BOONE, Iowa (Oct. 18, 2010) — Here’s expanded coverage of the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, provided by the editors of Farm Equipment and No-Till Farmer.
FERTILIZER APPLICATION: ‘HUGE OPPORTUNITY’
Matt Wolters, owner of SUREFIRE AG SYSTEMS, says he sees more growers moving toward at-plant applications of fertilizer, and that’s a challenge for farm equipment dealers.
It may require them to make custom modifications to a planter and set up a true one-pass system that can handle variable rates of precision-placed fertilizer built on being as efficient as possible.
“It’s a huge opportunity for dealers to show value to their customers,” Wolters says. “They will have a customer who has been studying a certain system. The components of that system are the method and location of placement, and the rate and type of product they will run.
“In order to meet that given scenario, the system has to be configured correctly, and that’s what we do.”
NEW TILLAGE OPTIONS
SALFORD’s Monster Plower is the first new plow seen exhibited in several years. This 12-botton unit features 40 in. of fore/aft and is very difficult to plug. The plow was developed for corn on corn, to bury residue and keep it back.
Jody Duclos of REM ENTERPRISES says he’s seeing interest in the company’s Delta Flexible Harrow Carts that can be towed behind discs to even out residue distribution in farm fields.
The harrow carts range from 16-42 feet and area ideal for seed-bed preparation and incorporation, and for pasture and hay land renovation. The harrows also come in drawbar or 3-point hitch styles ranging from 4-14 feet, which can be used for lawns, pastures, driveways, arenas and sports fields.
Sales of the harrow carts have been picking up in Iowa and he’s already sold many of them in Missouri. “You can save a pass by breaking up the soil clods, sealing in the moisture right away and evening out the trash distribution,” Duclos says.
SPRAYER MARKET STILL HOT
Technological improvements have been driving the market’s shift in recent years from custom service providers to farmer ownership. And with such unprecedented ease and precision now at the grower’s fingertips, farmers are finding they can justify the cost of owning a sprayer.
Automatic boom section controllers that automatically turn boom sections on and off when the spray rig crosses headlands or areas it has already passed, thus eliminating double spraying. A 10% savings is not unheard of, experts say.
Controllers attach easily to most spray-rate controllers, GPS receivers and guidance systems with plug-and-play cables, and they work with both pull-behind and self-propelled sprayers.
GREAT PLAINS MFG., based in Salina, Kan., has seen an uptick in sales of its pull-type sprayers.
“Business is up,” says Tom Evans, the firm’s vice president of sales & marketing. “Our new 650-gallon, 60-foot boom TSF660 has been well accepted by small to mid-size no-till farmers because it’s light, maneuverable and keeps compaction to a minimum. We offer all the bells and whistles of a self-propelled sprayer at a fraction of the cost.”
STRIP-TILL INTEREST HOLDING STEADY
Equipment manufacturers are working to help strip-tillers deal with the challenges of wet fall weather and large amounts of residue that can get entangled in row units.
THURSTON MFG./BLU-JET introduced its new Galaxy, narrow-row, strip-till implement at Farm Progress, which is available in 20-, 22-, 24- and 30-in. row spacings with a 3-point mounted frame that supports configurations from 20-45 ft. Row units are staggered, not inline, for better residue flow. As fertilizer prices have risen, demand in strip-till is strong again,” says Nick Jensen.
The 12-row 22-inch Galaxy strip-till rig mounts 4 row units up front, 5 in the middle and 3 in the rear. The units are staggered to enhance residue flow, Jensen says. The frame can be used for row configurations from 20 to 45-feet wide.
The Galaxy narrow-row strip-till rig is designed with a 3-point hitch and 7 x 7-inch tube frame for superior penetration in hard ground. It requires a tractor with a large 3-point lift capacity like a John Deere 8530 that is fully weighted, Jensen says.
In addition to offering strip-till rigs with 3-point hitches for 6-12 rows, KRAUSE CORP. now has more options. There’s a pull-type Gladiator strip-till rig with 12-16 rows and a 24-row strip-till rig with Krause units mounted on a Wil-Rich toolbar, says Curt Davis, Krause's marketing manager.
“We’ve been in the strip-till game for 9 months, after showing the Gladiator strip-till units at Louisville last February,” Davis says. “I think some guys will give strip-till more of a look,” Davis says.
Last summer, HINIKER introduced a prototype of a steered fertilizer cart that can be pulled behind a strip-till rig, says Wayne Buck, Hiniker’s sales manager. The cart can carry a tank holding 1,000 gallons of liquid or 5 tons of granular fertilizer.
“The cart will either go behind a strip-till rig or behind a planter,” Buck says.
Interest in strip-till quieted down after the wet, messy harvest in 2009, he says.
“Now, I’m seeing interest come back. Farmers are shopping,” Buck says. “We see more interest in North Dakota and northern Minnesota and a lot of interest in sugar beet country in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah. We also see a lot of interest in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and some of Michigan.”
