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Articles from 1999 In November


Corn+Soybean Digest

December 1, 1997

Hoes on a dime

The latest backhoe from Great Bend Manufacturing, the 951, is designed with two swing cylinders to provide precise control while digging.

Swing cylinders coupled with improved metering hydraulic spools offer the operator smooth control of the unit. It mounts on most 55- to 100-hp tractors with Cat. I and II 3-pt. hitches or on most skid steers from 40 to 100 hp. Digging depth is 9 ft. 7 in. with 4,575 lbs. of digging force. Suggested list prices with bucket: $8,350 with skid steer mount, or $7,950 with 3-pt. hitch mount. Contact Great Bend Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Box 829, Great Bend, KS 67530, 800/825-1701.

New ditcher drains fields

Illinois flatland farmers create drainage banks to halt replanting.

For as long as landowners in Jamaica Township, Vermillion County, IL, can remember, they have had a problem with standing water in their planted crops.

"We tried all the known methods, and we always had crops drown out," says Joel Taylor, a farmer in the county. "We had resigned ourselves to replanting year after year."

The road commissioner was just as frustrated. A road that crossed the wet fields was often under water. During one particular rainy season, it didn't dry out for 32 days.

Then early this year, Taylor saw a new larger rotary ditcher being operated and knew that someone had finally devised a solution for his township's persistent water problem.

Rotary giant. This powerful ditcher, built by Watershed Management Company of Mt. Sterling, OH, can peal out a notch 4 ft. wide by 20 in. deep in a single pass.

It moves soil at a rate of 8 yds./min. at a cost of $0.30 to $0.50/yd. That makes it more efficient than a pan scraper, which will move 2 yds./min. at a cost of $2/yd.

The ditcher's main flywheel, made from 1-in.-thick steel, is 8 ft. in diameter. The wheel mounts eight diagonal digger buckets, each of which weighs 120 lbs. Inside the wheel housing is a replaceable steel wear band.

The flywheel is turned up to 170 rpms, and it will throw out soil as far as 150 ft. The ditcher also can deflect the soil down into a berm or throw it onto trucks.

The ditcher has blades on both sides, which can be hydraulically raised or lowered, to cut and deflect soil into the wheel. When these blades are used with the wheel, the ditcher can leave a signature 10 ft. wide by 20 in. deep. When deeper or wider cuts are needed, more passes are made with the machine.

Remedy for replanting. Using the rotary ditcher, along with topographical mapping and laser guidance, Watershed Management created the waterways and road ditches for the surface drainage of some 410 acres of Jamaica Township farmland and more than 1 mile of roadway.

The ditcher threw cut soil 150 ft. to the sides of the main waterway, creating gently sloping drainage banks that were planted in soybeans (see photo).

But the main benefits of the surface drainage were that the road stayed clear and the field crops stayed dry.

"In this first year, our heaviest rain was 3 in.," Taylor says. "[The waterways and ditches] drained the farmland and the road in 5 hrs. No water was left standing, and the crop needed no replanting at all."

For more information, contact Watershed Management Co., Dept. FIN, 10460 S R 56 S.E., Mt. Sterling, OH 43143, 740/852-5607.

Christmas on the farm

"What is so special about Christmas in farm country?" This question introduces Voyageur Press's A Farm Country Christmas, and the following pages answer it in prose and beautiful full-color photos and paintings.

Stories by writers from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Garrison Keiller depict the holiday from the Depression to present day. The book would make a wonderful, nostalgic gift. Price: $30 plus shipping. Contact Voyageur Press, Dept. FIN, 123 N. Second St., Stillwater, MN 55082, www.voyageurpress.com.

More hog farm buyouts

Smithfield Foods surprised the livestock industry by announcing intentions to purchase Tyson Foods' hog operations held in a wholly owned subsidiary called The Pork Group Inc. This announcement came one month after the large pork packer revealed plans to purchase Murphy Family Farms, Rose Hill, NC.

Smithfield plans to pay 3 million shares of its common stock for Tyson's hog farms, which market 1.8 million hogs annually. Most of the farms are located in the Midwest and North Carolina.

If both purchases are completed, Smithfield will account for 13% of the nation's hog production. This is creating concerns that Smithfield's control of hogs and slaughter facilities will depress cash markets. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and USDA Secretary Dan Glickman both are asking the U.S. Justice Department to review the purchases.

