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Becknology with AGCO and Beck’s Hybrids

AGCO is collaborating with Beck’s Hybrids to demonstrate yield and productivity advantages of the new Sunflower 9830NT. The 9830NT was featured at a recent Beck’s field day (Becknology Days) in Henderson, KY. Throughout the course of the day, hundreds of growers went through the Equipment Innovations class and then stopped by to look at the iron. The theme was technology-enabled productivity that is providing the most accurate seeding system for wheat, early soybeans, and double-crop soybeans.

Equip Innovations

Beck's

Beck’s is very interested in plot work that will help farmers make the right decisions about agronomic inputs as well as equipment decisions. The 9830NT can put down fertilizer with wheat in the fall, which can improve yields by 5-10 bushels per acre. It is also the best drill on the market for seeding into heavy wheat residue. Alex Long of Beck’s talked about the trial work Beck’s is conducting that examines seeding accuracy at 6, 8, and 10 mph compared to a Kinze planter. Results will be available this fall.

Working with companies like Beck’s is a great way for the equipment industry to stay connected with independent agronomic testing and to be able to share our products with a diverse group of customers.

Beck's 2

In addition to support and testing of the 9830NT, Beck’s is promoting AGCO’s X-Edition MT700E and MT800E tractors.

Beck's 3

Beck’s has more Becknology days coming up. Follow the link below for dates in your area: http://www.beckshybrids.com/About-Us/Becks-Field-Shows.

Backyard Beasts: Massey Ferguson Lawn and Garden Tractors

It may be one of the best kept secrets in the industry: Many Massey Ferguson dealers offer a lot more than quality agricultural equipment. Many also sell a full line of lawn and garden tractors and zero-turn mowers for the rural lifestyle market.

“What a lot of customers don’t realize,” says Warren Morris, AGCO tactical marketing manager for tractors under 150 HP, “is that we have an agreement with Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group that offers an extension of our lawn care product line. Many of our dealers sell five different zero-turn mower series and four additional lawn tractor series that are marketed under the Massey Ferguson brand name.

0316lawn1“They are,” continues Morris, “as dependable and comfortable as the Massey Ferguson name would suggest. Featuring all-steel construction, welded frames, high-performance V-Twin engines and easy-to-operate hydrostatic transmissions, they’re built for rugged, reliable performance.”

Dick Felder, director of licensed brand sales, North America, Briggs & Stratton, Inc., says consumers would indeed be hard-pressed to find a lawn tractor as well built as their Massey Ferguson line at such a competitive price. “Thanks to our factory efficiency and production volume, we can match or beat the price on virtually every mower that is comparably equipped,” he says.

“The same goes for features,” Felder continues. “All but the lowest priced model, for example, feature a fabricated steel mower deck with a limited lifetime warranty, for lasting dependability.”

Other available features, depending on the lawn or yard tractor series, include automatic controlled traction for year-round performance; power steering and cruise control for reduced fatigue; and an electric PTO for attachments and height-of-cut adjustment. “Several models are even classified as professional-grade mowers and carry a professional warranty of four years or 500 hours—whichever comes first—with unlimited hours during the first two years,” adds Felder.

For more information on the full line of lawn and garden tractors and zero-turn mowers, see your participating Massey Ferguson dealer or log on to www.masseylawn.com. Currently, Briggs & Stratton works with about 170 Massey Ferguson dealers who participate in the program.

Expedition South – Conserving Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic Hut

Massey Ferguson is proudly supporting another great adventure! The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust’s #ExpeditionSouth, is an initiative to raise $1 million dollars for the conservation of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Hut on Antarctica’s Ross Island.

Hillary’s Hut A was the first building constructed at Scott Base and is where Sir Ed began his historic expedition to the South Pole in 1958 with the assistance of three TE20 Ferguson tractors.

Sir Edmund Hillary revisits his Scott Base hut.

Sir Edmund Hillary revisits his Scott Base hut.

