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Full Pull: On the Job and On the Track with Joe Eder

Tractor pull legend Joe Eder took time out from the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville earlier this year to talk to FarmLife about pulls and his love for Massey Ferguson.

“We’ve been with Massey Ferguson for, I believe, going on 11 years now,” says the four-time Louisville champion. He recently acquired two MF8727s, replacing two 8650s. “Had no complaints; they’re a great tractor. But we like to update every two years and go with the newest thing through Massey.”

Eder rattles off a number of reasons he likes Massey Ferguson: “The 31 mile-per-hour road speed, front suspension, probably the best cab suspension on the market. We custom farm—we do custom mowing and custom harvesting.”

In addition to the custom work, Eder also runs a bark mulch business. He uses MF8737 tractors for that work as well. “They’re really good tractors,” he says. “They’re excellent on fuel.”

Eder appreciates being able to see the new AGCO products at Louisville. “It’s very exciting because, not only can we tie in our sport of truck- and tractor-pulling, but we can actually go out and look at the new product. It’s nice to come here and see everybody, and learn about the latest, greatest thing on the market.”

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The Promise of Prairie Strips

Pressured by downstream property owners and their own desire to conserve their soil and keep their water drinkable, many farmers are looking for conservation programs that are both affordable and effective.

One such potential solution, under development for about eight years now, is called STRIPS—an acronym for Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips. The program, researched at Iowa State University, involves sowing native prairie plants on carefully selected parcels of farmland. These “strips” of grasses, forbs (non-grass flowering plants) and other plants have been proven to slow, even stop, runoff of soil, as well as phosphorus and nitrogen.

Tim Youngquist, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer and farmer liaison on the STRIPS team, says, “Not a single farmer wants to see the soil wash away, or to see nitrogen and phosphorus in the rivers. No one wants that.”

Says Iowa State University Associate Professor Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore, one of the STRIPS team leaders, “The big picture is that we are trying to get the most conservation bang for the buck on private lands, recognizing right now that corn and soybeans pay the bills for farmers in the Corn Belt. We are trying to figure out, how do we meet our water quality goals, and how do we maintain our soil?”

Data from STRIPS plots first established in 2007 has provided a sort of ground floor for the initial phase of the study. Results were unprecedented and definitive. Between 2007 and 2012, strategically placed prairie strips covering 10% of a field were able to reduce soil sediment runoff by 95%, phosphorus by 90% and total nitrogen by 84%, when runoff was compared to that from a field of no-till row crops with no remediation.

Massey Ferguson and our exclusive customer magazine, FarmLife, are committed to providing farmers with big-picture ideas and best practices. See much more from customers and experts at

Massey Ferguson 9505 Series: Heir to the Throne

The newest in a long line of industry-leading combines, the Massey Ferguson 9505 Series promises increased comfort and enhanced grain-saving features. “Customers will still enjoy the tremendous throughput and enhanced grain quality provided by the Trident™ processor that we introduced in the 9500 Series,” says Caleb Schleder, senior tactical marketing specialist for AGCO brand combines. “The same goes for our unique V-Cool™ cooling package. The 9505 Series simply builds on that technology with new features that improve performance and further reduce grain loss.”

Massey Ferguson engineers started up front with an enhanced header drive system that offers increased durability and additional muscle to the header. Modifications include a variable-speed header drive, heavier drum bearings, a double clutch, and a three-groove header drive pulley and belt.

Massey Ferguson 9505 Series

Massey Ferguson 9505 Series

For improved cleaning performance, the 9505 Series machines also enhance the proven Massey Ferguson Trident processor with a new variable-speed hydraulic-drive fan that offers a wider speed range—from 100 to 1,350 rpm. The extended fan-speed range eliminating the need for a fan choke and removes that setting to simply adjusting to various crop types, while providing enhanced performance for harvesting grass seed and canola.

To provide better control of material distribution on the shoe and to enhance rotor and shoe performance, corn/soybean models have also been equipped with perforated left-side rotor panels, complete with removable covers. The panels also provide better distribution of material in the separation and threshing area.

