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Global greetings from Crop Tour 2016

By Darren Goebel

Greetings from Crop Tour 2016! Crop Tour is an initiative at AGCO in which we are gathering information throughout the growing season and demonstrating how different variables that farmers face every year can impact overall yield potential. As an agronomist I love the opportunity to get out to walk fields, observe crop progress, and talk to farmers. This week I was in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota.  Two weeks ago I was in Russia. What is interesting about these two seemingly divergent locations is how similar farmers from Fairmont, MN, to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, are. Everywhere I go; farmers are looking for new techniques to increase production as efficiently as possible in order to improve their bottom line. AGCO is leading the precision revolution with Fuse® Technologies and the most productive, accurate seeding equipment in the world.

Following is my story of Crop Tour 2016 in photos:

Precision pays in Russia

Russia Fuse precision ag 1

Wheat plots. I was amazed to learn that wheat on this farm averages over 100 bushels per acre. Up to three nitrogen applications and two fungicide applications were made with an AGCO Challenger/RoGator Sprayer to insure top yields.

 

Soils in this region are high in organic matter and highly productive. This is a high organic matter silty clay loam soil. You can see Sunflowers in the photo. These were planted with a White VE series planter equipped with Precision Planting technology. Sunflowers are extremely difficult to singulate due to their inconsistent size. With precision planting technology, White/Challenger planters are proving to be one of the most accurate planters in the market.

Soils in this region are high in organic matter and highly productive. This is a high organic matter silty clay loam soil. You can see Sunflowers in the photo. These were planted with a White VE series planter equipped with Precision Planting technology. Sunflowers are extremely difficult to singulate due to their inconsistent size. With precision planting technology, White/Challenger planters are proving to be one of the most accurate planters in the market.

 

Several farmers, after seeing the incredible stand we were able to achieve, asked how much our planter costs. After a few calculations we determined that a farmer could buy a new VE series Challenger/White planter every other year on the yield improvement he could realize from precise singulation. Note the weeds pictured were in a check strip that our crop tour partner, Syngenta, had left to show weed pressure.

Several farmers, after seeing the incredible stand we were able to achieve, asked how much our planter costs. After a few calculations we determined that a farmer could buy a new VE series Challenger/White planter every other year on the yield improvement he could realize from precise singulation. Note the weeds pictured were in a check strip that our crop tour partner, Syngenta, had left to show weed pressure.

 

Thanks to our Crop Tour 2016 farm hosts in Russia.

Thanks to our Crop Tour 2016 farm hosts in Russia.

 

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes; 30,000 after a hard rain

Most of the corn in the region I travelled was between V5 and V7 growth stages. It is important to have adequate nitrogen and water at this stage because the corn plant is setting number of kernel rows per ear around V6. While number of kernel rows per ear is highly influence by genetics, environmental conditions do play a role.

Most of the corn in the region I travelled was between V5 and V7 growth stages. It is important to have adequate nitrogen and water at this stage because the corn plant is setting number of kernel rows per ear around V6. While number of kernel rows per ear is highly influence by genetics, environmental conditions do play a role.

Crops in Minnesota have had a tough time getting started due to cool, wet weather this spring. This week was no exception.  The lake in the background of this picture is a result of over three inches of rain the night before.  Pictured in the photo are Rick Sparks and John Menssen, both AGCO employees.  Rick is an agronomist and product specialist for the region.  John farms and is a Key Account Manager for Ziegler CAT. What I love about AGCO is the passion our employees have for agriculture. Here we were checking stands. This field was planted using prescriptions from Farmer’s Edge, in collaboration with Fuse Technologies for Crop Tour 2016.

Minnesota precision ag 2.jpg

Elevation map taken from “as applied” data collected from the GPS receiver, shown in FieldView. Agronomists use elevation data along with NDVI, yield data, and soil productivity information to make population decisions. Visualization above through Climate’s FieldView, a Fuse connected partner. Note the missing portion of the “as applied” map where the lake can be seen in the previous picture. Below you can see the variable rate prescription from Farmer’s Edge that was applied. Varying seeding rates increases yield on highly productive soils while not wasting seed on poorer soils. The red areas shown below were seeded at 20,000 plants per acre.

Minnesota precision ag 3.jpg

 

 

Above: 36,000 plants per acre in highly productive loam soils. Below: 20,000 plants per acre in poorer gravelly soils.

