Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: United States


Articles from 1998 In November

New from Ohio Farm Science Review

Harvest hit early in Ohio this year and was in full swing by the time the gates opened to this three-day show in London, OH. That took a toll on attendance, which fell 12,120 short of last year's estimated record high of 142,530. Yet it was still above the review's five-year average, show managers say.

The show had about the same number of exhibitors as last year, but this year's exhibitors rented more space, which suggests that they had more products to show. We walked the aisles, interviewed manufacturers and talked with farmers to bring you these best new products for 1999.

Made for the hills

This is the first of a new line of Flex-Wing field cultivators designed for minimum-till farmers looking for consistent depth control on rolling terrain. The 5600HR series features a standard self-leveling hitch or optional floating hitch, a uniform shank spacing arrangement and a five-rank frame with a front-to-rear frame depth of 132 in. for high residue. Optional XT270 spring shanks are twice as heavy as the average field cultivator shanks, the company claims. Working widths range from 20 ft. 5 in. to 28 ft. 7 in. and may go up to 55 ft. within a year. Suggested list price: $11,632 for the basic 20-ft. 5-in. model plus $1,992 for the 3-row, 16-in. tine harrow. Contact Krause Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 2707, Hutchinson, KS 67504-2707, 316/663-6161 or circle 203.

Tougher one-pass tool

Brillion has made its Landcommander one-pass conservation tool bigger and stronger to keep up with the high-horsepower, articulated tractors with duals. The Landcommander II has a stronger and longer drawbar to allow for shorter turns, a longer frame for better trash flow, tandem walking axles for more stability on uneven ground and heavy-duty scrapers for better performance in adverse conditions. Its front discs mix residue, the shanks behind them break up compaction and the rear discs level the ground for planting. Suggested list price for a seven-shank unit with 24-in. spacing: $24,900. Contact Brillion Iron Works Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 127, Brillion, WI 54110-0127, 800/409-9749 or circle 204.

Smaller Range

Zetor, the Czech-based tractor manufacturer, has added a smaller model to its Range 3 series tractors. With an 82-hp engine and 74-hp PTO, the 8620/8640 is available in 2-wd or 4-wd and with or without a cab. Features include tilt steering and a three-stage power-shift transmission that gives you 18 speeds forward and 6 reverse. Suggested list price: $29,400 to $36, 600. Contact Zetor Tractor Div., Dept. FIN, 7301 Allentown Blvd., Harrisburg, PA 17112, 717/540-5618 or circle 205.

Grander tractors

Kubota unveils a new generation of Grand L series tractors originally introduced in the early '90s. The new series consists of four mid-size diesel models ranging from 30 to 43 hp. Each is available in three transmission options: standard gear, glide shift that lets you shift by moving a lever without using the clutch, and hydrostatic that lets you shift by stepping on the foot pedal. A redesigned cab offers more comfort and headroom, a more powerful air conditioner and better visibility than its predecessors. Base suggested list price: $16,000 to $30,000. Contact Kubota Tractor Corp., Dept. FIN, 2626 Port Rd., Columbus, OH 43217, 614/492-1100 or circle 206.

Soybean saver

Maximize your soybean yields with the new MacDon 972 Harvest Header for combines, claims this Winnipeg, Manitoba, manufacturer. A patented C-shaped cutterbar design cuts closer to the ground than conventional auger-style headers for maximum recovery of downed crop and forms a seal to keep crop from wrapping around the roller, the company claims. The header is available in widths from 21 to 36 ft. and mounts on all MacDon-built windrowing tractors, New Holland's current model Bidirectional tractors and most current model combines (with the 871 Macxi-Float combine adapter). Suggested list price for the 21-ft., single-knife drive header: $17,500, plus $7,000 for adapter. Contact MacDon Inc., Dept. FIN, 9700 N.W. Conant Ave., Kansas City, MO 64153-1832, 816/891-7313 or circle 208.

Red row cleaner

The company that has been making floating row cleaners for Deere, Kinze and White planters since 1992 now introduces one that fits all 800 and 900 series Case IH planters. Like its predecessors, it consists of two, 3/8-in. -steel toothed wheels mounted on tapered bearings. The cleaners operate or float independently of the planter unit to move residue away from the seed zone while loosening the soil to reduce sidewall compaction. Suggested list price: $269/row unit. Contact Martin & Co., Dept. FIN, 169 Allegre Rd., Elkton, KY 42220, 800/366-5817 or circle 207.

Repair kit for drills

RK Products Inc. has taken its kit for repairing planter gauge wheel arm pivots on planters and adapted it to work for the closing wheel arm pivot on John Deere No-Till Drills. The kit removes looseness from the pivot and forces the closingwheel to track properly while reducing bouncing of the wheel for better drill performance. All this is done without reworking the bearing housing. Cost of the basic kit: $25 or $36 for older drills (model 750 with serial numbers below 6000) that require a new pivot pin. Contact RK Products Inc., Dept. FIN, 3802 Jean St., East Moline, IL 61244, 800/580-6818 or circle 209.

German baler

Need to put up a lot of small square bales but don't have the time to fix and tighten belts or lubricate chains? Then this baler may be your answer. The extra-high-density AP 630 baler by Germany-based Welger Mfg., purchased by Lely in 1995, is driven by shafts and gears instead of belts and chains for low-maintenance and high-capacity baling. Rigid, non-torsional shafts ensure synchronized drive for the life of the baler, the company claims. It makes bales measuring from 20 to 48 in. in length and weighing 261/2 to 75 lbs., depending on length and density. Contact Lely Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 1060, Wilson, NC 27894-1060, 252/291-7050 or circle 210.

Norwegian hay tools

Because farmers were calling for an even larger Kverneland TA trailed disc mower conditioner, the company came out with model 339, says a Kverneland representative. Model 339 boasts an 11-ft. 10-in. cutting width and a center pivot design to give you the flexibility to go up and down the field rather than circling with an off-center machine. A Super-Float suspension system provides even cutting and maximum cutterbar protection. Suggested list price: $22,850. At the other end of the size spectrum, Kverneland introduces an entry-level, self-loading trailed round bale wrapper, the Kverneland UN 7335, designed for 4- x 4-ft. round silage bales. It has all the bells and whistles of larger models, but it is smaller and priced lower for the farmer with fewer acres. Suggested list price: $10,600. Contact Norcan Farm Equipment, Dept. FIN, Box 2409, Youngstown, OH 44509, 800/233-0815 or circle 211.

Buy American

This round bale wrapper and all of its parts are American-made, which means that parts are available faster at a competitive price, the company claims. The Roman Wrapper comes in two styles: 3-pt. hitch or trailer style with electronic control. Both can handle bales measuring 4 x 4, 3 x 5, or 5 x 4 ft. at a table rotation speed of 24 rpm. Suggested list price: starts at $6, 500 for 3-pt. style and $6,900 for trailer style. Contact Implement Sales Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 991067, 2203 Plantside Dr., Louisville, KY 40299, 502/491-4775 or circle 212.

