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Seeds Planted, Stories Told: Paul Sailer, Author of “I Had a Comrade”

farm life

What do White Pines and World War II relationships have in common? They’ve both been carefully cultivated by Paul Sailer. Since 1983, Sailer has been successfully planting and harvesting those white pines, Norway pines, balsam firs, eastern larches, white spruces and black spruces on his 85-acre tree farm in Wadena County, Minn.

In addition to harvesting the trees, Sailer has also made good use of the paper they produce by writing historical nonfiction books about fighter pilots flying missions over France and Germany. His latest effort, “I Had a Comrade,” is a study of the lives of the men, their families and even the people caught in the crossfires of battle in Europe.

Sailer came by both vocations honestly. He planted trees on his father’s farm as a boy, and heard many war stories from those who lived it. “My father served with the Eighth Air Force in England during World War II,” he says. “Sitting with me and my siblings on a winter’s night, he would talk about his war experiences while showing us his scrapbook and memorabilia.”

Sailer says he also saw through veterans’ eyes how the war affected rural families. “Many of the young men and women who served in the military and in defense plants came from farming and ranching country. Few returned to rural America.”

After college, Sailer enlisted in the U.S. Army. He flew helicopters for a year in Vietnam. Back home, he’s had a long career in the human services field … and tree farming.

Today, he uses a Massey Ferguson® 2605 and its many attachments for mowing trails, creating fire breaks, removing large rocks, lifting logs and clearing snow in the winter. And while studying the war lives of the Greatest Generation remains a passion, when the weather permits, a perfect evening now is, he says, “Enjoying a cup of coffee with my wife on the front porch of our home as a gentle breeze whispers through the trees we planted all those years ago.”

See the full story and order the book at http://myFarmLife.com/sailer.

Gene Mealhow: Using a Vintage Allis Chalmers Tractor and Massey Ferguson Combine in Popcorn

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“All the farm work, from tillage and weed control to cultivating and the planting process, is done with the Allis Chalmers 185 tractor,” says Gene Mealhow, owner of Tiny But Mighty popcorn, who farms near Shellsburg, Iowa.

He brags on how the older model tractor still “runs great. We keep the oil changed, and we’ve had to fix hydraulic hoses and put on new tires and a muffler, but even in the winter, it starts fine.”

For a time, he had his neighbors do the harvesting. His small acreage, though, was a problem. “No farmer wants to quit harvesting thousands of acres, change his combine over, come to me and do a five-minute pass through a field to harvest,” says Mealhow.

So he borrowed a neighbor’s 300 Massey Ferguson® combine and does the work himself now. “It worked great so I ended up buying it.” Mealhow says his corn is “an heirloom, ancient old seed, and it seems like this ancient heirloom combine does the best job of cleaning it. Because it is a small-capacity combine, it does a more efficient job harvesting the popcorn seed and cleans our smaller seeds better than a larger combine too.

“When I first got it, there were some parts on it that needed updating—bearings and all of that,” Mealhow notes. He called on K & A Farm Equipment, Inc., in Strawberry Point, Iowa. “I asked them if they had parts and they said, ‘We might be able to put our hands on some. We service about three or four of those.’ They did have all the parts: sickle blades, bearings and just little things. They still maintain a wonderful selection of parts for the older equipment.”

Mealhow readies the combine about one month before harvest begins, checking the oil, filters, hoses, bearings, chains and belts. “You don’t want to go to the field and have it break down,” he says.

See the full story: The Tiny But Mighty Popcorn King.

Challenger to be Presented Technical Innovation Award at EIMA

Challenger’s exclusive Steerable 3-Point Linkage featured on the MT800E will be presented with a Technical Innovation Award at next week’s EIMA International Machinery Show in Bologna (November 12 – 16, 2014). The award, sponsored by FederUnacoma, recognizes companies which have created genuinely innovative machinery, accessories or components with a capacity to improve processes and the quality of operations performed by workers in the [agricultural and gardening] sectors.

Optionally available on all Challenger MT800E series models, including the flagship MT875E, the new steerable hitch design improves turning performance under load and allows the operator to manage how the implement trails the tractor in tillage and row crop applications.