Nearly 60 years on, Hillary’s hut is in a state of disrepair and a comprehensive conservation plan has been developed in order to save a valuable slice of New Zealand’s history –  but they need your help to make it happen!

In a tribute to Hillary’s 2012 kilometres journey, a team of drivers will raise awareness of the campaign as they embark on a journey traversing New Zealand on three tractors – two of them the same Ferguson TE-20 tractor models used by Hillary’s team, the other – a modern MF5600 Antarctica2, based on the MF5610 series used by “Tractor Girl” Manon Ossevort’s 2014/15 Antarctic2 tractor expedition.

Sir Edmund Hillary on a Ferguson TE20 during the original 1958 Expedition

Sir Edmund Hillary on a Ferguson TE20 during the original 1958 Expedition

 

#ExpeditionSouth will harness that intrepid spirit of the original journey, travelling the highways and back roads of New Zealand, visiting Hillary “hotspots” throughout NZ as well as local schools. Along the journey, local NZ Massey Ferguson dealers will make sure the team and their tractors are well looked after as they raise awareness of the Heritage Trust’s important conservation goals.

Antarctic Heritage Trust Director Nigel Watson says Sir Ed’s original decision to go to the South Pole was a bold move.

“No-one had been overland since Captain Scott in 1912. Sir Ed was on the Ice supporting the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and his decision to push on to the Pole with three Ferguson tractors was controversial. But of course they made it – the first trip overland to the South Pole by motor vehicle.”

The #expeditionsouth team and their trusty machines.

The #expeditionsouth and their trusty machines.

Piha Beach (one of Sir Ed’s favourite places) marks the starting point of the team’s journey that will finish just below Hillary Ridge at Aoraki on Mt Cook. While not having to face the icy conditions of Antarctica, the team will face a four week journey through a variety of changeable conditions across New Zealand’s north and south island that will test both the drivers and their machines.

“We’re very pleased to have Massey Ferguson on board with us and supporting such a valuable and worthwhile cause. The brand has a very strong connection with Sir Ed that stems back to his original expedition to the South Pole,” says Nigel.

 

#expeditionsouth

#MasseyFerguson

www.facebook.com/MasseyFergusonGlobal

www.masseyferguson.com.au

www.expeditionsouth.nz

Ag Accelerators: Revving Up Innovation

Growing up on a farm in Caro, Mich., AGCO customer Jesse Vollmar noticed that tech was transforming other industries, but life on the farm remained labor-intensive and low-tech.

Although Jesse’s parents—who with the help of their Challenger tractors grow organic row crops like black beans and blue corn for retail giants like Chipotle—had broadband Internet and smartphones, records on their 1,200-acre farm were still kept with what he calls “cumbersome spreadsheets. There was a widening gap between what was possible and what was being applied on the farm,” Vollmar explains.

Vollmar is seen here with a Challenger tractor similar to one used on his family’s Michigan farm.

Vollmar is seen here with a Challenger tractor similar to one used on his family’s Michigan farm.

The farm kid saw an opportunity and turned into a tech entrepreneur. His goal: Create a solution to make crop management easier for farmers like his parents. The result: In 2012, Vollmar launched FarmLogs to help, he says, “farmers digitally manage their farms and to leverage data from their fields to improve their operations.”

The company, according to Vollmar, has developed new technology, including web and mobile field monitoring software that notifies farmers when yield threats are detected. FarmLogs also automatically records field activities and provides instant access to field-specific rainfall data, soil maps, yield maps and growth stage estimation.

While inspiration for the startup was rooted in his farm experience, Vollmar knew he needed funding, advice and connections for FarmLogs to grow into a thriving startup. Along with business partner Brad Koch, Vollmar applied to Y Combinator, a prestigious startup accelerator in Mountain View, Calif., to help launch FarmLogs.