Conditioner for the curves

Take curves without a problem with Claas's new Disco 3000 TC tine conditioner, featuring a 90 pivoting gearbox. This pull-type haying machine is easy to transport and perfect for farmers who don't have the tractor hydraulic capacity for a 3-pt. mounted tine conditioner, claims Frankie Wilbert, Claas regional sales manager. It uses tines instead of rollers for high-capacity conditioning and has a working width of 10 ft. Suggested list price: $18,500. Also new is Claas's 16-ft., direct-cut head that fits all Claas 800 series self-propelled forage harvesters. It is designed for farmers who feed livestock daily and want to cut just enough feed for the day. Suggested list price: $24,000. Contact Claas of America Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 3008, Columbus, IN 47202-3008, 812/342-4441 or circle 213.

Larger trailer sprayers (c)

Hardi has trumped its Commander 750 pull-type, high-clearance sprayer with two larger models to meet the needs of large-acreage farmers. Models 875 and 1200 (not shown) feature 875- and 1,200-gal. tanks designed for better weight distribution and chemical agitation. An optional 100-gal. flush tank is mounted underneath the main tank to provide a low center of gravity and optimize stability. Booms range in width from 60 to 90 ft. Base list price: $21,000 to $28,000.

Hardi's entry-level Navigator sprayers (shown) are now marked by an M to designate the addition of a color-coded manifold system that puts all controls in one location for ease of use. Contact Hardi Inc., Dept. FIN, 1500 W. 76thSt., Davenport, IA 52806, 319/386-1730 or circle 214.

On-track sprayer

JM Innovations added a gooseneck to its Mini Floater sprayer to make it fit behind the Polaris Ranger general-purpose off-road vehicle and put them both on tracks. The result is a speedy, high-flotation spraying machine that can straddle two rows at a time and spray at a rate of 300 to 400 acres/day. Contact JM Innovations Inc., Dept FIN, 9304 Hess Rd., Edwardsville, IL 62025, 618/667-6089 or circle 215.

Easy-service tanks

Servicing Top Air's 550-, 800- and 1,100-gal. T tanks for spraying applications just got easier with the addition of this new fold-down command center, now a standard feature. The box cover folds down and exposes all of the valves in one convenient location. As an option, a Quick-Fill inductor can be incorporated into the command center. It allows you to fill the tank from the ground and also can be used as a basin to rinse empty jugs. Suggested list price for the Quick-Fill option: $899. Contact Top Air Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 729, Cedar Falls, IA 50613, 800/553-3307 or circle 216.

Separation system

This Canadian import is designed for large dairy operations using flush valves to clean the barn and holding area as well as for smaller dairy operations using alley scrapers or tractor blades to clean manure alleys. The system features a sloped screen with progressive openings to recuperate the cleanest liquid to flush the barn. A roller separator may be installed under the sloped screen to squeeze the fibers to make bedding. Contact Houle, Dept. FIN, 4591 Rt. 143, C.P. 370, Drummondville, Quebec, Canada J2B 6W3, 819/477-7444 or circle 217.

Electric transfer pump

Agitate and pump liquid manure with a 16-in. electric transfer pump, instead of with your tractor's PTO. The pump, designed for moderate-sized reception pits on hog or dairy operations, has a 20- to 40-hp electric motor. It's available in 8- through 12-ft. lengths and single or twin motor mounts that slide in and out for easy installation and removal. Features include a lower nozzle to agitate bottom solids and oil-filled lower bearings with greasable seals for long life. The suggested list price starts at $6,267.

Also available is a 6-in. electric model to agitate and pump dairy parlor wastewater or hog manure using a single 5-hp electric motor. Suggested list price: starts at $2,241. Contact J-Star Industries, Dept. FIN, 801 Janesville Ave., Fort Atkinson, WI 53538, 920/563-5521 or circle 218.

Bed for cows

Keep your dairy cows comfortable while cutting down on landfill waste with the Cush cow cushion and Easy Rest mattress made from reclaimed tires. More comfort for the cow means less stress and increased milk production, the company claims. Tires used in the 2-in.-thick cushion are shredded (the metal is removed), and the pieces are bonded together by latex and treated with antifungicide. The mattress is made of chopped tires, and the sides are sewn together with a double lock thread system to keep the material from fraying or separating. The cushion comes with a five-year warranty, and the mattress has a three-year warranty for free stalls and a one-year for tie-stalls. Suggested list prices: cushions, $71 for 48 x 65 in., $73 for 48 x 72 in.; mattresses, $28 for 48 x 62 in., $29.35 for 48 x 66 in.; plus waterproof top cover at $5. 65 to $8.65/linear ft. Contact: J&D Mfg., Dept. FIN, 6200 Hwy. 12, Eau Claire, WI 54701, 800/998-2398 or circle 219.

Manure injector for no-till

The sturdy, wide shanks on Balzer's new Magnum sweep injectors spread liquid manure beneath the soil surface for maximum nutrient uptake and minimal runoff, odor and residue disturbance, making them ideal for no-till or highly erodable land, the company claims. Magnum sweep injectors can be mounted on all Balzer vacuum and slurry tanks or on a truck. Suggested list price for a four-knife machine including coulters and down pressure system: $6,585. Contact Balzer Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 458, Mountain Lake, MN 56159, 800/727-3133 or circle 220.

Hydraulic tilt trailer

You don't need a ramp to load your compact tractors or lawn and garden equipment onto this trailer. Simply press a button, and the trailer deck will tilt to the ground in fewer than 10 sec. as a result of a double-action hydraulic system. Other features include removable fenders, a 4-in. drop beavertail end, treated lumber deck or optional plastic deck, brakes on both axles and optional winch kit. Available in 7,000- and 10,000-lb. GVW classes. Suggested list price: $3,395 to $3,695. The company plans to market a skid-steer style hydraulic tilt trailer this winter.

Also new is a small but heavy-duty, 3,000-lb. GVW trailer, ideal for transporting diesel lawn equipment. Suggested list price: $999 to $1,388. Contact New Alexandria Tractor Supply, Dept. FIN, R.D. 3, Box 403, New Alexandria, PA 15670, 724/668-2000 or circle 221.

Bigger mini-skid-steer(c)

Do everything from dig trenches to move trees with this bigger, more powerful mini-skid-steer with more than 40 attachments, now part of Ramrod's Taskmaster line. Model 900 T-G has an operating capacity of 900 lbs., a 20-hp gas engine and a twin-pump hydraulic system that lets you do two things at once, such as travel and dig. Yet it is still only half the weight and one-third the size of the smallest Bobcat to fit tight spaces, the company claims. Suggested list price starts at $13,950. Contact Ramrod Equipment, Dept. FIN, Box 5002, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada S3N 3Z4, 800/667-1581 or circle 222.

Blow snow forward

Turn your tractor into a commercial snow blowing machine with a Canadian-built Pronovost detachable snow blower that mounts to a tractor's 3-pt. hitch. Choose from 22 models in working widths from 54 to 104 in. And now a new blade option called X-Pro lets you operate in forward as well as in the conventional backward direction to save time, increase productivity and improve operator comfort. The blower with the new 92-in. X-Pro blade option requires a 75- to 100-hp tractor. Suggested list price for complete package: $7,295. Contact Endless Mountains Equipment Co., Dept. FIN, Rt. 2, Box 401, Troy, PA 16947, 800/227-3486 or circle 223.

