Sept. 9, 2013, Devil's Lake, ND - Summers Manufacturing has introduced new Narrow-Transport Diamond Disks, available with 28.5-foot cutting widths. Combining high-performance residue management with the ability to fold to 15.5 feet wide for transport on narrow roads, the new models were developed to meet the tillage needs of growers everywhere.

The Diamond Disk is a proven tillage concept designed to alleviate some of the issues associated with traditional disks. The diamond configuration of the disk gangs allows the unit to float over rocks without damage, and it also eliminates ridging, skipping and gouging effects. Other features of the Diamond Disks include a floating hitch to prevent side draft and ensure consistent depth control. The units are also equipped with Super-Flex™ C-shanks and ductile cast spools to absorb shocks and maximize the service life of the implement.

The new Diamond Disks are available with two blade options, both of which are mounted on thick, 2-inch shafts. Model DK9630 comes with 26-inch-diameter full concavity blades for aggressive soil mixing, and model DT9530 comes with notched, 25-inch-diameter low concavity blades for superior residue sizing and use in wet conditions. Both models are offered with two finishing options, including three-bar mounted harrows or rolling baskets with patent-pending internal mud scrapers.

All Summers products, including the new Diamond Disks, are available at a variety of authorized dealers throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. To find the nearest dealer, visit

Published in Tractors
Aug. 20, 2013 - Trimble has introduced the Connected Farm Fleet app built to serve managers and technicians by enabling them to access their fleet information from any location.

Using smartphones and tablets, the app enables the fleet management portion of Trimble's Connected Farm Web solution to go mobile. With the app, managers can track the location of vehicles, receive geo-fence and curfew alerts, analyze vehicle status, and view historical positions.

The app can display current status information such as whether the vehicle is idling, moving working or delayed. This information flows into the Connected Farm Web solution, which allows managers to analyze the efficiency and productivity of their fleet.

The free Connected Farm Fleet app is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2013 and is compatible with a variety of smartphones and tablets using an iOS or Android operating system. To download the app, go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store or visit:

In order to view their fleet's information on the Connected Farm Fleet app, customers will need to purchase Trimble's vehicle management service as well as a DCM-300 modem with data cellular service for each vehicle that will be tracked. Customers can use a demo function to explore the features provided before subscribing to the service. Contact a local Trimble dealer at for more information.

Published in Precision Ag
July 25, 2013 - Massey Ferguson is introducing a new line of mid-range tractors, the 6600 Series, with standard features such as a spacious cab and four-wheel drive; and optional upgrades like a front three-point hitch and advanced hydraulic systems.

The 6600 Series tractors are powered by 4.9-liter, four-cylinder engines from AGCO Power, ranging from 100 to 125 PTO horsepower. The engines offer an intercooled turbo-charger, electronic engine management, four valves per cylinder and high-pressure common-rail fuel injection, and feature AGCO's e3 clean-air technology with second-generation selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to ensure the 4.9 L engine meets strict Tier 4-interim emission standards.

The 6600 Series offers three transmission options:
- Dyna-4 offers four gears and four ranges for a total of 16 forward and 16 reverse speeds. Operators can shift through all gears and ranges on the roll, electronically with the push or pull of a hand lever. The left-hand three-function power control lever allows the operator to change direction, upshift and downshift, and clutch with just fingertip movement.
- Dyna-6 provides additional working speeds, with 24 forward and 24 reverse speeds, each available without using the clutch pedal. The Dyna-VT continuously variable transmission provides an infinite number of operating speeds, also without the use of a clutch, as Dynamic Tractor Management minimizes RPM and optimizes fuel consumption.
- Dyna-VT has fewer parts than comparable power-shift transmissions to prevent internal parasitic loss and ensure longer component life for reduced downtime and maintenance costs.

Three available hydraulic systems offer farmers a choice when it comes to remote valve controls and flow rates. The standard system has isolated twin gear pumps operated with levers in the side console. A 15 gallon-per-minute (GPM) auxiliary pump is dedicated to the loader and implements, while an 11 GPM pump is dedicated to the three-point hitch. The Twin Flow system offers growers the ability to combine the hydraulic flow of both pumps with the press of a button, pushing 26 GPM to the up-to-four mechanical remote valves.

The highest-performing system delivers up to 29 GPM to implements and remote valves driven by a variable displacement piston pump that delivers oil flow only when needed for quick response, reduced horsepower demand and higher efficiency. This system can be controlled using fingertip remote valve controls in the armrest and right-hand console or an optional electronic joystick.

Addition 6600 Series features include a large cab and the choice between rigid cab mounts, spring-over shock mounts or hydraulic cab suspension; a six-post design with an optional Visio cab roof, which allows operators to view a fully raised bucket without having to lean forward; and engineered convenience and functionality in the control layouts, with a new dot matrix display on the dash and an optional armrest console with integrated transmission, hydraulic and loader controls.
Published in Tractors

June 24, 2013 - John Deere has updated its entire lineup of 5E Series Utility Tractors (45-100 horsepower) with new Interim Tier 4 engine models and more cab/open operator station and transmission options. This new 5E Series Tractor line now includes the new 85 and 100 horsepower 4-cylinder tractors, which replace the previous 83, 93 and 101 horsepower models, and four 3-cylinder models ranging for 45 to 75 horsepower.

The new 5085E and 5100E feature Interim Tier 4 emissions-compliant PowerTech diesel engines with the 12 Forward / 12 Reverse PowrReverser™ Transmission and 540/540 Economy PTO in base equipment. They can be ordered with either a comfortable, ergonomic climate-controlled cab or with an open operator station, an option not previously available on the larger 5E models.

Two of the most popular options many customers have asked for on the 55 to 75 horsepower 3-cylinder 5E tractors are a cab and the 12/12 PowrReverser Transmission. The electrohydraulic PowrReverser Transmission with 12 forward and 12 reverse gears makes back and forth chores like loader and blading work easier. With the PowrReverser Transmission, the operator does not have to clutch or even slow down to go from forward to reverse.

The new cab configuration on the 55 to 75 horsepower 5E models creates the ideal chore tractor for customers working in colder climates or dusty conditions. In addition, fuel-saving 540 Economy PTO comes standard on all PowrReverser-equipped models to reduce engine noise, wear, and vibration when using powered implements.

All 5E models can be matched with a wide variety of John Deere and Frontier implements to make them even more useful in getting work done. For more information on the complete line of John Deere 5E Series Tractors, visit your local John Deere dealer or visit


Published in Tractors

Apr. 17, 2013, Drummondville, QC - Soucy International Inc. has launched a new product in its line of Soucy Track agricultural track systems: the S-TECH 800, designed for high-power tractors.

The S-TECH 800 is a brand new platform with a central geometry developed using castings, preventing the accumulation of debris and offering durability and flexibility. The most significant technological advance is the addition of independent lateral tandems on the support wheels. These tandems enable the wheels to follow ground contours while providing comfort and better load distribution, which increases traction, flotation and the system's lifespan.

