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Trekking to Tulare

A Team FIN farmer visits the California Farm Equipment Show and casts his votes for the best new products for the shop and field.

Promoters of the California Farm Equipment Show in Tulare, CA, call it the world's largest showcase of products, technology and equipment for the farm. When I visited the show, I found that description to be right on target.

The show is big, but not overwhelming. It reminds me of the Ohio Farm Science Review. It took me a day and a half to cover everything and ask questions.

Because the show is located in the world's most productive dairy country, the display of dairy equipment is absolutely top-notch. Also, it is in the heart of vegetable, nut, grape and timber country, so visitors can expect to see a full complement of equipment for these crops.

Crowd pleasers. I found several interesting products at the show, but two were real showstoppers.

A large crowd of people gathered around the new Stellarc Welding System, which uses the engine of your pickup truck for its power source. It also can be used as a power source for 120v power tools up to 2,500W. The suggested list price, 2,900 dollars, includes alternator, control box and connecting hardware. For more information, Contact Stellar Indus-tries Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 169, Garner, IA 50438, 800/321-3741. Deere 9000 series tra cked machines also generated a lot of interest. Out in California this newer, larger machine is what dealers and farmers were waiting for from Deere. Tracked machines in the area are rented as commonly as Bobcat skid steers are in the Midwest. They are the preferred machines for working the ground after deep ripping. The tracks float on top of the rough ground, whereas wheel machines "boat" back and forth and slop in very rough ground. For more information, contact Deere & Company, Dept. FIN, John Deere Rd., Moline, IL 61265, 913/310-8324.

New engines. A new generation of Cummins diesel engines for farm and industrial use was introduced at the show. The result of extensive research and development, the company claims that the 4-valve/cyl. engines are easier to build, are more fuel-efficient and have lower exhaust emissions. They will power White tractors and most AGCO combines. The previously introduced 24-valve B5.9 engines will continue to be available in Dodge pickups and are now offered in medium-duty Ford trucks (classes 6 and 7). For more information, contact Cummins Engine Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 3005, Columbus, IN 47202, 812/377-3690.

Fendt tractor. Missing from the show was the Fendt tractor. The AGCO people said that the company decided not to sell the tractor in the U.S. at this time because it is waiting for better economic conditions and for the tractor to become more Americanized.

Oil. Deere's Bio Hy-Gard transmission and hydraulic oil caught my interest. It is formulated with a canola oil base and is recommended for use in environmentally sensitive areas. For more information, contact Deere & Company, Dept. FIN, John Deere Rd., Moline, IL 61265, 913/310-8324.

Fuel additive. Shaeffer introduced a soy-oil-based fuel additive, called #139 soyshield, that may help improve the demand for soybeans. The company claims that this diesel fuel supplement provides better lubricity than other additives while reducing emissions, exhaust smoke and particulates. It also claims that the additive boosts the fuel cetane rating in diesel engines up to 4 points, increases fuel economy up to 7percent and improves horsepower up to 5 percent. The product contains a detergency package to help keep the fuel system clean. For more information, contact Schaeffer's Specialized Lub-ricants, Dept. FIN, 102 Barton St., St. Louis, MO 63104, 800/325-9962.

Buddy seat. Hy Capacity of Humbolt, IA, displayed the Side Kick (a buddy seat) and Side Step (an exterior step to aid in window washing) for Deere 8000 series tractors. Both additions use existing bolt-holes on the tractor for easy installation. Suggested list prices are 360 dollars for the Side Kick and 112 dollars for the Side Step. For more information, contact Hy Capacity, Dept. FIN, Box 156, Humboldt, IA 50548, 515/332-2125.

High efficiency. "Super-productive" describes the Schulte 5026 rotary cutter. Designed for cutting corn stalks and wheat stubble with a cutting width of 26 ft. 2 in., it is the widest width available today. High rpm blade sets and 220-hp gearboxes allow it a daily cutting rate that is 50 percent greater than that of most 20-ft. rotary cutters. For more information, contact Schulte Industries Ltd., Dept. FIN, Box 70, Englefeld, Saskatchewan, Canada S0K 1N0, 306/287-3715.

Case IH sprayers also were on display. The SPX 4260 Patriot self-propelled sprayer shown above has rated horsepower of 260 and a travel speed of 30 mph. The sprayer's height is 121/3 ft. with a wheelbase of 12_1/2 ft. and a ground clearance of 4_1/2 ft. Boom length is 60 to 90 ft. For more information, contact Case Corp., Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine, WI 53404, 414/636-6011.

Real horsepower. After the show, my wife and I flew to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We had a chance to see some Mexican agriculture that is dependent on horses and hand labor for cultivating. We returned home with real appreciation and gratitude for the advanced technology we had seen in Tulare.

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