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Combine Care: Downtime Maintenance Means Uptime Performance

The last three combines that Erle Brewer has owned have all been traded back to Shoal Lake Farm Equipment shortly after the warranty expired … which means Brewer hasn’t had to worry much about repairs. However, that doesn’t mean the Hamiota, Manitoba, farmer is any less diligent about end-of-season maintenance and inspection.

0116combinematintenanceHWith 2,500 acres of canola, oats, wheat and barley to harvest each year, the Massey Ferguson® Model 9560 he currently owns gets a good workout by the time harvest season is finished. Hence, the first thing he does before putting the machine away for the winter is thoroughly clean and check it over for needed repairs.

“I go over all the usual things, like checking the belts and chains, and making a list of any repairs that need to be made,” he says. “I can still do a lot of mechanical repairs myself; but with all the electronics on combines these days, I hate to get too far past the warranty. Fortunately, I haven’t had many problems to worry about since I try to keep fairly new machines. Keeping them clean and properly maintained just makes harvest that much more trouble-free.”

Trading in combines just after the warranty expires is a terrific approach to managing a fleet. However, as Brewer notes, it doesn’t eliminate the need for regular maintenance. So, to help farm equipment owners develop or enhance their own system and maximize uptime, FarmLife is offering a series of maintenance checklists.

Check out the latest we’ve crafted with the help of farmers and AGCO dealership and corporate personnel. Also, see parts one and two in the series—on balers and tractors.

For more, see or visit the maintenance series from FarmLife, our exclusive customer magazine, at

Researchers Believe Living on a Farm Makes You Healthier

How about a little good news for the holidays?

“Farms give us food, fiber and fuel, all essentials of life. But now we are also asking for them to give us the secret of why living on a farm makes you healthier.” So says Matthew C. Keifer, MD, MPH.

0315health1Keifer is an investigator for a National Institutes of Health-funded study being conducted by the National Farm Medicine Center at the Marshfield Clinic, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin. The study is looking into why farm children have less asthma, wheezing and allergic reactions than non-farm children. Researchers will enroll some 100 pregnant farm women and 100 pregnant non-farm women, searching for variables that make the difference in their children. For now, the study, which ends in 2017, has focused on farms with animals. “The strongest evidence for this protective effect is in large-animal agriculture—hogs and cattle,” says Keifer.

He adds, “Allergic conditions are overreactions of the immune system. If we can figure out what it is about the farm environment that modulates or calms down the immune system, we can probably develop a method to get that kind of remedy available to non-farm kids.” Stay tuned. Researchers hope to make results from the study available in 2017 or 2018.

For more, see

Fuse Delivers Award Winning Resources for AGCO Customers and Dealers

Fuse Awards

From the launch of Fuse Connected Services to new product and partnership announcements, 2015 has been an exciting year for the AGCO farmer. In addition to delivering best-in-class solutions for growers, AGCO continued its commitment to providing resources for growers and dealers that want to understand more about Fuse.

AGCO’s precision farming approach is gaining recognition, and this likely impressed the members of The New Economy judging panel in February 2015, which awarded AGCO with The New Economy Clean Tech Award for Best Agribusiness & Agricultural Solution.

The following month, the global Fuse website,, won two Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the areas of ‘Science/Technology’ and ‘Professional Services’ due to the site’s detailed content and usability.  In September the site was also honored with a Silver W3 Award based on design and creative elements. The Fuse website features information about Fuse products and services, as well as support and training resources.

Another resource to learn more about Fuse is our video showcasing AGCO’s vision for the future of precision farming. The video brings a greater understanding of the Fuse strategy by highlighting the benefits it brings to AGCO customers and dealers. Since the video’s release, it has been honored with a Gold Remi Award in the ‘Agriculture’ category as well as a prestigious Silver Cannes Corporate Media & TV Award.

Providing excellent resources to AGCO customers and dealers is just one way AGCO is delivering on the Fuse approach to precision farming. Coming soon in 2016 will be the launch of additional languages of the Fuse website and a new payback calculator tool to help growers understand the value of precision farming, in addition to new videos featuring our products, services and customer testimonials.

Take a look at the Fuse website, spend a view minutes watching the video and learn how Fuse technologies and services are connecting your farm enterprise like never before.


Abby Burton is a marketing communications specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse message to customers, dealers, employees and investors.

She Wrote the Book: Audrey Levatino and the Women-Powered Farm

“People say, ‘Your garden must be beautiful,’” says Audrey Levatino of her specialty cut-flower farm near Gordonsville, Va. It’s not like owning a “landscaped country garden,” she says. “It’s work.”

Audrey Levatino

Audrey Levatino

It’s work she loves so much, she stopped teaching high school English to run the farm on the 23-acre property she and husband, Michael, bought in 2002. Michael’s full-time book-publishing work means Audrey operates the farm—named “Ted’s Last Stand”—mostly alone.

The name came from a rooster that died because of the couple’s inexperience. Without a guard dog, the rooster needed nightly protection. That didn’t happen, and Audrey says, “A trail of feathers is all we found.”

She includes such lessons in “Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field” (W.W. Norton, $24.95). The cover features her 1955 Massey Ferguson® 65 “workhorse” tractor, which she uses to plow, mow, haul and gain height for chores, such as putting up and taking down hoop houses.

When she meets women who want to replicate her experience, Audrey recommends finding a supportive farming community. “You’re going to need help, you’re going to need to commiserate and,” she says, “you’re going to need to share your victories.”

For more, see

IAS Year in Review and Looking Forward: AGCO and Appareo Systems Joint Venture

By Abby Burton

Last year, AGCO and Appareo Systems announced their partnership on a joint venture, Intelligent Agricultural Solutions (IAS), to enable breakthrough agricultural innovations for creating a more optimized farm.IAS_Logo_Vert_RGB

As the flagship of AGCO’s Fuse partnering model, the IAS joint venture presents a unique funding mechanism and structure to quickly drive new, creative technologies that will help growers reduce costs and waste while improving yield and efficiency.

2015 saw success in IAS’ existing product line, progress on six development projects and the addition of five new projects entering the concepting phase. The Wireless Blockage and Flow Monitor currently on the market is an acoustic-based monitoring solution that provides quick and accurate notification of blockages anywhere in an air seeder, fertilizer, or box drill. The simplicity and reliability of this product makes it one of the best in the industry.

With so many products in the development stage and several launching in 2016, the market will begin to see the strength of the IAS innovation engine. Several of the new technologies will be featured at a field day in the fall of 2016 where growers will have the opportunity to see the products in action and learn firsthand how these products can increase their farm productivity and improve their bottom line.

Stay tuned for more news on product releases in the summer of 2016. To learn more about IAS, visit


Abby Burton is a marketing communications specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse message to customers, dealers, employees and investors.


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