Continuing a Legacy

The latest generation of Jackson-built TerraGator applicators continues what started nearly a half-century ago.
That’s the word from Mark Mohr, tactical marketing manager for AGCO’s application division, who said the new TerraGator C Series high-flotation nutrient applicator is the perfect machine to continue the TerraGator’s 45-year legacy as an industry leader.
AGCO’s new TerraGator C Series high-flotation nutrient applicator and redesigned spray system were introduced to the public at this past summer’s Midwest Ag Industries Expo in Bloomington, Ill.
“Crop production technologies have driven prescription nutrient application to new levels of precision and complexity as producers work to optimize crop and forage production,” Mohr said. “We understand these demands and that covering more acres accurately and efficiently drives our retailer customers’ businesses and producers’ agronomic needs. The TerraGator C Series applicators are designed and built to get this work done quickly and efficiently season after season, no matter the crop or the conditions.”
The TerraGator C Series has a trio of three-wheel models — the TG7300C, TG8300C and TG9300C — and one four-wheel model — the TG8400C. Mohr said all are equipped with engines carefully balanced to minimize vibration for long engine life, adding the chassis and drive systems are built specifically for the harsh conditions of off-road use. They’re also engineered for efficiency, he said, consuming 8 percent less fuel than previous models.
All may be equipped with AGCO’s new liquid system and one of six dry application systems, which Mohr said can be switched quickly, since the electrical connectors are now on the side of the chassis for easy access.
The TerraGator C Series’ redesigned spray system has full-featured booms, which Mohr said are tough and durable, while also providing greater accuracy. The new reload station has several new features designed to improve operator efficiency.
The booms on the new system are built with a wider inner-boom cross section and structural members, larger 1.75-inch boom pins and enhanced mid-boom fold and tip breakaway structures. They are available in 80-foot and 60/80-foot fold-over options to cover 82.5 feet at 30-inch nozzle spacing and 85 feet with 60-inch nozzle spacing. Both booms are available with seven sections for less overlap and reduced product waste.
Mohr said loading is faster and more efficient as the eductor on the new reload station is 50 percent larger. For operator convenience, the sump controls, remote throttle and other loading functions are controlled on the ground using a touch-button LCD screen with digital tank-level display for quick and accurate load management. An optional product recovery system is available.
TerraGator C Series applicators may be equipped with any of six dry nutrient application systems.
For operator convenience, the TerraGator C Series features the same operator environment, command center and touch-screen terminal found in the RoGator C Series row crop applicators. Mohr said simple operation and fewer manual operations let the operator focus on application accuracy, adding the air-ride cab suspension and enhanced seat suspension provide a comfortable ride, while the ergonomic design of the controls, as well as expanded visibility, help minimize fatigue. By Justin R. Lessman

The latest generation of Jackson-built TerraGator applicators continues what started nearly a half-century ago.
That’s the word from Mark Mohr, tactical marketing manager for AGCO’s application division, who said the new TerraGator C Series high-flotation nutrient applicator is the perfect machine to continue the TerraGator’s 45-year legacy as an industry leader.
AGCO’s new TerraGator C Series high-flotation nutrient applicator and redesigned spray system were introduced to the public at this past summer’s Midwest Ag Industries Expo in Bloomington, Ill.
“Crop production technologies have driven prescription nutrient application to new levels of precision and complexity as producers work to optimize crop and forage production,” Mohr said. “We understand these demands and that covering more acres accurately and efficiently drives our retailer customers’ businesses and producers’ agronomic needs. The TerraGator C Series applicators are designed and built to get this work done quickly and efficiently season after season, no matter the crop or the conditions.”
The TerraGator C Series has a trio of three-wheel models — the TG7300C, TG8300C and TG9300C — and one four-wheel model — the TG8400C. Mohr said all are equipped with engines carefully balanced to minimize vibration for long engine life, adding the chassis and drive systems are built specifically for the harsh conditions of off-road use. They’re also engineered for efficiency, he said, consuming 8 percent less fuel than previous models.
All may be equipped with AGCO’s new liquid system and one of six dry application systems, which Mohr said can be switched quickly, since the electrical connectors are now on the side of the chassis for easy access.
The TerraGator C Series’ redesigned spray system has full-featured booms, which Mohr said are tough and durable, while also providing greater accuracy. The new reload station has several new features designed to improve operator efficiency.
The booms on the new system are built with a wider inner-boom cross section and structural members, larger 1.75-inch boom pins and enhanced mid-boom fold and tip breakaway structures. They are available in 80-foot and 60/80-foot fold-over options to cover 82.5 feet at 30-inch nozzle spacing and 85 feet with 60-inch nozzle spacing. Both booms are available with seven sections for less overlap and reduced product waste.
Mohr said loading is faster and more efficient as the eductor on the new reload station is 50 percent larger. For operator convenience, the sump controls, remote throttle and other loading functions are controlled on the ground using a touch-button LCD screen with digital tank-level display for quick and accurate load management. An optional product recovery system is available.
TerraGator C Series applicators may be equipped with any of six dry nutrient application systems.
For operator convenience, the TerraGator C Series features the same operator environment, command center and touch-screen terminal found in the RoGator C Series row crop applicators. Mohr said simple operation and fewer manual operations let the operator focus on application accuracy, adding the air-ride cab suspension and enhanced seat suspension provide a comfortable ride, while the ergonomic design of the controls, as well as expanded visibility, help minimize fatigue.