Bush Hog built

A company known for its rotary cutters now offers a line of Bush Hog-built zero-turning-radius mowers. The mowers come in your choice of 18-, 22- and 25-hp air-cooled Kohler engines or a 22-hp Kawasaki water-cooled engine along with 48-, 54- or 60-in. mowing decks. A unique weight transfer system provides fast traction and stability on inclines, and a dual-path hydrostatic drive makes steering easier while keeping drive components cooler than other zero-turning-radius mowers, the company claims.

Also new is Bush Hog's largest front-end loader to date, the 3860 QT, designed to fit 2-wd and 4-wd tractors in the 75- to 210-hp PTO range. An optional hydraulic self-leveling system levels the bucket during raising and lowering cycles to prevent spillage. Contact Bush Hog, Dept. FIN, Box 1039, Selma, AL 36701-1039, 334/872-6261 or circle 224.

New from Husker Harvest Days

Dedicated to the farmers and ranchers of the Great Plains and western Corn Belt, this Grand Island, NE, show always delivers products to ponder. Here's a fast-forward glance into what's new.

New dryer player

Sukup, known for grain handling since the early '60s, now offers a new line of self-contained automated grain dryers. Three models (T12, T16 and T20) offer holding capacity of 330 to 550 bu. Grain is dried in 14-in. columns using an exclusive quad metering roll system. The system moves the grain that is closest to the heat faster through the dryer, resulting in less moisture variation and higher-quality grain. Metering roll speed is automatically adjusted based on true moisture sensing of incoming and discharged grain. All moisture sensing and computer controls are standard. Price of the T16 model shown: $39,900. Contact Sukup Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Box 677, Sheffield, IA 50475, 515/892-4222 or circle 244.

87 acres/hour

Bestway claims that its new Field-Pro III sprayer, with a 90-ft. hydraulic accumulator suspension boom and 1,600-gal. tank, can cover almost 90 acres/hr. (at 8 mph) at an estimated equipment cost/acre of $2.91 if used on 2,000 acres. Features include an axle that is fully adjustable from 120 to 144 in.; oversized radial tires with low pressure to reduce compaction; a massive center section of the boom that supports ultrawide wings made of steel and composite materials; a Raven or Spraying System's sprayer controller; chemical induction system with 4-gal. tank; and a 100-gal. tank rinse system. Price: $30,000 to $32,000. Contact Bestway, Dept. FIN, Box 394, Hiawatha, KS 66434, 800/247-3808 or circle 245.

Mega-toolbar (c)

The Titan is the latest member of Orthman's toolbar family. This 50-ft.-wide, exclusive design will hold up to 24 row units and provide close-coupled performance in the field, while folding down to only 14 ft. for transport. It features standard heavy-duty gauge wheels for lift assist, with all fold functions controlled from the cab. A wide range of accessories is available, from guidance system to row markers to the company's Adjust-a Rate system. Price: $48,000. Contact Orthman Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box B, Lexington, NE 68850, 800/658-3270 or circle 246.

Feed the crop

For injecting a straight stream of liquid fertilizer behind a penetrating coulter blade deep in the root zone, the new Blu-Jet AT4000 All Terrain fertilizer injection toolbar may be the ticket. It is available in a 15-row, 30-in. or 23-row, 20-in. configuration with a 1,400-gal. tank. Features include a high-clearance frame with large flotation tires; full-flexing, hydraulic folding wings; positive-contact, spring-loaded pump drive system; easily adjusted button-stop depth control; and stainless steel shielded nozzles. Price: $19,800 to $22,000. Contact Thurston Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Hwy. 87A,Thurston, NE 68062-0218, 402/385-3041 or circle 248.

Fracture the structure

A workhorse called TillagePro is the latest Blu-Jet tool from Thurston Manufacturing. Beginning with a fully welded, 6-x6-in. tubular frame, the short-coupled 26-ft.-long tool features a disc gang in front and rear with ripper shanks that can go 12 to 16 in. deep on a 20- or 30-in. spacing. Both disc gangs feature simple, independent depth adjustment controls for the 26-in. blades on 6-in. hubs. Four models are available, ranging in transport width from 141/3 to 191/3 ft. Price: $21,500 to $29,000. Contact Thurston Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Hwy. 87A,Thurston, NE 68062-0218, 402/385-3041 or circle 247.

Downsized drill (c)

In addition to its three-section folding drill, Great Plains is now offering a more affordable two-section folding drill, model 2600-2S. It features active hydraulic down pressure on the openers for even penetration; offset double discs and depth controlling press wheels; a 35 flexing between drill sections to hug contours; box capacity of 3.24 bu./ft. with seed level indicators; and a 26-ft. working width that folds to a 15-ft. transport width. Price: $28,870. Contact Great Plains Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 5060, Salina, KS 67401, 785/823-3276 or circle 249.

Split your planter

If you're looking to turn your 6-row, 30-in. planter into an 11-row, 15-in. seeding machine for soybeans, Great Plains now offers an SR5030, 5-row splitter planter. The company says you can use any brand 6-row rig to attach to the splitter or purchase all 11 rows together. It claims that the planter is 40% heavier than the competition, built to withstand no-till conditions. Many options are available, from no-till coulters to residue cleaners. Farmers who tested the prototypes are happy with the way they follow behind planter tracks at 15 in., even on sidehills or curves. Price: $10,940. Contact Great Plains Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 5060, Salina, KS 67401, 785/823-3276 or circle 250.

A disguised planter

What looks like a drill but it's not because it has planter units underneath is the revamped Great Plains Soybean Machine for 1999. Instead of planter-style row units in a straight line, the Soybean Machine has staggered units underneath. Three models are available: 1515 (15 ft. wide, 12 rows), 2015 (20 ft. wide, 16 rows) and 2515 (25 ft. wide, 20 rows). The company claims that the row units offer depth control and seed-to-soil contact that's equal to or better than those of most planters. An optional lift-assist kit, which works off the PTO, is available so farmers can plant with a smaller 100- to 110-hp tractor. And unit-mounted coulters can be added for no-till conditions. Price of the smaller 1515 model, as shown with coulters and lift-assist: $25,076. Contact Great Plains Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 5060, Salina, KS 67401, 785/823-3276 or circle 251.

Wheels keep on turning

A Nebraska farmer/inventor didn't like how his planter closing wheels would get plugged up with dirt clods and root balls, so he invented closing wheel fenders. After being tested for a year, they have proven to work and keep the seed from getting pushed out of the furrow, increasing seed placement accuracy. The manufacturer claims that the fenders are easy to install in existing holes on the mainframe, with mounting kits available for most brands of planters. Price: $16.95/row. Contact Schaffert Mfg., Dept. FIN, RR 1, Box 157, Indianola, NE 69034, 800/382-2607 or circle 252. Mammoth carts (c)

Mammoth carts

In the land of 225-plus-bu. irrigated corn, these new huge Brent Avalanche grain carts from Unverferth seemed right at home. Model 884 (shown) holds 850 bu., and a larger 1084 model houses 1,050 bu., which can be supported underneath by tracks. With the industry's largest 20-in.-dia. vertical auger, it can unload 1,000 bu. in 90 sec. Features include hydraulically controlled auger height and position, lights for nighttime unloading, optional brakes and an optional video camera and cab-mounted monitor. Price for model 884: $31,000. Contact Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 357, Kalida, OH 45853, 800/322-6301 or circle 253.