 

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Pivoting on the differential rear axle housing, the new geometry allows for 118mm steering cylinder travel, resulting in more precise control of the hitch lateral position. In addition, steering cylinders now connect at a distance of 389mm (219mm on C-Series models) from the pivot point, boosting the steering torque capability to a new 109,249 Nm (20% more than C-Series models).

The two operating modes are set using the TMC Display. The Manual mode provides for a fixed steering position. The Float mode provides dampening of implement movements and offset draft reduction.

Providing excellent maneuverability for better field contour-following, benefits include: reduced machine stress by dampening implement lateral shocks; a 25% reduction in turning radius with mounted implements; while the reduction in the power necessary for steering the implement helps to reduce slippage by up to 5%.

Product marketing manager Luca Cattani for tracked and articulated tractors is delighted to receive this accolade. “The unique Steerable 3-Point Hitch option is popular in all markets from South Africa to Central Europe where our customers understand and favour Challenger’s competitive advantage in applying 100% power to the ground.”

 Find Challenger in Hall 14, stand B3 or at the ‘novità tecnica’ stand located at the “Quadriportico” area within the EIMA show in Bologna.

For more information about Challenger, visit: http://www.challenger-ag.com/EMEA/int-en/default.aspx

More info on the EIMA Show,  click here.

 

Challenger Is Living Up To Its Name

What better way to celebrate the launch of our all-new MT775 E Series Challenger tracked tractors than its selection as one of the twelve finalists for the 2015 Tractor of the Year Award to be announced at the upcoming EIMA International show in Bologna, Italy next month?  This new, never before seen tractor has a 438 horsepower engine, a massive 15% increase over the previous model and now boasts 34” belts which provide 13% more grip area.

The award itself is judged by a group of 23 European specialized agricultural machinery journalists who evaluate the both the field tractors as well as specialized as well as the design both categories.  After field conditions are evaluated, the shortlist is determined.  Winners are announced at the next major European show – in this case – The EIMA Show.  To see all of this year’s finalists including two of Challenger’s sister brands, check out this video:

“We are so excited to demonstrate this 400+ hp tractor that applies all the power directly to the ground on our industry exclusive Mobil-Trac™ system delivering superior traction and low compaction.  We can’t wait to meet the jury of the Tractor of the Year at the field evaluations,” commented Luca Cattani, Challenger Product Marketing Manager – Track and Articulated Tractors, EAME.

Three Awards will be given out on the first day of the EIMA show:

  • Tractor of the year to the tractor reaching the highest score
  • Best of the specialized tractors (orchard, vineyard)
  • Golden tractor for the design

For more information on the Challenger MT775E Series, Click Here.

Shift Work: The Massey Ferguson Dyna-6 Transmission on the Farm

Ask Gavin MacDonald why he and his father, Donnie, purchased their Massey Ferguson® 6490 and he counts the reasons, literally.

Gavin MacDonald and his father, Donnie

Gavin MacDonald and his father, Donnie

Specifically, the number of times he would have to shift gears while driving to the field farthest from the barn in a comparably priced “green” tractor.

“Twenty-one shifts there and 21 back,” he says. “We figured that was a lot of shifting to do with a lot of clutch work when you’re spreading manure or something like that.” Because the MacDonalds’ MF6490 has a Dyna-6 transmission, “you set it and it shifts on itself,” Gavin continues.

“You basically drive it like an automatic [transmission] car,” adds Donnie. “It’ll go through its ranges … and gear down when it can. That’s great on fuel economy.”

The first Massey Ferguson tractor Donnie bought was almost 27 years ago and from Brock Proudfoot at Proudfoot Motors in nearby New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. “Since then,” says Donnie, who now owns five Massey Ferguson tractors and one combine, “we’ve been pretty well with him for everything that he can supply. We get great service … right through to the parts and service, and all the guys at the shop. We don’t have a lot of breakdowns, but we get good service when we do have them.”

Donnie and Gavin do, however, comparison shop. “You just don’t buy something because the color,” says Donnie. “Massey’s always been competitive.

“They’re also very durable,” he continues. “Like I say, some of the tractors have been here for quite a while.”

See the full story about the MacDonald operation, “Budding Trend: Young People on the Farm.”

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