The 2014 Antarctica2 expedition to drive a tractor to the South Pole will have to deal with one of the most hostile environments on the planet, battling against temperatures down to minus 40 degrees C, strong winds, high altitude, raging blizzards and soft snow. Sastrugi (frozen waves) are another potential hazard.
Formed by wind erosion they are sharp-edged, wave-like ridges of hard-packed snow – often unstable and difficult to cross.
It is going to be a tough ride for the Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor and the multi-national team set to make the 5000 km return trip from Antarctica’s Novo Base to the Geographical South Pole. Both have undergone thorough preparation to tackle the challenges ahead. A key aspect of life on the ice is its unpredictability – the environment is no respecter of rigid plans or schedules. Hence, all timings relating to the journey have to be extremely fluid and subject to revision in accordance with weather conditions.
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Massey Ferguson is honoured to receive a Tractor of the Year 2015 finalist Award at the EIMA Show in Bologna, for its powerful MF 8737.
“Massey Ferguson is always proud when our tractors are nominated by members of the jury, which is made up of experts from leading magazines across Europe,” says Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering & Brand Development.
“We are, however, not surprised that the MF 8737 was nominated for Tractor of the Year, because its predecessor the MF 8690, took the title in 2009. This was the first agricultural tractor to employ efficient, maintenance-free selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to control exhaust emissions.
“The MF 8737 builds on these very strong foundations, combining well-proven quality with new features to provide even better performance and productivity with outstanding fuel economy.”
The MF 8700 Series tractors are available in two levels of specification – Efficient or Exclusive – to suit users’ businesses, budget and workload.
“Whether you plant in the autumn or spring, there is typically only a ten-day window to get the precious seed into the ground – you have to act fast and accurately,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Manager for the farm equipment brand, Challenger. “Indeed, within that crucial 10 days, there is the absolute optimum day when everything comes together to create the foundations for the best possible outcome for the harvest.”
“With speed of planting critical, the latest small-grain air drills are the quickest way to cover the hectares while at the same time ensure precise seeding in either conventional or conservation tillage practices,” Cameron explains.
Good crop management means reducing as many risks as possible. Timely planting rests on the days available to plant balanced with farm size. Operating larger equipment or moving at faster forward speeds can increase the productivity of the planting process. The objective is lowest cost of planting where investment in inputs (equipment/labour/seeds/chemicals) creates maximum yields whilst still working within the constraints of the planting window.
For successful seed germination, the ‘big three’ when it comes to planting management are adequate moisture, adequate temperature and adequate oxygen.
The correct moisture level is the key factor under your control. In dry soil, germination will simply not take place. In less than optimal moisture conditions, germination and emergence will be slow and uneven.
As for temperature, the chief crop management decision is seeding date. All crops will germinate more quickly in warm, moist soils. With deeper sowing, the seed is brought into a progressively cooler environment. Shallower sowing provides the warmest environment for germination.
Waterlogged soils are the main barrier to adequate oxygen levels and must be avoided at planting time.
Good seed-to-soil contact is necessary to ensure the seed has enough access to moisture to germinate quickly. Loose, cloddy seedbeds are peppered with air pockets that dry out the soil. Good soil closure (packing) around the seed helps minimise air pockets and maximise seed-to soil contact.
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Challenger’s exclusive Steerable 3-Point Hitch will be presented as a technical innovation at the Italian EIMA International machinery show, in Bologna (November 12 to 16, 2014).
Optionally available on all Challenger MT800E series models, including the flagship MT875E, the new steerable hitch design improves turning performance under load and allows the operator to manage how the implement trails the tractor in tillage and row crop applications.
Pivoting on the differential rear axle housing, the new geometry allows for 118mm steering cylinder travel, resulting in more precise control of the hitch lateral position. In addition, steering cylinders now connect at a distance of 389mm (219mm on C-Series models) from the pivot point, boosting the steering torque capability to a new 109,249 Nm (20% more than C-Series models).
The two operating modes are set using the TMC Display. The Manual mode provides for a fixed steering position. The Float mode provides dampening of implement movements and offset draft reduction.
Providing excellent manoeuvrability for better field contour following, benefits include reduced machine stress by dampening implement lateral shocks, a 25% reduction in turning radius with mounted implements, while the reduction in the power necessary for steering the implement helps to reduce slippage by up to 5%.
Product marketing manager Luca Cattani for tracked and articulated tractors is delighted to receive this accolade. “The unique Steerable 3-Point Hitch option is popular in all markets from South Africa to Central Europe where our customers understand and favour Challenger’s competitive advantage in applying 100% power to the ground.”
Find Challenger in Hall 14, stand B3 or at the ‘novità tecnica’ stand located at the “Quadriportico” area within the EIMA show in Bologna.
The bold and ambitious Antarctica2 mission to drive an MF 5610 tractor to the South Pole is ready to roll. The team is standing by to fly from Cape Town in South Africa to Novo Base in Eastern Antarctica.
This is the first chapter in an unfolding modern-day adventure story which will see the realisation of a dream for the lead driver, Manon Ossevoort, and an extreme test of endurance for the tractor and the entire crew. Depending on conditions, the expedition is scheduled to depart Novo Base in the latter part of November and reach the Geographical South Pole sometime around mid-December.
In a 5000 km return journey across the unforgiving icescape, Antarctica2 follows the achievement of Sir Edmund Hillary, who drove a specially-adapted Ferguson TE20 tractor to the South Pole in 1958.
This second Antarctic tractor expedition is being organised to highlight the need for the provision of accessible technologies and innovative services to allow future farmers to meet the world’s growing requirement for food
Along with Massey Ferguson which is supplying the tractor, Antarctica2 has enlisted the help of leading industry partners including Trelleborg, Castrol, AGCO Finance, AGCO Parts, Fuse Technologies and MechaTrac.
“The journey will demonstrate tenacity, engineering skills, reliability, teamwork and achievement,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development. “The MF 5610 is a straightforward, dependable machine and the members of expedition team bring an ideal range of skills and experience to the project.”