AGCO continues to work on its strip-till rigs. Since the introduction of the Sunflower 7600 Series in late 2009, Sunflower has been developing and testing additions to the line, says Larry Kuster, AGCO’s Sunflower product specialist. Additional ground-engaging elements, configurations and sizes are all in the plans for the future.
“We will continue to enhance our Sunflower offering in this exciting segment of the industry. New features and enhancements will be staged in the coming months,” says Kuster.
“Strip-till and fertilizer unit sales are dead right now,” says Andy Thompson, YETTER MFG. CO’s sales manager. “I don’t think that people are writing off strip-till. Everybody is in a holding pattern right now.”
Thompson says skyrocketing fertilizer and fuel prices several years ago propelled interest in strip-till. Yetter has increased production of its Maverick Magnum strip-till units for high-speed anhydrous ammonia application.
“Some of our dealers have said they’ve gotten calls about strip-till and they think sales are going to break loose,” Thompson says.
Justin Troudt, vice-president of sales and marketing, ORTHMAN MFG., says the company’s strip-till business continues to grow.
“For instance, our largest dealer in Nebraska as for as selling Orthman strip-till equipment will have one of their top-selling years in 2010,” Troudt says. “In the Corn Belt, the trend continues with farmers moving from broad, full tillage to conservation tillage.
There is still some education that needs to be done as strip-tillers ask how about how strip-till can be a very successful fertilizer application, whether they should apply dry or liquid and what rates to use, he says.
“We are seeing a lot of different crops with the strip-till system beyond corn and soybeans and beyond the Corn Belt,” Troudt says.
Farmers are using strip-till for sugar beets, potatoes, dry edible beans, cotton and tomatoes and strip-till is expanding to the western United States. Corn Belt farmers have heard about strip-till for some years, Troudt says
“This is a 12-year-old practice,” he says. “There’s no other tillage practice that has taken this long for farmers to evaluate. We know guys who have been evaluating strip-till for 3 or 4 years.”
Roger Lewis, sales manager for ENVIRONMENTAL TILLAGE SYSTEMS, says “strip-tillers want to be certain that they can make their strips in the fall.”
Farmers can make fall strip-till work if they have someone strip-tilling while combining their crops, Lewis says. He recommends strip-tillers finish making strips, applying fertilizer and building berms no later than the day after they complete harvest.
SALFORD doesn’t offer a strip-till rig. However, its Reinbeck, Iowa, dealer, Jack Shoup of Advanced Tillage Systems, helped a farmer set up Salford’s RTS tillage tool for strip-till. Shoup says the farmer uses the modified RTS in conjunction with a Dawn Pluribus strip-till rig.
TRENDS IN HEAVY TILLAGE
To a man, manufacturers of heavy tillage equipment at the Farm Progress Show say farmers want tools to manage the large amounts of tough Bt corn stalks, a problem that gets even tougher in continuous-corn production.
THURSTON MFG./BLU-JET’s new tillage machine to help growers deal this problem is aptly called the BT Conquest.
“We saw a need for an implement that was going to handle the residue with less horsepower required than for a big disc-ripper,” says Nick Jensen, Thurston’s chief marketing officer.
The BT Conquest combines the best features of a disc-chisel and a disc-ripper, Jensen says. It has hydraulic depth control on coulters and discs with levelers in the rear. Growers can leave as much or as little residue as they want with this machine. The implement comes in widths from 11 feet, 3 inches to 22 feet.
KRAUSE will start selling a 32-flute hybrid blade called the Excelerator in 2011, says Curt Davis, Krause’s marketing manager.
“It’s not a coulter or a disc blade,” Davis says, adding the Excelerator will probably be available around June 2011.
The Excelerator is designed for high-speed residue management and has a unique design of 32 flutes with scalloped edges, Davis says.
At the Farm Progress Show, LANDOLL introduced its Weatherproofer III that can disc and deep-till in the same pass.
The Weatherproofer III comes in working widths ranging from 11 feet, 7 inches, to 21 feet, 7 inches. This 2310 series has a heavier frame, better clearance and bigger disc blades than the first 2 Weatherproofer models, says Wayne Carroll, Landoll’s territory manager for Eastern Nebraska and Iowa.
“It was redesigned to handle high amounts of residue and Bt cornstalks,” Carroll says.
With wet falls, many farmers are leaning toward fall tillage, says Jim Danielsen, SALFORD’S western U.S. national sales manager.
“You wouldn’t believe the number of people who are interested in our moldboard plow,” Danielsen says. “There’s a big pocket in southern Minnesota where moldboard plows are being sold.”
UNIQUE KINZE PRODUCT
A key part of KINZE’S exhibit was the 3660 Twin-Line Planter with Air Seed Delivery (ASD), which is available with two 40-bu. bulk seed hoppers.
Kinze is the only planter manufacturer to offer a scale package as a factory option on all ASD planters in its line.