• Willie Vogt

    High-yield Producers Offer Insight

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 15, 2014

    You know the names, David Hula, Kip Cullers, Steve Albrecht, there's a list of names for top yield contest winners floating out there and you've seen coverage in our magazines and others about their farms. I've had the pleasure to meet many of these top-yielding producers in the past and I've learned a few things. As you're rolling with the planter in the next few weeks - and the Crop Progress Report this week shows planter are finally starting to move - there are some ideas…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 26, 2014

    I love this time of year - well usually I do when spring actually arrives. As I drive through the countryside I can almost feel the tension as each of you steps outside to check the weather (beyond what they tell you on TV). The tension mounts as you ready that last piece of equipment and perhaps give the planter or drill one last walkaround. Spring is your investment in a fall payday, a time when every second really counts. I remember having a conversation with Ag Economist Howard Doster a…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Equipment Sales Stick to Trend

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 18, 2014

    It's fun to watch statistics, to see how sales are shaping up. I'm sure livestock producers reading this are enjoying the direction of market states these days for hog and beef prices (provided you have animals to sell). Grain price stats are a little more sobering and given that a lot of analysts are watching equipment sales. The latest report on February numbers released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers last week look pretty good in the face of a market where a lot of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Looking Back, and Ahead at Ag Equipment

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 25, 2014

    Here's a short apology loyal reader - sorry. Conferences and shows and duties have limited my ability to blog lately and I'll work to get back on track in the coming weeks. From winter meetings to big events an ag journalist's time can be in short supply, yet there are pages to fill and websites to populate. All to help keep you informed. The past few weeks have been interesting. The National Farm Machinery Show was filled with plenty of new products and information. From faster…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Faster Planter In Your Future?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 13, 2014

    The coolest part of covering agricultural machinery is the continuous innovation we see across the industry. Need to plant narrower rows, then harvest them? No problem, engineers and innovators have solved that. Want to harvest soybeans or wheat faster? Bring on the draper header. Seeking faster, more efficient tillage? Vertical tillage is the answer. Most of these technologies are focused on getting more per acre or being more productive. One key area where there's been a challenge is…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm tractor makers keep inventories under control

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 4, 2014

    Final equipment sales/inventory figures reported by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers for 2013 offer a look at another stellar year for machinery sales. Every category rose for the year except four-wheel drive tractor sales - and those only slipped 0.4%. For the whole year, total farm tractor sales came to nearly 202,000 machines and showed a sales rise of 9.1% or the year. Combine sales were up too by 9.8% for the year - including a big jump in December as farmers scrambled to take…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Deals Being Done

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 28, 2014

    Kinze and Raven announced this week that they will collaborate on a new multi-hybrid planter control. Raven rolled out their approach last spring and Kinze made their announcement early this year. Kinze is rolling out its concept this spring and now it's clear how they'll get moving on the concept. This team-up makes sense from a development standpoint. Look around and you'll see other deals. Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and BASF have teamed with John Deere, mainly to allow for…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Bye Bye Hefty Write-off?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 17, 2014

    Got a chance to sit in on the Farm Futures Business Summit earlier this month and listened to Dwight Raab from the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association discuss a range of management and cash flow strategies. There was one slide, however, that caught my eye. And it's one that could have as much of an impact on your iron buying in the next few years as the price of corn. In that presentation he showed the history of the Internal Revenue Service Section 179 Expense Election from…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Digging into Machinery Industry Report

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 27, 2013

    The Association of Equipment Manufacturers releases a monthly report of equipment sales offering some insight into how the market is doing. The November report released earlier this month shows that 2013 was an even better year - overall - than 2012. And given that 2012 was strong that's saying something. As the year comes to a close (that Section 179 tax benefit expires next Tuesday), farmers may be scrambling to take delivery of new machines, which will make the December report even more…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Loving the Diesel

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 9, 2013

    Farmers love diesel tractors and combines, they have the torque needed to get the job done, and they're essentially more economical than gasoline engines might be in the same application. But what about cars? The arrival of common rail diesel technology in commercial applications has been a boon to users of these high-tech engines. As I think about my trip to Germany for Agritechnica one thought comes to mind, and it wasn't from the show. It came from the few days I spent after the…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Looking Ahead at Global Farm Equipment Market

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 27, 2013

    During Agritechnica recently the Agrievolution Alliance released its eighth survey among manufacturers and importers of machines. From the report, more than half responding say the business situation is good or very good, pushing the Agritech Business Climate index up three points. The group notes that global equipment sales should rise as much as 7% in 2014, good news for a market that may be feeling a bit of a pinch with sliding crop prices into the new year. According to the report, the…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Wrapping up a Big Show

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 17, 2013

    Agritechnica wrapped up Saturday and the DLG Team, along with VDMA, were happy with the results. Of the 2900 exhibitors on hand 52% were from outside Germany. In fact there were 47 countries represented on the exhibit stand. Reinhard Grandke, DLG, called Agritechnica a "workshop for the future" and there was plenty of hot new tech on hand. The challenge I had in viewing all of that was the proliferation of all those monitors. I'm not a big fan of the "mission control"…

