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Antarctica2 Echoes Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1958 Expedition

The 2014 Antarctica2 mission to take a tractor to the South Pole emulates the achievement of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary who led the first mechanised expedition to the South Pole in 1958 using a fleet of Ferguson TE20 tractors.

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In 2014, 56 years since Hillary’s journey and 56 years since the birth of the Massey Ferguson brand, an MF 5600 tractor will make a similar trek across the ice.

On January 4 1958, driving 28hp TE20 tractors, Hillary’s team became the first overland explorers to reach the South Pole since Captain Scott’s expedition in 1912.

In his now famous telegram he told the ‘Massey-Harris-Ferguson Farming Company’:

“Despite quite unsuitable conditions of soft snow and high altitudes our Fergusons performed magnificently and it was their extreme reliability that made our trip to the Pole possible. Stop. Thank you for your good wishes = Hillary”

At the time, the press described this as the ‘The Last Great Journey in the World’, although the expedition’s official title was The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58. Led by Englishman, Sir Vivian Fuchs, its aim was to be the first to cross the continent overland – 50 years after Shackleton’s ill-fated attempt – while gathering scientific data.

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www.AntarcticaTwo.com

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Massey Ferguson Wins Award for Long Standing Contribution to Zambia’s Development

Massey Ferguson has been recognised by the government of Zambia for its enduring contribution to the country’s commercial development.

Vice President, Guy Scott presented the farm machinery manufacturer with the Award for Long Standing Brand at Zambia’s 50th Anniversary Independence Ball in Lusaka.

Sue Chuzu, Marketing and Communications Manager, AGCO Zambia receives the Award for long standing Brand

Sue Chuzu, Marketing and Communications Manager, AGCO Zambia receives the Award for long standing Brand

Massey Ferguson tractors, harvesting machinery and farm equipment have been helping to develop the country’s agriculture for over 60 years. Today, the brand and its familiar red-liveried machines continue to play a major role in Zambian farming.

MF tractors are the country’s top selling models with an estimated 20% market share.  Massey Ferguson is also an integral part of AGCO’s Future Farm and Training Centre initiative based at Chalimbana near Lusaka.

“This Award Ball gives the government an opportunity to congratulate individuals, families, companies and brands on their impact on the economic, social, historical and financial development of our country,” commented Vice President Scott. He said that the government wished to recognise and commend those who have demonstrated “prolonged existence and performance within the areas of commerce, trade and industry and, specifically, those who have maintained excellence and continuity over the years.”

Receiving the award on behalf of Massey Ferguson, Sue Chuzu, Marketing and Communications Manager, AGCO Zambia said: “It’s a great honour and privilege for us to receive the award. We would like to thank the farmers who have supported Massey Ferguson throughout its long presence in Zambia and also the Zambian government for creating a conducive environment which has helped agriculture to thrive.”

Massey Ferguson was one of only four organisations to receive the Long Standing Brand Award

Massey Ferguson celebrates 50th Anniversary of the world’s workhorse

In the year that Massey Ferguson has launched its new and revolutionary Global Tractor, it is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the remarkable MF 100 Series.

Known affectionately across the world as the ‘Red Giants’ the MF 100 Series tractors were the first and only truly global tractors. They were designed in Banner Lane in the UK, where they were also built as well as in many factories around the world and more than a million MF 100 Series models were produced in its unrivalled production run between 1964 to 1979.

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“The MF 100 Series made a huge and unique contribution to helping mechanise world agriculture and develop farming across the globe. They quickly became the world’s workhorse and many of the original tractors are still hard at work today on nearly every continent,” says Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering & Brand Development.

“Today, half a century since the launch of the outstanding 100 Series, Massey Ferguson has again developed a new workhorse for the world. The MF 4700 is designed by Massey Ferguson’s team in Beauvais France and, like the 100 Series, will be also be built at various locations around the world.

“The Global Series is the modern equivalent of the 100 Series and is destined to become the new legendary tractor for a new generation of farmers across the globe.

“These state-of-the-art tractors are the result of a $350 million investment in a completely new, clean sheet design. They are developed specifically to provide utterly dependable operation in a wide range of applications to meet the needs of a diverse range of farmers world-wide.

“The Massey Ferguson Global Series has been designed and built in the 21st Century and is purpose-built for modern applications. While using the very latest, sophisticated engineering and manufacturing tools and techniques, they still retain our traditional straight forward operation, dependability and cost effective operation,” he says.

Pre-Season Checks on Planters Will Help Deliver Healthy, Uniform Seedling Growth.

With the row-crop planting season imminent, now’s the time to fully prepare your equipment to ensure you are ready to strike during optimum weather and soil conditions.

“If you already own a row-crop planter, you should be giving it a thorough inspection and making any adjustments and  repairs,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Product Marketing Manager for the farm equipment brand, Challenger. “Worn or incorrectly-aligned components can compromise the machine’s settings with a subsequent negative effect on yields. Do not skip pre-season maintenance. I cannot emphasise this enough. Giving your planter some tender loving care now will give it the very best chance for maximum performance and uniform planting of seed.”

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Pre-season maintenance should include cleaning of the seed tubes and monitor sensors. If the seed tubes show signs of wear then these should be replaced. Check the condition of the seed conveyor belt and the seed meters. Adjust or replace worn disc openers and ensure the disc openers and furrow closers are accurately aligned.

Also crucial is to check tyres for the correct pressures. Indeed, this is something that should carried out daily once planting begins since incorrect tyre pressure can influence seed rates. Equal tyre pressure keeps the tool bar level and parallel to the ground. This allows the coulters, disc openers and closing wheels to run perpendicular to the ground rather than being tilted. Ground-driven planters use the tyre for ground driving the seed, fertilizer and chemical metering systems, and therefore, the tyre needs to be properly inflated to match the same tyre diameter used to create the seed rate charts in the operator’s manual. An under-inflated tyre will lead to a higher seeding/fertilization rate as the tyre makes more rotations for each hectare of land covered.

“Maximising uniformity of emergence produces strong, healthy seedlings,” Cameron explains. “Uneven emergence can reduce yields by 10-20%. Plants need to be evenly spaced and planted at uniform depth. Indeed, depth control is one of the big factors affecting germination and consistency in crop emergence.”

To read the full article, please click here

Get to Grips with Soil Compaction

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.”

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“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

To read the full article, please click here

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