Written by: Joy Jelimo Chelagat, 2014 AGCO Africa Ambassador
On the 15th of January at 5:00 am in the morning I drove to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on my trip to Berlin, Germany. Just five months before I had seen a competition online for an ambassadorship opportunity. Having only a week to the deadline, I was pretty sure that my chances were slim, but I decided to apply anyway.
To my surprise, the AGCO team got in contact with me. A few Skype interviews later I was informed that I could represent Africa at the annual AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin. Two months passed by fast and I was aboard a plane heading to Germany. The trip was long and the weather was a stark difference from the sunny Nairobi climes, but the warm welcome of the team in the Adlon Hotel made me feel at home.
The day after I arrived I hit the ground running. I had a meeting with a team of AGCO people to prepare for the activities scheduled. It was only our first meeting yet they were very friendly and resourceful. I also met Sue Musunga Chuzu, who was the first AGCO Africa Ambassador and who works now as Marketing Services Specialist at AGCO in Zambia. She shared her experiences with me and gave me some presentation tips for moderating the conference.
Agriculture is Universal
One of my tasks as Africa Ambassador was to represent AGCO at the International Green Week fair. The “Grüne Woche”, as the Germans call it, is an agricultural trade show that attracts exhibitors from around the world. Together with Marco Prehn, Sahra Malin, Sue Chuzu and Philip De Leon from AGCO we talked to numerous people about what the company is doing in Africa. One thing was evident during the fair: agriculture is a global concern. Even though the visitors and exhibitors were from far flung corners of the globe, they all came together in one place for once cause: agriculture.
The night before the AGCO Africa Summit we had an exclusive dinner with the conference‘s speakers and the top brass of the AGCO team. The room was full of exceptional people who had done great things for the African continent. From the conversations we had that evening, I could tell that the summit would be full of wonderful insights. As I woke up that Monday I was fully charged for the conference.
Walking into the conference hall, the excitement was palpable. You could see crowds of people huddled together immersed in conversation. You could spot top decision makers of key sectors of the agricultural industry. As the program kicked off, I was slightly nervous but as we moved along I eased up. Each speaker rose to the podium with wonderful ideas about the improvement of the agriculture industry in Kenya and on the African continent.
The speakers and panelists talked about their activities in Africa and about what they plan to do in days to come. Robert Sichinga, Agriculture Minister of Zambia, riled the crowd when he passionately explained why solutions to African agriculture have to be African. Another topic that got the audience excited was the appeal to make agriculture “sexy” for it to attract young people. Several speakers also emphasized the issue of innovation. Thus by the end of the full-day event I was more convinced than ever that agriculture is not only the present but also the future for Africa.
Yet, my trip was not all business. I had several opportunities to shop and tour the German capital. Berlin is a beautiful city with rich history: I visited the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust memorial. Another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to meet and make friends with remarkable people from all around the globe.
All in all, this journey was an inspirational and eye-opening experience. I was able to see how small-scale innovations in the field have a global impact on food security. The importance of efficient production, transportation and distribution was also brought home. At the end of the trip I felt charged to take up my role as AGCO Africa Ambassador for the year 2014.
The latest solution combines articulated steering with turning front wheels, making the tractor extremely agile. It can even be driven sideways to an extent, thus eliminating soil compaction on fields and allowing streets to be ploughed or swept safely along the sides. The articulated steering and rotating front axle are automated, so the amount of articulated steering reduces as the speed increases. At high speeds the tractor is steered normally through the front wheels. The driver can also adjust the ratio of articulated steering to front axle steering according to the situation.
Articulated steering is available as an option on N123, N143 and N163 Direct models. N163 Direct models feature a stepless transmission, powerful 160 l/min hydraulics, front axle stiffening, 171 horsepower with power boost and a top speed of 50 km/h. The tractors can be fitted with standard Valtra front loaders or heavy-duty solid beam loader loaders. With the articulated steering option, the N163 Direct is 60 centimetres longer and 300 kilos heavier than standard models. The weight distribution is 45 percent over the front axle and 55 percent over the rear axle.
The same options are available with the articulated steering than with other Valtra tractors, including a steel fuel tank for forestry tasks and an SVC cab with enhanced side visibility for municipal tasks.
The articulated steering option has been developed together with Valtra’s partners Afcon Oy and LH Lift Oy.