The S-TECH 800 is currently available for John Deere 8030 and 8R series tractors. It will also soon be available for Case, New Holland and Fendt tractors.


Published in Tractors

Apr. 12, 2013, Olds, AB - Olds College is hosting the 60th World Plowing Championship July 19 and 20. This international event is a major part of the College's Centennial celebrations.

The match will feature 60 competitors from up to 30 countries vying for the prestigious title of World Champion for 2013.

While plowing is the cornerstone, there is much more going on during the two days at Olds.

"Plowing is nearly a lost art on many Alberta farms, but Plowing Matches are big events. They're a great way for farmers from around the world to get together and celebrate what they have in common – agriculture," says Olds Plowing Match chairman Mark Kaun, who has attended world matches in New Zealand, and last year in Croatia.

Vintage organizers confirm some 400 pieces of antique farm equipment from as far away as Montana, North Dakota, Manitoba and Saskatchewan will be at the site, along with an antique tractor pull, and a daily parade of old tractors, machinery, trucks and cars. There will be demonstrations of plowing with tractors and steam, and some draft horse plowing as well.

Registrations from international visitors have been pouring in to the Olds Plowing match office.

"We've already got over 400 people signed up to come for the entire 10-day package," says coordinator Kerry Moynihan. "There's a large group from Austria, lots from the U.K. and New Zealand, and Sweden too. These top competitors are like rock stars in their own countries, and they have fans that follow them wherever they compete.

"This year, for the first time ever in the history of the World Plowing Match, we have two female competitors, representing Austria. They're so serious; they're arriving in Canada in mid-June to practice."

Canada will be represented at the World Plowing Match by Barry Timbers and Brian Fried, both from Ontario.

Competition is keen when the plowing begins, with several international competitors even shipping over their own tractors and plows. There is plowing with both conventional and reversible plows, on stubble and grass. Judges use a scorecard to assess the finished plot, which contestants have had to keep straight and accurate with every pass up and down the plot, using mid-sized tractors.

Another highlight will be the unveiling of the World Peace Cairn, designed by Olds College students and including a stone from every participating nation.

Anyone interested in being part of this historic event as a volunteer can contact the Olds College Centennial office.

To get more details, head to the website


Published in World Outlook

April 11, 2013 – Versatile has unveiled a new line of front-wheel assist tractors that feature one of the largest cabs in the industry and a considerable increase in wheelbase and size.

The styling of the new tractor is a departure from the existing Versatile front-wheel assist. A sloped hood offers visibility and features cues from the new Versatile design first introduced on the line of four-wheel drives. An increased grille area allows for better airflow with reduced maintenance and cleaning requirements. Combined with a longer wheelbase, this new design allows for tight turns, even with 30-inch row spacing.

First introduced on the four-wheel drive, the new cab offers operator space and comfort. The door swings wide for easy entry and egress. The adjustable armrest features fingertip controls for ergonomic comfort and a seven-inch high-resolution display for electro-hydraulics and the tractor performance monitor. Multi-power sources are available including 110-volt AC and five volt USB ports.

The new Versatile tractor is available in 260, 290 and 310 horsepower, which is provided by a Cummins QSL 9.0L featuring interim Tier 4 technology. The QSL features the Cummins Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) for sharp response in the field and offers a torque rise of more than 40 per cent. A reversing fan system is available that works as needed, providing quiet operation and fuel savings. The fan reverses approximately every 20 minutes to blow out the grille, reducing maintenance.

The transmission is a 16F x 9R full powershift transmission with push-button controls. Designed to work with the power bulge and torque curves of the Cummins engine, this transmission offers durability and smooth shifts in the field.

Fuel capacity has been increased to 170 US gal.

Published in Tractors

Photo: Innovative Farmer of the Year 2012 winner Mark Brock (left) and Trevor Latta, Business Representative with BASF Canada.

Mar. 1, 2013 - Mark Brock didn't start out wanting to be a farmer. He grew up on a farm, but originally thought he would pursue computer programming at the University of Guelph. When that didn't work out, he instead studied agricultural business, which naturally lead into agronomy.

Then, in 1997, he went back to the family farm and never strayed far again.

"I came back to my roots and realized how much I enjoyed crop production," said Brock. "There was an opportunity there for me to not only grow plants and do real crop stuff, but also incorporate some of the technology I always loved working with and use it on the farm."

On Feb. 25, 2013, his decision to move back to the farm proved worthwhile, as BASF Canada and the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario presented Brock with the 2012 Innovative Farmer of the Year award for his constant promotion of innovation and leadership.

Brock's fascinating with technology led to a few frustrated moments on the farm over the years. But, he never strayed from his belief that technology could help him (and other farmers) find a more efficient and effective way to grow crops.

"I started thinking about applications that we could use that technology for and saw the value in it," he said, which led into investing early and experimenting with new farm technologies. These have included yield monitors, auto-swathing control systems, individual row shut-offs and more. The goal was always to reliably, effectively and efficiently collect as much data on his farm as possible.

Brock, in addition to the use of technology on his farm, is well known for his tireless efforts to find better methods for soil management and nutrient retention. One way in which this is done is through the use of cover crops, which can be used to keep the bacteria and nutrient cycle in the soil going for as long as possible.

"Whether farmers realize it or not, soil is their number one resource," said Brock. "It is such a critical part of what we do that sometimes I think we take it for granted."

Brock is devoted to developing new and sustainable techniques for use in the future of Canadian farming with his wife Sandi and two kids, Jack and Jessica.

"To be chosen to be Innovative Farmer of the Year it was truly an honour," said Brock. "Looking at people who have won the award before, to be put in a category with them, is truly humbling."

Published in Precision Ag

Jan. 28, 2013 - Modern farming is a dangerous business. In 2011, it was ranked the second most dangerous industry, behind construction, mining and quarrying, according to the National Safety Council. One often overlooked strategy of improving farm safety is visual workplace communication—in other words, using labels and signs to show where hazards exist and how to deal with them.

Labels and signs are types of visual workplace communication. In general industry facilities, visual communication is used virtually everywhere. Safety labels and signs reduce the chances of a workplace injury by reminding workers of the hazards around them.

Most farms, though, have not implemented strong visual communication, despite having an arguably greater need for safety than industrial facilities. One reason for this is that many farms view the installation of signs and labels as a relatively unimportant goal and not worth the cost and effort. Another reason is that many smaller farms aren't required to meet OSHA standards, which is where a lot of the push for hazard communication comes from for larger organizations. And a third reason may be a lack of dedication to improving safety in general.

There are bright spots in farm safety among a few organic farms.

"We follow all OSHA regulations at JR Organics," said Joan Marrero from JR Organics.

"Most of our signage revolves around food safety and first aid situations. With so many visitors to the farm, we need to keep the areas where we process and clean our vegetables uncontaminated. These areas are 'Farmer only' areas. We also prominently display signs where we store our first aid kits," said Bryan Allen of Zenger Farms.

