In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control. But, that’s not a given.
“It’s still a bit of the wild, wild west right now,” says Joe Russo, who helped pioneer what would become precision farming 28 years ago as an agricultural meteorologist at Penn State University. “The sharing of information can be good or bad, but those responsible for generating the data—the farmers—their permission should be required for any use.
“Your data is your most important source of information,” says Russo. “It defines you, and represents your economic position and intellectual property. There is no doubt in my mind who owns it.”
Ownership notwithstanding, who can use that data is often subject to less-than-transparent practices. Consider that many companies, including some agricultural equipment manufacturers, bury an “opt out” clause in the fine print of documents concerning a purchase or service agreement. In such cases, the onus is on the customers, who must search for and find such a clause, then purposefully decline in order to maintain their privacy. If not, the company providing the equipment or service can use or even share a farm’s data with third parties.
The inverse of that practice, one employed by all AGCO brands, is to ask the customer to opt in to share data. “We don’t allow ourselves to have access to the customer’s information without approval,” says Jason O’Flanagan, senior marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS).
“We’ve isolated ourselves so the farmer trusts in the fact AGCO is there as an assistant along the way,” says O’Flanagan, noting that if the customer gives AGCO permission to use the data, the dealer and company can monitor the operation of their machinery, helping with maintenance and warning of possible problems. He adds that the collection of such data, by sharing it with AGCO engineers, also helps develop innovations faster.
Knowing up front who has access to your data is imperative, says O’Flanagan. “Would you give just anyone your W-2 or your tax return?” he asks. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people would say ‘No.’ When someone else takes your yield and application maps, and planning maps, you are giving them a complete view of how your farm works. You need to know who has that information, and you need to trust them to use that data carefully.”
To learn more about AGCO’s on and off board technologies and the Fuse Technologies strategy, visit http://www.agcotechnologies.com/.
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), has celebrated the launch of an ambitious mission to drive a tractor to the Geographical South Pole, the fulfillment of a dream for a Dutch theatre maker that also aims to inspire others to dare to dream.
Antarctica2 follows in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary, who drove a specially adapted Ferguson TE20 to the South Pole in 1958.
But the 2014 mission, which departs Cape Town on 15th September for the 2350km journey, has enlisted the help of leading industry partners to take a wheeled tractor to Antarctica for the first time.
The MF 5610, modified by the engineering team at AGCO’s Beauvais tractor plant, will be driven by Manon Ossevoort, better known as Tractor Girl, who has already driven a tractor from her childhood home in the Netherlands to South Africa.
“It was my dream to drive a tractor to the end of the world, and I was inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary’s mission,” Manon explains, “I found that along the way my journey inspired other people to talk about their own dreams, so I set about collecting these dreams with the goal of taking them to the South Pole with me.”
When her original mission – which was undertaken largely with only local support –ended with Manon unable to make the final leg to Antarctica, she remained convinced that she had to finish it. She approached Massey Ferguson via its distributor in Holland, Mechatrac, and was assured of the company’s commitment to help her follow her dreams.
Support for Antarctica2 will be provided by partners including Massey Ferguson, Trelleborg, Castrol, AGCO Finance, AGCO Parts and Fuse Technologies. There are still opportunities for additional partners to join this exciting project, which will reach a global audience.
Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director of Massey Ferguson EAME,who handed over the keys to the MF 5600 to Manon in a special ceremony at Beauvais, said: “I congratulate our Engineering Project Manager Olivier Hembert and his team, who worked in their spare time, along with AGCO Power in Finland, to adapt the tractor for conditions that are probably the toughest in the world.”
“As John F Kennedy said about the mission to the moon in 1962 – ‘We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’ This is Massey Ferguson, wanting to take on a challenge and work in the spirit to achieve not only easy things, but challenging things. On behalf of AGCO and the full team of sponsors, I wish Manon and her straightforward, dependable MF 5610 a safe and exciting journey to the South Pole.”