Stable boom

If you're looking to upgrade the boom on your sprayer or to get a new pull-type model, Century has redesigned its 60-ft. hydraulic X-fold booms. Extra wing breakaway protection, plus shock-absorber-dampened, self-leveling linkage are new to give enhanced "tip to target" consistency. The booms are adaptable to trailer or 3-pt. mounting. They feature 3/4-in. plumbing with Quick Tee Jet nozzles and Century's exclusive nozzle brackets to help prevent damage. Price: $5,193. Contact Hiniker Co., Dept. FIN, Box 3407, Mankato, MN 56002-3407, 507/625-6621 or circle 254.

Floating cultivator

New for 1999 from Kent Manufacturing is its Series VI field cultivator, with a new optional floating hitch. Two castering gauge wheels mounted on the front bar offer more precise depth control in rugged and rolling terrain, which the company claims is ideal for farmers who want to air seed with this unit. Other features include improved clearance around the wheels, with no shanks closer than 28 in. apart; 3-x4-in.-high tensile tubing; and working widths from 12 to 35 ft. with a transport width of 13 ft. Price for 24 ft.: $16,500. Contact Kent Mfg. Co. Inc., Box 126, Tipton, KS 67485, 785/373-4145 or circle 255.

New from the Farm Progress Show

Here's a look at some of the new products we uncovered after traversing the 65-acre "tent city" located just outside Windall, IN.

Large Deere tracks

In an unprecedented move, Deere & Company offered a sneak preview of a prototype 9300 high-horsepower track concept vehicle at several fall shows. According to Jack Wiley, principal engineer at Deere's Technical Center in Moline, IL, several of these units are undergoing field tests now, with market introduction scheduled for next fall. Although details about the tractor line are not available, Wiley says that the design concept is based on the current 8000T but that the 9300 series will have a much heavier undercarriage and rear end. Horsepower, cab and other features will be comparable to Deere's current 4-wd 9000 series wheeled tractors.

A taller tower

For large farm operations in need of expanded drying capabilities, the Mathews Company offers its new M-C 101075 large-capacity, continuous-flow tower dryer. The company installed its first 48-ft. grain dryer on an operation with 700,000 hens in Frankfort, IN, just down the road from the show. The 10-ft.-dia. tower has a 953-bu. holding capacity and features 12-in. grain columns, stainless steel floors, suction cooling and three 25-hp motors with 3,450-rpm vane axial fans. Mathews says that one added advantage of the tower dryer is that it takes up much less space on the farm than a horizontal continuous-flow grain dryer. Contact Mathews Co., Dept. FIN, Box 70, Crystal Lake, IL 60039-0070, 815/459-2210 or circle 225.

Quick turn

New Holland claims that its new 42- to 62-hp PTO, 3-cyl. TN series tractors deliver added convenience and maneuverability. Two features never before seen on blue 3-cyl. rigs are a comfortable cab and the company's exclusive SuperSteer. The suspended and pressurized cab has heat and air, two doors, tilt/telescoping steering, front and rear wipers/washers and a best-in-class lighting package. The SuperSteer front-wheel-drive axle makes TNS tractors the most maneuverable all-purpose rigs around. Transmission options include an 8 x 8 or 16 x 16 synchronized transmission with mechanical or power shuttle (clutchless), and the TNS models can automatically engage front wheel drive only when needed. Contact New Holland North America Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1895, New Holland, PA 17557-0903, 717/355-1371 or circle 226.

Series upgrade

Replacing its 35 series tractors, New Holland kicked off its new TL line of 56- to 82-hp PTO tractors at the show. Upgrades include an exhaust stack thats been moved to the right front pillar on cab models, new heavy-duty rear differential, two mid-mount valves and couplers with dedicated joystick control, numerous cab improvements, tilt/telescoping steering, a second steering cylinder on the front wheel drive for improved steering, and a larger fuel tank. These four models offer four different transmissions; a high-capacity, 14-gpm hydraulic flow; a quick-lift, 3-pt. lift system with strong lift capacity; and an electrohydraulic PTO for smooth power flow. Price: $27,000 to $54,000. Contact New Holland North America Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1895, New Holland, PA 17557-0903, 717/355-1371 or circle 227.

Better Boomers

New Holland has relabeled its popular 18- to 33-hp Boomer line as the Boomer TC series and has added two new models (18 and 21 hp). Changes to the 3-cyl. diesel engines reduce smoke, noise and overall vibration. All five models are available in economy or deluxe packages, depending on the features desired. Price: $8,000 to $17,000. Contact New Holland North America Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1895, New Holland, PA 17557-0903, 717/355-1371 or circle 228.

Roll-belt baler

Hot off the assembly line is New Holland's model 648 silage special round baler for 4- x 5-ft. bales. The company claims to have beefed up the machine by adding larger chain idler springs for proper tension, tougher bearings for follower and drive rolls, heavy-duty cam-follower bearings in wide pickups, stronger pickup lift cranks, heavy-duty wheel hubs and longer-lasting curved pickup tines. And this model offers the optional Bale-Slice system for easier feeding and heavier, denser bales. Contact New Holland North America Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1895, New Holland, PA 17557-0903, 717/355-1371 or circle 229.

New cart player

Richardton and Sunflower are teaming up to bring you a new line of grain carts, based on a purchase from A&L Mfg. Richardton, the manufacturer, says final plans for its cart line are still in the works, but the company plans to initially offer two side-auger models with a capacity of 500 to 550 bu., plus three or four carts with large corner augers that will hold from 650 to 850 bu. Sunflower, the marketer, says an early order program will be in place November 1. Contact Sunflower Mfg. Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 566, Beloit, KS 67420, 800/748-8481 or circle 230.

Heavy harvest hauler

This 700-bu. wagon (model 747A) is the largest wagon from Art's-Way. It features side-to-center grain chutes, unibody construction, 4-wheel hydraulic surge brakes, rugged frame, axle and yolk design, front and side windows, unloading light, rear brake lights and used, retreaded truck tires. Contact Art's-Way Mfg. Co. Inc., Box 288, Armstrong, IA 50514, 712/864-3131 or circle 231.

Steel and chemical weeder

Redball previewed a prototype of its new 220 Culti-Spray 3-pt.-mounted rig for show goers. This combination over-the-row hooded sprayer with single-sweep, conservation tillage cultivator shanks performs two functions in one pass. Developed for use in minimum-tillage situations, it helps reduce herbicide cost per acre by using hoods that spray a band 10, 15 or 20 in. wide. It features a 150- or 300-gal. tank and basic Redball sprayer monitor. The company plans to make the sprayer available in sizes from 6 to 16 rows. Price: $1,100/row without tank or pump. Contact Custom Ag Products, Dept. FIN, Box 159, Benson, MN 56215, 800/225-8082 or circle 232.

Seed piracy A risky bet

Saving and planting patented seed is a risk some growers are willing to take. But those caught are now wishing they hadn't gambled.

Last year, Reed, KY, grower David Chaney saved some of the soybean seed he harvested on his soybean, corn, wheat and milo farm. This was normal practice for the retired tool-and-die maker turned farmer. However, last year Chaney planted Roundup Ready soybeans. He knew it was against the law to save and replant seed containing patented technology, like Roundup Ready soybeans, but he decided to risk it and replant all of the soybean seed he had saved anyway.

