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/.
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.
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%.”
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
How do you get a tractor into the middle of Australia’s third largest city? Drive it down a river of course!
The long awaited Challenger E series made a dramatic entrance to the Australian and New Zealand region, surprising a gathering of Challenger Dealers on the banks of the Brisbane River.
Built upon three decades of Challenger’s tracked tractor leadership, the industry leading E Series demanded an unveiling that would leave a lasting impression with the dealership team and kick off the launch of this exciting new range with a bang.
Local challenger dealers were invited to a social evening at a restaurant overlooking the Brisbane River in Brisbane’s business district. As guest presenters introduced the new ground breaking E Series with informative presentations and videos, Challenger dealers would have been excused for assuming the evening was following a familiar schedule.
Drifting down the river under the cover of darkness, on a barge set up as a stage, the Challenger E series was poised to disrupt that familiarity.
Arriving at its destination with precision timing, the floating E series nudged closer towards the dealer group now congregating on the restaurant’s balcony and was revealed in a coordinated show of lights, smoke and the beat of ACDC’s thunderstruck.
And thunderstruck the crowd was. The unique unveiling was captured by a contingent of photographers as well as the dealership group and onlookers, with hands quickly diving into pockets in search of iphones to capture the sight.
Speaking after the event, key organiser of the E series launch and Challenger Product Manager Jeremy Duniam said that the evening went as planned.
“There were a couple of dealers that had a suspicion of what was going to happen, but most were stunned when the tractor was lit up and floating only metres from the river bank.”
“It was an exciting way to introduce the exciting new Challenger E Series,” Jeremy said.
A behind the scenes video of the spectacular unveiling will be available soon on AGCO Blog and www.facebook.com/ChallengerAg
Challenger’s MT775E has been voted as the winner of the Machine of the Year XXL award at the SIMA Show 2015. One of the most prestigious accolades for tractors incorporating innovative technology and overall performance, the selection was made by 19 independent agricultural journalists representing 17 European countries trade magazines.
Built upon three decades of tracked tractor leadership from Challenger, the MT775E’s 9.8 litre, 7 in-line cylinder Tier 4 Final/Stage IV engine not only cuts fuel consumption by up to 5%, but also increases the maximum power by 15% to 438hp (56hp more than the MT765D).
Other MT775E highlights include 25% extra engine torque (1921Nm), a 43% increase in hydraulic oil flow (321lit/min), and the 53% larger fuel tank (659-litres) allows operators to spend more time in the field between refills for even higher levels of productivity.
The maximum ballasted weight of the tractor has risen 8% from 16,329kg to 17,690kg, and the belt contact area is increased 13% by 4.21m². This all adds up to 157% more for the MT775E when compared to the previous benchmark MT765D tracked tractor.
For more SIMA coverage, please visit: sima.agcocorp.com.