"We have signs along the border fences to alert road crews that we are an organic farm and no spraying is allowed on our property," added Leland Gibson of Gibson Farms.

Most workplace accidents happen due to workers not being aware of a hazard or underestimating the danger of a hazard. This is especially a concern with young farm workers, who are often insufficiently trained and insufficiently experienced to recognize the many workplace hazards around them. It is also a concern with ESL workers (English as second language), who may not understand the training they receive if it's not in their main language.

Farm machinery and vehicles are the source of most injuries on U.S. farms, accounting for approximately 60-70 per cent of farm fatalities. A good visual communication program should start with putting labels on the most obvious hazardous areas. Examples of common places for warning labels are PTO shafts, machine guards, augur entry points, moving blades and electrical components.

"Our tractors are the most dangerous vehicles on our farm. They are pretty stable but can roll over. Their high horsepower and low gearing can break implements without the driver even feeling it. The roto-tiller attachment for the tractor could kill a person quickly. It has a few safety labels on it from the manufacturer," said Wyatt Barnes from Red Wagon Organic Farm.

A lot of farm equipment is purchased second-hand, especially on smaller farms. These pieces of equipment may lack basic components, including labels. For used farm equipment, because it may have some strange operational quirks or malfunctioning components, it is especially important to make sure its hazards are easy to understand.

Besides directly marking the hazardous areas, labels can also be used to communicate important notes and instructions to your workers. Example: place a label on a PTO-driven grain augur that has a short set of instructions on how to safely attach and detach the tool. Or, place a note by a tractor's ignition to remind the operator to turn off the PTO drive or lower a grain augur before moving the vehicle.

"The chain saw is the most dangerous piece of equipment. A person with no experience and knowledge can cause serious injury or death to themselves or others. High up on the list are bush hogs, sickle blades, hay balers hay rakes. Safety guards and warning are all over these machines for a reason," said Gibson.

Some farm safety issues aren't as easy as others to label, although a few cautionary signs might help alert workers to a concentrated methane zone resulting from manure. Excessive methane inhalation is not just unpleasant -- it can be a health hazard.

Fortunately, university agricultural extension programs offers suggestions about using covers to minimize odor and gas emissions from manure storage, the impact of wind speeds, prevailing wind direction and topography (hills, valleys, trees) on odor dispersion.

These are just a few examples of label uses that could improve a farm safety program. There are no real limits to visual workplace communication. Every farm is different, with unique procedures and unique workforces. To optimize a farm safety program, it's necessary for farm managers to brainstorm the safety issues that are most important at that specific location.

For more information about farm safety and visual communications, visit, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 800-788-5572.

Published in Corporate News

Dec. 4, 2012, Stettler, AB - Generally, a farm manager tries to equip their operation to be able to successfully complete all farming operations in a timely manner. At the same time, the farm manager has to ensure that machinery investment is not excessive to the point that it is a financial drain on the farm business. Machinery management is often a balancing act between timeliness of operations and excess capacity. The balance point is a moving target, fluctuating with grain prices and weather conditions.

"Machinery is often the second greatest investment, next to land on most crop based farm operations," says Ted Nibourg, business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. "This reality underscores the importance of good machinery management. The basis for machinery management is keeping proper records. A good set of records will let you know what the market value of your equipment is and allow you to compare this to your long-term gross revenue per acre.

"Analysing Statistics Canada data for Alberta comparing machinery investment for the years between 1998 and 2011 inclusive, I found that Alberta farmers typically had between 11 per cent and 18 per cent of their total farm capital invested in machinery and it trended downward. During the period of the analysis, machinery investment as percentage of total farm capital declined. Even though the ratio declined, the overall investment increased. In 1998 Alberta farmers had $8.25 billion invested in machinery. This increased steadily to just under $11 billion in 2011. Machinery investment per acre increased in almost a linear fashion from $159/acre in 1998 to $216/acre in 2011. It is important to note that these values are market values and do not reflect depreciation or recapture."

Net operating income as a percentage of machinery investment varied between a high of 22.45 per cent in 2002 to a low of 8.62 per cent in 2003. Net operating income is calculated before machinery depreciation.

An important benchmark for managers to consider is the machinery investment (market value) per acre divided by the long-term average gross revenue per acre. Based on the analysis, this ratio has averaged 1.69 over the long term. This means that the average farmer in Alberta has, on average over the long term, $1.69 invested in machinery for every $1 they receive in gross revenue annually. This ratio climbed from 1.72 in 1998 to a high of 2.29 in 2003. Since 2003, it has declined steadily to a value of 1.06 in 2011.

"One has to keep in mind that good crop returns in recent years coupled with a slackening of investment in machinery compared to total farm investment has resulted in this declining ratio," says Nibourg. "Another reason could be farm consolidation. Producers are spreading their machinery investment over more acres. During the period in question, the average farm size increased by almost one-third."

Using a management depreciation (as opposed to Capital Cost Allowance) rate of 10 per cent, one can see from the long-term average ratio that machinery fixed costs amount to about 17 per cent of gross revenue per acre. If the ratio happens to hit the high mark at 2.29 as it did in 2003 then the fixed cost for machinery amounts to 22.9 per cent of gross revenue per acre. This is the figure that contribution margin has to cover for machinery investment over the long-term. Economists advise farm managers to keep their machinery investment ratio below 2.

"Alberta farmers have done a good job of achieving this bench mark," says Nibourg. "Records for the last five years show that the ratio is well below the long-term average. Now may be a good time for individual farm managers to take a look at the machinery component of their operations, and possibly purchase additional equipment to improve efficiencies, replace existing machinery or upgrade to newer technologies. Keep in mind, however, that the assessment has to be done on an individual farm basis. Don't rely entirely on provincial averages. Also, the machinery investment ratio is a just a guideline. There may be other extenuating circumstances that warrant increasing machinery investment such as weather factors or crop specific requirements."


Published in Emerging Trends

Nov. 26, 2012, Saskatoon, SK - The Western Canadian Crop Production Show is an important event for cereal, pulse and oilseed producers in Western Canada. The show provides crop producers the opportunity to meet with exhibitors and get information on crop production, farm business management and crop marketing. This year's exhibitors come from a wide variety of areas, including technology, products and services for crop producers.

The 2013 show will be held from January 7 to 10 at Saskatoon's Prairieland Park.

The 2013 show will feature a return of the Spraying Innovations – Crop Protection Technology Clinic. This clinic includes in-depth sessions on sprayer calibration and nozzle selection, as well as manufacturer specific application and precision steering information and advice.

The Crop Production Show provides an opportunity for the Ministry of Agriculture to interact with producers and launch new publications and guides for the upcoming cropping season. Watch for the new Crop Planning Guides and Guide to Crop Protection. The Ministry booth, located in Hall B, also provides the latest forecasts for crop insects, as well as survey information on crop diseases and moisture conditions.

