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2013 North America Operator of the Year Finalists Announced

After nominations from across North America were submitted by retail managers for their go-to applicator, four finalists have been selected for this prestigioulogos recognition.

Congratulations to:
Randy Bauwens, Town & Country Supply Association in Edgar, Montana
Ben Hayes, Crop Production Services (CPS) in Lanark, Illinois
Tom Leuthardt, Cenex Harvest States (CHS) in Chokio, Minnesota
Tony Randolph, Southern States in Farmville, North Carolina

The four finalists will join AGCO as honorary guests at the 2013 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference and Expo Dec. 3 – 5, in Miami, Fla. During the conference, the winner of Operator of the Year will be awarded a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

We strive to make the machines in the AGCO Application Equipment Division the finest in the industry — engineered from the ground up for precision, dependability and reliability. But no matter how good the equipment, there is something to be said for the makeup of the person behind the wheel.

Again, congratulations to all the nominees for all their hard work and dedication to the application profession and to the four finalists whom truly represent the best of the best.

Go to http://www.applylikeapro.com/operator-of-the-year/2013-finalists/ to learn more about the finalists.

Farmer of the Year: From the Land Up

Tommy Porter chokes up when he talks about the land. As he tops a hill, he leans on a young oak tree. Eyes misting. Cheeks flushing. Spring green hay fields and cattle pastures roll out behind him.

Porter owns these 600 acres and another 308 down the road. He raises beef cattle, poultry and hogs, but he subscribes to the belief that he’s a borrower, a steward.

“The bank and I may hold this property, but we’re here for a short time,” he says.

“To be able to tend to part of God’s creation, that means something to me.”

Just 30 miles to the southwest sits the glass-and-steel, corporate skyline of Charlotte. It’s North Carolina’s largest, most metropolitan city. Here on the outskirts of the town of Concord, however, Porter has carved out his peace.

Tommy Porter

Tommy Porter

By the late 1970s, he and his wife Vicki were ready to chase the dream and started their cattle herd with five cows. In the mid-1980s, they bought 200 acres of corn and soybeans, and converted them to pasture.

In 30-plus years, they have grown the herd to 350 Hereford-Angus cows and calves. Along the way, Porter invested in the chicken business, expanding that operation to 68,000 broiler pullets and 30,000 broiler egg layers for Tyson Foods. The third leg of the livestock operation includes 2,200 large, white sows that breed between 102 and 105 pigs per week for Murphy-Brown.

Porter’s family has been a large part of his farm’s success. Growing up, his sons, Derek and Jared, and his daughter, Erin, performed daily chores and remained interested in the farm. Even though they’ve all got other full-time careers these days, Derek, a firefighter, still works the farm on his days off. And Jared’s wife, Colleen, now manages the layer houses.

“Tommy started with a dream,” says Chip Blalock, executive director of Sunbelt Ag Expo. “He didn’t inherit anything. He did it all the old fashioned way from scratch.” Judges considered the scope of Porter’s success a major factor when naming him the 2011 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year.

Part of Porter’s award as Farmer of the Year included the year-long use of any Massey Ferguson tractor serviced by Statesville Ag and Turf. He says he selected the MF5465 for its size. The 100 pto horsepower is the perfect fit for spreading fertilizer on his hay fields, then cutting and baling it when the time is right.

“It’s nice and roomy,” says Tommy, which is no surprise considering it has one of the largest cabs in its class. And the 61 square feet of glass translates to an immense amount of visibility. Another feature they really love is that the cab has its own suspension. “It makes a big difference when you spend 8 or 10 hours riding in something that’s comfortable,” says Tommy.

With one hand, they can move smoothly through the gears of the clutchless Dyna 4, 16-speed transmission. And because the environment, and quite frankly the economy, are so important to the Porters, the AGCO Power engine, with exceptional fuel economy and low emissions, makes a great deal of sense.

Because in the past there were no large Massey Ferguson dealers near the Porters, their farm has used John Deere equipment. But this honeymoon period with the MF5465 has made a believer of Derek, who uses it the most.

“Every time he uses it,” says Tommy, “he makes a point to say, ‘I really like that tractor. I like it better than the John Deere.’”

Read the full story at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/from-the-land-up/.

1-2-3 for Valtra Tractors at European Championships

Valtra tractors claimed the top 3 positions at the European Tractor Pulling Championships in Zele, Belgium.

Matti Herlevi driving Caesar was crowned European Champion in the Pro Stock category, while Jurian Duijn from the Netherlands took silver with Next Sensation and Johanna Herlevi third with Gangnam Style. This is the fifth time that Valtra tractors have made a clean sweep of the European Championships, although it has been several years since the last time. Matti Herlevi has now won the European Championships six times, while his father Pekka has won it four times and sister Johanna two times.

“We spent many hours in the garage last winter thinking of ways in which we could further improve our tractors. For example, we rebuilt our transmissions to make them more durable with fewer gears. We also increased the amount of valve lift in the engines, and we made deeper recesses in the pistons before the start of the season. We took some risks, in other words, but it was well worth it in the end,” says Matti Herlevi.