Previous studies have shown that articulated tractors can perform front loader tasks 35-40 percent faster than standard tractors. Speed is increased both by the enhanced agility and the fact that the front and rear of the tractor can be driven sideways without having to drive the tractor forwards and backwards.
The articulated N163 Direct will undergo testing in the winter and spring of 2014. Series production will be phased in at the Valtra Unlimited Studio at the end of 2014.
Following the very successful Discover AGCO event held at the NEC in Birmingham, UK last month, AGCO’s Aftersales group made a presentation of £2,135.38 to the Air Ambulance Service based at Coventry Airport on Monday (24th March 2014). This magnificent sum was collected during a busy event with generous donations from the UK and Eire AGCO dealer network, AGCO staff, suppliers and the farmers who attended the show, with an equal amount raised for the British Heart Foundation.
The Air Ambulance is deemed very close to the hearts of most agricultural businesses, as many farmers and their families rely on the service to reach rural areas of the country. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) provide treatment on the scene of an incident, and a rapid means of transport to the hospital most suited to treat the casualty’s specific injuries and illnesses. They attend a variety of emergency rescues, including road traffic collisions, serious sporting injuries, severe burns, industrial accidents and any other medical incidents that require rapid response.
On average, the service attends six rescue missions every day, costing approximately £1,700 per mission. The state of the art Agusta helicopters can reach speeds of up to 200mph which means they can be at the emergency scene in less than ten minutes.
Yesterday we celebrated, and helped sponsor, National Ag Day 2014, the 41st anniversary of celebrating agriculture’s role in the world. Every spring, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and others join together in recognition and appreciation of the agriculture industry.
We’d like to take this time to express our deepest gratitude to the many men and women across the globe who make agriculture possible: THANK YOU!
How did you celebrate National Ag Day yesterday? We’d love to hear from you — please share your stories in the comments below.
Mike Gryba is a certified mechanic and works with his brother Daniel on their 4,400-acre Saskatchewan farm, where they grow wheat, barley and canola. Mike’s main job is to keep the equipment up and running. Some days that means making the repair himself; other days it requires old-fashioned resourcefulness and help from his AGCO dealer, Full Line Ag in nearby Saskatoon.
Last spring when the Grybas’ RoGator® sprayer malfunctioned in the field, Mike quickly determined it needed a new wheel motor. He knew he couldn’t repair this complex part himself and called Full Line. While they talked, Full Line Parts Manager Dean Grindheim found a remanufactured wheel motor in stock. Within five hours, the motor, which was from the AGCO Reman remanufactured parts program, was in place and the sprayer was back online and ready to finish the job.
“It would have taken days just to get a [RoGator] mechanic out here, and then he’d have to rebuild the unit—providing he brought along all the right parts,” Gryba says. “We were looking at losing several working days by the time he could have gotten that unit up, so the Reman part worked out very well.”
The Reman Resource
AGCO Reman helps farmers like the Grybas get up and running faster and with less expense by using existing core parts that have been completely remanufactured. “We’re giving the customer a low-cost alternative,” says AGCO Senior Marketing Specialist Kevin Bolander. “Environmentally, we’re friendly too, because Reman takes less resources than it does to manufacture a new part; we’re recycling those parts that have failed and are turning them into good parts that are reusable.”
According to Bolander, Reman parts save equipment owners 30% or more over the cost of a new part, but they still come with the same one-year warranty. (If installed by an AGCO dealer, there’s also a six-month labor warranty.) The customer pays a core deposit, which is refunded when the old part is returned to the dealer. Reman parts include numerous product categories that are commonly in stock.
Unlike reconditioned or rebuilt components, AGCO Reman parts undergo a consistent process to restore the product to the original manufacturer’s specifications. Every component is fully tested and found to be up to standards before being sold to the customer. “If there’s a design change that’s been made that improves the product, the Reman product is brought up to the new design specifications. It’s actually upgraded,” says Bolander.
Although cost savings, quality and warranty are all reasons customers choose AGCO Reman parts, at the end of the day, getting back to work is what matters. “We love Reman parts for a simple reason,” says Gryba. “We can go there and pick up a box that’s a complete assembly, and we can bolt it in and can go back to do what we do.”
Currently, AGCO Reman offers a wide-ranging assortment of some 5,300 parts. Get more information at AGCOreman.com.