Don't call it a GMO

Could consumer acceptance of genetic engineering be as simple as changing the terms used to describe it? Maybe. Research conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) found that U.S. consumers called the term "genetically modified organism"a big turnoff. An even bigger no-no is the term "transgenic animal." IFIC program manager Susan Pitman says consumers may not know what these terms mean exactly, but they are sure they won't like whatever it is they describe.

On the other hand, consumers liked the terms "animal biotechnology" and "genetically enhanced animal products."

Studies conducted by this nonprofit group found that consumers accept food biotechnology if its benefits are explained. A study conducted in February 1999 showed that 62% of consumers would be likely to buy produce that was modified by biotechnology to taste better or fresher. Even more consumers in the study, 77%, would buy produce modified by biotechnology to protect from insect damage and to require fewer pesticide applications. Contact IFIC, Dept. FIN, 1100 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 430, Washington, DC 20036, 202/296-6540, www.ificinfo.health.org.

New from the Farm Progress Show

Neither mud nor cool weather could keep multitudes of farmers away from the 1999 Farm Progress Show located in the heart of Iowa's Amana Colonies.

Small rotary unveiled

Farmers now have a third model of Caterpillar rotary combines to purchase. At the show, the Omaha, NE, manufacturer unveiled its smallest rotary combine, the Lexion 470. The new model, a smaller and less expensive version of the Lexion 480 combine, features Caterpillar's dual-rotary harvesting separation system found on the Lexion 480 and 485. The 470 model also has the automated and "in-the-cab" adjustments. It uses a 290-hp, turbocharged, air-to-air, after-cooled Cat 3126 diesel engine. Contact Caterpillar at 800/882-4228.

Comfy calves

A new self-contained calf nursery drew crowds of interested dairy farmers at the show. Designed to keeps calves comfortable and healthy, the nursery is a Double L Group building equipped with Vittetoe stalls. The 16 x 66-ft. nursery holds 52 calves from birth to weaning, about 8 to 10 weeks of age. The building features new turnaround calf stalls, which give each calf 15 sq. ft. of space. Drafts from manure pits are eliminated in this building with self-contained, insulated pits and a scraper system. The building also is equipped with a complete ventilation system. Cost is estimated at $23 to $24/calf based on 6 groups of calves/yr. and a 7-yr. payoff plan. Contact Vittetoe Inc., Dept. FIN, Keota, IA 52248, 800/848-8386.

Square folding

Hiniker released a prototype of a new sprayer for its Century line. The company designed the prototype with an unusual square fold on the 90-ft. boom that allows the use of a three-point mounting. When folded, the self-leveling boom extends 13 ft. high and 16 ft. wide. It is installed on a 1,000-gal. Century HD series sprayer. Estimated boom price: $8,500. Contact Hiniker Co., Dept. FIN, Box 3407, Mankato, MN 56002-3407, 507/625-6621.

Separating N-serve

Producers won't need to worry about using N-serve in ammonia tanks with the new N-serve ground drive injection system. Blue-Jet, a division of Thurston Manufacturing, introduced its new N-serve system with a 55-gal. tank that mounts on the toolbar. This keeps N-serve application separate from the ammonia application and eliminates the risk of corrosion in ammonia tanks. Cost of the system for mounting on a Blue-Jet GDI 200 system is $2,500. Contact Thurston Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Hwy. 87A, Thurston, NE 68062-0218, 800/658-3127.

Deeper treads

Tire maker Firestone continues its tradition of developing tires for specialized applications with the introduction of three new farm tires, its first line of ATV tires and a big single flotation tire.

The Des Moines, IA, company was asked to develop a premium tractor tire for better wear and work in wet applications. The result is the new radial, deep-tread, 23 degree tire (shown). It boasts 25% deeper tread for more wear and the characteristic 23 degree tread pattern for optimum tractor efficiency.

Another new tire, the radial 9000, is a premium tire available for tractors and high-clearance sprayers. The tire has a special tread compound that is cool-running and long-wearing, making it ideal for road use. An economy version, called the radial 23 degree tire, has the 23 degree angle but not the deeper tread.

