With wet conditions impacting much of the corn and soybean-producing areas of Minnesota and Iowa, it has been tough to perform effective tillage. However, last week, the clouds parted for a few days and gave way to fair tillage conditions before the rains returned. During this time, I took the New Sunflower 6830 High-Speed Rotary Finisher for a trip across 230-bushel corn planted in the 36,000 to 39,000 plant population. I was very impressed with the tool’s performance in both sizing and mixing residue.
The corn was harvested using a chopping corn head. Highest-yielding corn was in the range of 240 bushels with an average yield of 203. Row spacing was planted on 30-inch rows. Very soft field conditions were present during harvest leaving ruts 4 to 6 inches deep where the harvester and grain cart was run. Operating speed of the tool was at 11.5 mph. The depth of the 6830 was set and checked at 4 inches. The width of this unit was 29 feet. 11.5 mph x 29 feet = 333.5/8.25 = 40.43 acres per hour. The Sunflower 6830 was pulled with a Challenger 855E tractor, which burned 17 gallons per hour during this operation.
I took a 5-foot by 6-foot area and painted it with marker paint to give a visual of the chopping, sizing and mixing the residue mat left on the soil surface.
In the above picture, you can see the extraordinary job the Sunflower 6830 did in chopping, sizing and mixing the residue mat. In some areas of the country, this single pass will provide a sufficient job in allowing the residue to be broken down prior to the next planting season. Although difficult to see, this picture was taken directly in the wheel track seen in the first picture of the painted residue. Not only were the residue and soil mixed, but also completely leveled a 4-inch rut left by the combine.
These pictures show the tool’s ability to manage the root mass that is left and needs to be managed before further tillage or planting the next crop. Not only are we managing the surface residue, but also the below-surface residue. The sooner we can start the incorporation of this residue with the soil and its many helpful microorganisms, the faster that residue can start the decomposition process.
I’m lucky enough to run several of these Sunflower tools. Sunflower 6830 High-Speed Rotary Finisher is one of the only tools that can prepare a seedbed in the spring by leaving a level seedbed to plant into. It can also perform the act of residue management in the fall and succeed at both.
AGCO Product Specialist
I studied agronomy at South Dakota State University. I have several years of experience working with students, growers and my own family farm to develop practices that work in the real world.
Currently, I cover territories in Minnesota and Iowa for the AGCO Corp working on several projects related to the 2017 AGCO Crop Tour. In addition, I have been working with several of the new tools that AGCO has brought to market in the past 12 months; the White Planter 9800VE Series and the Challenger 1000 Series.
Visit http://agcocropcare.com/ for more information.
AGCO is collaborating with Beck’s Hybrids to demonstrate yield and productivity advantages of the new Sunflower 9830NT. The 9830NT was featured at a recent Beck’s field day (Becknology Days) in Henderson, KY. Throughout the course of the day, hundreds of growers went through the Equipment Innovations class and then stopped by to look at the iron. The theme was technology-enabled productivity that is providing the most accurate seeding system for wheat, early soybeans, and double-crop soybeans.
Beck’s is very interested in plot work that will help farmers make the right decisions about agronomic inputs as well as equipment decisions. The 9830NT can put down fertilizer with wheat in the fall, which can improve yields by 5-10 bushels per acre. It is also the best drill on the market for seeding into heavy wheat residue. Alex Long of Beck’s talked about the trial work Beck’s is conducting that examines seeding accuracy at 6, 8, and 10 mph compared to a Kinze planter. Results will be available this fall.
Working with companies like Beck’s is a great way for the equipment industry to stay connected with independent agronomic testing and to be able to share our products with a diverse group of customers.
In addition to support and testing of the 9830NT, Beck’s is promoting AGCO’s X-Edition MT700E and MT800E tractors.
Beck’s has more Becknology days coming up. Follow the link below for dates in your area: http://www.beckshybrids.com/About-Us/Becks-Field-Shows.
By Darren Goebel
Greetings once again from Crop Tour 2016. During the last week of July, I travelled to the Kevin Trimble farm in Amboy, Indiana, about an hour north of Indianapolis. While most of the Midwest has been getting plenty of rain, this pocket in north central, Indiana is super dry. In fact, Kevin told me that his farm has not received any appreciable amount of rain since the latter part of June.
As a result of the dry weather, the crop is showing signs of stress, highlighting some key differences in our plots.
This is the split between automatic hydraulic downforce (DeltaForce) on the left and 400# downforce on the right. Notice that the corn on the right is showing more drought stress; lower leaves are brown and desiccated with overall lighter plant color. This is a result of heavy in furrow packing that created compaction in the root zone. While you would not normally see this in a whole field, differences show up very clearly in the plot. In a three-year study, growers that used DeltaForce averaged 11 bushels per acre higher yield. I suspect the yield difference will be much higher in this field, but we will have to wait until fall to know for sure.
Compaction problems quickly show up when moisture is limiting.
Kevin drove his backhoe along the end to demonstrate how automatic hydraulic down force can adjust to differences in soil bulk density. Above: The crop is suffering in the compaction zone. Below: Planting Map showing compaction zone.
This report shows that compaction from backhoe path prior to planting caused Deltaforce to react at planting.
The depth of planting study is showing some interesting results. Many growers plant corn shallow because they believe there is less risk in stand establishment. Unfortunately, shallow planting can cause as many problems as it solves. Most agronomists recommend a minimum of 1.5” planting depth with 2” preferred. Of course, soil type and moisture level should be taken into account. One great thing about White planters is that depth control can be calibrated to ensure consistent planting depth across the entire width of the planter. In this case, the planter planted the corn consistently at 1” deep. Unfortunately, there wasn’t uniform enough moisture at 1” to get all of the seed up consistently.
