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September 2013 Archive for Machinery Journal

RSS By: Aimee Cope, Farm Journal

The Machinery Journal blog is your place to find the latest machinery updates, industry news, and interesting tid bits.

A Tractor With A Breathalyzer

Sep 20, 2013

 AGCO’s Valtra tractor brand has built a reputation for being highly customizable. The company highlighted this at Agritechnica 2011 with a display that allowed attendees to put their fingerprint on a Valtra. More on that here

To make the tractors even more personalized for farmer’s needs, the Valtra Unlimited customized studio at its factory in Finland. The studio can add on any accessories and equipment that are not available directly from the production line during the normal manufacturing process. 


The company says it’ll outfit the tractors with anything the customer’s order as well the machine complies with transportation and traffic regulations. Some cosmetic examples are gold exterior paint or special leather for the operator’s seat. Mechanical examples include auxiliary hydraulics, reversing cameras, central lubrication systems, flashing lights, or an alcohol lock. That’s right, an ignition interlock or integrated breathalyzer for the tractor (which the company says is required by laws for operators doi road maintenance applications in some cities.)

Valtra Breathalyzer

All Unlimited tractors come with special-edition Unlimited floor mats, seat covers, steering wheel logo and decal. The Unlimited tractors are available across Europe. You can learn more here:

From Willys Jeeps to No. 1 Tractor Worldwide

Sep 18, 2013

 By unit sales worldwide, Mahindra ranks as the No. 1 tractor manufacturer. With $1.68 billion in tractor sales globally last year and the No. 1 claim, the company has gotten a lot of attention despite the manufacturer’s relatively new presence in the U.S. To learn more about Mahindra’s strategy (particularly in comparison to John Deere) check out this Bloomberg Business article.

The Mahindra story began in India in 1945 when the Mahindra brothers decided to import and assemble Willys Jeep kits. Check out the original article from The Times of India. And below is an ad, which gives a nod to the company’s past.   


Mahindra USA is part of what’s grown to become conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, which includes automobiles, finance, hotels, and software services.

As Mahindra USA aims to grow its tractor business in the U.S., the company is achieving a number of milestones along the way. And there’s a lot to learn about this emerging company.

Mahindra entered the U.S. tractor market in 1994. Currently in the U.S., Mahindra tractors range from 22 engine hp to 100 engine hp.  

The company says it currently has a No. 3 market share position in the U.S. in the under 80 PTO hp tractor category, behind John Deere and Kubota. The company says it had 8% of the U.S. market for small tractors by the end of 2012.

Retail sales of tractors grew 30% year-over-year for Mahindra USA in fiscal year 2013.

The company was ranked No. 2 in the 2013 North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA) Annual Dealer / Manufacturer Relations Survey for Overall Satisfaction. The company has grown its dealer network from 250 in 2010 to more than 400 in 2013.

This past February, Mahindra announced the production of its 2 millionth tractor. The machine was produced at the company’s Kandivali plant in Mumbai, India.

For more from Mahindra, check out

Restless Tillage Syndrome

Sep 17, 2013

 This parody video of the prescription medicine ads is especially timely. It could help you identify "Restless Tillage Syndrome."

While this video is focusing on no-till as the remedy to the illness…. A recent conversation with Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie has me thinking a little more broadly.

Ferrie advocates that farmers rethink their tillage system—and not limit themselves to broadly doing the same tillage practices across all their farms. In some cases, a farmer should be ready to adapt their tillage by what that field (or even zone of the field) demands and that could mean some fields are no-tilled and some are managed with tillage. The unifying concept across the fields shouldn’t be the type of tillage but rather the concept of managing the soil profile for uniform density.

And Ferrie says that can be achieved with no-till, strip-till and vertical tillage practices. Learn more in this news article and this Corn College TV episode

How A Gleaner Is Like a Land Rover

Sep 16, 2013

 Kevin Bien gave an analogy that stuck. In visiting with him about the new Gleaner S8 Super Series combines, he said "A Gleaner is a lot like a Land Rover."

LandRover like this.... Gleaner S88 Combine DynaFlex Draper Wheat Field 72dpi 08152013


He explained that Land Rover built a reputation on durability, and there’s been no radical change to the vehicle’s appearance. And that is what makes a Gleaner like a Land Rover.

My original reaction was more based in the following, how is a luxury British SUV similar to an American-made combine? (Side note, in 2013 Gleaner is celebrating the 90th anniversary of being created by the Baldwin brothers in Nickerson, KS.)

Kevin went on explaining how the two are parallel, and as he continued I started to see it.

"That original branding set out the Land Rover as different, and that translated to value," he said. "Same with Great Silver. Today, a Gleaner S88 weighs as much as 15,600 lb. less than a competitive Class 8 model."

Bien says that if we have a wet harvest, farmers will quickly realize the weight of their harvesting machinery.

