Krause Corp., manufacturer of farm equipment, continues to grow as competitors struggle with the current economic climate.

Krause Corp. has continued to produce new products including a new tillage piece that the company claims saves farmers more than 40% in fertilizer costs.

Chief Operating Officer and President Dick Brown said Krause is having one of its best years and continues to see higher sales.

"They're predicting a record corn crop,'' Brown said. "Along with a record corn crop comes record residue, and that needs tillage.''

Krause is coming off one of its best years since company founder Henry Krause invented the one-way plow in a small western Kansas shop in 1916.

Krause saw a 43% boost in sales for Fiscal Year 2009, which ended June 30, Brown said.

Employment also rose by 15% in the past year and 25% in the past 3 years, Brown said. Sales did soften this quarter, but Brown said the release of the new tillage product — the Gladiator — has helped.

"We're not growing at the rate we were,'' he said of 2009. "But things aren't falling either. We've become a bigger player in the market.''

Krause's optimism seems to contrast to what other agriculture manufacturers have experienced in the past 3 months.

"I wouldn't count on anything happening quickly,'' said Mike Woolverton, a Kansas State Univ. agriculture economist. "General economic recovery is going to be slow.''

Farmers are coming off 2 years of good crops and high commodity prices. Recently, corn and soybean prices have fallen. Livestock producers have also suffered the past couple of years from the higher feed costs.

Brown said he doesn't expect a repeat of 2009 and admits sales are somewhat softer this quarter because of the market declines.

Krause manufactures conservation tools like no-till grain drills, in-line rippers designed to maximize soil fracturing and the Dominator, which is the company's most popular item in conservation tillage.

A farmer's payback should happen within 3 years or less of using the Gladiator, Brown said.

"We have invested well over a million dollars in the development of this product,'' he added. "You need to have a high confidence level in return if you are going to invest this kind of money.''