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Bringing Storage Technology to Life in Mkushi, Zambia

By Louisa Parker, Manager External Affairs, Africa & Middle East

central province_b2b_demo

In June Bags2Bulk held its first demonstration day showcasing the bulk storage technology to grain traders. GSI Africa and the installation team worked tirelessly to have the demo unit ready for the event held In Mkushi which was well attended. It was great to see the response of the traders now that they have been able to see and touch the technology as the project team was pleased to receive the local Agricultural Commissioner Mr. Luka Mwamba as guest of honour at the event.

This is the first of several demonstration events that will take place at five locations throughout Central and Eastern province in Zambia during the course of the pilot. The team is now following up on a number of sales leads and GSI is now looking at several candidates to take forward the role of sales assistant to support the project.

Speaking at the event, the Commissioner noted that he had seen the GSI technology and was impressed by what he’d seen.  He said “previously, this technology has only been available to large commercial farmers.  I am pleased that now this is available to farmers and traders both large and small.”  While he praised the technology, he was quick to state that the government supports the Bags2Bulk initiative and encourages other players in the agriculture industry to come on board.  Still, he cautioned “Of course nothing comes for free.  Financing will be key to accessing this technology.  It is good to see the banks here today.  My message to you is work hard to develop a finance solution so that the farmers can take advantage of this new technology.”  To the traders, he reminded them that farming is a business not a charity.  In closing, the Commissioner said “we look forward to seeing many shiny new silos on the small scale farms across Mkushi district in the months to come”.

For more information about upcoming Bags2Bulk events, please contact Louisa Parker:  louisa.parker@agcocorp.com.

Mkushi’s Agricultural Commissioner, Mr Luka Mwamba shakes hands with Louisa Parker of AGCO.  To their right, they are joined by Musika Central Region Manager, Mr. Mabvuto Chisi.

Mkushi’s Agricultural Commissioner, Mr Luka Mwamba shakes hands with Louisa Parker of AGCO. To their right, they are joined by Musika Central Region Manager, Mr. Mabvuto Chisi.

MF 6600 Series Wins Silver Award at Cereals 2014, UK

Massey Ferguson is delighted to have been awarded a Silver award for its MF 6600 range of tractors at the inaugural IMMA awards at this year’s Cereals event in Cambridgeshire, England.

The IMMAs are a totally new machinery awards scheme that recognises the best new farm equipment on the market today.

Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development EAME, and Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager, Massey Ferguson, UK and Ireland.

Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development EAME, and Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager, Massey Ferguson, UK and Ireland.

This new initiative organised by the Cereals Event and supported by the AEA, The Institution of Agricultural Engineers, The Royal Agricultural University and Farmers Weekly, recognises the very best in agricultural engineering.

The independent panel of judges awarded the honours based on the following criteria – Innovation, cost-effectiveness and value.

The judging panel consisted of a number of high profile names from the world of agriculture: Professor Dick Godwin, Harper Adams University (soils and cultivation); Professor Toby Mottram, Royal Agricultural University (robotics); Peter Redman (IAgrE); Prof Paul Miller, NIAB (sprayer expert); Phillip Clappison, Farmers Weekly Contractor of the Year; Roger Lane-Nott (AEA) and David Cousins, Farmers Weekly.

Massey Ferguson submitted their entry back in April, in a comprehensive application that was co-ordinated by Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager for Massey Ferguson in the UK and Ireland. The package included not only technical information, but supporting collateral such as video, images and customer testimonial.

The MF 6600 award was highlighted by the following closing statement “Ruggedly powerful engines and intelligent design ensure all models in the MF 6600 range have a high power-to-weight ratio for extraordinary all-round machine ability and agility in all applications. The Massey Ferguson DNA clearly runs through the MF 6600 range, with the same familiar, contemporary styling and a presence that makes every Massey Ferguson tractor stand out from the crowd.”

The judging panel clearly agreed!

 

AGCO Partners with USAID to Introduce New Technologies to Zambia

Louisa Parker from AGCO kicks off first Bag2Bulk roadshow with the Mkushi District Commissioner Mr Luka Mwamba and Mabvuto Chisi from Musika.

Louisa Parker from AGCO kicks off first Bag2Bulk roadshow with the Mkushi District Commissioner Mr Luka Mwamba and Mabvuto Chisi from Musika.

AGCO is pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with USAID on a project  in Africa. USAID’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative which supports country-driven approaches to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. Through this Presidential initiative, the United States is helping countries transform their own agricultural sectors to grow enough food to sustainably feed their people. The idea is to take new technology into new markets. In this project, called Bag2Bulk, AGCO will be introducing GSI Africa (our local GSI distributor) to mid-sized grain traders in Zambia.