New this year is the 2012 Saskatchewan Farm Machinery Custom and Rental Rate Guide Calculator. This is a spreadsheet that producers can use to fine-tune their calculations on custom and rental machinery rates. Be sure to stop by the Ministry booth to look at the capabilities of this calculator.

The Western Canadian Crop Production Show and Crop Production Week have a common website that includes detailed information, including meeting agendas -

Published in Corporate News

November 7, 2012, PA - New Holland Agriculture has been honored with six prestigious AE50 Awards by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The AE50 awards are presented for the fifty most innovative product ideas to enter the market in 2012. They honor new product ideas that are ranked highest in innovation, significant engineering advancement, and impact on the market served.

The New Holland award winners include the 840CD rigid draper head for New Holland combines, the Advanced Operator-Control System for New Holland H8000 Series Speedrower self-propelled windrowers, New Holland BigBaler Series, the New Holland IntelliFill System for FR Series forage harvesters, New Holland ABS SuperSteer anti-lock braking system (available on New Holland T7 Series tractors), and the New Holland T9 Series tractor homologated option, approved for transport on roads in Europe.

“Through the years, New Holland has earned a well-deserved reputation for innovation,” says Abe Hughes, New Holland’s Vice President of North America. “These awards affirm our on-going commitment to developing advances in technology and cutting edge solutions to meet the needs of today’s agricultural producers.”

Grain producers can maximize the high capacity of their combine in cereals, grains, rice and other specialty crops with the New Holland 840CD rigid draper head, designed specifically for New Holland combines. It is available in cutting widths ranging from 25-45 ft. and features the patented SynchroKnife drive (an innovation that won an AE50 Award in 2011). This unique center knife-drive system, which revolutionizes the way a combine head cutterbar is driven, works on the same basis as the two opposing knife drives used in larger heads, but eliminates the vibrations they can cause by continually keeping the opposing knifes perfectly synchronized. The 840CD also features a patented, fully integrated transport system, and an integrated hydraulic system that allows for individual adjustments in draper belts and knife speeds, to optimize cutting and feeding performance.

The Advanced Operator-Control System for H8000 Series Speedrower self-propelled windrowers  is designed with more intuitive access to information and adjustment for exceptional operator convenience and functional control.  It includes a multifunction handle (MFH), software that provides additional operator feedback, and an Intelliview touch‐screen monitor. The MFH provides fingertip control of all header adjustments, including draper header requirements, and includes a return‐to‐cut control that allows a double click of a button to raise the header at the headland and a single click to return to the previous cut‐height setting. Software advancements provide feedback on fuel consumption, including a horsepower‐hours/gallon calculation that allows the operator to consider engine speed and ground and header speed adjustments to maximize fuel and operational efficiency.

New Holland’s next generation BigBaler Series sets a new benchmark in baling performance. With up to a 20% increase in capacity and up to 5% denser bales, the BigBalers significantly improve productivity and profitability. They offer commercial hay operations, straw contractors and owner-operators unsurpassed baling performance. The all-new MaxiSweep pickup was completely redesigned featuring a new full-width feed assist roller with paired overshot-undershot augers at both ends to pull in material to ensure that every last stem of profitable crop is safely baled. The MaxiSweep has distinctive S‐shaped side shields that work with crop guides to improve crop flow and windrow separation. SmartFill feed indicators use sensors in the pre‐compression chamber to sense incoming crop and guide the operator via the IntelliView display, ensuring square‐edge bales with balanced side‐to‐side density. The BigBaler styling ensures smooth airflow over the machine for minimal debris buildup, and the one‐piece front flywheel cover opens wide for easy access for service and maintenance.

The New Holland IntelliFill system, an industry‐exclusive, boosts forage harvesting productivity by allowing the operator to concentrate on achieving optimal crop flow and field progress instead of focusing on filling the trailer. This automatic trailer‐filling system offered as an option for New Holland FR Series self‐propelled forage harvesters, uses a 3D camera that allows the operator to fill a trailer accurately and with minimal losses, no matter the size or type of trailer. Deflector position and spout orientation are automatically controlled, based on the information collected by the 3D camera, to consistently fill trailers to the level specified. The system functions equally well in bright sunlight and in the dark on long harvesting nights. As infrared light is reflected from the trailer, collected by the lens, and passed onto a matrix, the IntelliFill System measures the trailer edges and filling degrees. The operator is notified when the trailer is full.

New Holland ABS SuperSteer (available on New Holland T7 Series tractors) is the first tractor to offer the safety and control of an anti‐lock braking system with the productivity-enhancing, super tight-turning SuperSteer front axle. The system delivers the same on‐road safety features as ABS fitted to a passenger car: improved stability, especially when braking under load, and safer, more controlled steering while braking. The system monitors wheel rotation and braking force to eliminate wheel lockup, even on wet or icy roads. It provides straight‐line braking if wheels on one side are on a different surface than the other side. ABS SuperSteer allows steering around an obstacle when braking hard or sharply. The tight-turning SuperSteer™ front axle option leads the field in reducing the time it takes to turn on the headland and delivers row crop agility, beating any tractor in the T7’s category. The system can also use the rear independent brake control to reduce the tractor’s turning circle by as much as 50 percent over the standard T7, for faster headland turns in field operations.

The New Holland T9 Series (homologated option) is the world’s first articulated four‐wheel‐drive class tractor to attain the convenience of “full type homologation” approval by the European Union for on‐road use on public roads in any European country. The New Holland T9 is now available with a special option package designed specifically to allow the tractor to meet the EU road laws for vehicles. The package modifies the tractor steering and braking systems, vehicle width and height, exhaust and lighting systems, and places additional equipment on the tractor to fully meet the laws. Other tractors of this size must have extra equipment mounted by customers and dealers and undergo a country‐by-country approval process to be used on European roads.

Published in Tractors
August 23, 2012, Racine, WI - The introduction of the Case IH Magnum tractor in 1987 marked a major milestone. The 1988 model year Magnum tractor was the first designed and produced after the birth of Case IH – the result of J.I. Case and International Harvester coming together. Since then, Case IH Magnum Series tractors have delivered producer-driven, proven technology that’s helped producers Be Ready for 25 years.

“The Magnum Series tractor has set the industry standard as the most powerful and productive row-crop tractor,” says Dan Klein, Case IH Marketing Manager for Magnum tractors. “These tractors introduced the red paint that has become the signature of the Case IH brand. Their cab-forward design and fully integrated mechanical front-wheel drive (MFD) were examples of International Harvester’s reputation of innovative leadership. It let customers know that this new company was off to the right start.”

Twenty-five years later, Magnum tractors are used in some of the most demanding agricultural applications worldwide. They have built a legacy for exceptional performance, reliability and durability that has been built on customers’ needs.

“Customer input has been the key ingredient to the successful design of Magnum tractors,” says Klein. “Producers told us they want a tractor with more power to handle demanding tasks at higher speeds, with better fuel efficiency – while maintaining operator comfort.”

