By Chris Rhodes
There was a refreshing op-ed piece in the New York Times a few weeks ago. Typically when city-based media focus their energy on agriculture, the focus is on organic labels, artisanal foods, and craft beers – forgetting about the real work of feeding a growing population of seven billion people. In the article, author Jayson Lusk talked about how technology is enabling fewer farmers, on less land, with a smaller environmental footprint get the work done to feed more people better food. He highlighted that in the 1950’s farm technology would have required 180 million acres to produce the same amount of soy that is produced on 80 million US acres today, and that it would require a whopping 308 million acres to produce the corn that is currently grown on 80 million acres. Without the technology that creates this kind of efficiency, we would not be able to feed the current population—80% of whom now live in cities.
In addition to the focus on productivity, it was nice to see an article that admits that there is no group of people who love the land more, and are better stewards of the land, than farmers. Jayson points out that the term ‘Factory Farm’ is generally used as a pejorative, but that most farms are actually still owned by families. He also points out that it is precisely the attention to detail, and the scale of the ‘Factory Farm’ that allows for the technology development and use that drives down the ecological cost of farming while still feeding the world. It’s these larger farms that are driving the adoption of technology that reduces the use of water and chemicals and that allows for the low- and no-till cropping that has reduced soil erosion 40% since the 1980’s.
Finally, Jayson alludes to the immense complexity that comes with bringing together a bunch of different types of technology. That complexity remains one of the main stumbling blocks of technology adoption, but not one that can’t be overcome. A continued focus on driving technology through mobile devices and on connecting technology more openly will ensure that the strides we are making with technology will continue to deliver the productivity and environmental benefits we have been seeing over the last couple of decades.
For more information about how AGCO solutions are helping growers large and small become more efficient, visit www.AGCOcorp.com/Fuse.
Chris Rhodes is the Global Director of Commercial ATS (Advanced Technology Solutions) and Partnerships for Fuse®, AGCO’s next generation approach to precision farming. Chris helps ensure the delivery of Fuse technologies and services to our customers and the advancement of the Fuse open approach through industry partnerships and strategic alliances.
Danny Kornegay isn’t afraid to try new things.
Raising hogs, tobacco, sweet potatoes, cotton, watermelons, peanuts, soybeans corn and more, his 5,500-acre operation is about as diversified as a farm can realistically be. Danny even partnered with four other producers to build their own cotton gin and warehouse 26 years ago. Yet this year he’s made a new addition—asparagus.
Danny, 62, concedes he is no expert on asparagus. Fortunately, he and his family—his wife, Susie; son, Dan; and daughter, Kim Kornegay-LeQuire—have plenty of experience managing different operations and trying new things at their farm, Kornegay Family Farms & Produce, in Princeton, North Carolina.
The operation’s long-time success led to Danny being named the 2015 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year at last year’s Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga.
The family has weathered downturns in both the cotton and tobacco markets, yet both continue to provide good income. “The future for tobacco with regulations and demand doesn’t make it the most stable industry. We think there will continue to be a strong demand for healthy American-grown food like sweet potatoes and vegetables.”
Both Dan and Kim give credit to their dad for planning a farm for the future and working to make it all come to fruition.
“I think Dad has just had such great vision,” says Kim, who oversees the farm’s payroll, human resources and food safety program, among other duties. “He has not tried to be the biggest at everything, but always had a plan for steady and managed growth. And in the past 10 years, my brother has had a big role in that.”
Among other prizes for being named Farmer of the Year, Danny received a year’s use of a Massey Ferguson® 8737 tractor. He says about the MF8737: “It is well built. The Dyna-VT™ transmission is very nice because you don’t have to change gears … and the comfortable ride may be the best feature.”
See the full story about Kornegay, his farm and family: A Visit with Southeastern Farmer of the Year Danny Kornegay. For more information on the 2016 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award, held Tuesday, October 18, check out the Sunbelt Expo website.
By Timothy Chou
AGCO is excited to have guest blogger Dr. Timothy Chou of Stanford University join us on the Fuse Blog
Some of you have heard about the Internet of Things. While many will wonder why a coffee pot needs to talk to a toaster there is even greater potential in using advanced software, machine learning, and cloud computing to transform the planet’s fundamental infrastructure and build precision machines. In this blog we’ll focus on the benefits of using these precision machines to enable precision industries, whether that’s farming, mining or transportation.
So what are the benefits of precision agricultural machines to the farmer, or more generally what are the benefits of precision machines to the businesses that use these machines? We are going to discuss two of these benefits in this blog.
Lower Consumable Costs
Many machines consume materials during operations. This could be fuel in the case of an airplane, ink for a high-speed printer or chemical reagents in a gene sequencer. These consumables often form a large portion of the operational cost structure. As anyone with an inkjet printer knows, the cost of the printer is not near as much as the cost of the toner cartridge you buy every year before tax day. At the enterprise level in the airline industry, the single largest operational cost is fuel – in some cases that’s nearly 30 percent of the total cost of the flight.
