How do you protect your soils from yield-sapping hardpan?
“Soil compaction is one of the most common problems farmers face today – it severely limits yields and impacts margins,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Product Marketing Manager for the farm equipment brand, Challenger. “However, key steps can be taken to deal with it through the use of proper soil management.”
“As the name implies, compaction occurs when soil particles are compacted together, restricting the amount of space for the air and water needed for optimum plant growth. Compaction can occur naturally or be caused by farming practices. Most often, compaction is created by today’s modern heavy equipment traffic. The key to controlling it is to understand your farm’s soils, ascertain the root cause of compaction and learn how to reduce its costly effects.”
“Compaction tends to build up over time and gets worse every time you work your fields - most particularly in wet conditions,” he says. “If you haven’t deep-ripped your fields for example, compaction from a wet spring three years ago can dramatically lower yields further down the line.”
Certain soils compact more easily than others. Soils made up of particles of about the same size compact less than soils with particles of varied sizes. Wet soils compact more easily than dry, while soils high in organic matter have a better structure and are more likely to resist compaction.
Some important things to remember:
- Most compaction is caused by equipment traffic
- Up to 80% of compaction in the field occurs on the first pass of the season
- Surface compaction is caused by high ground pressure created by reduced contact area
- Deep compaction is caused by high axle loads
- Slip compaction is caused by low surface contact areas and smearing of the topsoil
- Pinch-row compaction is caused by dual or triple wheels as ground pressure from the tyres shifts from the centre of the tyre to the outside
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Massey Ferguson helped provide a taste of British farming and food production to more than 250 leading journalists attending the International Federation of Agricultural Journalist’s Congress in North East Scotland.
‘Innovations from a Small Island’, the congress provided a packed programme of seminars, visits and events showcasing the UK’s world-leading farming, food and drink producers. As a principal sponsor of the event, Massey Ferguson ensured these influential writers and photographers from around the world not only learned about the UK advanced food and farming industry, but passed it on to their global farming audience.
Massey Ferguson sponsored the ‘Market Makers’ farm tours that demonstrated how its equipment is being employed by producers of diverse range of crops and livestock north-east Scotland. These farms are renowned for the highest quality potatoes, fruit, berries and vegetables as well as cereals and beef and lamb.
“We are honoured to help showcase the work of some of not just Scotland’s, but Europe’s leading farmers,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson’s Director, Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development. “It was a pleasure to see how these leading journalists were eager to see these progressive, professional businesses and learn more about their knowledge of agriculture and see examples of the finest crop and animal husbandry.”
In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), President, Matteo Bartolini discusses the prospects under the new regime.
MF: Can you give us a brief description of the role of the European Commission?
MB: This is the EU’s executive body and stands for the interests of Europe as a whole. It is led by one President and 27 Commissioners (one from each of the 28 EU member states), known as the ‘College of Commissioners’ which meets once a week. A new team of Commissioners is appointed every five years, with the next one due to start their term on 1 November 2014. The President-Elect Jean-Claude Juncker has already been nominated by the Council, elected by the European Parliament and has, in turn, chosen all 27 nominees from candidates put forward by their member states and assigned them a policy area. This list must now be approved by the European Parliament.
MF: What is Jean-Claude Juncker’s background?
MB: Mr Juncker is an experienced politician with 17 years as Luxembourg’s Prime Minister under his belt as well as institutional experience in terms of his background as President of the Eurogroup. He is said to be an idealist and European federalist, but also a deal-broker with a knack for achieving consensus. The President of the Commission is arguably the most influential position of all institutional jobs, considering that the European Commission has the sole right of initiation of all EU law. However, there is a close second in the form of the President of the Council. This is a leader who sets the agenda for the work of the European Council and brokers consensus between member states. A few weeks ago, Donald Tusk, Poland’s Prime Minister, was elected by the Council to be the head of the Euro Summit as well as Council President.
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If you would like to get in touch with Mr. Bartolini or CEJA, email email@example.com.
