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Challenger Tractors: ‘Stick There Like Glue’

“Our topography is pretty steep,” says Garry Esser about the less-than-level land he farms. “It’s a challenge, but,” he says with a grin, “you’re never bored.”

Raising a variety of crops, including wheat, barley and canola, as well as peas and pulse crops, Esser and his son John farm land in the ever-undulating Palouse region of western Idaho. It’s a tough assignment for most tractors, according to Esser, who farms on some steep slopes.

Garry and John Esser

Garry and John Esser

That’s one of the reasons he runs Challenger® track tractors, including an MT855. “They just stick there like glue … and they’re light and nimble,” he says.

Esser notes that with the rubber-track Challengers, “You’ve got the speed of a wheel tractor for moving up and down the road, and yet still have the benefits of the tractor sticking to the hills. And, they get power to the ground per weight like nothing I’ve ever driven.”

Due to a need to reduce compaction, weight is a particular concern for Esser. “In the spring, when we’re fighting compaction, we can lighten this tractor up … and still pull our equipment because the Challenger line has done a real good job of getting [power] to the ground.” He adds that “a lot of the competitors’ tractors weigh 60,000 pounds when they’re delivered, and you really can’t do a lot with that. That’s just heavy.”

Running just two tractors, uptime is critical for the Essers. They rely on Agri-Service in Pasco, Wash., for parts and service. “We’ve known them a long time,” Esser says. “Their guys are sharp. They’re real responsive. We’ve been very pleased with their service.”

For more, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/shepherds-grain-bridges-built-alliances-forged/.

Becknology with AGCO and Beck’s Hybrids

AGCO is collaborating with Beck’s Hybrids to demonstrate yield and productivity advantages of the new Sunflower 9830NT. The 9830NT was featured at a recent Beck’s field day (Becknology Days) in Henderson, KY. Throughout the course of the day, hundreds of growers went through the Equipment Innovations class and then stopped by to look at the iron. The theme was technology-enabled productivity that is providing the most accurate seeding system for wheat, early soybeans, and double-crop soybeans.

Equip Innovations

Beck's

Beck’s is very interested in plot work that will help farmers make the right decisions about agronomic inputs as well as equipment decisions. The 9830NT can put down fertilizer with wheat in the fall, which can improve yields by 5-10 bushels per acre. It is also the best drill on the market for seeding into heavy wheat residue. Alex Long of Beck’s talked about the trial work Beck’s is conducting that examines seeding accuracy at 6, 8, and 10 mph compared to a Kinze planter. Results will be available this fall.

Working with companies like Beck’s is a great way for the equipment industry to stay connected with independent agronomic testing and to be able to share our products with a diverse group of customers.

Beck's 2

In addition to support and testing of the 9830NT, Beck’s is promoting AGCO’s X-Edition MT700E and MT800E tractors.

Beck's 3

Beck’s has more Becknology days coming up. Follow the link below for dates in your area: http://www.beckshybrids.com/About-Us/Becks-Field-Shows.

AGCO and SDI: More Power, Less Compaction

Nate Ray has some 25,000 hungry mouths to feed—all of them the bovine beauties at De Jager Farms’ eight dairies in California’s Central Valley. Specifically, Ray oversees operations on De Jager’s 17,000 acres of farmland, most of which is used to grow corn, wheat and alfalfa.

Over the years, Ray has helped introduce new practices at the farm, including subsurface drip irrigation (SDI). Yet, as is often the case, one change begets another, as when the use of SDI created an even greater need to reduce compaction.

Ray found the solution in the form of a Challenger® MT865E. “We chose this Challenger track machine for our minimum-tillage operations,” says Ray, “and basically it was to reduce our compaction and just to give us more power to the ground that we weren’t getting with our John Deere machines. The Challenger,” which he says has also reduced fuel usage, has “provided more torque, more pulling power and greater efficiency.”

Ray and De Jager also recently switched to AGCO windrowers. “Over the course of two years,” says Ray, “we tried out just about every brand on the market, from New Holland to John Deere to MacDon to Case, and we pretty much fell in love with the AGCO machines.”

In the course of making the change—to two Challenger and two Massey Ferguson® WR9760 self-propelled windrowers—Ray was also able to actually reduce the number of windrowers from six, while making the seven to eight cuttings of alfalfa per year on the same acreage in less time and using less fuel. What’s more, he says, the quality of the cutting is “on par, if not better, with the AGCO rotary heads.”

As for his AGCO dealership, “We’ve been working with Holt of California for about four years now, and their service has been excellent. Their expertise and knowledge of the machines has enabled us to run them to their maximum performance. And we’ve just had a great working relationship with them. They’ve provided excellent customer support.”

For more, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/going-underground-irrigation-breakthroughs-in-drought-stricken-california/.

Bashkortostan seminar presents compelling case for strip-till

The substantial cost savings and yield increases achieved by strip-till and no-till cultivation techniques were key talking points at a major seminar and demonstration at Krasnaya Bashkiria farm in Bashkortostan.