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  • Willie Vogt

    If this is Mittwoch, or Wednesday, it's all the Same

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 13, 2013

    After years of working at Farm Progress, there are just some truths a person deals with. Deadlines keep coming. Farmers ask great questions. And Wednesdays are big at the farm shows. Turns out that last one could be a truism for other shows too. As we made the trek from hotel to show site at Agritechnica this morning we discovered there were quite a few more people on hand going into the show than on Tuesday. Over here in Germany Mittwoch is Wednesday (Mittwoch means mid-week), and it sure…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Agritechnica Exhibitors Tell Their Stories

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 11, 2013

    We're covering Agritechnica this week in Hannover, Germany and I hope to blog a couple times here at Farmer Iron about the experience. European trade shows are giant affairs held in super bring and modern exhibit facilities creating a different atmosphere from a U.S. farm show. And Agritechnica is the granddaddy of them all. This giant farm show housed in about 84 acres of indoor space offers show visitors plenty to see from more than 2900 exhibitors. And of those 1,500 are international…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm shows, travel and ag tech

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 8, 2013

    Agricultural equipment is always a hot topic. Farmers like to see what's new even if they're not planning to buy right way. That's true around the world. And while I've been going to farm shows for quite some time (not as long as many of you dear reader, but long enough) seldom do I venture out of the country. That changes next week. I'm heading to Hannover, Germany to cover Agritechnica. It's a big event spread through more than a dozen exhibition buildings at Hannover…

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  • Willie Vogt

    I Knew You Were Buying...But Wow!

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 25, 2013

    Prognostication in the equipment business is always interesting. Knowing what farmers may do in the year ahead based on costs, income and other factors is no easy guess. But one machinery analyst has made an observation worth sharing. Steven Fisher at UBS, issued a report this week showing that the key risk facing the farm equipment business in the near future is the ability for buyers to delay purchases. Noting that corn prices have fallen nearly 50% from their 2012 peak, the income picture…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Safety Above All Else

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 15, 2013

    Hard to write about farm safety without getting preachy, but a little "be careful out there" may not be enough every year. Our editors at Farm Progress know this and post items online to keep you thinking about safety. Over at Prairie Farmer, they posted a reminder that you shouldn't overlook grain storage safety. With wet grain coming in you often get more problems with entrapment. It's a challenge because you go into a bin to bust a crust and you end up getting pulled…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Are Softer Equipment Sales Ahead?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 1, 2013

    The farm equipment industry has been barreling along at an unusually fast clip for the past five years, so fast in fact that some execs have commented that a little "breather" might be appreciated. From the looks of some new survey from the investment community that may be ahead. A recent dealer survey conducted by the financial firm UBS shows that dealers see sales into 2014 as flat or declining, depending on the market. The survey, which had responses from 160 dealers, shows…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Rethinking Fueling Options

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on September 16, 2013

    The folks at the Propane Education and Research Council, the checkoff fund for propane producers, are constantly looking for new ways to put propane to work. The low-cost fuel is a byproduct of natural gas production and the supply is abundant these days, which also means prices are lower than for some fuels. Irrigators and users of stationary engines already have a range of power sources to choose from. We ran into Origin Engines at Husker Harvest days, where they were showing off their…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Show Trends and Interesting Items

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 29, 2013

    As the Farm Progress Show winds down it's a good time to think about what's hot from the show. Of course this year that has a double-meaning with temps in the 90s all three days, but farmers work outside, a little hot weather was no deterrent for visitors. Of course what's a little heat among friends when there are 40 air conditioned exhibits on the lot, and enough breeze and shade to keep ahead of the weather? I was thinking more about cool stuff like the new Ag Leader…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Fall Farm Shows: Taking it all In

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 20, 2013

    It's almost time. My in-box is filling up with more appointments than an ER doc as companies want to tell the world just what they'll have on hand at the 2013 Farm Progress Show, and later at the 2013 Husker Harvest Days. This is a big time at our company, especially as we've added new publications that are now part of our bigger family. But at the end of the day, next week is about The Show. We're gearing up. We're making packing plans. We're planning travel…

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  • Willie Vogt

    From Viral Video to Vintage Tractor App

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 9, 2013

    A few weeks ago I alerted readers to the fact that Max Armstrong was going viral...really. The veteran farm broadcaster, who has always had a passion for vintage tractors, is turning that love into a vintage tractor app you can download to your smartphone for free. This is not a simple picture app, it's an interactive tool you can use to keep up on Max's Tractor Shed, hear Midwest Digest reports and more. Below, I've embedded a little commercial promoting the app. Farm…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Tracking Growing Degree Days?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 2, 2013

    And now from the shameless self-promotion department comes a little help. If you're trying to track growing degree days we have a smart phone app for that. The program we developed with our partners iNet Solutions has been on the market for a few years now and during the scorching Drought of 2012 the program wasn't too much help. However, with the rain-delayed 2013 season, knowing just how far off you are from normal, or how many accumulated growing degree units you have since…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Machinery Makers Retool Websites