Case IH engineers have delivered on customer requests, continuously improving and upgrading the Magnum tractor to keep pace with ever-growing productivity needs. Today’s Magnum tractor line-up offers power, an improved operator environment and outstanding fuel efficiency. Simple, robust designs drive machine reliability.

More Power, Fuel Efficiency

Magnum tractors are known for their ground-breaking, pulling power and torque with the highest horsepower in their class. Customer requests for more power in tough pulling conditions have been answered with Power Boost capabilities, providing up to an extra 35 engine horsepower for roading or mobile power take off (PTO) and hydraulic demands. Currently, there are nine Magnum models with PTO horsepower ranging from 150 to 290 to handle today’s larger row crop implements.

Magnum tractors are able to meet emissions requirements while increasing total fluid efficiency and reducing operating costs. All Magnum tractors meet Tier 4A emissions standards, using Case IH Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology for maximum performance with the lowest possible operating costs. SCR-only after treatment frees the engine to produce raw power from fresh fuel.

Magnum 235 through 340 models rely on the proven 8.7-liter engine, while Magnum 180 through 225 continue with the proven 6.7-liter power plant. These Case IH Tier 4 engines have fewer components and service requirements to maximize uptime and give you more hours in the field each day.

Klein notes that Magnum tractors were the first MFD tractors with factory fit front duals for improved tractive efficiency and reduced ground compaction. “Magnum tractors have ground-level service and only require oil changes every 600 hours,” he says. The intent of design like these help get producers out to the field working early and staying later to get more done in short windows.”

Magnum tractors are equipped with Diesel Saver Automatic Productivity Management (APM) that automatically selects the most efficient gear ratio and engine speed combination. When the Diesel Saver APM is activated, the operator simply selects the desired ground speed for optimized performance. “This represents double-digit fuel efficiency improvements over previous generations and also frees up the operator to focus on other things rather than driving the tractor,” says Klein.

Legendary Cab Comfort

Over 25 years ago, Case IH Magnum tractors set the benchmark for cab comfort, controls and visibility – being the first manufacturer to remove the exhaust from the center of the hood. Today’s cab and operating environment continue to lead the industry ensuring our operators can be as efficient as possible.

Magnum tractors offer a cab-forward design having the largest, quietest cab in this class. The cab space has 360-degree visibility and comfort that represent the hallmarks of the Magnum operator environment.
Operating controls have also been designed with extensive input from producers to create the MultiControl Armrest console. It puts key tractor functions at the operator’s fingertips and the touch screen AFS Pro 700 color display is integrated into the MultiControl Armrest, moving with the tractor seat.

“The controls you use most often are at your fingertips,” says Klein. “They feature universal, easy-to-understand symbols.”
A suspended cab option also is available with four-way compensation – front -and -back and up -and -down – for an even ride on rough terrain. These are just a few examples of how engineers have continued to improve the legendary operator comfort of Magnum tractors.

Silver Tractors For A Silver Celebration

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Magnum tractor, Case IH will be producing a limited number of silver Magnum 340 Powershift tractors. These commemorative tractors will be on display at farm shows this fall.

“Celebrating this milestone allows us to recognize the Magnum tractor reputation of innovation, reliability and productivity,” says Klein. “The Magnum has maintained its market position as the leading high-horsepower row-crop tractor, and we expect this to continue with its ability to deliver superior engine power through smart, efficient design.” 

Published in Tractors

Aug. 22, 2012, Duluth, GA - Challenger, a global brand of AGCO, introduces the Challenger MT700D Series. Available in two models, the tractors are powered by AGCO POWER 8.4L diesel engines, which are built to exacting standards for smoother operation and longer life. Challenger is the original track tractor, and with the MT700D Series, the tractor created for the most demanding ag environments just got tougher.

“AGCO POWER engines are not just an ordinary power plant for a tractor. The manufacturing process for these diesel engines relies on industry-exclusive assembly process which allows us to work to exacting standards,” says Carlton Self, product marketing specialist for high-horsepower tractors. “The process includes precision balancing of the cam shaft, connecting rods and bearings to the nearest gram, which reduces vibration, optimizes engine performance and extends service life.”

With the new, more powerful engine and Challenger’s industry-exclusive Mobil-trac™ system, the MT700D Series tractors put even more power to the ground. A new, more comfortable cab and refined controls make operating a Challenger easier than ever.

AGCO POWER Diesel Engines for Top Performance, Reliability

The AGCO POWER 8.4L diesel in the MT765D is rated at 285 PTO/350 engine HP, while the MT755D engine is rated at 260 PTO/327 engine HP. Both AGCO POWER 8.4L diesel engines provide low operating input costs, low noise levels, long life, and uncompromised power and torque.

The engine features a single-piece cast iron block with wet cylinder liners. This enables the engine to handle high-horsepower loads without overheating, and extends its service life. Four valves per cylinder, improved fuel regulation and combustion from a new pump and injectors, along with increased common rail pressure and SISU electronic controls, help maximize engine efficiency.

The power plant achieves Tier 4i emissions standards with industry-leading AGCO e3 clean-air technology. This approach maximizes power output while minimizing exhaust treatment costs by varying the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) rate based on real-time emission measurements.

Challenger Mobil-trac for More Power to the Ground

The Challenger-exclusive Mobil-trac five-axle undercarriage system with oscillating mid-wheels minimizes compaction while maximizing traction and pulling power to work efficiently in the most demanding environments.  

Standard polyurethane mid-wheels provide longer life in abrasive environments and where long transport distances are required. Gauge settings, ranging from 72 to 160 inches, plus a wide selection of track widths, allow Challenger track tractors to fit the needs of a wide range of farming operations.

Improved Comfort, Enhanced Controls

With 110 cubic feet of space, the new cab provides unparalleled visibility and comfort, and enhances the smooth, industry-leading Mobil-trac ride. Other features include a 59 GPM hydraulic pump option and 37 GPM flow per hydraulic remote to provide the hydraulic capacity needed for large planters and tillage equipment.

All Challenger track tractors, including the new MT700D Series, are built by the experienced manufacturing team in Jackson, Minn. In addition, these tractors are supported by a dealer network that provides unparalleled support and parts availability to ensure maximum uptime.

The Challenger MT700D Series track tractors will be on display at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, and at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb. For more information about these new track tractors, see your local Challenger dealer or visit


AGCO, Your Agriculture Company, is a global leader focused on the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery. AGCO supports more productive farming through a full line of tractors, combines, hay tools, sprayers, forage equipment, tillage implements, grain storage and protein production systems, as well as related replacement parts. AGCO products are sold through four core machinery brands, Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra, and are distributed globally through 3,100 independent dealers and distributors in more than 140 countries worldwide. Retail financing is available through AGCO Finance for qualified purchasers. Founded in 1990, AGCO is headquartered in Duluth, Ga., USA. In 2011, AGCO had net sales of $8.8 billion.