"I've been in this business for a long time," Chaney says. "I know the law. I keep up with the news, and, like breaking the speed limit, I knew what I was doing was wrong." Chaney also acknowledged that in return for other goods, he illegally traded the pirated seed with neighbors and an area seed cleaner for the purpose of replanting. All of those people were implicated when Monsanto, the owner of Roundup Ready patents, discovered Chaney's dealings this season.

Heavy toll. Now each party is settling with the company. Chaney's settlement agreement includes $35,000 in royalty payments as well as full documentation confirming the disposal of his unlawful soybean crop. Chaney and the others involved will make available all of their soybean production records, including Farm Service Agency/ASCS records, for Monsanto's inspection over the next five years. They also will provide full access to all of their property for inspection, collection and testing of soybean plants and seed for the next five years.

"Obviously, we've dealt with some farmers who have saved a little seed and some who have saved quite a bit more - and that's one of the things that certainly determines the range of settlements," says Lisa Safarian, Monsanto's business development manager for intellectual property. "I would say, almost without exception, every case has included payments of $10,000 on up. And we have some pending cases that will require significantly larger amounts to be paid by the guilty party.

"In addition to monetary settlements, we have almost a dozen other parameters that can be implemented, aside from the multiyear field inspections and multiyear business record inspections," Safarian explains. "In some cases, we've had situations where we actually had the illegal crop destroyed. Or we've confiscated brown-bagged seed. And we've had farmers selling illegally saved seed, or trading it for goods and services. And when sold, the farmer not only violates patent law, but also plant variety protection acts."

Chaney is not sure how Monsanto detected the pirated seed. "Someone must have called me in because Pinkerton agents came to my house," he says. Monsanto has hired Pinkerton Investigative Services to investigate suspected piracy of its patented biotech seeds.

Signature matter? To farmers who think they cannot be held accountable if they don't sign the grower agreement or the order/invoice, the company says think again. "It's against the law to save seed containing patented technology, period, even if the agreement or the order/invoice was not signed. In Chaney's case, he signed nothing," Safarian says.

"The whole reason that we have the statement on the order/invoice is to explain that the crop is good for one growing season only. We like farmers to initial it so we know they actually read it and understand the terms of purchasing this product. We are not limited in enforcing our patent if he does not sign the agreement," she adds.

For the past two years, Monsanto has led an aggressive, ongoing communications campaign to educate farmers and others that it is illegal to save and replant seed containing patented technology. Monsanto also has offered incentive programs such as the Technology Value Package, which includes crop loss and replant refunds to growers who purchase Roundup Ready soybean varieties.

No stone unturned. The company vigorously pursues anyone who pirates any brand or variety of its genetically enhanced seed, such as Roundup Ready soybeans and cotton and Bollgard cotton. To date, Monsanto has more than 475 seed piracy cases nationwide, generated from more than 1,800 leads. Currently, more than 250 of these cases are under investigation in midwestern and southern states, including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina and South Dakota. According to Scott Baucum, intellectual property protection manager for Monsanto, the company "steadfastly follows up on every lead. We've had people from all parts of the chain turn people in, anonymously and otherwise - other farmers, seed cleaners, dealers, applicators." More cases have been settled outside the courtroom than inside. Baucum says Monsanto prefers to settle out of court, which is how it settled the Chaney case, but it will bring a violator into court if necessary to protect its intellectual property.

Monsanto is resolute about publicizing its position on seed piracy. "It's a matter of protecting future technologies," Baucum explains. "Monsanto has invested many years and millions of dollars in research to bring farmers new technologies sooner rather than later." And when growers pirate seed, Baucum says, "there is definitely less incentive for companies to invest in future technologies. These technologies include seeds that produce high-yielding crops, drought-tolerant crops, crops that are protected against insects such as corn rootworm, cyst-nematode-protected soybeans and crops with high-value components, such as modified oil or bran."

Until now the investigations and settlements have been kept confidential. Why did Monsanto release the details of Chaney's case?

"We've heard from a lot of growers," Baucum says. "They want to know what we're doing to keep a level playing field for them. They want to know the details regarding those offenders caught illegally saving and replanting pirated seed. Each case is unique in how it is handled."

Catch 22? Baucum says Monsanto is concerned about its image among farmers.

"We understand that these people are our customers," he says. "And we want to treat them carefully, but we also feel it's important to represent the vast majority of farmers who follow the law. Are we going to allow people who break the law to put the development of new technology at risk?"

What effect does Chaney believe knowledge of his case will have on his neighbors?

"I'm going to tell you the truth," he states. "This is what can happen to you if you save and replant (this seed). It's the law, and whether or not you agree with it, you have to support it."

Products by the dozens

Fast-forward farm shows. One year after a major introduction, AGCO, the company that was built on brand names, adds more products and more lines.

Eight years ago when AGCO was formed, its leaders may not have realized the scope and breadth of what the company could become, or what it is today. Just this year alone, AGCO entered the sprayer market with the purchase of the Spra-Coupe products from Melroe; purchased Cargill's Willmar line of sprayers, spreaders and loaders; expanded its Fendt line - which will soon reach our shores - and expanded its distribution of some North American brands into the global market.

Even with all of that expansion, AGCO still had time to build and redesign new products for baling, mowing, planting, pulling and tilling. Take a look at what we found at this year's farm shows, all new from AGCO.

More from Massey. Massey introduces advanced, high-horsepower and mid-range tractors to help with heavy tillage, mowing, baling and other chores around the farm.

For the high-horsepower market, models 8270, with 200-hp PTO, and 8280, with 225-hp PTO (to be officially launched in early 1999), offer 4-wd power in a new 513-cu.-in. Valmet 645 turbocharged diesel. Features include an electronically controlled full power shift with an 18 forward and 6 reverse tranny that offers an optional creeper gear. Tractors have an electronic 3-pt. hitch with lift capacity to 14,000 lbs.

Working at mid-range horsepowers, the company introduces models 2210 and 2220, which are 4-wd units with 53 and 63 hp, respectively. Both come as a platform or cabbed model with a flat deck for easy access and operator comfort. A 12 forward and 12 reverse synchro shuttle transmission is standard; creeper range is standard on low-profile/low-clearance models, optional on others. Engines are a 49-hp PTO, 3-cyl. Perkins diesel for model 2210 and a 58-hp PTO, turbocharged, 3-cyl. Perkins diesel for model 2220.

The company's new 200 series utility tractors offer a range of 34- to 67-hp PTO. Standard in all models is an 8-speed manual-shift transmission that features sliding gears to provide a total of 8 forward and 2 reverse speeds. Two of the models, 240 and 253, feature 4-wd or nearly 30% more traction to help pull through loose or muddy soil, over trashy fields or around slippery field lots. Circle 239.

All new from AGCO Allis. These new mid-range or high-horsepower tractors from AGCO Allis offer advanced hydraulics and creature comforts, among other features, to make your daily grind easier.

New tractors in the high-horsepower, row-crop 9700 series range from 160 to 225 hp. The series includes 9755, 9765, 9775 and 9785. All models are powered by a 6-cyl., AGCO Allis diesel 8.7-liter engine. A wide, roomy cab offers a generous view of your fields, and console controls are set in the armrest for convenient operation.

Models in the 8700 series include suspended foot pedals and console-mounted controls for easy operation. All models in the 70- to 110-hp series are available in either 2- or 4-wd with a maximum steering angle of up to 55 for better maneuverability.

