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Massey Ferguson CornFlow™ Maize Headers Enhance Combine Versatility and Exceptional Laid Crops Performance

Massey Ferguson’s new CornFlow header delivers high capacity for faster maize harvesting and exceptional performance in laid crops, with reduced header and cob losses.

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Introduced at the SIMA show in Paris, it is designed specifically for use with MF Activa, MF Activa S, MF Beta, MF Centora and MF Delta combine harvesters. The CornFlow range includes eight new models offering a choice of six- and eight-row, rigid and folding models, with 70cm or 75cm row spacings.

All the headers are available in rigid or folding formats, providing transport widths of 3m for the six-row and 3.5m on the eight-row.

MF CornFlow headers are manufactured by leading specialist, Capello , and are designed conjunction with Massey Ferguson. Capello is one of the major maize header manufacturers in the world and is well-respected for its design expertise and high quality engineering.

“The MF CornFlow range extends Massey Ferguson’s full-line strategy,” says Adam Sherriff, Market Development Manager. “This provides customers with a ‘one stop shop’ enabling them to select a specialist maize header that has been designed and built specifically for the combine. They can also be assured they receive the same back-up and service from their local Massey Ferguson dealer.”

MF CornFlow headers will available through the Massey Ferguson Dealer Network across its Europe and Middle East region.

Young Farmers: Growing Their Future and Ours

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Quite possibly better educated and prepared than any generation before them, young producers still face major challenges in getting off the ground. For this FarmLife Special Report, we asked several young farmers about their challenges and goals, then listened as each spoke of hard lessons learned, their passion for farming and hopes for the future.

Three families are featured in profile stories and video interviews: the Skobergs, who grow peas, wheat and canola on Twin Oaks Farm in Lougheed, Alberta; the Robertses, who farm and run a fencing and custom gate business in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; and the Boeres, whose dairy operation is in Modesto, California. Each has a unique story to tell, including the innovative ways they have made a life and a living on the farm.

To go along with the family profiles, the Young Farmers Special Report includes advice from parents, resources to help young and new farmers, a look back at our previous special report and more.

In the article “Raising Farmers,” father Jerry McDonald and son Jon—now a father himself—offer advice on preparing the next generation for a career in agriculture. You’ll also read about how the National Young Farmers Coalition works to connect beginning farmers with resources, such as information on loans and subsidies.

See the entire special report, including video interviews: Young Farmers: Growing Their Future And Ours

The increasing benefit and necessity of efficient residue management in your fields

Come fall, you’ve put in almost a year’s worth of toil and sweat to reap a plentiful harvest. When that time comes, the next thing on your (or any farmer’s) mind is the crop residue left behind.

As efficiency in farming techniques have increased, production and stalk size have as well. Such a plentiful result leaves similarly plentiful stover. Managing stover and maintaining yields in  subsequent harvests is becoming more and more challenging. Farmer has to manage their own residue, and it is a tedious and inefficient process presently. Too much stover can limit seed choices, require more tillage, limit planting populations, affect plant emergence, require increased spraying, and most importantly, hinder grain yield.

There is, however, another way to channel the byproducts of your harvest, which can not only benefit you financially but, can also contribute to the health of your fields, livestock, and subsequent harvests.

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Those seemingly lifeless leaves and stalks, your stover, left languishing in your field after the previous harvest could become quite valuable as processes of energy conversion, feedstock, and a great many other applications continue to improve.

As innovations to handling, baling, and converting stover become more and more viable, it’s important for farmers to stay on the cutting edge of these developments for the future.

But you may have heard such practices, while allegedly profitable, can harm soil and cause issues to crop yields.

Years ago that may have been the case. Lighter corn yields meant less stover and less likelihood for problems. Soil damage and erosion are a constant concern. But we have learned that in many cases, the benefits of pulling some of the stover from the field are far from detrimental.

The science has improved significantly. It’s been shown that it is beneficial to remove some of the stover from the field. Not to mention in an agricultural climate where global surpluses have left many crops (particularly corn) at prices well below that of production, finding another means of income is vital.

But what are we really talking about? It’s simple, really. Plant and harvest as you always would. The same way you, and your father, and grandfather before him did. Following the harvest, however, you need only collect and densely bale the remaining stover. And if that sounds daunting, that’s where AGCO’s Biomass Solutions team can help you get it done.

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Then of course comes the question – “What exactly do you do with it?” There are a number of companies that can utilize and add value to your stover. One such company that removes and bales densely packed stover is Pellet Technology USA (PTUSA). They convert the baled stover into feed pellets for your livestock, high in fiber, protein, energy and other nutrients essential to a healthy diet. These pellets provide a necessary source of food, with a key ingredient from the residue residing in your fields.