Above: 36,000 plants per acre in highly productive loam soils.
Below: 20,000 plants per acre in poorer gravelly soils.

One of the most rewarding things about working in agriculture is the opportunity to interact with farmers around the world. They are working hard to sustainably produce crops so that future generations can continue to enjoy the lifestyle. It’s hard work but I have not met a farmer yet that would rather be doing anything else.  More to come from Crop Tour 2016!

 

Darren Goebel is the Director Global Commercial Crop Care, for AGCO’s Global Product Management Group. Connect with Darren on Twitter @Agronomist_IN.

 

 

The AGCO-Branded UAV

The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle technology, the new Solo AGCO Edition comes with everything customers need to set up and hit the ground running, or, in this case, take to the skies. With both an RGB and near-infrared camera, the Solo makes crop monitoring and optimization amazingly easy and efficient by providing outputs capable of producing variable-rate maps that allow farmers to take immediate action to improve yields.

The AGCO-Branded UAV

The AGCO-Branded UAV

Customer value and ease of use are what set the Solo apart from the competition, according to Jeff Punter, AGCO Parts purchasing manager: “The Solo AGCO Edition is ready for use straight out the box and includes helpful features, such as in-app training videos and user-defined operational settings to help customers transition from beginner to expert.”

Punter also notes, “The kit includes two cameras, customized for aerial imaging, to provide results that are immediately actionable and help optimize inputs and increase profitability. There is,” he concludes, “no other product on the market providing this level of capability at this price point.”

The Solo is currently available through the AGCO dealer network in both the U.S. and Canada. Please follow FAA regulations when operating any UAV.

For the latest on how AGCO customers are using AGCO technology, check out the customer stories at http://myFarmLife.com/category/features.

Beauvais tractor manufacturing facility wins France’s Factory of the Year Award 2016

AGCO’s Massey Ferguson Manufacturing Facility at Beauvais, France, has been presented with France’s prestigious Factory of the Year 2016 award.

The Beauvais site in Picardy beat ten other shortlisted factories from a wide range of industries in France to win the title.

Moundir Rachidi, Member of the Jury, Eric Odièvre, HR Director AGCO France, Spain, Portugal, Africa and Middle East, Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing Massey Ferguson EAME, Olivier Dussart, Manager Manufacturing Engineering & APS AGCO Beauvais, Philippe Kerbat, Manager Quality Beauvais Site, Xavier Arruego, Communication Officer Beauvais Site, Boussad Bouaouli, Vice President Manufacturing AGCO Beauvais, Laurence Barbaray, Member of the Jury ( ©Pascal Guittet )

Moundir Rachidi, Member of the Jury, Eric Odièvre, HR Director AGCO France, Spain, Portugal, Africa and Middle East, Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing Massey Ferguson EAME, Olivier Dussart, Manager Manufacturing Engineering & APS AGCO Beauvais, Philippe Kerbat, Manager Quality Beauvais Site, Xavier Arruego, Communication Officer Beauvais Site, Boussad Bouaouli, Vice President Manufacturing AGCO Beauvais, Laurence Barbaray, Member of the Jury ( ©Pascal Guittet )

The Factory of the Year Awards are organised by “L’Usine Nouvelle”, the leading industrial magazine in France. In selecting the overall Factory of the Year Award winner, the Jury looked for a facility that has demonstrated an in-depth transformation initiative and delivered significant performance gains including increases in productivity, quality, competitiveness and market share. Key partner of the awards event and a member of the judging panel is Boston Consulting Group, a leading global management and business strategy specialist.

Operated by Massey Ferguson’s parent company, AGCO, which is headquartered in Duluth in the United States, the AGCO Beauvais site designs and manufactures Massey Ferguson tractors from 75-400 hp. It is France’s largest producer and exporter of farm machinery. Some 14,500 tractors leave the assembly lines each year, 85% of which are shipped to markets all over the world. In the last 12 months, four new MF tractor ranges built at the plant have been unveiled for global markets.