At the request of ATV maker Bridgestone Japan, Firestone developed a line of new ATV tires. The Dirt Hook tire (shown) works for general use and dry conditions, and the Mud Hook is ideal for wet conditions. The ATV line works on all makes of ATVs. Suggested retail prices range from $30 to $65.

Firestone also introduces a big single flotation tire for heavy-duty applications. The tire has a 78-in. diameter, 45-in. width and 32-in. rim. Contact Firestone Agricultural Tire Co., Dept. FIN, 730 E. 2nd St., Des Moines, IA 50309, 800/350-3276.

Lengthy applicator

A new 7200 series anhydrous ammonia applicator is available from Progressive Farm Products. The applicator features a 60-ft., pull-type toolbar that front folds for a narrow transport width of 161/2 ft. Fully equipped, it retails for $45,676. Contact Progressive Farm Products, Dept. FIN, Box 17, Hudson, IL 61748-9704, 309/454-1564.

Steerable grain cart

Balzer introduces a grain cart designed for easy steering and low compaction. The new cart features steerable axles, two on tandem models and four on tridem models, and hydraulically activated brakes. Large flotation tires reduce field compaction.

The cart is available in 600- and 950-bu. capacities. Optional extensions will increase capacity to 700 bu. and 1,050 bu. The cart comes equipped with a 16-ft. unload auger that folds across the front. The 950-bu. cart sells for $28,000. Contact Balzer Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 458, Mountain Lake, MN 56159, 800/795-8551.

New from the Ohio Farm Science Review

"With the number of people in fields harvesting and with the drought conditions we've experienced here in Ohio, we expected attendance to be off significantly, but it wasn't," says Craig Fendrick, manager of Ohio State University's Farm Science Review. Attendance at this year's show in London, OH, was the third highest in the show's 37-year history, with 140,460 tickets sold.

The show's 585 exhibitors were displaying everything from combines to shoe polish. The hottest sellers? Items costing less than $30,000, such as tractors under 100 hp. "But even exhibitors of the big-ticket items said they had enough folks who were interested to make it worthwhile for them to be there," Fendrick says.

Here's a look at some of the new products unveiled at this year's show.

Front-mount injector

Instead of mounting this toolbar behind the tank, Clymer/Clark put it in front to give you better visibility of your liquid nitrogen applications. The new RCF 1000 front-mounted coulter injection applicator is available with up to 17 coul-ters and a bigger tank to cover more acres. Three tank sizes are available: 750, 1,000 or 1,600 gal. The tank bottom is contoured and fully drainable to prevent algae from growing on the bottom. Suggested list price: around $17,000. Contact Clymer/ Clark Inc., Dept. FIN, 407 E. Washington St., Box 266, Pandora, OH 45877-0266, 419/384-3211.

Articulated loader

This German-made, articulated loader used in mills and foundries and for construction and landscape for years is now making its debut in agriculture. "It's the most popular thing on this lot. We are already running out of literature," says Jack Furay, Furay Distributing Company, after only the first day of the show. "Dairy farmers want it to move silage, hay and manure."

The Coyote uses half the fuel of a regular front-end tractor loader, offers more capacity than a skid steer, yet is safer and longer-lasting and requires less maintenance, Furay says. It features a Deutz, air-cooled engine. Everything in the front end is within reaching distance so parts are easy to work on. It even comes with a tool set. The 38-hp loader shown here is one of 16 models in the series. Prices range from $25,000 to $70,000. Contact Furay Distributing Co., Dept. FIN, Box 88, Lewis Center, OH 43035, 740/548-4689.

Place starter right

J.S. Ag Innovations says that its new liquid fertilizer placement disc for Case IH planters (800 series or newer) gives the yield benefits of starter fertilizer without the effects of germination burn. The blade places liquid fertilizer 1 in. off to the side of the seed trench and just below the seed. "The farmer who tested it had a 4- to 5-bushel yield increase," says company representative Jeff Schultz. "He put part of the fertilizer on at planting and side-dressed later." One bolt connects the disc to the existing factory cast bracket on the planter. Suggested list price: $35 to $40/kit, which includes 9-in. blade assembly and metal application tube. Contact J.S. Ag Innovations Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 125C, Ewing, MO 63440, 800/400-2610.