For four months, the pair lived and worked in California, devoted 24/7 to developing the software and preparing to roll it out to farmers and investors. As part of the program, FarmLogs received $20,000 in startup capital and access to mentors who offered advice on all aspects of business development. It was the first ag tech startup accepted into the accelerator.

Since graduating from Y Combinator, FarmLogs has, according to Vollmar, raised $15 million in capital and captured about one-third of the market among row crop farmers with 100-plus acres in production. “We started [FarmLogs] before ag tech was a trend,” Vollmar notes. “No one could have even conceived of this five years ago, and now we’re growing at a pace that’s mind-blowing.”

For more, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/ag-accelerators-revving-up-innovation/.

Crop Tour 2016: Indiana Edition

By Darren Goebel

Greetings once again from Crop Tour 2016.   During the last week of July, I travelled to the Kevin Trimble farm in Amboy, Indiana, about an hour north of Indianapolis.   While most of the Midwest has been getting plenty of rain, this pocket in north central, Indiana is super dry.   In fact, Kevin told me that his farm has not received any appreciable amount of rain since the latter part of June.

Crop Tour Sign

As a result of the dry weather, the crop is showing signs of stress, highlighting some key differences in our plots.

DeltaForce left-400# right

This is the split between automatic hydraulic downforce (DeltaForce) on the left and 400# downforce on the right.    Notice that the corn on the right is showing more drought stress; lower leaves are brown and desiccated with overall lighter plant color.   This is a result of heavy in furrow packing that created compaction in the root zone.  While you would not normally see this in a whole field, differences show up very clearly in the plot.  In a three-year study, growers that used DeltaForce averaged 11 bushels per acre higher yield.  I suspect the yield difference will be much higher in this field, but we will have to wait until fall to know for sure.

Compaction problems quickly show up when moisture is limiting.

IMG_2132

Kevin drove his backhoe along the end to demonstrate how automatic hydraulic down force can adjust to differences in soil bulk density.  Above: The crop is suffering in the compaction zone.  Below: Planting Map showing compaction zone.

Compaction zone

This report shows that compaction from backhoe path prior to planting caused Deltaforce to react at planting.

The depth of planting study is showing some interesting results.  Many growers plant corn shallow because they believe there is less risk in stand establishment.  Unfortunately, shallow planting can cause as many problems as it solves.   Most agronomists recommend a minimum of 1.5” planting depth with 2” preferred.  Of course, soil type and moisture level should be taken into account.  One great thing about White planters is that depth control can be calibrated to ensure consistent planting depth across the entire width of the planter.  In this case, the planter planted the corn consistently at 1” deep.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t uniform enough moisture at 1” to get all of the seed up consistently.

1_ planting depth - note runts

This is the split between 1” planting depth on the right and 1.5” planting depth on the left.  The 1” planting depth is exhibiting runt plants as a result of delayed emergence due to dry soils at that depth after planting.   These runt plants will not produce an ear.   The 1.5” and deeper planting depths do not have any issues with runt plants.   Stand establishment is similar at all planting depths (1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0) except 3.5” depth.   The 3.5” planting depth is suffering about a 10% reduction in stand.  We will take these plots to yield and share results in an upcoming report.

Stand uniformity in corn has been getting a lot of attention since the late 90s.   Most farmers and agronomists know there are heavy yield penalties for skips and doubles making planter performance absolutely critical.   Making things even more challenging, seed companies can’t always guarantee requested seed sizes for that hot new hybrid; and refuge in the bag is a whole other story since seed from different lots must be blended in the same bag.   The 9800VE series incorporates meters that can accurately singulate and row units that can accurately plant any corn seed size.

Near picket fence stand

Above:  Near picket fence stand.  Below:  Doubles and Skips from a poorly adjusted planter.

Skips and Doubles

During the last two weeks of August, a team of Agronomists and Product Specialists will be travelling throughout the Midwest speaking at Crop Tour 2016 plot locations. RSVP to attend a Crop Tour event near you: http://agcocropcare.com/crop-tour-rsvp/!

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