Farm Progress

The need to upgrade

The soft market may be changing the direction buyers head for equipment from buying new, to enhancing existing machines. Here's a look at some interesting options for a range of operations.

Willie Vogt

October 26, 2015

6 Min Read
<p>Rethinking the corn head, Agco has rolled out the Command 3300 series which offers a range of new features, including the fact that it can be retrofitted to older models. The corn head works on Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger combines.</p>

Fall travel to three major farm shows offers insight into a range of trends, but one that seemed to keep rising to the top was the idea that farmers may not be buying new equipment as fast as in the past, yet they are looking for "upgrades." And by that we mean tools or attachments that can boost productivity in the market. Here's a few we've run across this year, and we know there are more. It shows the potential out there to boost the productivity of the equipment you have on your farm.

In the fall, the most obvious area for improvement is at the front of the combine, and companies are showing their share of new folding or chopping corn head, flex heads and other equipment that can boost productivity of an existing machine.

For Agco, the company rolled out its first new combine corn head in several years with the Command lineup. There are four models in the line, the 3308 and 3308C (C is for chopping) ;and the 3312 and 3312C.

"These are totally new corn heads, but they can be retrofitted to many Agco combines," says Kevin Bien, manager, brand marketing, Gleaner. "These new heads will also work with Massey Ferguson and Challenger combines."

Bien points out that the chopping head requires less power than competitive models but that's due in part to the fact that many chopping corn heads have a European design, where power requirements can be higher. "We worked specifically on a chopping head that would require less power," he notes. "And we offer the ability to disable the chopping mechanism if you don't want to run it in some fields."

That added flexibility may come in handy for some customers. The new Command corn head line includes a 20-inch auger with 30-inch flighting, so the machine can run slower but maintain higher capacity. There are also a range of add-ons like snout protectors, or Reichhardt guidance "whiskers" to help during combine operation. And Agco offers optional stalk stompers too.

The head can tilt up or down for better operation, and the snout design was specially made to help stop any added butt shelling. The focus of the advancements in the corn head were about avoiding harvest loss. Learn more about the Command corn heads at

Digital spraying

The idea of pulse-width modulation spraying isn't new, but this year two more companies are offering their take on the idea of a constant-pressure spray system with higher precision. Raven and TeeJet launched their own systems earlier this year, and it's a chance for a producer to upgrade a sprayer to not only be more precise but also to provide a more consistent spray pattern across the entire boom.

Raven's system is known as the Hawkeye Nozzle Control System which offers nozzle-by-nozzle turn compensation as standard. And the system can be integrated into the application control systems for your sprayer. The new system is also ISOBUS compatible, which allows you to control the sprayer using an existing virtual terminal or your existing spray system.

With pulse width modulation spraying, the boom is charged and the nozzles then control the flow, providing both greater accuracy, and control. For more information on the Raven Hawkeye system visit

Another new player in the pulse-width modulation business is TeeJet, which has rolled out the DynaJet Flex 7120 Nozzle Control System that also uses pulse-width modulation to provide the user higher control across the boom. With this system each nozzle tip has its own solenoid shut-off system that allows you to control the tip flow rate and droplet size independent of one another. This is not boom section control, it's individual nozzle control which allows you to avoid overlap and enhance spray accuracy.

With the system you can maintain a constant application rate over a wide range of ground speeds'; select and maintain constant droplet size across a wider range of speeds and pressures, without changing tips; minimize drift and maximize coverage by maintaining the right droplet size for the product you're applying; and vary capacity of your spray tips from a cab controller.

Learn more about the DynaJet Flex 7120 system visit

Irrigation enhancements

Another area that's getting greater attention is use of irrigation water, whether you're looking at regulations that limit water use or rising costs of water that drive your need to improve accuracy. There are a range of examples out there from water sensors that help you better match applied water to crop need, to individual nozzle controls to improve flow and prevent overlap, and even new control boxes.


Individual control of every sprinkler along an irrigation pivot boom offers precise application of water, but also crop nutrients and crop protection products. The new Valley Irrigation VRI iS system offers individual sprinkler management offering users a range of options.

Valley Irrigation is rolling out its VRI iS system where the iS stands for "individual Sprinkler" and allows you to mate at GPS signal with the irrigation pivot ton provide precise control of individual sprinkler heads. The system shuts off individual sprinklers over non-irrigated areas, like waterways, and turns them back on again as the pivot returns to irrigated areas. With the rising use of fertigation and chemigation through irrigation pivots this level of precision is rising in importance.

You can learn more about the Valley VRI individual Sprinker system visit

Over at Lindsay, the company is rolling out a new Pivot Control system that can upgrade any pivot to work with the firm's FieldNET system. The control offers full remote control of pivots, pumps and injectors, and it offers basic variable-rate irrigation on 360-sectors. The system is mounted at the pivot point for in-field control, and on site you can control the pivot right from the control box.

As more producers tie their pivots together for remote viewing through tablet apps, upgrades like the FieldNET Pivot Control may make sense. Learn more about Pivot Control visit

Over the past five years farms have invested in new machines, and they will continue to improve their on-farm fleets. One way to do that is to look at tools that can enhance the machines and technology you already own. This is just a sampling of the offerings available, but as this trend continues your suppliers will be a solid resource for boosting the potential for on-farm equipment.

About the Author(s)

Willie Vogt

Executive Director, Content and User Engagement, Farm Progress

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