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Posts Tagged ‘Farming’

Biomass Harvesting: Win-Win, and Then Some

Still in its early stages in North America, the harvesting and processing industry for cellulosic ethanol now has something to show for years of research and planning in the form of three new cellulosic ethanol plants.

Bill Levy, chief executive officer of PacificAg, believes the North American biomass industry is poised for growth. “Over the next decade or so, it will become a major market,” he says.

The Hesston 2270XD large square baler

The Hesston 2270XD large square baler

Two of the three new cellulosic plants are in Iowa—one operated by DuPont in Nevada; the other in Emmetsburg is run by South Dakota-based ethanol producer POET/DSM—and both process corn stover. The other facility—located in Hugoton, Kan., and run by Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass—uses some wheat straw in addition to corn and milo stover, all of which is supplied exclusively by PacificAg.

For every 180 bushels of grain, the average producer will have about 4.3 tons of stover. To maintain sufficient organic matter in the soil and to prevent erosion, the USDA advises leaving an average of 2.3 tons per acre on the ground. Studies have shown that leaving too much residue can increase the likelihood of disease the following spring, make planting more difficult and use up nitrogen.

“The biggest benefit we bring growers is an alternative method for managing high residue,” says Denny Penland, business development manager for DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol. “And it also produces a platform for producing next year’s crop of corn.”

In Canada, there are currently no biomass plants online or in the works, but Charles Lalonde, a project manager with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, says he expects that’s going to change in the next few years. He says there will soon be demand for corn stover and wheat straw inside Canadian borders.

“With corn stover, we’re trying to develop a market for it in bioprocessing,” Lalonde explains. He anticipates that facility will focus on using cellulosic material to produce sugars for use in various biochemical productions.

U.S. plants making ethanol from grains, mainly corn, are currently at capacity, producing 12 billion to 13 billion gallons annually. “Right now, the industry is waiting for the cellulosic side of these projects to get up and running,” Levy says. By comparison, it’s estimated that the new plants will be able to produce around 75 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year.

Plans for seven new cellulosic ethanol plants have been announced by the USDA, three of which will use agricultural waste, while the others will use resources like wood chips, wood waste and municipal solid waste.

And while the bulk of the U.S. market now is corn stover, Glenn Farris, AGCO’s manager of segment strategy for biomass/industrials, expects a market for dedicated energy crops to emerge, such as Miscanthus and switchgrass.

Farris says he believes that by 2030 more producers will see 300 bushels of corn per acre. That means 8 to 10 tons of stover per acre on the ground within the next 15 years.

Says Levy, “I think we’re going to see a revolution in the biomass market in the years to come. As the world turns to renewable energy, agriculture is going to be a direct benefactor.”

For more see, http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/biomass-harvesting-win-win-and-then-some/.

Workhorses: From MF135 to MF8670

For being named the 2013 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year, James Cooley received use of a Massey Ferguson® tractor for one year. He chose the MF8670, known for its continuously variable transmission (CVT), fuel efficiency and comfort.

Cooley and the MF8670

Cooley and the MF8670

It is not, however, his first Massey Ferguson. “We love Masseys,” says Cooley. “We’ve got 17 of the old 135s” used for bringing out peaches and light work. For parts, he calls on Nance Tractor and Implements in McConnells, S.C.

Adds Cooley, the vintage workhorse “was Massey’s special tractor, Daddy always said. The 135 is a tractor that everybody can drive. It’s easy to maintain regarding its parts and availability of them.”

As for his new MF8670, which Cooley calls the “Cadillac of tractors,” he plans to put it to work preparing peach and strawberry land. “We’ll use it for making the soil loose and ready for the roots to spread out on the peach trees,” he says. “And we’ll use it for fixing the ground for the strawberries.

“The view is remarkable,” continues Cooley. “It’s a smooth ride and the turning radius is remarkable. And, of course, it [has] unmatched power.”

For more on the Cooley farm, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/farmer-of-the-year-coming-out-on-top/.