Cabbed models 8745 and 8765 have hand throttle, electronic 3-pt. hitch controls, 4-wd and differential lock switches in the middle of the console for easy fingertip control. For better visibility, cabs feature 54 sq. ft. on the 8745 and 8765 models and 61 sq. ft. on the 8775 and 8785 models. Circle 240. White's got it covered. From its basic 6100, 4-row planter to its 6800 series variable rate, central fill unit, White has a planter to fit your needs. The basic 6100 series models are available for narrow or wide row widths and as 4-, 8- or 12-row units. The models are also available as vertical fold units. White 6180 forward-fold series includes an 8-row wide model, a 12-row narrow or 12-row wide unit, and a 16-row narrow model. Units can go from 15 ft. wide x 11 ft. high transport mode to planting in less than three minutes, according to the company.

The 6200 and 6300 series horizontal fold planters with rear or wing fold frames are perfect for the farmer who plants 30-in. corn and 15-in. beans. Conversion can be completed in minutes using a hydraulically activated frame fold. New wing fold planters in the 6500 series combine narrow rows with narrow transport and variable rate technology to help give your yields a boost. All models let you adjust plant populations on-the-go with the company's variable seed rate controller. Models 6512 and 6515 transport at a width of 13 ft. 8 in. with fertilizer units. Model 6512 comes as a 12-row, 20- or 22-in. model and the 6515 comes as a 15-row, 15-in. unit. Or lock up interplant rows and plant 8 rows at 30 in.

The 6500 series also has six forward fold planters with 24 or 31 narrow rows featuring row widths of 15, 20 and 22 in.

A large central fill hopper on the 6800 series planters holds 60 cu. ft. of seed. The planters can handle a number of planting functions in different crops and is the first planter to come with an advanced hydraulic seed drive as standard equipment. Circle 241.

Hesston hayers. Take your pick from Hesston's new 800-series round balers designed to make 4- x 5-ft., 5- x 5-ft. and 5- x 6-ft. bales.

The series includes model 845 with a low-profile pickup width of 771/2 in. and models 855 and 856, both with a pickup width of 92 in. All balers feature centering augers that move the crop into the bale throat, 16- x 161/2-in. gauge wheels, a new hydraulically activated slip clutch and lace belts for easier service. Balers run off a 540- or 1,000-rpm PTO, require at least a 65-hp tractor and hold up to eight balls of twine.

The company is beefing up the current models of its mower conditioner line by adding new features. The 1365 rotary disc Hydro-Swing pull-type unit offers a new 110-in. helper roll for better feeding and cutoff, and skid shoes are 33% wider for improved wear.

Models 1260 and 1265 sickle-type mowers replace the current 1160 12-ft. and 14-ft. windrowers and also feature the company's Hydro-Swing. Model 1275 replaces the present model 1170, a 16-ft. windrower.

The company adds to its sickle-type mower conditioner with model 1270, a 14-ft. double-sickle unit. All models feature new guards and hold-downs for reduced sickle wear, increased auger separation and a heavier right end panel to ease reverse loading. Warning flashers are standard. Also new is model 1275, a 16-ft. unit that replaces the current 1170.

Heston upgrades its self-propelled windrowers with new models 8250/8250S and 8550. Enhance-ments include larger drive tires for increased ground clearance, an increase in header lift pressure to 2,500 psi and larger, roomier cabs with a long list of creature comforts. Circle 242.

Single-pass systems from Glencoe. Glencoe's additions to its family of tillage products are all designed for one-pass farming.

The UM4650 UniMulch and SF4600 Soil Finisher prepare a seedbed in a single pass. According to the company, the machines can operate in high-residue conditions, and the UniMulch can even operate in fields with standing residue where no primary tillage has been done.

Both the UM4650 and SF4600 come in six working widths, from 18 to 401/2 ft. The narrower-width models fold to 13 ft. and the wider models fold to 16 ft. for transport.

The disc gangs on both machines are spring cushioned with hydraulic depth control. The UM4650 has five ranks of auto-reset (550-lb.) shanks, and the SF4600 has a choice of Live Leaf (165-lb.) or heavy-duty G-tine shanks. Optional seedbed finishing equipment includes 5-bar and 8-bar flexible spike tooth harrows, a 15-in. rolling reel with 5-bar flexible spike tooth harrow and tandem rolling treaders with 18-in.-dia. spiders.

The new FC3600 field cultivator can mix, aerate and level the soil, while incorporating herbicides and fertilizers, all in one pass through the field. The FC3600 is available in working widths of 42, 49, 57 and 62 ft. The company claims that the cultivator's shank is narrower than conventional shanks to lessen soil resistance and reduce horsepower needs. The 27-in. -long shanks maintain 165 lbs. of point pressure, have a 91/2-in. trip height and penetrate the soil even in tough soil conditions.

Working depth of the shank can be adjusted manually or hydraulically with depth adjustments located on the front of each section. The adjustment can be automated by installing the optional depth control system 3000.

According to Glencoe, its DR8600 disc ripper shatters soil compaction while incorporating crop residues to enhance yield potential for next year's crop.

Models are available with 4, 5, 6, or 7 shanks set on 30-ft. spacing. You may choose one or two disc gangs ahead of the V-frame shanks to size residue to your needs. Concave coulters, which are controlled separately from the shanks, are individually mounted at 15-in. spacing (or optional 12-in. spacing) to maximize residue flow. Disc gangs are individually adjustable to 10, 15 or 20 angles. A rear disc leveling gang is optional. Circle 243. Contact AGCO Corp., Dept. FIN, 4205 River Green Parkway, Duluth, GA 30096, 770/813-9200.

Hoops for housing?

Study compares hoops and confinement barns for finishing hogs. New research by Iowa State University (ISU) can help you decide whether to put up hoops to finish hogs or stick with conventional confinement barns.

Researchers set up three hoop buildings and one confinement barn on the ISU Rhodes Research Farm in Rhodes, IA. They divided 582 single-source, terminal-cross pigs into two groups. One group was raised in hoops, the other in confinement.

The researchers looked at cost of production and pig performance in each type of structure. Both showed similar results.

"The pigs grew at basically the same rate, showed similar gain and ate about the same amount of food," says Dr. Mark Honeyman, animal scientist at ISU who headed the project.

This is the first valid comparison of hoops versus confinement barns in the United States, according to Dr. Tom Baas, ISU animal scientist. He says that previous studies either were done on different farms, used different genetic pigs or used buildings that were not in the same condition.

Performs about the same. The average starting weight of the pigs was about 100 lbs. From January to March 1998, both groups were fed to a market weight of about 250 lbs. The groups had similar growth rate, average daily gain, average daily feed intake and feed efficiency (see table).

"When we talk about lean gain, which is what we should look at, there was a slight advantage to confinement, but not much," Baas says.

There also was a slight difference in feed efficiency, which researchers attribute to the timing of the study. In the winter months, the pigs in hoops may have eaten more to keep warm. The theory will be tested on a different group of pigs this summer.

The percentage of pigs with lung and snout lesions in the hoops was more than double the percentage of pigs with lesions in the confinement group, which Honeyman says may be because the hoops provide more circulating air and more room for the pigs to move around.