This is the split between 1” planting depth on the right and 1.5” planting depth on the left. The 1” planting depth is exhibiting runt plants as a result of delayed emergence due to dry soils at that depth after planting. These runt plants will not produce an ear. The 1.5” and deeper planting depths do not have any issues with runt plants. Stand establishment is similar at all planting depths (1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0) except 3.5” depth. The 3.5” planting depth is suffering about a 10% reduction in stand. We will take these plots to yield and share results in an upcoming report.
Stand uniformity in corn has been getting a lot of attention since the late 90s. Most farmers and agronomists know there are heavy yield penalties for skips and doubles making planter performance absolutely critical. Making things even more challenging, seed companies can’t always guarantee requested seed sizes for that hot new hybrid; and refuge in the bag is a whole other story since seed from different lots must be blended in the same bag. The 9800VE series incorporates meters that can accurately singulate and row units that can accurately plant any corn seed size.
Above: Near picket fence stand. Below: Doubles and Skips from a poorly adjusted planter.
During the last two weeks of August, a team of Agronomists and Product Specialists will be travelling throughout the Midwest speaking at Crop Tour 2016 plot locations. RSVP to attend a Crop Tour event near you: http://agcocropcare.com/crop-tour-rsvp/!
By Darren Goebel
Greetings from Crop Tour 2016! Crop Tour is an initiative at AGCO in which we are gathering information throughout the growing season and demonstrating how different variables that farmers face every year can impact overall yield potential. As an agronomist I love the opportunity to get out to walk fields, observe crop progress, and talk to farmers. This week I was in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Two weeks ago I was in Russia. What is interesting about these two seemingly divergent locations is how similar farmers from Fairmont, MN, to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, are. Everywhere I go; farmers are looking for new techniques to increase production as efficiently as possible in order to improve their bottom line. AGCO is leading the precision revolution with Fuse® Technologies and the most productive, accurate seeding equipment in the world.
Following is my story of Crop Tour 2016 in photos:
Precision pays in Russia
Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes; 30,000 after a hard rain
Crops in Minnesota have had a tough time getting started due to cool, wet weather this spring. This week was no exception. The lake in the background of this picture is a result of over three inches of rain the night before. Pictured in the photo are Rick Sparks and John Menssen, both AGCO employees. Rick is an agronomist and product specialist for the region. John farms and is a Key Account Manager for Ziegler CAT. What I love about AGCO is the passion our employees have for agriculture. Here we were checking stands. This field was planted using prescriptions from Farmer’s Edge, in collaboration with Fuse Technologies for Crop Tour 2016.
Elevation map taken from “as applied” data collected from the GPS receiver, shown in FieldView. Agronomists use elevation data along with NDVI, yield data, and soil productivity information to make population decisions. Visualization above through Climate’s FieldView, a Fuse connected partner. Note the missing portion of the “as applied” map where the lake can be seen in the previous picture. Below you can see the variable rate prescription from Farmer’s Edge that was applied. Varying seeding rates increases yield on highly productive soils while not wasting seed on poorer soils. The red areas shown below were seeded at 20,000 plants per acre.
One of the most rewarding things about working in agriculture is the opportunity to interact with farmers around the world. They are working hard to sustainably produce crops so that future generations can continue to enjoy the lifestyle. It’s hard work but I have not met a farmer yet that would rather be doing anything else. More to come from Crop Tour 2016!
Darren Goebel is the Director Global Commercial Crop Care, for AGCO’s Global Product Management Group. Connect with Darren on Twitter @Agronomist_IN.
Jim Fontaine says he’s not interested in getting bigger as a business; he and his family have found an economic sweet spot in their dairy operation (see more about it here). But that doesn’t mean he and brother Steve aren’t growing their equipment inventory. In fact, their do-it-themselves approach to efficiency means the equipment needs to work harder, cost less to run and go easier on the operator.
That’s why they converted from another brand to a shop full of AGCO solutions, including equipment from Challenger,® Massey Ferguson,® Hesston,® Sunflower® and White Planters.™
“For the two bigger Challengers, we traded in two Case Magnums,” says Jim. “You feel like you got banged around in that [Case]. When you’re on the bunk and you’re shifting, you have to go through all those gears to shift, and it’s just a lot of jerking.”
Their Massey Ferguson and Challenger tractors share the CVT transmission, and with that, “the front-end suspension and the cab suspension, it’s just a good package because it’s all working together,” says Jim.
Adds Steve: “You get out of the tractor and you can stand up straight,” he laughs. “Nothing hurts on your body.”
The tractors work perfectly with their Sunflower 6630 tillage tool, yet another AGCO piece in their arsenal. “With another brand of tractor, when we would drop the implement in the ground, it would stall,” says Jim. Not so with the Challengers.
The experts at Java Farm Supply, the Fontaines’ dealership, also believed Jim and Steve would benefit from a larger hay baler; when the brothers were last looking for a baler, they decided on the Hesston 2170XD. “It makes a nice bale, it doesn’t fall apart, and it weighs 1,200 pounds versus the small ones that weigh 900. There are less bales to store and haul,” says Steve. And it’s better for bunk too. “You carry two bales out, and you have more hay on the bunk for the TMR mixer,” he says.
Jim and Steve don’t see themselves going back to “the other brand.” “The more you hop into the Challenger or the Massey Ferguson, the more comfortable you feel,” Jim says. “I told the dealership: ‘You should put one of these tractors on every farm.’”