My experience as AGCO‘s Africa Ambassador at Africa Summit 2015

Written by: Jean Kaahwa, AGCO Africa Ambassador 2015

AGCO Africa Summit 2015On the night of 16th January 2015, I said warm goodbyes to my immediate family and they wished me all the best in Berlin, Germany. As I set off to the airport I kept having flashbacks of my journey in the agriculture sector from the time when I was dreaming of turning that idle swamp into a productive fish farm, how the dream materialized, my growth in the agribusiness sector and eventually heading to Berlin as AGCO‘s Africa Ambassador for 2015.

I travelled from Uganda via Istanbul and was received warmly by a gentleman in Berlin. I was amazed at the beauty and scenery of the city that met me. At the hotel I bumped into Sue Musunga Chuzu, who was AGCO‘s first Africa Ambassador in 2012, and I immediately felt at home.

I later met the warm and friendly AGCO team and AGCO Africa Ambassador 2014, Joy Jelimo Chelagat as well. Joy and I toured Berlin together the next day and also visited the Africa Summit venue.

On the morning of the 4th AGCO Africa Summit I was nervous. However, I received some encouraging words from Mr. Nuradin Osman, Managing Director Africa and Middle East of AGCO, and Dr. Amrita Cheema, one of the moderators of the conference, just before the program started.

Looking at the conference agenda made me feel like I had to listen to every word spoken as I found the topics and presentations practical, applicable and contextual for the smallholder farmers like me in Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

Matteo Bartolini President of CEJA looks back on the Council’s achievements in 2014

MFVision_Beauvais_LaSalle_Press_Day_2014-7221_85781

Among the highlights of 2014 was the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. CEJA President, Matteo Bartolini (left) is pictured here with Richard Markwell, Massey Ferguson Vice-President and Managing Director Europe/Africa/Middle East at MF’s Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France.

MF: Would you say that 2014 was a year of maintaining the momentum of CEJA’s work?

MB: 2014 has been a crucial year for CEJA. Following the achievements made in 2013 with the inclusion of a mandatory measure for young farmers in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it was essential that we ensured the implementation of this historic political agreement in an effective and concrete manner. In a similar vein, it was also important that we made use of the momentum that the CAP reform negotiations had given CEJA the previous year, and that we maintained an increasing amount of visibility and awareness of the age crisis in European farming. This was despite the retreat that agriculture, due to the end of CAP discussions, made from the central position it had been occupying in EU current affairs for the last two years. Progress has been  made on the policy front even beyond the remits of the CAP, including  putting the need to strengthen EU policy for young farmers at centre stage within the agricultural priorities of the Italian Presidency.

MF: What else was notable in 2014?

MB:  2014 witnessed the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. Among several joint events, we held a CEJA working group at the MF tractor plant in Beauvais, France. The event also included a tour of the tractor production facilities for a number of leading young farmers from across the EU. 2014 saw the end of an era as the previous European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş, was replaced by Irishman Phil Hogan. In addition,  we saw an array of newly-elected MEPs take their seats on the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament. As well as this, CEJA welcomed a new Secretary General a year ago to assist what was then the newly-elected Board, with me at the helm as the new President. Despite all these changes, CEJA accomplished a number of achievements over the last 12 months and I am proud to say that the issue of young farmers was still high on the political agenda right through to the end of 2014.

To read the full article please click here

Massey Ferguson Helps Showcase Innovations From a Small Island

Massey Ferguson helped provide a taste of British farming and food production to more than 250 leading journalists attending the International Federation of Agricultural Journalist’s Congress in North East Scotland.

‘Innovations from a Small Island’, the congress provided a packed programme of seminars, visits and events showcasing the UK’s world-leading farming, food and drink producers. As a principal sponsor of the event, Massey Ferguson ensured these influential writers and photographers from around the world not only learned about the UK advanced food and farming industry, but passed it on to their global farming audience.

DSC2279_ifajvisit_harvesting_mikemclarensfarmMassey Ferguson sponsored the ‘Market Makers’ farm tours that demonstrated how its equipment is being employed by producers of diverse range of crops and livestock north-east Scotland. These farms are renowned for the highest quality potatoes, fruit, berries and vegetables as well as cereals and beef and lamb.

“We are honoured to help showcase the work of some of not just Scotland’s, but Europe’s leading farmers,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson’s Director, Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development. “It was a pleasure to see how these leading journalists were eager to see these progressive, professional businesses and learn more about their knowledge of agriculture and see examples of the finest crop and animal husbandry.”

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