The competition was extremely tight, as it has been throughout the season. The tractors are separated by so little that the positions were decided by just a few centimetres. The tractors were also so well tuned that they all made it thought the first pull easily with the exception of Mud Patrol, which suffered a broken front axle. In the pull-off the tractors continued to pull so convincingly that in the end the top 15 tractors were separated by less than ten metres.

The Belgian organisers managed to keep the track dry and grippy despite rain showers the previous day. Around 10,000 spectators were on hand on both days to watch the championships.

High-Country Hay

Monte Innes

Monte Innes

The beads of perspiration forming on Monte Innes’ forehead are swelling but not yet heavy enough to succumb to gravity. It is early August, a sunny 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and he’s leaning against a large square bale amid a 480-acre strip of land along the Ohio Creek in south-central Colorado.

“This is a real harsh area to work in,” says Monte, 43, who cuts and bales hay on nearly 6,000 acres tucked piecemeal into high, arid mountain valleys up to an hour-and-a-half apart. “The cold can settle into this valley here in the winter and it’ll be 35 below for days.

“Every valley has its own microclimate,” he continues, “and in the spring and summer, rainfall can vary tremendously from one hay field to the next all within a few miles of each other. You just kind of roll with the punches.”

On this particular day, however, the Ohio Creek Valley resembles paradise. Mountains rise up around us on three sides. Most grand are the Anthracites directly to the north.

Acres worth of grass have already been cut and laid down by Monte. In an adjacent field, his wife Julie is running the baler, dropping large rectangular blocks in her wake. Across the valley lush grasses—timothy, red top, brome and clover—fed by recent, unusually heavy rains, beg to be harvested.

Monte and Julie picked up an additional 900 acres worth of hay to farm this year, in large part because of their new Hesston® by Massey Ferguson WR9770 windrower. Their new customer had seen the clean, close cut the Inneses had achieved on a nearby property and realized his existing custom balers were leaving money in the fields.

“This is the third RazorBar disc header we’ve had, and we wouldn’t own anything else,” Monte says. “We get all the hay. It is a clean cut an inch from the ground.”

He also appreciates the speed with which the machine can travel. “It is awesome traveling down the road at 20 mph from one field to another,” he continues, noting how important that speed is when you’re working numerous scattered fields.

The windrower is quick in the field, too. “Today I cut 180 acres in six-and-a-half hours,” he says, “and I couldn’t have done that with any other machine.”

Their dealer, Luke Sharpe, of Sharpe Equipment and Irrigation in Salida, says that the care and ability of the operators also play a role in how well the couple do their jobs. “Monte and Julie work their butts off, and their hay quality is phenomenal,” he says.

The 2170XD

The 2170XD

Their new Hesston by Massey Ferguson 2170 XD baler, which is being pulled by an MF6495 tractor, is making and saving them money, too. “Our new baler is a home run for us,” Monte says.

The 2170 XD produces bales that are denser, heavier. Because of that, they can now get 26 to 27 tons of hay on a semi trailer truck for shipment, rather than 22 tons.

“That saves us about 50 loads per season,” says Monte, “which saves us about $25,000 in shipping costs.”

As for the tractor, “it is phenomenal on fuel running the baler,” Monte says. “I kept calling the dealership saying, ‘I think the fuel gauge is wrong.’

“It wasn’t broke; it was just getting that much better fuel economy.”

Read the full story at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/high-country-hay/.

Farm Progress Show Attendees Caught a Break From the Heat While Learning About AGCO’s Technology Offerings

By Jason O’Flanagan

The 2013 Farm Progress Show (FPS) held in Decatur, IL, from August 27-29 was a great platform for farmers in North America to be exposed to the new FuseTM Technologies strategy from AGCO. FPS is the largest open air farm show in the Americas, with a unique focus directly on the farmer.

AGCO Fuse Technologies at Farm Progress Show, Illinois

The Fuse team helped answer questions at the smart bar and demonstrated key technology products for customers at FPS.

During the show AGCO showcased its technology offerings under the shade of the Fuse Pavilion at the center of the AGCO lot. Pathways leading in and out of the pavilion emphasized a key piece of the Fuse strategy – connectivity among different machinery – and guided users to various machines where they could talk with AGCO experts about Fuse technology products.

On the stage within the Fuse Pavilion, presentations at lunchtime on Tuesday and Wednesday included Bob Crain, Sr. VP of AGCO NA, Dr. Jay Lehr, Mike Pearson and me, Jason O’Flanagan. The panel discussed technology in general as well as how the Fuse Technologies strategy would benefit the farmer.

Key to the Fuse Technologies message was the “smart bar.” It featured some of the technology products that are already part of the Fuse portfolio such as AgCommandTM and Auto-Guide® 3000, which were available for demos. The pavilion and smart bar were a hit in the hot weather, providing a welcome respite from the sun to have questions answered and to see the technology in action.

Auto-Guide and AgCommand at Farm Progress ShowThe Farm Progress Show was a successful event in spite of the very hot weather. Fuse formed the centerpiece of AGCO’s commitment to its core goal:

“High-tech solutions for professional farmers feeding the world.”

To see more photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.

To learn more about Fuse Technologies, click here.

Jason O’Flanagan is a Senior Marketing Specialist for the AGCO ATS team for the North America region.