Costs about the same. The overall cost of production also was about the same for the two structures, based on budgeted figures. Total cost/pig marketed was $101.46 for confinement barns compared with $103.95 for hoops.

Costs did differ, however, on individual items. For example, building costs were almost triple for confinement barns. On the other hand, hoops had about twice the labor costs, slightly higher feed costs and a cost for bedding.

Bottom line. So what does the study mean for growers looking at hoop buildings? "It's basically saying that the two types of buildings are close enough, and it comes down to your likes and dislikes, management style and capital availability," says Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU ag economist.

Baas agrees. "Hoops are a valid option to finish pigs as long as you know the pros and cons," he says. For example, hoops require less capital, but they also may be more labor intensive and require a ready source of cheap bedding. An estimated 200 lbs. of bedding are required to grow one pig from 50 lbs. to market. Interest rates are another factor. Lower rates would favor a capital-intensive option. On the other hand, lower feed costs may favor the hoop system because of the higher feed volumes required.

Baas says to base your decision on your long-term goals. "Hoops are a low-investment, shorter-term option, whereas confinement is a more capital-intensive, longer-term commitment," he says.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture helped fund the project. For more information, contact Dr. Mark Honeyman at Iowa State University, Dept. FIN, B1 Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011, 515/294-4621.

Mark Honeyman, animal scientist with Iowa State University, says to consider these factors when shopping for a hoop building:

Look at the company that is selling. Ask yourself, Is it reputable? What size do you need? Size according to 12 sq. ft./pig, which will take the pig all the way from weaning to market.

Look for galvanized hoops or arches as opposed to hoops made of regular steel to prevent rust from forming as a result of condensation in the hoops. Rust roughens steel, which can then tear the tarp.

How long is the tarp guaranteed? Look for a guarantee of at least 3 to 5 years. Is the tarp welded (glued or melted together) or sewn? A welded tarp provides a stronger hold.

Is the tarp ratcheted or laced down? Ratchets make it easier to keep the tarp tight.

Consider the different end, ceiling and shape options, and choose the one that meets your needs. For example, do you want a translucent or solid roof? A rolling door or quarter panel for the end? A rounded or pointed roof?

New feeding crate lets you raise sows in hoop buildings.

Sioux Steel has taken a gestation crate you'd normally find in confinement barns, shored it up to about the width of a sow and added a gate to create a feeding crate for gestating sows in hoop buildings.

"It gives you the feeding control of confinement barns but in an environment that fosters freedom of movement for the sows," says Garry Empey, ag systems sales manager with Sioux.

Animals raised in hoops are typically fed on demand in troughs or upright feeders. The problem with that setup, Empey says, is that sows fight, and the faster eaters get more food. Sows need a constant rate of feed to create healthy litters.

Confinement barns have solved the problem with gestation crates that separate the sows until they are ready to farrow. But when sows are locked in, they can get out of condition and are less likely to have multiple breedings than when they are in a natural setting like hoops, he says.

The new feeding crate works to solve both problems. The animal stays in the crate just long enough to eat, about 10 min. After eating, it is free to roam the expanse of the hoop.

A key to making the crate work for hoops is the floor plan. Because the crates are only 20 in. wide, they can be lined up in two rows, 32 crates each, for a feeding capacity of 64 sows. Rotating wings on the end of each crate snag the gate and lock it in place. All 32 gates can be opened and closed at once with a push of a handle.

Feed is delivered through a coreless auger feeding system which drops 41/2 to 5 lbs. of feed into the trough of each stall. It comes with manual override that allows you to vary rations according to each animal.

Dr. Danny Burns, a veterinarian who also runs a hog operation in Maryville, MO, has tested the crates since December 1997.

Burns has three hoop barns with 140 sows each and reports that feed costs are 20 to 25% less than the costs of feed for sows fed on concrete slabs in outside lots. Sows have maintained an 80% conception rate year-round in the hoops due to reduced stress from fighting and from outside temperature extremes.

The crate was shown for the first time at Husker Harvest Days. No price is available at this time.

For more information, contact Sioux Steel Co., Dept. FIN, 1961/2 E. 6th St., Box 1265, Sioux Falls, SD 57101-1265, 605/336-1750 or circle 238.

Corn+Soybean Digest

New Tax Law Spells Relief For Farmers

Changes made by Congress last year could save you a bundle on your 1998 taxes.

A new USDA study shows that the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 will save farmers more than $1.6 billion per year in federal income taxes and more than $150 million in federal estate taxes.

The greatest tax reduction for farmers is in capital gains. The tax rate declines from 28% to 20% for individuals in most tax brackets (from 15% to 10% for taxpayers in the 15% bracket), with lower rates available in the future for assets held at least five years.

Couples can exclude up to $500,000 of the gain realized on the sale of a principal residence.

Farmers' taxes should be reduced by $725 million a year as a result, according to the study.

Farmers again can use deferred payment contracts without being subject to the alternative minimum tax. Small farm corporations are exempted from the tax. That saves each about $150 a year.

For a limited time, farmers can use income averaging to shift farm income into the three preceding years, reducing taxes by about $50 million a year overall.

Farmers can defer the gain on the sale of livestock due to floods and other weather-related conditions, reducing taxes nationwide by about $2 million a year.

Large family farm corporations no longer can establish suspense accounts when required to change from cash to accrual accounting. Existing accounts must be recognized in income over 20 years, increasing farm corporations' taxes by about $35 million a year.

Self-employed taxpayers, including farmers, may deduct more of their health insurance premiums. The deduction increases from 40% in 1997 to 100% by 2006. When fully phased in, farmers' after-tax cost of health insurance declines by about 10% or more than $135 million a year.

The new law also expands the availability of individual retirement accounts and provides penalty-free distributions for education and first-time home buyers.

A $500 tax credit for each dependent child under age 17 is allowed, and most taxpayers can use two new non-refundable tax credits for college expenses.

Larger farms, and larger estates in general, now can be transferred tax-free under the estate tax changes made by the new law. The law increases the unified credit from $600,000 to $1 million by 2006.

The expanded unified credit, combined with a new exclusion for continuing farms and other family businesses, shields estates valued at up to $1.3 million starting in 1998. That should force a decline in estate taxes by about $150 million a year for farmers.

Conservation easements come under a new estate tax exclusion under the law as well. The exclusion is based on the value of the land subject to the easement.

Corn+Soybean Digest

'I Should Have Sold More'

With harvest prices in the deepest pits, proverbial 20-20 hindsight tells corn and soybean growers they should have marketed most of their crop before planting.

Even paying a normally steep 20-25 cents/bu for $2.60-2.70 December corn put options way back in January would have generated an extra $1/bu at harvest. And shelling out 30-40 cents for a $6.25 November soybean put in early summer also would have meant an extra $1/bu or more.

Growers must now take a "can't change history" attitude and progress with strategies to salvage any additional revenue from the '98 corn crop, expected to top 9.7 billion bushels. The same goes for soybeans, pegged at 2.9 billion-plus.

Grain marketing experts say farmers should not make the same mistake twice. Be more prudent marketers leading into the next millennium.

The marketing strategies of three Nebraska growers mirror those of countless others who did not pull the trigger on time. They did some early marketing, but not near enough, then watched the market drop while waiting for the right rally.