"The design of this machine, from the tranverse rotor to the cleaning system is simple, practical and logical," he said.

He foreshadowed some changes to the machine’s appearance, as well. Although don’t expect anything too radical.

"Our design is simple, which allows us to build our machines with a single frame and provide a straight line," he explains. "We don’t cover up our machine with plastic paneling to make it look more sleek. But we have some ideas on how to make our combines looks more high-tech with gradient graphics that don’t add weight."

Just for fun, here’s a mash up of embedded Gleaner commercials with an archived Land Rover commercial…

Believe in Baler Twine

Sep 08, 2013

 Picking up a roll of baler twine used to be a situation of buyer beware, but now, there’s an industry standard ensuring you get what you pay for. Developed by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), the standard reflects increased strength for small and large square bales as well as round bales.

The purpose of creating the standards is to provide uniform specifications and a minimum expectation of baler twine product performance. This includes both polyolefin and sisal twine used to bale forage and biomass materials.

According to the new standards, the actual twine lengths should be no less than 98.5% of the length printed on the packaging. And the actual knot or tensile strengths must be no less than 95% of the value printed on the packaging. The standards require that twine be uniform in cross-section and deliver satisfactory performance in a properly adjusted baler knotter, that twine is properly stabilized to meet requirements for weatherability and ultra-violet (UV) protection, and that Quality Control test lab methods and frequencies are standardized.

So, how do you know you’re buying a product that is in compliance with the new standards?

Products that meet or exceed the new standards are packaged with labels that state: "Manufactured and Tested in Accordance with ASABE Standard ANSI/ASABE S315.4."

25 lb. Functional Sprayer

Sep 06, 2013

 What it lacks in capacity it makes up for in details and passion. It took four years and 400 hours for Nathan Rowings to make a 1:10 scale model of his real-life Apache AS710. Rowings showed off this model at the National Toy Truck ‘N Construction Show in Indianapolis.

Nathan Rowings stands next to his remote control Apache sprayer

He says he used the skills he learned making models for 4-H projects growing up. At first glance you’re impressed that the models completely mimics its inspiration—down to the decals. But then on a closer look, you can see that not only do the lights work, but the boom sprayers water with functional nozzles that provide a fan spray pattern. The 1:10 scale model Apache can be operated using a remote control.

The full story is available on the Apache blog. And here’s a sneak peek at when Rowings was still working on the scale model. 

New Iron This Fall and Farm Progress Recap

Sep 05, 2013

 It's been a busy fall for machinery roll outs, which led to a lot of buzz at Farm Progress Show. The wacky weather gave many farmers an opportunity to attend the show, but unfortunately, due to the crop’s delayed maturity, there weren't field demonstrations.

At the show I ran into almost a dozen Corn College alumni (including a group who were driving down 6th Street, and I hopped on the back of their golf cart.) Those farmers shared a great story idea about innovative ways to have longer-lasting implement tires (Stay tuned, Nate Birt is working on that one!). Another Corn College farmer said he was still trying to figure out cover crops. If you have a story idea, email me.

When walking with Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie, we were stopped multiple times by farmers who recognized him from Corn College TV, which just started its fourth season!

Now available is 4 DVD collection of the best of the first three seasons of Corn College TV. You can order almost 8 hours of Corn CollegeTV, categorized by topic with an expanded table of contents for each segment, click here.

It was great to see many farmers, despite the underlying reason that they could be there because they weren’t already harvesting. But I noticed that many of them didn’t come from very far outside of Illinois.

Our corporate cousins at Commodity Update did research via text message to our National Reader Panel to see where the FPS attendees come from. Here’s what they found. 

FPS cropped

The green dots are respondants who attended the show/The red dots are folks who said they did not attend the show. Our team polled farmers from a 500 mile radius around Decatur, IL. 

To me, it looks like the folks in Iowa are waiting for the FPS to return to its Boone, IA site next year and don't make the trip in the off year to Decatur.  

A main attraction of farm shows (and what drives many farmers to trek to the show site) has been seeing the machinery. Our AgWeb editorial team was able to provide you the latest news as the machines were launched and even before you entered the farm show gates. Catch up on these AgWeb headlines where our team gave you a first look at the hot new iron:

New Holland Expands Its Hay, Horsepower and Harvest Muscle.
(and here's an article highlighting New Holland’s 560 Roll Belt)

Case IH Introduces a Spectrum of Machines from Planters to Combines                
(And here's a video just highlighting the new Case IH planter)

Here’s the first look at the new Gleaner S8

Hesston’s new large square baler

Nate Birt snagged an exclusive on the new Apache Sprayer

John Deere’s Model Year 2014 Lineup
Here's a link to that eye-grabbing video introduction projected on a 3D 8R...)

World’s 1st 30-row Corn Head 

Grain Cart Monitoring Goes High-Tech

Valley Irrigation Introduces VFlex Corner


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