AGCO is pleased to announce that technicians employed by dealerships handling one or more of its four principal machinery brands within the United Kingdom and Ireland will be able to register on a nationally-recognised technician accreditation scheme developed and backed by the AEA and IAgrE, with support from BAGMA.
Known as the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme (LTA), the programme has become available to all AGCO dealer technicians following independent assessment and accreditation of the training and facilities provided by AGCO to technicians supporting its Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra farm machinery brands.
The move to have AGCO’s training programmes recognised at a national level, accredited to the same standards of other leading farm machinery manufacturers and suppliers, was spearheaded by Freddie Pullan, Manager, Technical Training UK and Ireland for AGCO Ltd.
“The LTA Scheme provides a clear and accepted means of benchmarking, monitoring and assessing the competence of technicians employed nationwide within the landbased sector,” commented Mr Pullan. “AGCO was keen to ensure that the training it provides to technicians employed by Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra dealers matched this standard, providing a clear and documented career path for AGCO apprentices and technicians wishing to progress within the agricultural engineering industry.”
In consultation with scheme administrator, IAgrE, AGCO’s training programmes were scrutinised and fine-tuned to ensure that they satisfied the accreditation criteria laid down by the LTA scheme. Independent assessment was carried out on behalf of IAgrE by consultant, David Kershner, with accreditation centre approval being granted to AGCO, taking effect in September 2014.
Agricultural engineers employed by AGCO dealers are now able to follow a nationally-recognised four-tier progression from apprentice (LTA1) through to master technician (LTA4), passing through technician (LTA2) and advanced technician (LTA3) tiers as they progress.
Upward movement from one tier to the next involves satisfactory completion of a range of general and product-specific training courses across a number of different categories, as laid down by the LTA scheme. All technicians attaining LTA3 standard become eligible for IAgrE membership and Engineering Technician (Eng Tech) registration, on payment of an annual fee.
“AGCO is committed to supporting an initiative which provides encouragement and recognition for dealers and technicians who voluntarily commit to continual professional development.” commented Mr Pullan. “We believe that the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme will bring sustained improved efficiencies within dealers’ service departments and further boost customers’ perceptions and confidence in technicians working on their tractors and other farm machines,”
“We are delighted that AGCO has joined the LTA scheme,” commented Alastair Taylor, chief executive of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE). “The move will give service engineering technicians employed across the AGCO network the opportunity to gain professional recognition nationwide for their important work.
“We very much look forward to welcoming AGCO’s first LTA3 technicians as members of IAgrE as well as handling their registration as Engineering Technicians with the Engineering Council. It is only right and proper that skilled technicians performing such important work are recognised as professionals. We believe that AGCO customers will reap the benefit of having their farm machinery serviced by technicians who are at the top of their game.”
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), has announced key new developments to its on-line10+ Parts catalogue for tractors.
“10+ Live enables customers using older Massey Ferguson tractors to find and identify a comprehensive range of the most important and frequently used parts for their machines,” explains Nick Rew, Manager Aftersales Marketing, Later Lifecycle.
“With the latest updates to the website, visitors can now search for their favourite MF heritage tractors and register on-line to see prices, place enquiries with their preferred Massey Ferguson dealer and have access to special offers and product updates,” he says. “Featuring mobile phone and tablet-friendly format, the site’s straightforward navigation ensures users find the required part in just a few clicks.”
The 10+ Parts range covers parts for Massey Ferguson tractors that have been out of production for at least ten years. Typically, these include MF 100, MF 200, MF 300 MF500, MF 2000, MF 3000, MF 4200 and MF 6100 Series but there are also a limited number of key service and repair parts on the website catalogue covering more recent machines such as the MF 6200, MF 8200, MF 5400 and MF 6400 (Tier 2) tractor ranges.
The 10+ Parts offer is another strand in Massey Ferguson’s promise to provide support for MF machines throughout their lifetime. 10+ Parts are not a second line but the original Massey Ferguson Engineering-approved parts for these older machines. The range recognises the specific requirements for older models and provides an economic repair solution allowing users to maintain their machines at peak performance.
Available in English and French, with scheduled releases for Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Norwegian and Finnish progressively through until December 2014.