuse Connected Services combines the right machines, technology, parts, service and support to help customers optimize their operations and maximize uptime. It is a key delivery mechanism of AGCO’s overall approach to precision agriculture.
According to Eric Hansotia, senior vice president, global crop cycle, ATS and dealer tech support at AGCO, Fuse Connected Services is designed to help growers improve overall farm efficiency through preventative maintenance, machine condition monitoring and year-round consultation—all of which are designed to lower input costs, increase equipment uptime and improve yields.
“Using Fuse Connected Services, a producer can control and/or monitor his entire operation, either on his own or with the help of his AGCO dealer. This means making sure machines are up and running when they need to be, coordinated in the right place at the right time, with a seamless ability to use and transfer data,” Hansotia explains, noting that two levels of Fuse Connected Services will be introduced through North American AGCO dealers over the next three years.
Level one of the new service enables customers to conduct self-monitoring, data transfer and operation support from the global Fuse Contact Center via phone, live chat and email. The second-level package offers proactive, remote condition monitoring by dealer experts, off-season inspections and reviews, operational consultation and operator training.
“Unlike some manufacturers,” explains Hansotia, “AGCO believes that machines and precision farming systems need to ‘talk’ to each other, no matter the color. Consequently, Fuse provides mixed-fleet farming operations with improved access to farm data and better connections to trusted service providers.”
Plus, says Hansotia, AGCO not only understands the producer’s need to choose the partners that work best for his or her operation, the company also respects the right to data privacy. “Fuse is also the only solution that provides two distinct data ‘pipes’—one for machine data and one for agronomic data,” he says. “Farmers don’t have to share their farm data with AGCO to use our products or connect with other trusted partners.
“At AGCO,” Hansotia continues, “we acknowledge that the grower owns all equipment and crop data generated by his or her equipment. Through Fuse Connected Services, we want to make sure our customers have the best tools and support to manage their operations via whatever product or partner they choose.”
With ever-increasing pressure for greater efficiencies on the farm, Stephen Sork decided to take charge of every variable he could. In the process, he switched much of his farm equipment to AGCO brands, as well as expanding his GSI-made grain storage and handling facilities.
Steve, who owns and operates Sork Farms in southeast Illinois with his father, Ernie, likes the ability to do nearly everything—planting, harvesting, spraying and fertilizing—in-house. These days, AGCO tractors and sprayers are integral to making it all happen.
A former Deere customer, Steve first tried a Challenger track tractor nearly 10 years ago and was sold on the concept and the results. “We really liked them,” says Steve. “Their ability to reduce compaction in our 20-inch rows has meant no emergence issues with corn or soybeans.”
Steve, who owns six Challenger tractors and two RoGator® 1100 sprayers, says he’s also seen a savings in total fuel use, as well as increased comfort. “These machines are a really smooth ride over rough terrain, whether going over a ditch or working through washouts.”
The quest for greater efficiency and control, however, didn’t end with tractors and sprayers. Over the past 10 years, the Sorks have nearly doubled the storage and handling capacity on their farm.
In addition to stronger bin designs from GSI that can be built taller than previous models, their system features GSI En-Masse conveyors and a Hi-Flight pit conveyor. Now, the Sorks’ handling system moves grain faster and with less damage than augers or air systems.
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“We often hear the famous phrase, ‘One day this will all be yours,’” notes Heather Watson, executive director of Farm Management Canada, a national organization devoted to assisting farmers with management decisions. “It makes it sound like succession is just a waiting game, not a long and complicated process.”
Indeed, for many farmers the idea of embarking on such a complicated process—passing on farm land, know how and equipment—can be overwhelming, which helps explain why many farmers often avoid the topic, according to Watson. Other reasons for postponing succession planning include lack of understanding about the process, insufficient time, fear of conflict among families, an unwillingness to ask for help and concerns over costs. Read the rest of this entry »
A flat grassy patch atop the sloped wooded pasture on his western North Carolina farm affords Dave Everett sumptuous views of the Big Sandy Mush Valley and several 4,500-foot-plus peaks beyond. Fooled by Dave’s presence in the pasture in the early afternoon, a handful of cows begin bellowing, anticipating a meal.
Dave and his wife, Kim, tend to their farm and their 30-head of cattle with the help of their Massey Ferguson 1540 with 4WD, which allows them to manage the steep inclines of their hilly pastureland with ease.
In addition to farming, the Everetts have helped restore and preserve the fields, woods and streams that spread out below their pastures. “We said that we want this farm to be recognizable to folks who lived here 100 years before us,” Dave says.
In the bucolic Sandy Mush area, such preservation efforts are not as easy as they may sound. The region—actually two valleys with several coves in each—is within 15 miles of the bustling mountain tourist mecca of Asheville. Nearby mountains and valleys are prime targets for vacation and second home developments consisting of 3,500-square-foot “cabins.” Kim and Dave themselves first used the area as a getaway when living near Washington, D.C.
Simply put, the value of the land in the area is worth a lot more for development than it is for farming or open space.
For AGCO customer Barry Schmitt, the disastrous 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan hit close to his Olds, Alberta-based business. “We were shipping hay to one of our customers in Japan when the tsunami hit,” says the owner of Barr-Ag, a hay producer and export company.
According to Schmitt, he and his staff had been in communication with the customer like normal, then, suddenly, nothing. As news of the catastrophe and its scope began to break—some 16,000 people were killed and it caused a nuclear reactor meltdown—Schmitt feared the worst. “These are friends of ours who we go and see, and talk to. We were worried.”