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Get to Grips with Soil Compaction

How do you protect your soils from yield-sapping hardpan?

“Soil compaction is one of the most common problems farmers face today – it severely limits yields and impacts margins,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Product Marketing Manager for the farm equipment brand, Challenger. “However,  key steps can be taken to deal with it through the use of proper soil management.”

CompactionIMG_0383[1]

“As the name implies, compaction occurs when soil particles are compacted together, restricting the amount of space for the air and water needed for optimum plant growth. Compaction can occur naturally or be caused by farming practices. Most often, compaction is created by today’s modern heavy equipment traffic. The key to controlling it is to understand your farm’s soils, ascertain the root cause of compaction and learn how to reduce its costly effects.”

“Compaction tends to build up over time and gets worse every time you work your fields -  most particularly in wet conditions,” he says. “If you haven’t deep-ripped your fields for example, compaction from a wet spring three years ago can dramatically lower yields further down the line.”

Certain soils compact more easily than others. Soils made up of particles of about the same size compact less than soils with particles of varied sizes. Wet soils compact more easily than dry, while soils high in organic matter have a better structure and are more likely to resist compaction.

Some important things to remember:

  • Most compaction is caused by equipment traffic
  • Up to 80% of compaction in the field occurs on the first pass  of the season
  • Surface compaction is caused by high ground pressure created by reduced contact area
  • Deep compaction is caused by high axle loads
  • Slip compaction is caused by low surface contact areas and smearing of the topsoil
  • Pinch-row compaction is caused by dual or triple wheels as ground pressure from the tyres shifts from the centre of the tyre to the outside

To read the full article, please click here

AGCO Joins National Technician Accreditation Scheme

AGCO is pleased to announce that technicians employed by dealerships handling one or more of its four principal machinery brands within the United Kingdom and Ireland will be able to register on a nationally-recognised technician accreditation scheme developed and backed by the AEA and IAgrE, with support from BAGMA.

AGCO Training Centre

AGCO Training Centre

Known as the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme (LTA), the programme has become available to all AGCO dealer technicians following independent assessment and accreditation of the training and facilities provided by AGCO to technicians supporting its Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra farm machinery brands.

The move to have AGCO’s training programmes recognised at a national level, accredited to the same standards of other leading farm machinery manufacturers and suppliers, was spearheaded by Freddie Pullan, Manager, Technical Training UK and Ireland for AGCO Ltd.

“The LTA Scheme provides a clear and accepted means of benchmarking, monitoring and assessing the competence of technicians employed nationwide within the landbased sector,” commented Mr Pullan. “AGCO was keen to ensure that the training it provides to technicians employed by Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra dealers matched this standard, providing a clear and documented career path for AGCO apprentices and technicians wishing to progress within the agricultural engineering industry.”

In consultation with scheme administrator, IAgrE, AGCO’s training programmes were scrutinised and fine-tuned to ensure that they satisfied the accreditation criteria laid down by the LTA scheme. Independent assessment was carried out on behalf of IAgrE by consultant, David Kershner, with accreditation centre approval being granted to AGCO, taking effect in September 2014.

Agricultural engineers employed by AGCO dealers are now able to follow a nationally-recognised four-tier progression from apprentice (LTA1) through to master technician (LTA4), passing through technician (LTA2) and advanced technician (LTA3) tiers as they progress.

Upward movement from one tier to the next involves satisfactory completion of a range of general and product-specific training courses across a number of different categories, as laid down by the LTA scheme. All technicians attaining LTA3 standard become eligible for IAgrE membership and Engineering Technician (Eng Tech) registration, on payment of an annual fee.

“AGCO is committed to supporting an initiative which provides encouragement and recognition for dealers and technicians who voluntarily commit to continual professional development.” commented Mr Pullan. “We believe that the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme will bring sustained improved efficiencies within dealers’ service departments and further boost customers’ perceptions and confidence in technicians working on their tractors and other farm machines,”

“We are delighted that AGCO has joined the LTA scheme,” commented Alastair Taylor, chief executive of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE). “The move will give service engineering technicians employed across the AGCO network the opportunity to gain professional recognition nationwide for their important work.

“We very much look forward to welcoming AGCO’s first LTA3 technicians as members of IAgrE as well as handling their registration as Engineering Technicians with the Engineering Council. It is only right and proper that skilled technicians performing such important work are recognised as professionals. We believe that AGCO customers will reap the benefit of having their farm machinery serviced by technicians who are at the top of their game.”

Challenger Tillage Tools on Show at Wadenbrunn Field Day

Challenger, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), showcased two models from the CH1700 Series Offset Disc Harrow range at the Fendt-Saaten Union Field Day in Wadenbrunn, Germany (27 August 2014). The demonstration of this primary cultivation tool at the event was part of a new focus by AGCO on the Seeding & Tillage sector.