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 23, 2013

    Recently we got word that AgLeader updated its website - and we noted I noted that in my July print version of this column. Manufacturers know that you're turning to the Web more than ever to find out new things and get product information. Two more companies noted their redesigns and I thought this week I'd point you their way to check them out. First up is Remlinger Manufacturing. The Kalida, Ohio, maker of tillage tools and attachments has updated its navigation and added…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Online Tool Helps Master Nutrient Management

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 19, 2013

    Crop nutrition is a big deal. Just how do you keep that growing crop productive? The folks at Mosaic have been involved in providing in-depth information - they are in the crop nutrition business - for some time. They're even working directly with farmers on the Pursuit of 300 too. Yet for solid in-depth crop nutrition information they had a website called back-to-basics.net, which has now been supplanted by a new site - cropnutrition.com, which is redesigned and feature rich. It has…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Max Armstrong Goes Viral?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 11, 2013

    OK so let's just say that this viral video thing is probably one of the coolest things to hit agriculture in the past year. Our friends the Peterson Brothers set the tone with their "I'm Farming and I Grow It" video (8.6 million views so far). But there's a new "kid" or should I say "rascal" in town - Max Armstrong. On this page you'll find his new hope-to-be-viral video - Tractor Boy - and it's a hoot to watch. Pay close attention for a…

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  • Willie Vogt

    New Credit Program Coming from AGCO

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 28, 2013

    The days of running a tab at the local farm equipment dealer have been slowly slipping away for a number of reasons - including the cost of "carrying" customers. However, a rising trend will maintain the flexibility farmers need while enhancing the service a dealer can offer. The trend is the short-term credit program and the newest player is AGCO with the launch of AGCO Plus+ - yes that's actually AGCO Plus plus. "That was an unintended consequence of the way we named…

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  • Willie Vogt

    No Farm Bill? Really?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 21, 2013

    I was driving back from the 2013 Farm Progress Hay Expo when I heard the news that the House dumped the farm bill. Heard over National Public Radio that Collin Peterson, D-Minn., thought some votes went against the bill because members felt it would fail anyway due to a couple of add-ons during floor deliberations. No matter what's happening, it's a sign of a big change in the structure of support for agriculture. Farmers already gave up direct payments - in both the Senate and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Good Thing I Work for a Company with Farm Shows

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 18, 2013

    There are times when an affliction comes upon you quick - like a bad dinner. There are other things that bloom slowly in a person but when fully realized create fantastic possibilities in your mind. Really. For me the slow-growing but thoroughly captivating addition is the farm show. Perhaps it's because I kind of like crowds - even on a hot day in May Disney World can be fun as long as you realize where you are and that all of the people you're with are really there to have a…

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  • Willie Vogt

    When Was the Last Time you Tuned that Sprayer?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 14, 2013

    With this planting season that never ends we move into postemergence spraying season and it appears that's going to drag on too as you sneak out between rainstorms to control weeds. Talked with a weed scientist yesterday who says his phone has been ringing off the hook with weed questions, herbicide choice questions and spray drift questions. When the weather is dry, no matter the conditions, it appears we're loading up an going, and what choice do you have? As noted at…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Another Trip Down Memory Lane

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 7, 2013

    It's not every day that a company calls and offers you an exclusive first look at a new machine - really. I'm hoping more do, but I'll take 'em as they come. Anyway, this week I traveled to New Holland, Penn., and visited New Holland, where I got to chat with Abe Hughes, vice president, North America, about the company and about the newest tractor the Genesis T8. The company wants the world to know that its newest tractor has an innovative heritage, and the best way to do…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Is Replant in Your Future?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 28, 2013

    One thing's for sure, in this business change is now the norm. Officially, the drought is over for areas east of the Missouri river - especially after the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, we're past drought and talking flooding again. My home town - Vinton, Iowa - was hit pretty hard five years by flooding. I was there over the holiday and visions of that last round of flooding have to be going through the minds of those in town. Outside of town every creek I saw was over its…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Getting Your Planting Game On

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 16, 2013

    I write the crop condition report for our websites when I can and Monday's report showed that farmers are struggling to get corn in the ground - never mind soybeans (though that's going to change). One factor I noticed this week was that while only 28% of the crop was planted - versus 65% for the five-year average and 85% last year - there were some considerable week-over-week jumps. It's clear to me that farmers are adequately "equipped" to move a lot of seed from…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Gearing up for Competition

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 9, 2013

    Those of you who read this blog regularly know I have a soft-spot in my heart for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition - say that three times fast. In this event, students design and build a working tractor following a specific set of rules for engines, transmissions and other features, then load them up and head to Peoria, Ill., for a little competition. Or rather, a whole lot of competition. This is…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Meeting the Test

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 30, 2013

    Not sure what to say this time of year with a much-delayed planting season and every single Midwest corn farmer standing by his shop door waiting for ground temps to top 50 degrees F for planting. You've probably gone over that planter twice and checked it once again. You've gone over your field plan with your crew - family or hired labor - to make sure when you can deploy you're covering a lot of ground fast, and furious. There's probably one more thing to do, check…

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