Ag Companies Churn Out New Products

Hopper is full after fall farm shows.

Published on: Sep 28, 2007

Weed scientists have lamented for years that the herbicide pipeline is down tot a trickle or less. But that’s because of a dramatic shift in agriculture, precipitated by Roundup Ready soybeans in the late ‘90s and later Roundup Ready corn. Conservation tillage also played a role, spurred on by residue requirements on highly erodible land. Then GPS and precision farming, completely unknown in agriculture until about 15 years ago, is beginning to stake a claim as a major player in agriculture in the future. The net result is a wave of companies are either updating or introducing totally new products to meet the demands of a changing type of agriculture.

Farm Progress editors combed the Farm Progress Show near Decatur, Ill., and come up with more than 130 new products. In addition, Frank Holdmeyer, executive editor, found another three dozen or so new products at Husker Harvest Days, held each year in Grand Island , Nebraska. While his list there is from companies that primarily don’t exhibit at Farm Progress, many of the products still have application to this part of the country. If you’re into irrigation, that’s the show where all the big players show their wares. There were at least two major companies displaying irrigation technology at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, but the Husker Harvest Show is big on irrigation. That’s because irrigation is a major player in western agriculture, particularly in Nebraska.

The October issue of both Indiana Prairie Farmer and Prairie Farmer begin to carry rundowns on these products. In Indiana Prairie Farmer’s October issue, due to arrive in your mailbox soon, four products ‘hot for fall’ are featured. They included Dickeyjohn’s mini-GAC moisture tester- a hand-held version fo the same technology that is the standard of the industry for grain testing in the elevator world.

Organizers have already tried the mini-GAC with test weight option on Corn Illustrated plots near Edinburgh. It takes about 10 minutes to become efficient understanding how to operate it, then only about a minute to get results from a sample. This unit displays not only moisture, but test weight. There is no cap to screw on- nothing complicated- just fill a plastic tube that slides onto the tester base once it’s ready to test, and a small trap door to pull to allow the grain to flow into the testing cone from the plastic collection tube. This unit lists at $660 with the test weight option, or about $100 less without the test weight option. The test weight option helps add a good deal of information about hybrids, for a minimal amount of extra expense.

You will also see a 24-row, 20 inch corn head by North Star. Only two have been made so far. Bother will be sold and used this fall. The model displayed at the show was marked sold. It was outfitted with a color scheme to match the Lexion combine. The same company makes 16-row, 30-inch wide corn heads.

One item you will see featured in upcoming issues is a fire safety rig for combines, marketed by a company called Firebug. It consists of a fire extinguisher that dispenses liquid extinguishes when activated either manually, or automatically. Units can be located near the engine, transmission or bearing assemblies. The only drawback is that each system, with one extinguisher to one location, lists at about $4,500.

The subject is ‘hot,’ however, pardon the pun, because three combines have been destroyed by fire in central Indiana alone in the past two weeks. Extremely dry conditions and high temperatures while harvesting may be adding to the risk. One of the combines was relatively old, but one was brand new, with less than 10 hours on it.

Expect the November issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer to be packed full of information on various new products. Later, some of this information will be available on-line.