Published in Tractors

Jul. 25, 2012, Milford, IN - A group of more than 600 Milford-based employees and many retired employees gathered on July 17th at CTB’s Conference Center in Milford, Indiana, to celebrate the Company’s 60th anniversary.  CTB ( was founded as Chore-Time in 1952 and is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer of systems and solutions for producing grain, poultry, pigs and eggs.  Additional celebratory events are planned at CTB’s other locations in the U.S. and around the world later this summer.

Greeting attendees, Victor A. Mancinelli, CTB president and chief executive officer, described the anniversary as an opportunity to “bring many of our people together and express gratitude to all for the hard work put forth these many years.”  He remarked that, “the Company was very fortunate to have had a core group of founders and early employees who were passionate, dedicated and visionary.”

Mancinelli also noted that “the value system which began with our founders … was handed down to us over the years and to this day defines us and makes us who we are.”  Those core values start with “the cornerstone of integrity” and include a “dedication to new ideas, newer products, being different by design, and giving our customers more, so that we can make them even more successful.”

CTB has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. since 2002, and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett also offered employees a congratulatory video greeting.  “You’ve got to have a good feeling about what you do at CTB,” Buffett said.  “You’re helping feed the world, and nothing is more important than that.”  Buffett concluded, “I couldn’t feel better about being your partner.”

The program included recollections by a number of individuals hired by CTB during the Company’s first three decades including retirees Dick Mundy and Pat Farm, current employees Chuck Bird and Roger Hollinger, and early employee and inventor Eldon Hostetler.  A video was also shown of company founder Howard Brembeck (1910-2010) and original co-owner Forrest Ramser (1925-2010) speaking in 2002 about their philosophy of doing business.  A meal was served to all attendees after the program.

Based in Milford, CTB today sells its products in over 110 countries under some 14 brand names.  These include the original two brands, Chore-Time and Brock, as well as Agro Logic, Fancom, Ironwood, Laake, Mannebeck, PigTek, Porcon, ProTerra, Roxell, Shenandoah, Shore and Uniqfill.   

On May 4, 2012, the Company announced an agreement to acquire Meyn Holding B.V., the parent company of Meyn Food Processing Technology B.V.  The acquisition, soon to be finalized, will add a 15th brand – Meyn – to CTB’s product portfolio.  It will also bring CTB’s worldwide annual sales to over a billion dollars.

Throughout its history, CTB has dedicated itself to product leadership, and its product development ideas have generated numerous patents and awards for various innovations for agriculture.  The Company has focused its product development on equipment that helps farmers feed the world through more efficient production of animal protein (poultry meat, pork and eggs) and systems that facilitate long-term storage of grain.  CTB also produces and offers products for various equestrian and industrial applications.

CTB continues to focus on its strategy for growth, which includes emerging as the best cost manufacturer in the industries it serves, emphasizing its product-driven focus, expanding its global physical presence, fortifying the business through acquisition and enhancing its financial strength in order to support ongoing product development and to better serve its customers both today and in the future.

Published in World Outlook

Jul. 11, 2012 - Jim Harkness Equipment Ltd. has introduced a new Steiner 440 tractor, which features more power and increased versatility.

  • The New 440 4-wheel Drive Tractor is bolder, better and more powerful... and yet it retains the compact, highly maneuverable and easily versatile attributes of its predecessor, the 430. Most attachments for Steiner 430 and 235 Front Wheel Drive tractors are interchangeable with the new 440.
  • The 440 has more engine horsepower, more hydraulic power available for work, more rear attachment, capability with an optional category 1 hitch (vs category 0), axles that are twice as strong, and yet is more comfortable with controls that are more accessible and easier to use.
  • The 440 has a much higher power to weight ratio than its nearest competitor and offers more 'Get it Done' Power in a smaller, more versatile machine.

For more information, please contact Harkness Equipment at 519-338-3946.

Published in Tractors

Many farmers now have autosteer, and rely heavily on it. Others, not so much. For those who are interested in adding GPS autosteer to a tractor they already have, or interested in buying a tractor already equipped, here’s the background you’ll need.

Doug Mackay, who has 15 years in precision farming as a researcher, manufacturer and precision farming consultant in south-central Alberta, provided much of this background information.

GPS lightbars were the first effective guidance device to come along, in the early 1990s. With a specialized radio antenna and receiver, they could convert line-of-sight signals from U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) mid-level satellites into location co-ordinates on the ground.

By 1994, the earth had 19 GPS satellites stationed in orbits. Approximately 32 are available now in six orbital levels.

Similar systems are being developed. The Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), originally military, was opened for civilian use in 2007. The European Union is developing the Galileo positioning system; China, India and Japan have plans for navigation systems.

Collectively, they are known as the Global Navigation Satellite System or GNSS. Some receivers built since 2007 can work with GLONASS as well as GPS.

Continuous, relatively weak, time and location signals are broadcast by these satellites in a dedicated section of channels (or frequencies) on the broadcast band. Receivers require signals from four satellites to determine location. Internal calculations triangulate field position from the overlapping signals.

“Way back you had 12 or 24 channels. Now it’s way beyond that. More satellites at one time means more coverage, not more accuracy, especially in areas blocked by hills or trees,” Mackay says.

WAAS accuracy
GPS or GNSS alone is inadequate for positioning a tractor in a field. Systems were developed with a ground-based component to correct/fine-tune/augment the basic GPS calculations.

Accuracy in GPS terms has two components. Repeatable accuracy is the ability to return to the same point at any time in the future. Relative accuracy is the ability of the receiver to rove and return to the same absolute location within about 15 minutes. Both are important, but repeatability is key to avoiding overlap and misses on return passes
with equipment.

Accuracy was improved with the development of Satellite-based Augmentation Systems (SBAS). They produce correction signals that improve repeatability with the aid of ground base stations that are precisely surveyed and able to collect signals from GNSS satellites. Another term for this is Wide Area Differential (WADGPS).

The Federal Aviation Agency operates the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which is a form of SBAS. WAAS has a network of ground-based stations that measure small variations in the GPS signals and high-altitude, geo-stationary satellites. It generates a correction signal that is sent every five seconds.

The U.S. Coast Guard operates an alternative, the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), for the United States. This system relies on a large network of ground-based stations that generate and broadcast corrections signals without using geo-stationary satellites.

Every receiver for farming today in Canada is enabled for WAAS or DGPS. There is no charge for using the WAAS signal, which can produce a location accuracy of about eight to 12 inches.

WAD accuracy
Private subscription-based commercial systems have been developed to improve the accuracy of correction for farming. Together, OmniSTAR and StarFire are known as wide-area differential (WAD) GPS service providers.

Many GPS receivers work with OmniSTAR, which became available in 1994. The company today has four levels of signal correction service.

The lowest accuracy correction signal, OmniSTAR VBS, uses a single frequency L1 receiver. L1 refers to a radio frequency band, between 1559 and 1610 MHz. The VBS horizontal position error is described as “significantly less than 1 metre” for 95 percent of the time.

