The 2012 Wheat Run went by faster than ever. Mikael Ekstrom and Andrew Voegeli, two of the four interns who had been traveling with the AGCO Tech Van this summer, gained valuable first-hand experience of the harvest by helping to support multiple combines of the custom harvesters on the run. The Tech Van’s central goal is to maximize uptime and help increase crop yield as much as possible. This year’s dry weather made the harvest harder as much of the crop growth was hindered. The interns noted that although the Oklahoma harvest was plentiful at between 70-90 bushels per acre, farmers in Montana were happy to get 40 bushels an acre as very little rain had fallen over the course of the season.
Surprised by the quality and speed of service, the interns were working hard with the Tech Van crew to ensure the combines were up and running. One situation that involved rotor bearings’ replacement had the Tech Van crew coordinate and work with a local AGCO dealer to get the bearings to the field faster and the combine back up running in a matter of hours. There were even a few times that needed a more in-depth process where an AGCO engineering team was consulted to research how to bring the machine back up to speed. While the engineering team was hard at work, the AGCO Tech Van crew would often find a temporary fix way to get the combine back out in the field, such as using a pickup truck to help jack up a combine that would help the crew until an official repair could be made.
The interns learned a lot about the harvest, gaining people skills with both farmers and custom harvesters. Most importantly, Mikael and Andrew discovered what it takes to support custom harvesters allowing them to take on the grueling task year after year. One of the most important lessons that Mikael and Andrew have learned is the ability to think on their feet. “Problems don’t always come at the most convenient time when the support team is right there. It is how you handle the situation and quickly come up with a solution is what matters the most,” said Andrew. Although Mikael’s and Andrew’s work has wound down, both have gained knowledge and experience that they can take back to the classroom to share with their professors and classmates that can help generate new ideas and solutions for future runs.
The AGCO Combine Harvest Support Team has been following the wheat run over the past few months providing support to keep them running and on schedule. Four AGCO interns have been with the Combine Harvest Support team helping and gaining valuable first-hand experience working in the agriculture industry. One of the largest surprises for the interns was how a short drive to the next farm can drastically change crop conditions and yield. “In parts of Oklahoma, some of the harvesters were saying that it was the best [harvest] they had ever seen, while others said it was one of the worst,” explained Andrew Voegeli. Due to the warm spring, the harvest started two to three weeks earlier and has progressed extremely fast this year.
The weather plays a large part in the harvest, and when the weather is ideal the custom harvesters are out in the fields for 12 to 16 hours per day. With uptime being one of the most important things during a busy harvest, the Combine Harvest Support Team has been working hard to ensure that the combines are running smoothly. When a problem does occur, speed is the name of the game, and the harvesters are very happy and appreciate what the tech van is doing to help. “For instance, the support team put on new valves for the cylinder of a downed combine. After ten minutes, they were up and running again,” said Voegeli. That’s why many custom harvesters buy AGCO branded combines like Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger; they know that the AGCO Combine Harvest Support Team will be there when they are needed the most and can even repair competitor’s machines as well.
The second annual Farm Animal Photo contest is here! Did you enjoy the AGCO Farm Dog photo contest last year?
This year we’re doing things a bit differently and you can now show off any animal for a chance to win the new iPad! Upload up to three different photos into the contest from now until Thursday, April 19, 2012. AGCO will then pick finalists from the pool of photos, where everyone will then vote for the winner! The grand prize winner will win the new iPad and four of the top finalists will win $25 iTunes gift cards.
Which of your farm animals will you show off? Enter now!
AGCO is proud to be the newest member of the Diesel Technology Forum. DTF is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of the newest clean diesel technologies in the United States.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome AGCO as a partner in the Forum’s national effort to promote the newest and cleanest diesel technology,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
AGCO’s award-winning product lines are playing a key role in advancing the most modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly agricultural equipment in the United States and throughout the world. AGCO’s commitment to engineering and research has made it an international leader in the advancement of more efficient and cleaner diesel engines and equipment.
“The e3 technology developed by AGCO is an excellent example of the clean diesel technology. AGCO’s e3 equipment meets the diverse needs of modern agriculture – cleaner emissions, reliable performance and efficiency – while also providing undiminished horsepower, torque and improved fuel efficiency,” Schaeffer said.
“AGCO is proud to become part of the Diesel Technology Forum and looks forward to the opportunity to participate with other leading Diesel Engine OEM’s and industry partners to promote and support clean diesel technology and its benefits now and in the future. We support the DTF’s approach and vigilance in ensuring that diesel continues to be a viable source of power for agriculture” said Matt Rushing, product management director, global electronics and global engines at AGCO.
AGCO held its first ever AGCO Africa Summit yesterday in Berlin, Germany. The Summit is a joint initiative of AGCO, Bayer CropScience and DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. “With its population poised to double in the next 20 years, it is a global responsibility to develop a new vision for agriculture in Africa,” said Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO at the opening press conference. “Our objective is to promote international dialogue to encourage global businesses to invest in the future of Africa.”
The goal of the AGCO Africa Summit was to raise awareness for the needs of the African continent and to discuss the challenges of agriculture with regard to the world food supply problem, declining arable land base and population growth. Guest speakers included Thabo Mbeki (former President of South Africa), Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler (former Federal President of Germany), Dirk Niebel (Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany), and Ilse Aigner, (Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Germany). Panelists included Jose Pacheco (Minister of Agriculture of Mozambique), Roberto Rodrigues (Former Minister of Agriculture of Brazil), Bärbel Dieckmann (President of Welthungerhilfe) and Omari Issa (CEO of The Investment Climate Facility for Africa) – to name a few.
Participants at the AGCO Africa Summit discussed the many ways that agricultural mechanization could secure better futures and how improved cultivation methods could increase yields significantly. Higher productivity and efficiency would in turn help African countries become less dependent on imported crops, creating better food security. “Large areas across Africa have suitable soil and climate for successful agriculture, but many areas are not yet cultivated or are not productive enough,” explained Richenhagen. “With 11 percent of the world’s arable land (86 percent of which is uncultivated) Africa would benefit from modern, mechanized farming techniques.”
With over 50 years of experience in Africa through its Massey Ferguson tractor brand, AGCO already leverages alliances with governments, foreign investors and donors to improve agricultural practices in Africa. AGCO plans to fund the development of Model Farms and Training Centers in Zambia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Libya, Algeria and South Africa that will allow local farmers and dealers to be trained on new farming technology. Hubertus Mühlhäuser, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Europe, Africa, Middle East commented, “The solution for African agriculture is to develop strategic partnerships to deliver crops that feed an increasing population in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible way. With decades of dependency on food aid and the world’s fastest population growth, Africa’s long-term prospects will require increasing degrees of self-sustainability.”
With a global population of 7.0 billion people growing to 8.9 billion people by 2050 (estimated by the World Bank), food production has to increase, which means global farm productivity will need to improve to meet the growing needs. Africa holds the key to ensuring a sustainable food supply, but only if a new vision for agriculture is developed, harnessing both the expertise of the private industry sector and the knowledge of local communities.
What is your vision for agriculture in Africa?