Alan Kluis, president of NorthStar Commodity Investment Co., Minneapolis, believes "El Nino hype" held many growers back.

"So did frustration that they had missed $4 and $5 corn (several years ago)," says Kluis.

Steve Weides, who farms 600 acres near Lexington, NE, forward-contracted 20% of his corn at $2.50 and $2.60 with local elevators in early spring.

"I wish I had sold more," he says. "I'll sell the remaining corn to local feedyards and store some for sales well into '99."

A neighboring feedyard provides an attractive marketing alternative. About 25% of his overall crop is sold to Dawson Feeders in Lexington. He can deliver all or part of it at harvest, then price 20% or more of it per month over a five-month period. All must be priced within five months.

Sales are based on the average local price.

"That enables me to wait for a better price without having to store the corn or buy call options (in anticipation of upward price moves)," says Weides. "I'll store the remainder of my corn and price it over a 10-month period to stagger sales."

With harvest prices at $1.50 or lower, Weides and other growers are taking their loan deficiency payments (LDPs), or the difference between the $1.89/bu national corn loan rate and the local average harvest price. The extra 30-40 cents helps, but won't cover cost of production, especially for irrigated growers like Weides.

Randy McDonald of Phillips, NE, grows 1,500-2,000 corn acres annually. He recently hired a marketing consulting service to ease pricing headaches. But he's certainly not complaining about the 25% of his crop he forward-contracted himself at $2.50 and $2.70 in January and February.

"We just did not get enough sold," says McDonald, noting that all corn will have been LDP'd by harvest's end.

"We'll store corn not already marketed, then wait for sale opportunities next year. We'll consider going with call options early next year if a strong rally appears likely. There will also be sales to the elevator as prices increase."

Claude Cappel also wishes he had marketed his corn earlier. He didn't make his initial sale until August, when he forward-contracted a third of his 2,900 acres of corn at $1.94.

Like many others, this McCook, NE, grower felt prices would hold up after early year and early summer rallies approached $2.70. However, the Midwestern drought fears on top of some late planting didn't set back production as some predicted. And foreign grain sales weakened due to the Asian economic crisis.

An abnormally wide basis of 25 cents under futures in midyear and 45 cents under at harvest also caused Cappel to hold back from futures sales. To repair the damage, Cappel, who farms with his sons, Steve and Rodney, will store corn not sold and wait for higher prices through the spring and early summer.

"We will make cash sales when prices approach $2.25 or higher," he says, "and also look at selling futures to possibly lock in part of the '99 crop early on."

Storage sales for corn and soybeans appear to be the best immediate marketing opportunities in the eyes of NorthStar's Kluis, Pro Farmer's Chip Flory and University of Illinois ag economist Darrel Good.

"Don't look at immediate cash sales, but at what the cash bids are out into the May-June-July period," Kluis advises. "Look at May and July prices in the $2.30-2.40 range, then market 20-40% of the remaining corn via forward contracts. Then, if we get a weather scare and prices increase, place put options on an additional 20-40%."

Flory, located in Cedar Falls, IA, says forward contracts based off May futures on both corn and soybeans should be considered.

"Check out deferred bids for May in the $2.30 range," he says, "because in the cash market, we're seeing a better bid than out of the March, which is about $2.20. In this market, it's worth doing all you can to pick up another 9-10 cents."

For soybeans, May futures were about $5.60 in midharvest.

"That's a 30 cent spread over November futures," says Flory. "So if you have storage, the market is giving you the incentive to keep it in there, then consider forward contracts for deferred delivery."

There are hedge-to-arrive (HTA) opportunities for the current soybean and corn crops.

"Go out to the July soybean contract (which was $5.67 in late September)," he suggests, "because it is 7-10 cents over the May. The same goes for corn, which is 6-7 cents higher than the May contract."

With HTAs, elevators make the futures trades for growers, who may then wait to set a favorable basis.

"Do a smart HTA and deliver the grain in July," says Flory. "Don't roll it out to December because there could be problems (similar to those that hit growers and elevators in 1995 and 1996)."

Good, an Illinois extension economist, agrees that HTAs could be a good marketing tool.

"Plan to deliver in July and set a basis and your cash price when it narrows (probably in the spring)," he says.

While holding the '98 crop offers later, yet promising marketing opportunities, getting part of 1999's crop booked early should be a priority.

"We're already looking at '99 sales through either forward contracts or buying put options," says McDonald. He'll likely book '99 corn when he can lock in a $2.50 or better cash price. "I hope to have half the crop priced before the end of spring."

Weides has no definite marketing plans for '99, but will pull the trigger earlier if distant months are attractive. Cappel will look at early forward contracts if there are December '99 futures rallies.

"If we do get some rallies, then they should consider getting priced ahead on Dec. '99 corn at $2.50-2.60 and Nov. '99 beans at $5.90-6," says Kluis.

He and Flory agree that, because of a poor basis, futures or options should be used to take advantage of early year pricing opportunities for '99 corn and beans.

"The market considers projections for '98-99 (yields and carryover) to be burdensome," says Flory. "When growers lock in those higher prices, they should check the basis. If it is poor, don't use the cash market. Use futures or put options."

Cappel and McDonald will decide whether to add soybeans to their acres if bean prices are attractive enough and to take advantage of Roundup Ready varieties to hold down costs. Weides is unsure about beans for '99, but the $6-plus range could sway him.

"Marketing is different every year," says Weides. "I've tried it all. I just need to use the various marketing tools to spread my sales over a 10- to 12-month period to try to get a good average price."

Corn+Soybean Digest

South American Production Will Drive Price Outlook

Are soybean futures at a major long-term low, or will prices slide still lower into the spring of 1999?

The acreage and yield of the South American crop are the key fundamentals that will determine soybean price action during the next three to six months. If any big swing occurs, it likely will be in Brazil.

Current estimates show South American acreage to be unchanged or down slightly. Soybean production there in 1999 is a function of three key factors: weather, price and Brazil's financial condition.

First, the weather has been cool and wet in Rio Grande do Sul and hot and dry in Mato Grasso. Brazilian meteorologists are forecasting a hot, dry growing season for Brazilian farmers.

Second, the early price ratio of corn to soybeans favored planting more corn. Early indications are that farmers in southern Brazil will plant more corn and rice and less soybeans. This could result in a soybean acreage reduction of 2-4% in southern Brazil.

Third, high interest rates and the devaluation of the real (Brazilian currency) have reduced operating money for growers. Initially, they were promised short-term operating loans at 5-8%. Later, when the government attempted to hold up the international value of the real, short-term interest rates jumped to 49%. The best commercial borrowers were able to secure loans at 4-6% per month.

With cash and new-crop soybean bids below growers' cost of production, seed companies and farm co-ops have not been able to provide fully adequate funds or credit for inputs.

The net result of these factors is difficult to forecast. Early indications are that a large percentage of Brazilian soybean farmers will cut back on herbicide, fertilizer and insecticide purchases this year. In some areas, a lot of bin-run seed will be planted.

If weather cooperates, a normal crop of 1-1.2 billion bushels may be produced, with a total South American crop of about 2 billion bushels. However, if any weather, disease or insect problems develop, Brazilian production could easily decline by 10% or more.

The trade is building in another huge crop in South America and any hint of weather problems will result in a rally in soybean futures.