Mechanized Marvels

March 22, 2013 09:00 PM
 
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Louisville show highlights buckets, bins and more

There’s something for everyone at the annual National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS) held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. The 48th annual event, held Feb. 13 to 16, let visitors see newly introduced equipment up close, attend free educational seminars and cheer above roaring engines at the prestigious Championship Tractor Pull.

"There’s a great deal of pride, there’s a legacy behind it," says Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe, president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board, which organizes the show. "But what’s more important is it’s become known as the place to go, where the best of the best can come together and see friends from years gone by, learn about all those great things that are coming up in the future and talk about challenges and opportunities that you may have."

An opportunity to learn. Farmers looking to bounce back from the drought had opportunities to view the latest products for planting, irrigation, harvesting and every stage of growing in between. Manufacturers of large row-crop tractors and other heavy equipment exhibited alongside manufacturers of compact equipment such as skid steers and cutters.

In addition to featuring machinery comprising every color of the rainbow, exhibitors showcased engines and components, livestock fencing, bale spikes, grain bins and much more. Young and old alike attended.

A little snow on the first day of the show didn’t keep people away. Instead, the show enjoyed its second-highest attendance ever with close to 308,000 people in attendance. A crowd of 312,206 set the record in 2006. Additionally, the show offers an economic impact of $21.5 million for Kentucky, Rippetoe says. The indoor event also hosted the most exhibitors in its history with nearly 870, across 1.2 million square feet of space.

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The 45th annual Championship Tractor Pull was held in Freedom Hall, which seats more than 19,000 people. This year’s invitation-only event included five performances in four days and crowds pushed ticket sales above 2012 levels.

Free seminars. Two free educational seminars from Farm Journal Media got attendees thinking about machinery and markets. Farm Journal’s Implement & Tractor columnist Greg Peterson, better known as Machinery Pete, described how used equipment—tractors in particular—continues to bring record prices at auction. Extension of the Section 179 deduction helped buoy record-high used ag equipment prices, he says. While values for used combines are good, a running pattern of weakened demand remains.

At a morning seminar the following day, Farm Journal Economist Bob Utterback reviewed the latest USDA crop projections to make the case that government policies related to taxes and inflation, along with other factors, will result in years of violent market swings. Producers should buy crop insurance in 2013, plant the maximum number of corn acres possible, plant only the amount of soybeans acres necessary and sell soybeans off the combine, he advises.

A standing-room-only crowd of farmers attended the live TV taping of the Marketing Roundtable segment for "U.S. Farm Report," hosted by John Phipps and Mike Adams. The three panelists were Farm Journal Economist Bob Utterback, Jim Bower of Bower Trading and Gregg Hunt of Archer Financial Services.

The diversity of products were showcased at the Family Living Center, which hosted more than 50 exhibitors offering clothing, blown glass, leather, clocks, jewelry and more.

Make your plans now to attend the 49th National Farm Machinery Show, to be held Feb. 12 to 15, 2014.

Tractor Pullers Share Sport History, Personal Stories

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While winning is a big plus for truck  and tractor pullers at the Championship Tractor Pull in Louisville, Ky., getting to be a part of the event and renewing acquaintances are two perks that are just as important.

"I see people here every year that I’ve been pulling with, and I’ve got some of the greatest friends all over the U.S.," said Wayne Sullivan, a puller from Warsaw, Ky.

It was Sullivan’s 40th year at the pull. A variety of standards for the sport of tractor pulling have been created thanks to the reputation and prestige of the Louisville show, he says. One example is the development of an engine kill switch, which can be used to shut down a machine in an emergency.

The contestants who walked away with first-place prizes this year included Brian Korth of Newton, Wis., in the 6,400-lb. Lightweight Super Stock Tractors class; Calvin Miller Guys of Mills, Penn., in the 7,500-lb. 4x4 Super Stock Diesel Trucks class; and Tim Overmyer of Monterey, Ind., in the 10,200-lb. Pro Stock Tractors class.

The tractor pull drew contestants from numerous states—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana and beyond. The invitation-only event brings together the cream of the crop in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s Freedom Hall for four days of events, held this year from Feb. 13-16. This year marked the 45th annual pull.

"It’s an honor to get to come," said Russell Counce, a tractor puller and farmer from Lawrenceburg, Tenn., as his son put the finishing touches on their tractor, a 4255 John Deere called Dixie Deere. Counce pulled in the 9,300-lb. Super Farm Tractors class. "But if you get in the top four (in your class), you get to go to Saturday night. That’s what everybody’s shooting for."

To watch videos from the tractor pull arena and show exhibits and to read complete coverage from the National Farm Machinery Show, go to www.agweb.com/NFMS

You can e-mail Nate Birt at nbirt@farmjournal.com.

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