The Factory of the Year award recognises the AGCO Beauvais facility’s successful and wide-ranging reorganisation project known as MF Fast Forward. The plant has seen significant productivity gains through the implementation of Lean Manufacturing processes, 5S good housekeeping techniques and the Hoshin Kanri Continuous Improvement Strategy.

factoryIn addition, the Jury highlighted the site’s Quality Transformation Initiative and the clear commitment of Beauvais employees to the transformation process. Latest in-house figures from the plant show a rise in manufacturing quality levels, while Massey Ferguson’s Customer Satisfaction Index reveals improvements in perceived quality by end-users. For example, non-conformances in the production process have been reduced by more than 40% during the last two years from what was already a very good base. Massey Ferguson’s comprehensive Customer Satisfaction survey reveals that in respect of tractor product quality at the point of delivery, the ‘positive answers’ ratio from end-users has moved up to 94% in less than five years.

“It is a privilege and honour to win this coveted award,” says Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director, Massey Ferguson, Europe, Africa, Middle East. “It is a tribute to our 2500-strong workforce at Beauvais who have been the architects of the factory’s major transformation over the last five years. This latest accolade is yet another milestone in our relentless pursuit of continuous improvement to ensure our customers get the very best products for their farm businesses.”

“The award comes in addition the prize won by the Beauvais site earlier this year as France’s Best Foreign Exporter,” he continues. “High-quality manufacturing is at the heart of the renowned reliability and dependability of Massey Ferguson equipment. This, coupled with our leading design and engineering, is ensuring that our famous ‘Triple Triangle’ brand continues to move ahead. Massey Ferguson’s market share increased again across the Europe, Africa, Middle East region last year – the 6th consecutive year we have increased this figure.”

Commenting, Boussad Bouaouli, Vice-President Manufacturing Beauvais says: “The Beauvais Quality Transformation Initiative is part of AGCO’s global objective to be N°1 in Perceived Quality and was considered an outstanding achievement by the Factory of the Year Award Jury members. It illustrates every single employee’s dedication to deliver ‘best in class quality’ for each individual tractor on the production the line. We are thrilled to receive the title of Factory of the Year and congratulate all our employees in Beauvais. This award is truly the result of their commitment and hard work.”

Spring Plugfest 2016

By: Ben Craker

A unique event in the ag industry returned to Lincoln, Nebraska; the annual spring “Plugfest” took place the week of May 9th, hosted by the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. Plugfest is a twice a year meeting between member companies of the Agriculture Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF). The spring event is held every year in Lincoln and the fall Plugfest is hosted at different locations in Europe, planned for Bologna, Italy in September this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Stay Connected with Fuse Connected Services from AGCO

To help producers overcome farming’s many challenges—as well as adapt to favorable market conditions—AGCO has recently introduced Fuse® Connected Services. Backed by AGCO Parts, AGCO Service and AGCO Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS), Fuse Connected Services combines the right machines, technology, parts, service and support to help customers optimize their operations and maximize uptime. It is a key delivery mechanism of AGCO’s overall approach to precision agriculture.

0216fuse1According to Eric Hansotia, senior vice president, global crop cycle, ATS and dealer tech support at AGCO, Fuse Connected Services is designed to help growers improve overall farm efficiency through preventative maintenance, machine condition monitoring and year-round consultation—all of which are designed to lower input costs, increase equipment uptime and improve yields.

“Using Fuse Connected Services, a producer can control and/or monitor his entire operation, either on his own or with the help of his AGCO dealer. This means making sure machines are up and running when they need to be, coordinated in the right place at the right time, with a seamless ability to use and transfer data,” Hansotia explains, noting that two levels of Fuse Connected Services will be introduced through North American AGCO dealers over the next three years.

Level one of the new service enables customers to conduct self-monitoring, data transfer and operation support from the global Fuse Contact Center via phone, live chat and email. The second-level package offers proactive, remote condition monitoring by dealer experts, off-season inspections and reviews, operational consultation and operator training.

“Unlike some manufacturers,” explains Hansotia, “AGCO believes that machines and precision farming systems need to ‘talk’ to each other, no matter the color. Consequently, Fuse provides mixed-fleet farming operations with improved access to farm data and better connections to trusted service providers.”

Plus, says Hansotia, AGCO not only understands the producer’s need to choose the partners that work best for his or her operation, the company also respects the right to data privacy. “Fuse is also the only solution that provides two distinct data ‘pipes’—one for machine data and one for agronomic data,” he says. “Farmers don’t have to share their farm data with AGCO to use our products or connect with other trusted partners.

“At AGCO,” Hansotia continues, “we acknowledge that the grower owns all equipment and crop data generated by his or her equipment. Through Fuse Connected Services, we want to make sure our customers have the best tools and support to manage their operations via whatever product or partner they choose.”

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