At the Great Plains dealer meetings in Kansas City held the week of July 11, company officials were adamant that its recent acquisition by Kubota, which finalized on July 1, wouldn’t cause significant changes.
“Great Plains is still Great Plains,” says president Linda Salem. “We’re committed to continue to grow and evolve. It truly is business as usual.”
To drive that point home, the only equipment on display at the meetings were painted “Great Plains Green.” In particular, Great Plains highlighted six newly released or about-to-be released farm implements.
Turbo-Max vertical tillage models are now available in three new sizes – 8.5 feet, 10 feet and 48 feet. Berry Weis, marketing manager of Great Plains agriculture division, says providing larger and smaller options than were previously available was the result of listening to the customers.
“The market has waited patiently for this,” he says.
The more compact Turbo-Max units can incorporate manure, manage residue, prepare seedbeds and help with interseeding for grass renovation after hard grazing seasons.
The new 3P3025AH 30-foot stack-fold planter was first developed for the Delta region, although company officials are seeing a stronger case for a more nationwide appeal. Mike Cleveland, Great Plains vice president of sales, praises the planter’s versatility as one of its strongest features, along with a compact design and ease of transport.
“The 3P3025AH offers growers a unique variety of row spacings that are less common in the stack-fold planter marketplace today,” he says. “These include 15-inch single- and twin-row configurations, as well as 20-, 22-, 30-, 36- and 38-inch single row designs.”
Great Plains has expanded its line of Ultra-Chisel five-section chisel plows that are wider (39 to 45 feet wide) that the original models from 2015. They have a 900 lb. trip force and are ideal for tilling in the 8-inch depth range, according to Cleveland. In some instances, farmers will be able to eliminate a follow-up pass prior to the seedbed preparation pass, he says.
The FCAA4500 field cultivator air drill combines tillage and seeding operations, and can eliminate the need for an extra laborer and tractor during seeding, Cleveland says.
“This saves farmers money, both in fuel costs and depreciation hours on the tractor,” he says.
The drill’s base design is an 8544 Great Plains field cultivator with a Mix-Max shank pattern. On a 7-inch spacing followed by a seedbed conditioner reel, it can create a seedbed, eliminate weeds, uniformly mix soil and apply fertilizer, in a single pass. It will be available later this fall.
Great Plains also has a new diverse line-up of Rotary Cutters. Models range from standard-duty to extra heavy-duty, with pull-type and 3-point options on 8-foot and 10-foot models. The 540 and 1000 RPM drive models will match a variety and range of horsepower.
Finally, a simple, economical NTS25 Series no-till seeder is also newly available. It is offered in 7-, 9- and 11-foot widths that combine spike-and-roller ground-engaging technology with the company’s precision drill metering technology.
Weis says that as smaller tractor sales doing so well (especially when compared to larger HP equipment sales), it’s among the priority of Great Plains and other implement manufacturers to develop new equipment accordingly. The other strategy in a down market is to “look at your best products and focus on making them better,” he adds.