In the railroad business New York Air Brake has engineered a product to help operate trains more precisely. This product, called LEADER, is being used by Norfolk Southern railroad, which operates in 22 eastern states. They attribute a five percent fuel savings to their deployment of LEADER, resulting in not only 10.8 million gallons of diesel fuel saved per year, but also the avoidance of more than 109,500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia in 2015 left at least six people dead and created chaos on the heavily traveled Northeast corridor the next morning, cutting off all direct rail service between Philadelphia and New York City and causing many other delays up and down the east coast. But if you can tell the train operator what to do, it’s a short step to just having the computers do it.
In 2016, the first automated train will run from the north of Australia to Perth to deliver iron ore. Not only will it reduce their costs as they railroad has to spend $300,000 in salary for these operators, but also reducing human error will result in a safer railroad.
While technology is cool, its real usage has been to transform businesses. We’re all familiar with the examples from the consumer space (Google, Uber, eBay), but IoT technology has the potential to do the same for producers and consumers of the machines used in agriculture, healthcare, power, transportation, water and more. For a manufacturer of Things, technology can not only reduce the cost and improve the quality of service, but also deliver new revenue sources. As a consumer of this next generation of Things, you have the ability to use precision machines to deliver higher quality and lower cost food, power and water, and safer and lower cost transportation and healthcare.
For more information about IoT and how it might reshape your business check out the recently released book Precision: Principles, Practices and Solutions for the Internet of Things.
For more information about AGCO’s own Internet of Things for the Farm (IoTF), visit www.AGCOcorp.com/Fuse to learn about our precision farming technologies and services.
The Fendt 1000 Vario tractors mark the beginning of a new power class for standard tractors. Ranging from 380 HP to 500 HP, the four new models in the series are big and powerful, yet remarkably compact, agile, fast and fuel efficient.
A breakthrough in class-leading intelligent design, the Fendt 1000 tractors are exceptionally versatile, capable of transport work at 31 mph (50 kph) and heavy draft work. Thanks to their relatively light 30,864 pounds and 60-inch row-crop-capable track width, all four fixed-frame models can fill the row-crop and transport needs commonly delegated to a conventional tractor. Yet, a flexible ballasting concept allows each vehicle to be loaded with up to 50% of its base weight for use in the heaviest draft applications typically reserved for 4-wheel-drive, track and articulated tractors.
“The Fendt 1000 Vario is also the first standard tractor line with a new Fendt iD comprehensive low-engine-speed concept,” explains Josh Keeney, tactical marketing manager for North America. “That means that all drivetrain components, as well as the hydraulics and cooling system, were designed to work ideally within the ‘high-torque, low-engine-speed’ concept to minimize fuel consumption and extend service life.”
As Keeney explains, in addition to Fendt iD, another groundbreaking component is a completely new stepless drive concept called VarioDrive. “Fendt has not only further developed the Vario transmission, but also developed a completely new drivetrain,” he says. “It’s the first drivetrain that drives both axles independently, providing optimized traction, automated 4-wheel drive and enhanced maneuverability.”
“Fendt tractors have always been appreciated by operators for their comfort, power, ease of use and technology offering. The 1000 Vario won’t disappoint, adding another level of precision capability to its operation,” Keeney says.
For more info on the Fendt 1000 Vario tractors, see your Fendt dealer or visit fendt.com/us.
See the full story and a video of the new tractor in action: Fendt 1000 Vario Tractor: Versatile, Powerful, Unique.
The new Challenger 1000 Series tractors are more than a new line of high-horsepower machines. They also represent an engineering breakthrough, offering tech-savvy solutions for today’s agribusiness operations.
“The Challenger 1000 Series is a completely new class of tractors,” says Josh Keeney, Challenger tactical marketing manager for North America. Each of the four models in the series, he says, “delivers more for less, with high efficiency and incredible power … all while offering intelligent, superior engineering, and exceptional road speed and operator comfort.
Ranging from 396 to 517 HP, the four models in the 1000 Series are the most versatile standard tractor on the market. Weighing in at an agile 30,864 pounds, they can fill the row-crop and transport needs commonly delegated to a conventional tractor. An easy ballasting system gives each vehicle the potential to be loaded with up to 50% of its base weight for use in heavy draft applications typically reserved for small-frame articulated tractors.
“One key to the Challenger 1000 Series performance is an advanced step-less drivetrain called AccuDrive,™” says Keeney, “designed for high torque, independent of ground conditions, while keeping engine speed especially low.” The 1000 Series tractors reach their maximum speed of 31 mph at a fuel-saving 1,200 rpm, and deliver up to 1,770 feet-pounds of torque (model 1050) at just 1,100 rpm.
The efficient and ergonomic cab environment even ensures all controls in the cab are color-coded for function, including engine and transmission, hydraulics, PTO and electronics—an incredible advantage when training new operators.
For more information on the new Challenger 1000 Series tractors, see your nearest Challenger dealer or log on to challenger-ag.us.