• Willie Vogt

    Agriculture and the Internet of things

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 8, 2015

    Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show talk of the "internet of things" really started big. And the idea has flourished into this year's CES. The idea is that devices would be connected across a network and linked to the cloud in some fashion. But what might that mean for farmers? What follows is a hypothetical, but potentially realistic, way that such a tool might be applied to your farm equipment. Data-connected farm equipment already provides manufacturers rich…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Global farm machinery outlook dour

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 24, 2015

    It may be like stating the obvious but 2015 farm equipment sales could be soft. Of course, the list of layoffs at the major manufacturers is a solid sign that they're pulling back quickly to avoid past mistakes. In fact, in conversations at the National Farm Machinery Show and Commodity Classic, some of us "legacy" equipment followers talked about this latest downturn versus the historic collapse of the mid 1980s. And we all agreed that this time around, 30 years later, the…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Rising used farm machinery inventory drives new industry initiative

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 25, 2015

    This week I'll be covering Commodity Classic in Phoenix (and yes I've had more than my fair share of trips to warm places this winter - and I'm not complaining) which includes a great trade show. As I did at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show I expect to hear more about a trend that has been gaining more traction in the farm equipment industry - certified pre-owned equipment, which I'll call CPO. The idea of CPO products isn't new, major car makers and aggressive dealers…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Thoughts from a farm show

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 18, 2015

    Farmers are resilient. Despite the news of lower prices, reduced demand and tighter margins there's nothing like a farm show to bring out your best. Last week I was at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., and apparently so were most of you. The crowds were huge and the mood among exhibitors was one of a bit of 'surprise.' Sure there are situations where it was more look than buy, but several exhibitors I talked with shared they were pleasantly surprised by farmer…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Machinery year makes soft landing

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 27, 2015

    After about five years of go-go sales the farm equipment industry saw a softer sales year in 2014 according to the December2014 Flash Report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Lower crop prices have business farmers stepping back from sales, but when the dust settled 2014 sales were ahead of the five-year average and just below the previous two years. Looking at the numbers, smaller tractor sales have recovered well after a big slump after the Great Recession in 2008. For…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Feeling the need for speed?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 30, 2014

    There's that great line from the movie Top Gun - "I feel the need, the need for speed" and of course they were talking about jet fighters. But these days with less labor and bigger farms I'm thinking a few of our readers feel sometimes like they need some speed too. Perhaps it started when tractor road speeds started to increase. In Europe, where truck taxes and other factors make transportation more tractor-based, faster road speeds are a must. Over that that meant 50 khp…

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  • Willie Vogt

    The hits just keep coming

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 15, 2014

    The farm equipment market is a nimble environment where the slightest news can make a big difference, and when crop prices started falling so did sales - at least for large equipment. But a quick look at the market shows that on the whole it's been holding its own as commodity prices weakened. The biggest change in sales comes in the largest equipment - big four-wheel drive tractors and combines. So far for the year, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers reports 4-wd tractor sales are…

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  • Willie Vogt

    5 Things to Think About Harvest, and Post-Harvest

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 22, 2014

    Recently had the chance to sit in the 'training seat' of a combine and have some great conversation with a farmer finishing up his Iowa corn harvest. While we periodically watched the monitor jump above 290 bushels per acre, the main thing was getting finished - as always. And it made me think of a few things in the process, which I thought I would share. 1 - Happy with a big yield. Sure the giant corn crop they keep talking about incessantly is weighing on corn prices, but I'm…

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  • Willie Vogt

    One tech moving 'up'

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 6, 2014

    There's plenty of evidence you may be slowing those equipment purchases, but one area that remains hot for 2015 is the unmanned aerial vehicle - or drone. We're seeing more online links to drone-made videos that could be called UAV-selfies as farmers have the aerial units follow combines or tractors through the field. Every farm show where UAVs are on display has shown that farmers have a high interest in these tools and their potential for on-farm information gathering. Of course, we…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Decade of new tire tech includes trip to France for checkup

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 21, 2014

    This job sometimes forces me to travel overseas. It's a small burden I bear for you, dear reader, to learn more about farm technology and tools you can apply in your operation. This time it was a trip to France to check out tire technology, and to note a milestone at Michelin. It's been 10 years since the company premiered the UltraFlex technology that created a new tire classification with IF and VF part of the equipment lingo. The high-flex sidewalls premiered by Michelin aim to…

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