Challenger_striptill_7600

Held jointly by AGCO and its Dealer Delta Agriculture, the event was also supported by Bashkortostan’s Ministry of Agriculture. Among the 50 guests were representatives of the Ministry, local district authorities and heads of the largest farms in the region. Machines on display from AGCO brands included the Challenger 7610 strip-till cultivator and Challenger 9830 air-seeder.

Strip-till is a relatively new tillage method being introduced into farming practice in Eastern Europe and is gaining ground among sunflower and maize growers looking to boost both efficiency and productivity. It is classed as a conservation system which uses Conventional and No-Till tillage to promote sustainable farming. It combines the soil-drying and warming benefits of conventional tillage, with the soil-protecting advantages of conservation tillage. The strip-till technique involves disturbing only the portion of soil (or strip) that will contain the seedbed row. It leaves the residue of a prior crop between the new crop’s growing-rows. Chemicals and fertiliser can also be applied at the same time as tillage.

Guests at the AGCO demonstration event were greeted by Mr Rail Fakhrislamov, owner of the 16,000 ha Krasnaya Bashkiria and Mr Ildar Nasyrov Deputy Minister of Agriculture. Professor Khalil Safin from the Russian Academy of Sciences kicked off the day’s agenda with a presentation on the application of new technologies in agriculture.

Delta Agriculture’s Rinat Amirov gave a detailed insight into the benefits of Challenger strip-till cultivators. “The case for strip-till is compelling,” he says. “The prime costs of sunflower and maize production decrease by 30-40% thanks to lower fuel, labour and fertiliser inputs. On top of that, there is less soil erosion, while spring sowing can be started earlier. All in all, growers can expect yield increases of 20-30%.”

Take care to apply the right amount of fertiliser when placing with seed

There are a number of factors to consider when placing fertiliser with seed according to Dr. Mike Stewart from the International Plant Nutrition Institute in Norcross, Georgia, USA.

Placing fertiliser in-furrow with the seed during planting is a common practice in small grain production and to some extent in row-crop production. Placing fertiliser with the seed can be an effective and beneficial management practice, but over- application and mismanagement can result in seedling damage, and ultimate stand and yield loss. The type of crop, fertiliser source, row spacing, and soil environment all affect how much fertiliser can be safely applied with seed.

Type of crop: Some crops are more susceptible to injury from in-furrow fertilisation than others. Oil seed crops are particularly sensitive; therefore most guidelines allow no fertiliser placed with the seed of these crops. The general order of sensitivity (most to least) among major crops grown on the Great Plains in the United States is soybeans > sorghum > corn > small grains.

Type of fertiliser: Fertilisers are salts, and these salts can affect the ability of the seedling to absorb water… too much fertiliser (salt) and seedling desiccation or “burn” can occur. Some fertiliser materials have a higher salt index or burn potential than others. Salt index values are usually included in basic agronomic texts, or are available from fertiliser dealers or extension resources such as government bodies or universities. As a general rule, most common nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) fertilisers have higher salt indexes than phosphorus (P) fertilisers; therefore, a common predictor for the potential for salt damage is the sum of N+K2O per acre (0.4 ha) applied with the seed. For example, most guidelines for corn (maize) in 30 inch (76.2 cm) rows will allow for no more than 10 lb (4.5kg)/A of N+K2O in medium to fine textured soils — assuming no urea-containing products are used.

Ammonia formation potential of fertiliser: Fertilisers that have the potential to release free ammonia can cause ammonia toxicity to germinating seeds or young emerging seedlings. Thus, extra caution must be used with in-furrow placement of urea-containing fertilisers. In some cases urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) or urea can be applied successfully in-furrow in small grain production, but this requires careful consideration of several factors including those discussed below.

Row spacing: For a specific set of circumstances (i.e. crop, soil conditions, etc.) the safe rate of in-furrow fertiliser increases as row spacing narrows or decreases. A narrowing row space has the effect of diluting fertiliser over more linear feet (metres) of row.

Soil type and environment: Soil conditions that tend to concentrate salts, or stress the germinating seed, increase the potential for damage. So, the safe limit for in-furrow fertilisation is reduced with sandier soil texture and in drier soil conditions. Also, environmental conditions that induce stress and/or slow germination (e.g. cold temperature) can prolong fertiliser-seed contact and thus increase the likelihood of damage.

Seed bed utilisation: The more scatter there is between seed and fertiliser in the seed band or row, the more fertiliser can be safely applied. The type of planting equipment and seed opener influences the intimacy of seed-fertiliser contact. The concept of “seed bed utilisation” (SBU) has been used to address this factor. SBU is simply the seed row width divided by the row width (i.e., proportion of row width occupied by seed row). The wider the seed row for a specific row width the greater the SBU. As SBU increases so does the safe rate of in-furrow fertilisation.

* Reprinted from the International Plant Nutrition Institute, Plant Nutrition Today Series by Dr Mike Stewart. http://www.ipni.net/pnt

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