The second and third levels of accuracy use dual band L1/L2 receivers. OmniSTAR XP, provides long-term repeatability of better than 10 centimetres (four inches), 95 percent of the time. OmniSTAR HP usually has a horizontal error of about six centimetres (2.5 inches) 95 percent of the time, along with a vertical error of less than 10 centimetres. The L2 frequency band correction signal became available in 2005.

OmniSTAR G2 service, the latest advance, provides short-term accuracy of one to two inches and long-term repeatability of better than 10 centimetres, 95 percent of the time. It uses both GPS and GLONASS satellites.

A similar correction service, CenterPoint-RTX, was announced in January 2012 by Trimble.  

StarFire was developed by John Deere and first offered in 1998. When a newer system was released in 2004, they became known as SF1 and SF2. The SF1 correction now is a free service for any John Deere receiver. The SF1 specifies repeatable accuracy at +/- 10 inches pass to pass. The SF2 is accurate to +/- four inches pass to pass.

RTK accuracy
Absolute location accuracy measured in increments of one or two centimetres and relative, repeatable accuracy measured in millimetres, is available through Real Time Kinematic (RTK) components for guidance. Relative and repeatable accuracy are generally the same for RTK.

In effect, RTK resembles a survey instrument for farming. For instance, tripods equipped with a second GPS receiver can be placed at the corner of a field, or elevated to a tower or other high point, to send line-of-sight correction signals to equipment moving in the fields. Machinery dealers have developed RTK networks for customers in some regions.

“RTK is the big thing now,” Mackay says. “Guys want to get into inter-row seeding and controlled traffic farming.”

A grain farm equipped with RTK and 10-inch drill spacing, or tighter, can drill the new crop midway between the stubble rows of an earlier crop. That concept became achievable with RTK autosteer, as did tramline-type farming, in the past five years.

Since about 2010, RTK services through cellphones or the Internet have become available. A cellular modem installed in the receiver, or even the driver’s cellphone, may be used to bring a high-accuracy correction signal to the steering control.

Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) and Virtual Reference Stations (VRS) are two of several names for the ground-based networks now providing RTK for farming. Some U.S. states provide the service without charge through the Department of Transport.

Implement steering is becoming significant in relation to GPS autosteer accuracy discussions. Implements are being equipped with GPS receivers and a communications link to the controller in the cab. Thus, autosteer is applied to the implement for centimetre accuracy regardless of the tractor’s position on a slope.

Steering components
Manual steering within field boundaries is being replaced with one of two methods. One is permanently installed into the steering hydraulics and wiring. Integral autosteer is generally regarded as the most accurate way to control the machine. Some manufacturers already install it at the factory, and will fully service or warrantee the system.

The second method uses a transferable device that attaches externally to the steering wheel. It probably can be moved in less than 30 minutes to another machine. It has been sold as a lower-priced and only slightly less accurate option.

Aftermarket autosteer-makers are making equipment for both methods of autosteer as well as installation kits for tractors, sprayers and harvesters that were built before the age of autosteer.  

Since about 2006, autosteer system components have become able to talk to each other through manufacturer compliance with a new international protocol for agriculture known as ISO 11783. It is seen in new electrical connectors, for instance, that link a tractor’s cab electronics with the electronics in whatever cart or implement it is towing. Regardless of make, if the units are ISOBUS compliant they should be able to work together.

Mackay says, “It’s becoming a trend to use ISOBUS plug and play. Via ISOBUS, one manufacturer’s autosteer controller can be plugged into another manufacturer’s existing tractor hydraulics.”

About 11 makers of controllers for GPS autosteer farming are available. The controller is a form of computer, operating with various software programs and storing field information in internal memory. It can be fed with certain types of data, such as previous field maps and “prescription” maps for applications of seed, fertilizer or chemical.

Controllers operate the monitors or displays in the cab, plus the autosteer units and rate controls for applications.

They also create files that store logs or data of whatever is going on in the system. Mapping, or a system of geo-reference files, are being created continuously.

Some lightbars still are being manufactured. They still require manual steering, but have some of the memory and display associated with GPS autosteer.

Autosteer software
Autosteer software enables a controller to keep a machine on course from pass to pass in a field. The accuracy will be as good, or weak, as the signals that are being processed. In practice, more than 95 percent of the time, each pass will be perfectly parallel to the previous pass. The first pass can be done manually, or it already can be done using specifications stored in the memory from a previous operation in that field. Once the field has been mapped, the controller needs only to establish its exact location before starting a new operation in the field.

One difference in controllers is pattern recognition. Most can do a few patterns, like straight A-B, curved A-B, or pivot.

Other examples include headland, boxed rounds, circle, spiral, ditch, levee tracks, swap, adaptive curve, contour and next row.

Controllers also generate different displays of a field, depending on their software and hardware. Most will give two or three views of the field map and the machine’s location in the field.  Video cameras mounted on the machinery also can be plugged into some displays, so a driver can monitor what he can’t see from inside the cab.

Autosteer pricing
Pricing for autosteer components has come down dramatically as industry has tooled up and the market has grown.

An informal dealer survey in January indicated hydraulic-mounted RTK autosteer can be purchased in a pricing range of about $15,000 to $30,000 for all the components. Without RTK, expect to pay $10,000 to $15,000. A new steering wheel-mounted autosteer system will retail for perhaps $16,000 at the high end and for less than $6,000 with only WAAS access.

The big choice for most farms that want autosteer will be in where to buy it, according to Mackay.

“Shop around?” he asks. “That depends on whether you want an aftermarket system or a factory-installed and serviced system. Dealer support is important. Fine-tuning the autosteer can sometimes take a while, so you want to make sure the manufacturer will provide that support.” 

Published in Precision Ag

Many western Canadian farmers are already using precision farming tools, such as global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), auto-steering, and yield monitors. Such tools open the door to exciting opportunities to enhance farming operations. One such opportunity is to use these tools in conducting on-farm research. To capture that opportunity, applied research associations are working with co-operating producers across Alberta in a three-year project. 

“We have traditionally done small plot research; in this project, we’re breaking new ground. We want to get a better understanding of how to conduct field-scale studies, so we can help producers to undertake on-farm research and be confident in the results,” says Dr. Ty Faechner. He is leading the project, which is called “Precision Tools for On-Farm Research.”

Faechner is the executive director of the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA). This not-for-profit organization works with producers to improve their operations through field research and technology. ARECA currently has 15 member associations; each association conducts applied research and extension relevant to the producers in its region.

When the project started back in 2009, ARECA knew that farmers were interested in conducting on-farm research to test how new practices and technologies would work on their own farms. ARECA was also aware of the rapidly growing interest in precision agriculture tools.

Faechner explains: “In a recent five-year program, the federal government had provided [cost-sharing] assistance for farmers to purchase GPS guidance, yield monitors and mapping software. Under the program, Alberta farmers spent around $29 million to buy that kind of equipment. So we knew there was lots of commitment financially by Alberta farmers to become engaged with precision farming equipment. They were using it for things like auto-steering, but there is also a great opportunity to take it further – to use it for collecting information, optimizing inputs, and things like that – and that wasn’t necessarily being done. We wanted to determine how farmers interested in conducting field-scale research might go about doing it with the help of precision agriculture tools.”

