Last year Case IH rolled out a massive four-wheel drive tractor - the Stieger 600 - with a 600-horsepower engine and plenty of other features. It's a big machine that can pull most anything, but it also raises a question: How do you maximize the investment in that much horsepower?
That's the questions a couple of key people at Case IH were also asking too, and Mitch Kaiser and his colleagues came up with an interesting idea. You see, another division of the company was also at work on some bigger implements and those implements begged the question: What can pull these? The answer is the Steiger-Tiger tour, which is a different way to show equipment.
"We could do the large group and feed them lunch thing," says Kaiser, marketing manager, Steiger tractors. "But with this approach it's more one-on-one."
With bigger, more investment heavy, equipment that may be the better approach, Kaiser says. The tour, which is actually adding stops (last count 19) will talk to more than 1,000 farmers and cover more than 2.5 million acres owned. And dealers are asking for the tour to head their way.
This is not a big tent show, it's a trailer, some pickups and the equipment rigs. For example, the one I made it to, there were a couple of Steiger 600 machines a rowcrop Steiger 450 and a Magnum tractor for demonstration.
The other star of this show - the tiger in the tank as it were - is the Ecolo-Tiger 870, a 13-shank, 26-foot disk ripper that can cover at least 22 acres per hour when pulled by that big Steiger.
Sitting in the cab of the rowcrop Steiger 450, Kaiser talked to me about the advantages of this selling approach - both for Case IH and for the customer (this after a little editorial mishap between me and a that Case IH vertical till rig - no more comment needed).
BIG RIG: The Steiger 600 and the Ecolo-Tiger 870 are a match pair that can cover a lot of ground. They're on the road together with an innovative field demo program by Case IH.
Kaiser explained that this is a low-pressure, higher information type of event. The farmer, and perhaps employees from the operation, can come to the event. They get quality one-on-one time with a Case IH representative, and there's plenty of time for questions. In addition, the dealer and the farmer have an appointment time - which allows the farmer to properly schedule the event.
"That's one thing we hear a lot about, they like the appointment," Kaiser says.
There's also the benefit of perhaps being a competitive owner, but being able to step out to check on the Case IH tech without driving into a dealership (which can be an issue).
"We're getting a lot of competitive owners to this event," Kaiser says. "It's an opportunity for us to show our innovations."
The tour begins in the pit, where an expert on the Ecolo-Tiger can answer questions about the disk ripper setup, the shank design and breaking up hard pan. They even offer tips about best depth settings and managing tough residues.
I got the pleasure of learning from Ivan Rieke, who though retired, keeps telling the tillage story. He notes that one issue he's learned that's a problem is the higher lignin content in the triple-stack corn hybrids. "That helps standability, but it makes it more difficult for the residues to break down," he notes. "Mixing them with the soil, as this machine does, helps solve that problem."
This one-on-one discussion, also allows the farmer to challenge tillage assumptions, learn about his own practices and pick up tillage tips from an industry veteran who's seen these machines perform across a range of soil types.
Will the Steiger-Tiger Tour sell Case IH equipment? I'm not a betting man, but in this situation a person could pretty much be sure that personal attention does pay off in the end. When the sale is for such big equipment, that sales technique usually has even better results.