To complement AGCO’s current long-term vision in Zambia, over the next 18 months, AGCO and our partners will hold select activities at the AGCO Future Farm in Lusaka. These events will provide education and demonstrate the benefits of our GSI storage technology. Additionally, topics by our partners will cover grain marketing best practices, financing and more. The goal is to sell a minimum of 40 metal grain silos to grain traders in Zambia which will benefit some 12,000 smallholder farmers who represent 80% of the maize production in the country. Since current on-farm storage options and off farm facilities are sub-optimal resulting in annual post-harvest losses of over 30% from insect, rodent and rot, the grain quality of will not only improve overall trade prices, but will allow traders to handle cereal crops more effectively, store for longer periods of time and sell when prices are optimal.

AGCO’s project partners are:

  • Musika is a Zambian non-profit company that works to stimulate private sector investment in the smallholder market.
  • Sierk Ybema Grain Services is a grain management training and development provider.
  • GSI Africa, our local GSI distributor.

Look for updates following these exciting events from Louisa Parker, Manager External Affairs, Africa & Middle East.

She’s Number One

This is the story of a long-distance love affair, involving not one, not two, but three men infatuated with one “old girl.” Longtime readers of FarmLife magazine may recall an article from the fall 2008 issue about two British brothers, Steven and Kevin Clarke, who became fascinated with the American wheat harvest after watching a 1976 BBC documentary on the topic. The 50-minute special featured a certain combine—the Massey Ferguson® 760, which, for the boys, became a focal point, an embodiment of much of the “wonder and curiosity” the documentary had instilled in them.

Raised on a farm, the Clarkes themselves grew up to farm and custom harvest with their own fleet of Massey Ferguson combines in North Norfolk, England, about a three-hour drive northeast of London. One of their favorite things to do with their time off is visit their friend Delbert Joyner near Enid, Okla., and help with his wheat harvest.

For six years now, the Clarkes have kept their own MF760 at Joyner’s farm and recently added another very special model—the “old girl” referred to earlier, which just happened to be the first MF760 to come off the production line in 1971.

Found several years ago in the corner of a Kansas wheat field, it had been parked there for 33 years before the Clarkes and Marvin Helland, another American friend and custom harvester from North Dakota, convinced the owner to sell it.

Thought to quite possibly be a terminal case because of how long it sat in the elements unused, the original MF760 is now running again, thanks to its hardy construction and the efforts of its three enthusiastic new owners. Amazingly, “number one” helped complete the harvest at the Joyner farm this year, and all involved hope she’ll continue working for many years to come.

See more at http://www.myfarmlife.com/farmstead/shes-number-one-restoring-a-vintage-massey-ferguson-760-combine/.

Hay Equipment Maintenance Checklists

Downtime is costly for any producer, but it’s even worse for commercial operators who depend on quality hay for their livelihood. That’s one reason Larry Krepline goes through his two Hesston big square balers and Hesston windrower every fall with the help of Gruett’s Inc., his Massey Ferguson dealer in Potter, Wisc. That is, after he totally cleans each machine at the end of the season with compressed air and/or a power washer.

“One of their technicians actually comes out here to the farm and we go through the full checklist on each machine,” Krepline says. “After that, my crew and I will make most of the repairs ourselves based on the recommendations. At the very least, we’ll change all the fluids, including the oil in the cutterbed, and replace all the disc header knives, along with the bolts and bushings. I don’t need any of them breaking during the season.”

With three windrowers, two big square balers and ten 3-twine balers, Mark Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Hay Company in Dixon, Calif., has a big maintenance project each winter, too. However, by the time he and his crew finish, Atkinson says every machine they own has been restored to like-new condition.

“In fact, our dealer usually has somebody waiting for a machine when we trade it,” he adds. “We literally take every machine apart and rebuild it, replacing any part that we have doubts about. If there’s any question about whether it will make it through the next hay season, we replace it,” he adds, noting that replacement parts include everything from knotter bill hooks to bale chamber side plates. “Downtime is too expensive to risk it.”

Another tip, this one from Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products: “Months down the road it can be hard to remember that noise you wanted to check out before next season. By writing it down, when you notice what might be a problem, you have a big head start on maintenance that will leave your equipment in top condition, ready for another productive season.”

For detailed checklists for hay equipment maintenance, including a video from our own Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston® by Massey Ferguson hay products, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/hay-equipment-maintenance-checklists/.