The project involved more than 14 producers from Lethbridge to Fort Vermilion working with agronomic staff from the applied research association in their own area. Together they conducted field-scale experiments on nitrogen response in canola and phosphorus response in peas. For canola, they compared 50, 100 and 150 percent of the recommended nitrogen rate for the field. For peas, the treatments were: no inoculant or phosphorus; inoculant; inoculant plus phosphorus; TagTeam; and TagTeam plus phosphorus.

The participating farmers received training in precision agriculture concepts, and they used on-combine yield monitors to measure crop yield for each of the treatments. The yield monitor data was validated with weigh wagon data, the traditional way to measure yields from field-scale plots.

Findings so far
ARECA will be wrapping up the project this winter and sharing the results and conclusions with the co-operators, the farming public, and the project partners/funders, which include the Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Novozymes (which produces TagTeam) and the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund.

“This project is giving us a much better understanding of some of the benefits and challenges of on-farm research. It’s also giving us a better understanding of how to implement on-farm experimentation and testing, of better ways to work with producers and conduct field research in a cost-effective way,” says Faechner.

Perhaps the most important finding so far is that effective on-farm research involves a team approach. He notes, “On-farm research takes three types of expertise: knowledge specific to the farm; agronomic knowledge; and research design and data analysis skills. Although some producers are able to do all this on their own, in most circumstances it’s a team effort. Typically the producer works with two or perhaps three people, to ensure the study is designed and managed properly and the data analyzed effectively, so the results will be reliable.”

Opening other doors to the potential of precision
Over the last few years, ARECA has been busy with several other initiatives also aimed at helping Alberta farmers to take full advantage of the potential of precision agriculture, particularly in the area of variable rate technologies (VRTs).

For instance, ARECA and its member associations offered a series of VRT workshops for farmers during the winter of 2009/10 and 2010/11. ARECA also produced a basic manual and an advanced manual on precision farming and VRT as information resources for those workshops. Both manuals are available for free on the ARECA website (

Another recent ARECA initiative was a VRT economics study. Dennis Dey, an economist, compared the use of variable and constant fertilizer rates in a variety of fields in central Alberta in 2009 and 2010. Faechner says, “The results showed that in some fields you could gain significant economic advantages with variable rates, but in other fields there wasn’t a clear advantage. One of the key factors affecting that is the amount of variability in your field. VRT will have a greater advantage in a field with lots of variation than in a more uniform field.

“What we also learned was the importance of looking at VRT from a whole-farm perspective. People are always wondering whether they should invest in this kind of thing. When you consider it on a whole-farm basis, I think you can strongly make the case that your investment in the technology and the effort you put into it would be repaid, although it may take three to five years.”

Next up on its precision agriculture roster, ARECA will be hosting the Precision Ag 2.0: The Next Generation conference and trade show in Calgary on February 22 and 23, 2012. With over 30 speakers, the diverse agenda includes topics ranging from soil variability and soil mapping, to precision software and optical sensors, to conducting on-farm research. More information is available on the conference’s website (

All these initiatives are helping Alberta farmers to capture the full potential of precision farming for their own operation. Faechner says, “I think our timing is really good, with more and more producers adopting precision farming tools and wanting to expand their knowledge and skills in this area.”

Published in Precision Ag

Great Plains Manufacturing, Salina, Kansas, recently unveiled its new 15,000 square foot state-of-the-art conference center when it played host to over 300 Great Plains Division dealer sales and service representatives. The company’s Land Pride Division is set to host regional dealer meetings in early March.

The two-story conference center includes four large break-out rooms equipped with the latest in audio-video equipment, in addition to a main arena where the company’s full line of equipment can be displayed while as many as 100 attendees sit in a theatre-style arrangement viewing videos on three large screens. Each seat in the arena is equipped to accommodate laptops and other digital devices.

On the ground level of the arena, meeting attendees can get “hands on” with Great Plains’ innovative equipment, view upcoming meeting schedules on two large kiosks, or attend a meal with 100 other attendees in the company’s multi-purpose room.
“This facility is an example of our company’s commitment to training our dealers’ service and sales staffs. We truly value our many excellent Great Plains Dealers across the country,” Great Plains President Roy Applequist said.

About Great Plains Manufacturing

Founded in 1976 by President and Owner Roy Applequist, Great Plains Manufacturing employs 1,300 people in eight Central Kansas communities and Sleaford, England. In addition to its domestic ag equipment division, which manufactures seedbed preparation, nutrient placement, and seeding equipment, Great Plains Manufacturing also includes Great Plains International, Great Plains Trucking, Great Plains Acceptance Corporation, and its Land Pride Division that manufactures grounds maintenance tools such as mowers, tillers, rotary cutters, and snow removal equipment. The company is one of the largest and fastest growing family-owned “short line” implement companies in the United States.

Published in Corporate News

Feb. 1, 2012, Racine, WI - As part of its Field of Deals sales event, Case IH is sponsoring a sweepstakes where one lucky grand prize winner will receive a 2012 Ram truck, plus free fuel for one year. Case IH customers and prospects are encouraged to visit their local Case IH dealer and enter for a chance to win.

“Our Field of Deals sales event provides great offers on our full line of Farmall, Pumaand Maxxum tractors, as well as balers and windrowers,” says Kyle Russell, Senior Director of Marketing, Case IH North America. “While checking out the latest equipment at your local Case IH dealer, you also can enter to win a new Ram truck and other prizes.”

Through April 30, U.S. and Canadian Case IH customers can take advantage of many Field of Deals offers and sign up for the sweepstakes.

“Case IH has rolled out a lot of new tractors in the past 12 months,” Russell adds. “Now is a great time to visit your local Case IH dealer and see first-hand our tractors and hay tools designed with the power, efficiency and versatility to provide operators with more comfort and productivity.”

For more information on the Case IH Field of Deals sales event and sweepstakes, including official rules, visit your local Case IH dealer or

About Case IH

Case IH is a global leader in agricultural equipment, committed to collaborating with its customers to develop the most powerful, productive, reliable equipment – designed to meet today’s agricultural challenges. Challenges like feeding an expanding global population on less land, meeting ever-changing government regulations and managing input costs. With headquarters in the United States, Case IH has a network of dealers and distributors that operates in over 160 countries. Case IH provides agricultural equipment systems, flexible financial service offerings and parts and service support for professional farmers and commercial operators through a dedicated network of professional dealers and distributors. Productivity enhancing products include tractors; combines and harvesters; hay and forage equipment; tillage tools; planting and seeding systems; sprayers and applicators; site-specific farming tools and utility vehicles. Case IH is a brand of CNH (NYSE: CNH), a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Industrial S.p.A. (FI.MI).

Published in Tractors
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