Challenger 1710 offset disc harrow

Challenger 1710 offset disc harrow

A sister brand of Fendt, Challenger supplies tracked tractor, application equipment and Seeding & Tillage implements. The CH1700 offset disc harrows with folding frame feature one of the heaviest disc weights in the industry and are designed for primary tillage, residue/chemical incorporation and land reclamation. Suitable for tractors from 260-455hp and with working widths ranging from 6.50-7.60m, these heavy-duty, rugged implements will penetrate even the toughest ground.

AGCO’s Seeding & Tillage range covers a wide range of products from disc harrows and field cultivators to air drills and row-crop planters.

“AGCO has been involved in the seeding and tillage sector since the company’s inception in 1990,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Manager Europe/Africa/Middle East. “Since then, key acquisitions and a joint venture with Amity Technology, one of the leading names in the sector, have significantly increased our seeding and tillage product portfolio.”

“A key aim of AGCO’s Seeding & Tillage initiative is to develop products using appropriate technology – from smaller implements matched to the needs of emerging markets to sophisticated broad-acre solutions,” he says. “Our major markets to date have been North and South America, Eastern Europe and Africa. The next step is to extend and look for new opportunities in Western and Central Europe and we are delighted to be able to start our promotional campaign at the prestigious Fendt-Saaten Union Field Day.”

Challenger Is Living Up To Its Name

What better way to celebrate the launch of our all-new MT775 E Series Challenger tracked tractors than its selection as one of the twelve finalists for the 2015 Tractor of the Year Award to be announced at the upcoming EIMA International show in Bologna, Italy next month?  This new, never before seen tractor has a 438 horsepower engine, a massive 15% increase over the previous model and now boasts 34” belts which provide 13% more grip area.

The award itself is judged by a group of 23 European specialized agricultural machinery journalists who evaluate the both the field tractors as well as specialized as well as the design both categories.  After field conditions are evaluated, the shortlist is determined.  Winners are announced at the next major European show – in this case – The EIMA Show.  To see all of this year’s finalists including two of Challenger’s sister brands, check out this video:

“We are so excited to demonstrate this 400+ hp tractor that applies all the power directly to the ground on our industry exclusive Mobil-Trac™ system delivering superior traction and low compaction.  We can’t wait to meet the jury of the Tractor of the Year at the field evaluations,” commented Luca Cattani, Challenger Product Marketing Manager – Track and Articulated Tractors, EAME.

Three Awards will be given out on the first day of the EIMA show:

  • Tractor of the year to the tractor reaching the highest score
  • Best of the specialized tractors (orchard, vineyard)
  • Golden tractor for the design

For more information on the Challenger MT775E Series, Click Here.

Idaho Dealer Agri-Service Holds Series of Fall Tillage Days

Photo taken by Adam Hubbard, Marketing Manager Agri-Service, LLC

Photos taken by Adam Hubbard, Marketing Manager Agri-Service, LLC

While the skies above may look ominous in this picture, the tractors and equipment were in for a day of hard work ahead.  Several weeks ago in American Falls, Idaho, AGCO dealer Agri-Service, LLC had its first of a series of events called Fall Tillage days.  This is a chance for their customers and prospects get behind the wheel of our tractors and demonstrate them along with our tillage equipment.  “In attendance at this particular event were approximately 18 guests representing about 8 local farm operations,” said Adam Hubbard, Marketing Manager at Agri-Service.

Available to demo were a Challenger MT685 pulling a Sunflower 4511 Disc Chisel, a Challenger MT765 pulling a Sunflower 1436 Disc Harrow, and a Challenger MT865 pulling a Sunflower 4630 Disc Ripper.  Everyone in attendance was able to demonstrate each of these machines and Agri-Service salesmen as well as AGCO Product Specialists were on-hand to answer questions and point out key features of the equipment and highlight their benefits.  All were able to easily demonstrate the ability to till under the crop residue while leaving an impressive finish.

Tillage 1435 Shot

CH Low field shot

 As these machines were parked on a well-traveled road prior to the start of the day, there were some walk-ups inquiring about the impressive display including the static Gleaner Super Series S88 which was prominently showcased as well.

“We had positive feedback from all of the customers that attended.  All were able to operate the equipment and were impressed by the tractors as well as the performance of each tillage piece.  Some of them had used Sunflower [before] and some hadn’t,” stated Hubbard.   When asked if anything in particular stood out to the guests, Hubbard replied, “the SF 4630, the big disc ripper and it performed very well in addition to the incredible ability and performance of the MT865 tractor.”

Agri-Service has three more upcoming Fall Tillage events in October.  To learn more, click here.

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