Fast fill seed

Fill a planter with seed in only 15 min. without having to move a wagon around with this new central-fill auger system designed for Kinze planter models 2600 or 3600. It fills up to 24 seed boxes at once. "Otherwise you would have to fill each box individually with bags or a wagon auger," says Kasco president Phil Kaster. The system bolts on to your planter. An auger run by hydraulics fills the main line. Holes are cut on the hopper lids for the grain to drop in. Suggested list price: $5,500 for complete unit with hydraulics. Contact Kasco, Dept. FIN, 170 W. 600 N., Shelbyville, IN 46176, 317/398-4636.

Bend steel cold

This new cold bender uses the down force from your 20-ton shop press to bend up to 1/2-in.-thick steel for any repairs that require a bent piece of metal. "Otherwise you would have to heat the steel with a torch and bend it with a sledge hammer," says Gene Shoup. "But the bend is not as accurate as what you get with this." Suggested list price: $225. Contact Shoup Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, 145 S. West Ave., Kankakee, IL 60901, 800/627-6137.

Chop stalks fast

Finely chop corn stalks and bean, wheat and sunflower stubble to leave an even residue on top of your conservation tillage acres with this new stalk chopper by Hawkins Manufacturing. It features a five-blade reel front and six blades in back to ensure the proper blade overlap for good chopping.

"You can cover a lot of acres fast," says company representative Neil Junckin, who says you can drive 10 mph or faster with this design. The 8-row, 30-in. model featured here requires a 3,640-lb. tractor. A double-welded, 7 x 7-in. frame provides for added strength. Choose between a straight cut or angle cut for more aggressive chopping. Suggested list price: $8,275. Contact Hawkins Mfg. Inc., Dept FIN, 2120 E. 4th Ave., Holdrege, NE 68949, 308/995-4446.

Longer-wearing seed tube protector

RK Products designed a new seed tube protector to keep planter opener discs from squeezing in on the seed tubes of current John Deere and Kinze planters. It features a floating graphite block nestled in a steel holder bracket that is mounted to the shank assembly. The graphite lasts twice as long as a planter's original protector, according to the company. Price: around $15. Contact RK Products, Dept. FIN, 3802 Jean St., East Moline, IL 61244, 800/580-6818.

Norwegian chopper

This new multipurpose, self-loading Kverneland KD 832 bale chopper can chop, spread and feed both dry and high-moisture haylage. "Most others aren't self-loading and they can process one or the other very well, but at a very expensive price," says company representative Mark Neely. "This one does it all." The chopper handles both round bales up to 4 x 5 ft. and large or small square bales. It is equipped with a fan that can blow straw up to 59 ft. for bedding. You can control all these functions from the seat of your tractor. Suggested list price: approximately $14,000. Contact Norcan Farm Equipment, Dept. FIN, Box 2409, Youngstown, OH 44509, 800/233-0815.

Product when you need it

New satellite inventory management system keeps tabs on input supplies.

If you store feed additives or other inputs in a bulk tank or silo out on the back forty and are tired of driving out to check product levels, there's help. A new inventory management system by Electronic Sensors will monitor the levels for you and have new product shipped without your having to make a single phone call to your supplier.

Eye in the sky. Electronic sensors installed on the tank or silo measure product levels. That information is sent to your input supplier by way of satellite signals. Solar panels and a transmitter on the tank send the signals to the satellite.

In the past, telephone lines were the only way to transmit inventory information, which limited inventory management to those areas that had telephone connections or cellular service, according to Marsh Martin, spokesperson for Electronic Sensors.

"Now we can monitor tanks and silos that are remotely located, where you can't get to a phone line or other power source to transmit data," Martin says.

Using satellites also is cheaper than having a dedicated phone line. And it allows you to move your storage tanks without losing monitoring capability. "You can put [a receiver] on a railroad car, for instance, and can have a GPS signal that tells the vendor where the car is," says Mac McCurdy, product specialist with Electronic Sensors.

Daily checks. Your input suppliers can have access to information about product levels in your tanks on a daily basis so they will know when it is time to schedule a new shipment.

Martin says that vendor-managed inventory is a fairly new concept to agriculture. Vendors generally offer it as a free service to customers. If your suppliers do not offer this service, Electronic Sensors can help them get set up. Contact Electronic Sensors, Dept. FIN, 1611 W. Harry, Wichita, KS 67213, 800/886-2511.