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Machinery department

Win a tractor Win a chance to pick one of four tractors (Case CX60, Deere 5310, New Holland 4630 or Massey Ferguson 253) in "The Great Tractor Give-Away!"

The promotion kicks off a "partial" launch of, an online ag information and commerce company. Enter the contest (once a month if you choose) by registering at until the May 1st drawing.

Company tightens its belt Because of recent reduced demand for ag equipment and in an effort to reduce costs, AGCO closes its Coldwater, OH, and Lockney, TX, manufacturing plants. Planters, hay tools, spreaders and Tye seed drills and cultivators will be relocated and manufactured at the company's hay and forage facility in Hesston KS.

The company's Massey Ferguson, Allis and White brands of high-horsepower tractors will be built with a common platform at its facility in France; and its Farmhand brand of loaders will be produced by the Soo Tractor Company in Sioux City, IA.

Driverless tractors The Kubota Corporation and Japan's Hokkaido University have developed a tractor that farms without a driver.

They've used the same type of GPS that is used in car navigation. Instructions are registered in a computer to command the tractor to drive out of its spot in the garage and into the field. It then can till soil, spread fertilizer and even park itself back in the garage. It's expected to be on the market in about five years.

In the U.S., Qin Zhang, assistant professor of ag engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has plans to develop an on-tractor computer system that uses sensors to "see" its surroundings. With gathered data, the on-board computer will decide what to do and send a command to implements to make necessary changes.

Money-saving tip Case Credit is offering 90-day free financing on Case IH parts and/or service totaling $1,000 or more when you qualify for the company's new Vantage Account. Sign up by March 31, 2000, with your local Case dealer.

Implement companies create joint venture We've been operating in this type of arrangement; this will just be more of the same."

That's how Steve Koep with Ag-Chem Equipment describes the new joint venture his company is forming with Redball, to be named Redball, LLC.

"We started looking for a partner about three years ago," Koep adds. The company was seeking a good pull-type sprayer, among other products, and thinks it found it in Redball. This year the new company is introducing these new products:

* Model 110 liquid planter application system, which offers in-cab pressure adjustment, built-in rinse water base and 55- or 110-gal. tanks (price average: $2,200); * Model 310 row-crop cultivator geared to conservation tillage with 22- and 30-in. row spacing (base price: $10,310 for a 12-row, 30-in. cultivator); * Model 655 3-pt. front-fold sprayer that features boom widths from 54 to 90 ft. (base price: $12,000 with an 80-ft. boom); * Model 680 high-clearance trailer sprayer, which is equipped with a maximum tank capacity of 1,600 gal. and an adjustable-height boom up to 100 ft. long (standard unit price: $28,213 with 100-ft. boom).

Koep adds that Redball, LLC, will be introducing a self-propelled, 1,200-gal. sprayer in August.

Along with sharing products and ideas, Ag Chem and Redball will jointly design, manufacture and market certain products. Contact Redball, LLC, Dept. FIN, 202 Industrial Park, Jackson, MN 56143, 507/847-2690.

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