In today’s newscast we report on work being done on the creation of remote electrical motors to drive implements, the Western Equipment Dealers Assn.’s solution for protecting farm data, and what Wisconsin’s new Implements of Husbandry law means for dealers both in Wisconsin and other states.
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Are Electric Ag Vehicles Far Off?
I’m managing editor Kim Schmidt, welcome to On the Record. Here’s a look at what’s currently impacting the ag equipment industry.
AFN: $51.35 −1.75
Closing Stocks as of 2/12/15 (Compared to Close on 1/22/15)
As farm equipment makers look at replacing mechanical and hydraulic systems with remote electrical motors to drive implements, the need for a standardized set of circuitry has become of prime importance.
This past week, a committee affiliated with the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation and the American Society of Biological and Agricultural Engineers met at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, to discuss this challenge.
Dr. Marvin Stone, ag engineering regents professor emeritus at Oklahoma State University has been part of this committee work for over 20 years, and was involved in the original work, which produced the standardized ISOBUS connection on farm equipment.
He says engineers are close to formulating standards for connections to safely handle high voltage and high current electricity between tractors and implements, and says farmers may see this technology in their fields sooner than they think.
Our correspondent Dan Crummett sat down with Stone to discuss how the project is progressing.
Stone says safety is a primary concern. The committees working on the project are considering how best to provide fail-safe communication between implements and tractors, and to ensure operators working with these high-voltage connections are protected from electrical shock in hazardous conditions.
Stone also says the new electrical interfaces will also contain enhanced data circuits for the expanding use of more sophisticated variable rate applications.
Dealers on the Move
Dealers on the Move this week include Roeder Brothers and Voelker Implement Sales.
Roeder Brothers, a 2-store Massey Ferguson dealer in Iowa, has taken on the JCB ag equipment line.
Voelker Implement Sales, a 2-store John Deere dealership in Michigan, has been sold to Bader & Sons. This brings Bader & Sons total locations to 9. The new owners are spending $1 million on facility upgrades and a new showroom and shop.
Dealers Becoming Data Guardians
With so much farm data going digital these days, protecting privacy is increasingly complicated for dealers. Information being pulled from farm equipment is not only more valuable, it’s more sensitive and easy to mishandle.
Some dealers have anticipated this pitfall, by developing in-house custom data privacy agreements. But many have not.
To ease the individual burden of drafting individual agreements, the Western Equipment Dealers Assn. developed a universal solution for members, and any other precision dealers who deal with farm data.
Through the use of dealer focus groups and related research the association built a model they call AgriDocsHQ, a package of documents and training material that standardizes dealer agreement forms.
As data management services become more common, there is growing need for dealers to protect their customers’ information and doing so in a practical way, notes Lance Formwalt, legal counsel for the association.
“It’s partly a legal issue and partly a customer relations issue. If a manufacturer is talking about privacy and the dealers aren’t also thinking about privacy, you have a gap in the chain. These dealers all have the storefront that says John Deere or Case IH or AGCO, so if there is a problem with that dealership, it also reflects on the manufacturer. So trying to develop something that allows the dealers to not only fulfill some legal obligations, but frankly, good business obligations was kind of the first challenge.”
While data management service and privacy will likely pose ongoing challenges for dealers, having tools available to simplify the security of customers’ information could help companies avoid a major data disaster.
Dealer Outlook Improves
While dealers are still anticipating sales to be down in 2015, their outlook has improved slightly, according to the latest Dealer Sentiments & Business Conditions survey from Ag Equipment Intelligence.
In the January update, on average dealers were expecting sales to be down 8% year-over-year in 2015 vs. down 10% the previous month.
AGCO dealers were the most optimistic of those surveyed, calling for sales to be flat. Case IH dealers were the most pessimistic, expecting sales to be down 11%.
IoH Rules Take Effect In Wisconsin
Last spring the Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill that set new weight and length limits for farm equipment and agricultural commercial motor vehicles — or Ag CMVs.
With the new size limits also came some additional steps that are now required for equipment dealers. I spoke with Rob Richard, senior director of governmental relations with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, during a clinic held at Mid-State Equipment in Janesville, Wis.
When we first reported on the bill there was speculation that other states may take similar action following Wisconsin. Richard says it is still a “wait and see” situation in terms of action other states may take.
More information is available at www.AgVehicles.DOT.wi.gov.
And now from the Ag Equipment Archives…
In the late 1960s, engineers at the Melroe Co. began looking for a way to quickly and easily switch between attachments for their Bobcat loader.
As the Bobcat increased in popularity, the number of attachments and uses for the machine grew as well, making it essential to find an easy way to switch between the attachments. In 1970, the first Bob-Tach system hit the market.
The system used a triple-wedge design instead of pins to secure attachments to the Bobcat.
The pins typically used would rattle and loosen as the operator used the machine. Instead, with the new system the wedges tightened as the machine was used, making the attachment more secure.
As always we welcome your feedback. You can send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for watching; I’ll see you next time.
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