“One of the unique new features is an optional powered grain saver that is installed on the end of the unloader tube,” Schleder adds. “Acting much like an internal gate, it rotates open and closed when the unloading auger is engaged or disengaged to eliminate grain loss, especially when unloading on the go.”

Cab features include a more spacious layout, ergonomic control placement and a new steering column. A new option is an Ag Leader® kit that allows for a yield-monitoring technology upgrade.

For full details about the new MF9505 Series combines—which comprises two models, the 460-HP MF9565 and 375-HP MF9545—see a Massey Ferguson dealer or log onto

Increase Baler Uptime

Gary Berrington knows the importance of keeping his balers in top condition. Based near Wellington, Nevada, Berrington uses 10 Hesston and Hesston by Massey Ferguson three-twine small rectangular balers to handle 6,000 to 7,000 acres of alfalfa—going through 80 to 100 pallets of twine in the process.

“I have two mechanics plus myself who go through the balers every year,” he explains, noting that he buys any needed parts from Ott’s Farm Equipment, his Massey Ferguson dealer in Fallon, Nevada. “We generally start by checking all the wear parts in the bale chamber, including the plunger bearings. After that, we move to the knotters, where we check everything from the bill hooks to the tensioners and guides.”

news_030815_procutBerrington insists any grooves worn into the twine guides can impair the flow of twine from the twine box to the knotters, potentially leading to a miss-tie, which, in turn, leads to lost time. He has also found through years of experience that some brands and types of twine cause more wear than others. So it’s important to check knotter components often.

“Finally, we’ll move to the front of the machine where we check the stripper plates, cam bearings, pickup tines, etc.,” he continues.

It’s not that Berrington doesn’t trust his dealer to make the necessary repairs, though. He insists distance is one factor, since Ott’s Farm Equipment is nearly 80 miles away. However, he believes the customer is in the best position to know his equipment and the types of wear to expect, based on conditions and use.

“The dealership may have plenty of experience with repairs,” he says. “But their mechanics aren’t the ones out here doing the baling. I feel you have to have some experience with maintenance on your own to know what needs to be replaced and what can wait.”

To help with maintaining your balers, check out our list of 20-plus checkpoints for round and/or square balers at

When The Levee Breaks

It’s with mixed feelings that Darren Littleton guides a bulldozer through an abandoned farmyard to add to his family’s farmland in Dalton, MO. Yet, to Darren and his dad, Robert “Bob” Littleton, this land also serves as a reminder of the diminishing number of farmers.

Due to the effects of the flood of 1993 and the consolidation of farms, the population of Dalton had declined to just 17 people in the 2010 census. Ironically, that flood 30-plus years ago almost put Darren out of business, too.

Darren disks with the Sunflower 6631 VT.

Darren disks with the Sunflower 6631 VT.

“That was the first year I farmed full time,” Darren says. “And between Dad and me, we lost all but 6 acres of crops in the flood. Dad even lost his house due to all the water damage.”

Today, this father-and-son team continually looks for ways to control costs, all the while expanding the operation, which now consists of about 2,500 acres of mostly corn and soybeans. For instance, they’ve purchased parcels in the area that need some work. Equipped with their own hydraulic excavator, tracked dozer, skid-steer loader and land leveler, they’ve cleared land themselves. They also run Massey Ferguson and other farm equipment, because, in part, of its versatility, durability, and fuel efficiency, say the Littletons.

Then, too, in order to conserve costs and preserve the land, they’ve changed the way they farm. For example, instead of disking fields as they once did, they now use a Sunflower® Model 6631 VT for vertical tillage. As a result, they’re able to leave the majority of residue on the soil surface, while still providing minimal tillage and creating channels for moisture penetration.

Also, with only 500 or 600 of the 2,500 acres leased or rented, they prefer to own their land. “Every time you look at cash-renting a field,” says Darren, “there are usually three guys in line ahead of you who are willing to pay more. Our feeling is if you’re going to have to pay $300 or more per acre for rent, you might as well go through Farm Credit and own it in 20 years.”


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