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Notes from a farm equipment fan

The National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY, is the biggest indoor farm machinery show in the world. Top people of the industry are there, and machinery is heavily discounted and actively sold at the show. Big companies pull out all the stops to make impressive presentations and introductions of new equipment. It is a critical show for short-line companies that don’t advertise much; if they don’t show up, customers may assume that they have gone out of business.

At our first day at the show, my wife and I entered the Kentucky Exposition Center in the arena that was the staging area for the nightly tractor pulls. There were a lot of impressive rigs. Our favorite was a new John Deere 7720 named “The Color of Money,” a fitting description of the sport of tractor pulling and the show in general.

That first day we shopped long and hard for an outside wood-burning stove. They heat water, and the hot water is pumped to your home to heat it. It is a proven concept and is becoming increasingly popular in rural areas. Most are made in Wisconsin, Minnesota or Canada. No two are the same, and every manufacturer truly believes that it has the very best design.

We also looked at hydraulic dump trailers (to haul stone, wood and our skid-steer loader). Corn Pro has started to build one now. It has an extra-heavy steel floor. A V-tank manure spreader was on our list for comparison shopping as well. H & S builds a rear discharge model, whereas all the rest are side discharge. They pulverize manure and spread it over a wide pattern, allowing a farmer to no-till a field after application.

We checked out the Chinese tractors out of curiosity. We learned in a PBS documentary that average labor rates in China are 17 cents per hour and that 75% of the stuff in Wal-Mart stores comes from China. We are wondering how soon it will be before more farm machinery and cars come from there, too.

On Thursday night we went to the FinOvation Awards Banquet. It is sort of an Oscar Awards ceremony for companies that developed the new products that received the most response from FIN readers. Winners received signs for their booths before the show, and at the banquet they were given large engraved crystal medallions as well as royal blue silk banners. Just like the Oscar winners, the company representatives gave acceptance speeches. It was an impressive event, and we really enjoyed being there.

The dates for next year’s National Farm Machinery Show are February 14–17. If you’re a fan of new farm equipment, this is the show for you.

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