Expedition specialists Arctic Trucks will provide guidance and safety support with the help of two Toyota four- and six-wheel drive pick-up trucks, and has worked closely with Trelleborg and Massey Ferguson to develop tyre technology for the mission.
Gudmundur Gudjonsson, Arctic Trucks Project Manager for Antarctica explains: “Tyres are more efficient than tracks in this kind of expedition, being capable of higher forward speeds and using less fuel. They also provide suspension, which is beneficial to the environment as well as the vehicle and the driver.”
Under Arctic Trucks guidance, MF 5600 tractors have undergone extensive cold weather testing, while the expedition team has received polar training, including guidance from seasoned polar explorers Matty McNair and her daughter Sarah McNair-Landry who will be key team members for Antarctica2.
A technical support specialist and former Massey Ferguson photographic specialist Simon Foster complete the team.
The expedition will call on not only the straightforward and dependable engineering of the MF 5610 to endure temperatures down to minus 40deg centigrade, altitude of 3400m and deep, soft snow, but also AGCO’s impressive parts and technical capability.
Up to 1000kg of parts will be carried on the mission, a twice daily maintenance regime adhered to, and the Agcommand™ telematics system will relay performance information back to a 24 hour support team in Beauvais.
The latest broadcast and social media technology will also be employed in stark contrast to when Sir Edmund Hillary’s arrival at the South Pole was marked by at telegram of thanks to Harry Ferguson. Live streaming and regular updates via a dedicated website will keep the rest of the world in touch with the mission’s progress.When the MF 5610, with its Tractor Girl and her cargo of dreams on board, arrives at the South Pole around 7th December, it will be a testimony to the work of all the partners in the Antarctica2 project and their tireless commitment to its message – #BelieveInIt
AGCO is excited to announce the launch of the new and improved Fuse™ Technologies website. The updated site provides more in-depth information related to the Fuse strategy and our technology products, supplementing the technology information on our brand websites today.
The new Fuse website will continue to provide strategic information about Fuse, plus several new features:
- A new Support and Training section to assist customers with setup, calibration and operation of AGCO technology products
- A listing of all AGCO technology products in one convenient location
- Current news stories and upcoming events related to Fuse
- A mobile friendly site experience: learn about Fuse on your desktop, tablet or mobile device
- Information about the Fuse Contact Center
- Easy access for customers to visit their brand website or contact their local dealer
Plans for expanding the Fuse site are already underway. Stay tuned for updates through the end of this year.
The Fuse website will continue to evolve as a resource to support our customers, our brands, our sales teams and our dealers. Visit www.agcotechnologies.com to explore the new site today!
By Louisa Parker, Manager External Affairs, Africa & Middle East
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”.
Biomass, as a sustainable fuel, does more than just help the environment—it saves lives. Many rural hospitals have antiquated boiler systems that burn oil for fuel during the cold winter months. This is not a sustainable heat source, and the cost is putting many of them in the red. These hospitals often are the only close access to medical care in low income communities.
Piedmont Geriatric State Hospital in Burkeville, Virginia, is using biomass to keep its buildings warm during those long winters. The hospital burns around 3,000 tons of native warm season grasses (NWSG) as biofuel, supplied by FDC Enterprises, from November to May. The hospital saves, on average, more than $1,300 per day during those seven months.
On an energy basis, biomass is roughly one-third the cost of fuel, which quickly adds up. Glenn Farris stated, “For many rural hospitals, being able to save over $200,000 per year is the difference between staying open or closing their doors. It can also be the way to bring that next important lifesaving machine or a new doctor to their facility. It can’t help but make you feel good to know you work for a company and in an industry that can make great things like this happen.”
By using biomass energy, hospitals can save money normally used to heat the building and instead better serve the community. Biomass is a win for rural hospitals, the communities they serve and the environment. To learn more about AGCO Biomass solutions, please visit: http://bit.ly/AGCOBiomass.