These feed pellets provide options for overwintering beef cowherd and/or ration inclusion in starter, grower and finishing rations.

Stover can also be converted to energy pellets. These “power pellets” are then sent to biorefineries for conversion into biofuels, particularly ethanol. There is currently a growing demand for such pelleted residue to produce these fuels, as the market for alternative fuel sources continues to grow.

When weighed against all factors, residue management will become a necessary step farms must take to remain profitable and healthy in today’s precarious agricultural climate.

And as innovations and processes for stover removal, baling, and conversion continue, more and more companies will join this movement to give farmers the necessary incentives to consider selling their ag residue.

The stover is there. Now we must develop the infrastructure to catch up.

We mentioned PTUSA above as one of the industry leaders in stover removal, dense baling, and pelleting. Next time we’ll be venturing more into what is done, the marketplace, and how farmers will greatly benefit from the services they provide.

Stay tuned for that post in the coming weeks.

Silage Chopping, Packing and Storage: Top of the Heap

Butch Gist and Marvin Davis are something of a dynamic duo. Together, they own D&G Chopping, a silage harvesting and packing operation, and run the latter’s family business, Gist Farms, a conglomeration of trucking, rail, equipment repair and farming.

Having worked together for 40-plus years, the two have weathered the ups and downs that buffet any business. Having experienced it in the fast-paced, topsy-turvy environment that is California agriculture, it has at times seemed more like a super roller-coaster ride, complete with barrel rolls and loop-de-loops.

They’ve seen business models and farms come and go. Yet, they’ve adapted and survived, even thrived. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in farming,” Davis says. “But we’ve found our way … found a way to adapt as the business changed.”

For instance, some 20-plus years ago, dairies began replacing many row-crop operations in California’s Central Valley. Running a custom harvesting operation, Davis and Gist realized they needed to change their focus, too. “The dairy industry just exploded in our area,” Davis says. “They were moving everything over to chopping, to silage. By the end of that first season, we had three new choppers … and basically a new business.”

D&G Chopping was born. “That was 25 years ago,” continues Davis, “and since then we’ve begun packing that silage for our customers, and all along watching for other opportunities.”

Yet, one of their secrets to success is not jumping into new ventures too quickly. Another is finding the right partners, which Davis and Gist say they have in many facets, including their choice of AGCO and their Challenger MT955E. They use the latter in packing silage and are extremely happy with its comfort, fuel efficiency, durability and power.

Another ingredient, says Gist: “It all goes back to the saying that I always felt was important: ‘The secret to success is putting your shadow on your business … across what’s going on.’ You just have to make sure you’re there watching and stay in touch.”

Read more: Silage Chopping, Packing and Storage: Top of the Heap

The Tiny But Mighty Popcorn King

In popcorn parlance, “old maids” are kernels that fail to pop. Devoted fans of the Tiny But Mighty brand learn about that and other kernels of popped corn wisdom when Gene Mealhow promotes his product as “Farmer Gene” in Whole Foods stores and at events across the country.

Gene and Lynn Mealhow

Gene and Lynn Mealhow

While his family left farming in 1989 during the farm crisis, Mealhow got back into production agriculture in 1990. The fourth-generation farmer bought 33 acres of the family’s land—all that he could afford—near Shellsburg, Iowa.

“I wanted to farm,” he says, walking into the former farrowing house where Lynn, his wife, and Mark Kluber, his brother-in-law, are packaging corn. Gene’s sister-in-law, Lori Kluber, and niece, Ashley Arp, also work for the family popcorn business. The Mealhows’ four sons, with careers in other fields, love to come home and help out when they can, too.

“If I was going to be a successful farmer on my small acreage, I knew I had to do something different,” Mealhow continues, taking his leave of packing and walking to the cornfield in front of his home. At first, he says, he tried growing tofu beans and herbs. “I went cold turkey not using chemicals and failed miserably,” he admits, chuckling. He eventually settled on “biologically based” growing methods, focusing on soil nutrients and soil balancing.

In addition to the 33-acre homestead Mealhow cultivates, “We have four contract farmers,” he says, all within a 75-mile radius, which allows Mealhow to be on hand during planting and harvest. On his acreage, Mealhow uses a 300 Massey Ferguson® combine, as well as an Allis Chalmers 185 tractor, both of which Mealhow says are wonderfully reliable.

The crux of Tiny But Mighty’s sales comes from retail outlets, such as Whole Foods Market, Fareway and Hy-Vee stores. “Most big popcorn companies are selling 10 million pounds of popcorn a year,” he says. “Our goal is to hit between 2 million to 3 million pounds this year. So in the world of popcorn, we are teeny tiny.” He adds, “But we’re growing.”

Read more about the Mealhows’ family operation: The Tiny But Mighty Popcorn King

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