The farmer who stopped to look at the latest Vermeer round baler with huge tires, billed as the silage special for wrapping big, round wet bales to ensile them, probably isn't the same person who did a double-take when he or she saw the tiny imported baler (Tonuti) that looks like a miniature round baler. But it's no joke- it produces 60 pound, round bales that should better fit goat operations, or perhaps appeal to women working in horse operations who handle their own hay bales.
There was certainly nothing miniature about the price. The tiny baler, which can be powered by a 15-horse tractor, lists for about $13,500! There is also a bale wrapper that can wrap the small bales- for an added price, of course.
The farmer who took a hard look at the specially-painted anniversary model Case IH Steiger four –wheel drive tractor probably wasn't looking at the Kubota tractor with a backhoe behind and other options available. The big Steiger features special paint, including red and gold, a far cry from the green color of the original Steiger tractors. The rear tires were so big that a grown young man could sit inside one, using it for an expensive rest stop during the show.
Another attention getter was a huge, automatic tobacco harvester. While people from areas north of the Kentucky River didn't have much use for such a tool, it was turning heads due to it's innovative design.
The show featured inventions as simple as a magnet on a stick, that sells for $25 from Nancy's Blankets. They specialize in producing mats from straw to lay down in waterways once they're seeded to protect against major disaster that could happen if heavy rain falls and causes washing before the seed gets a chance to sprout and grow roots. The magnet on a stick always someone installing the blankets to install the wire staples into the ground without bending over. Those who have used the blankets claim that once the grass becomes established, the steeples are no longer a concern.
Then there's the huge combines, including the Lexion, Gleaner, Massey Ferguson, John Deere and Case IH combines. A show is a good place to compare one with another, because the equipment companies are eager to leave cabs unlocked so potential customers can check them out.
At the same time, you could have walked out with a $20-$30 plastic hog panel from Kane Industries. That would set you back perhaps $30, far less that anyone of the major league combines displayed at the show.
When it comes to agriculture today, there are the huge operations and the small, almost hobby or at least low volume farms. Equipment manufacturers, including the big players and short-line companies, are concentrating on hitting home runs in both segments of the market. That was very evident after a walk through the majority of the Show this year.