New TerraGator C series wows at debut

For the second consecutive year, a Jackson-built applicator has received the prestigious MAGIE Show Stopper Award at the Midwest Ag Industries Exposition.
The new TerraGator C Series applicator earned the award at the conclusion of the annual August ag expo in Bloomington, Ill. The award comes on the heels of the RoGator C Series applicator and LiquidLogic system taking the prize during last year’s expo.
Each year, attendees of the annual expo are asked to vote on the one product featured at the show that literally stops them in their tracks to take a closer look. The last two years, those have been products built in Jackson.
Mark Mohr, marketing manager for AGCO’s application division, said show attendees marveled at the TerraGator C Series’ redesigned command center and touchscreen terminal, enhanced cab suspension, improved visibility and transmission upgrades.
“As this award is voted on by MAGIE show attendees, we are especially honored to receive the 2018 MAGIE ShowStopper award,” Mohr said. “This award confirms to us that we listened to what our customers wanted and gave them the application machine they were waiting for.”
MAGIE, an annual tradeshow focused on the crop production supply and service sector, draws attendees from across the United States and Canada. The MAGIE ShowStopper Award began nine years ago as a joint venture between CropLife IRON magazine and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.
 

Tile installers help farmers prepare for the future

Winter is approaching and farmers are working hard to harvest the last of their crops. Meanwhile, in some fields where the crops have already been harvested, drainage companies are installing tile to help farmers maximize their harvests in years to come.
“This time of the year is busy for us,” said Danny Evans, owner of Evans Farm Drainage and Construction, as he observed his crew working in a field east of Dell Rapids, S.D.
Evans’ business is based near Jasper and he and his crew install tile all over southwest Minnesota and southeast South Dakota. At this particular site they were installing 15,000 to 20,000 feet of tile that will drain water from a roughly 50-acre field.
“We’re not going to tile the full 50 acres, but we know that’s how many acres would potentially come this way,” Evans said.
Tiling systems use slotted plastic pipes buried underground to drain water from fields into nearby streams or creeks. In the case of the field Evans and his crew were working near Dell Rapids, the water will drain into a creek about a half-mile away. Evans said that meant obtaining permission from neighboring landowners to run lines across their land.
“That’s key, if the downstream guy is willing to work with you to get that water to where it’s got to go instead of running on top of the ground to get there,” Evans said.
When they’re hired for a job, Evans designs the project by determining how many acres there are to drain, the lay of the land, drainage direction and tile size. Tile lines typically range in diameter from five inches to 15 inches with the larger sizes used for main lines.
Evans marks the locations where tile will be laid in the fields using different colored flags representing different-sized tile. He and his crew typically place the tile lines 65 to 75 feet apart, but will put them closer if the area is extremely wet. The lines are buried up to 4.5 feet deep.
The lines are placed using GPS technology, something that wasn’t available when Evans started installing tile over 30 years ago. That technology helps him create detailed maps of where tile is installed, making it much easier than it used to be to locate existing tile lines. In the past, paper maps were used with approximate tile locations drawn on. On the modern maps, Evans uses different colors to indicate the size of the tile and adds notes that provide other useful information for future reference.
“I’m fussy with my maps,” Evans said. “I add a lot of detail to the map that the farmers appreciate.”
Once Evans designs the project, his crew of four people installs the tile using a backhoe and a plow that feeds tile into the ground as it cuts through the soil. A bulldozer then smooths out the ground once the tile is installed.
Most tiling work is done in the spring before the crops are in or the fall after crops are out, but Evans said his crew works into the summer as well.
“We pretty much tiled all summer this year because it was so wet,” Evans said. “The farmers knew how busy we were going to be, so they said let’s get it done now.”
During the busy season they work 12 to 13-hour days. Later in the year, like now, that work is often done in mud and water that is just above freezing.
Evans said tiling allows farmers to plant earlier in the spring and harvest sooner in the fall and can prevent crop loss and increase production. He said it also increases convenience and reduces soil compaction because farmers don’t have to harvest part of a field and then return later to finish harvesting after wet areas have dried.
“A lot of the farmers with new farming practices are all concerned about compaction,” Evans said. “They don’t want to be in their field any more than they have to.”
While Evans extolled the benefits of tiling, he did add the caveat that extremely wet growing seasons like this past year can still overload tile systems.
“When the ground gets saturated, it’s full,” he said. “It can only soak away so fast.”
That’s happened more often in recent years, which Evans said he believes is one reason more farmers seem to be putting in tile.
“I think farmers are really starting to realize that tiling pays for itself,” he said. “It’s one of the best investments you can make.”
Evans said some farmers see it as a way to increase production without buying more land.
“Instead of spending $8,000 to $10,000 an acre or more to buy land, they’re putting money into the land they already have to make it produce,” he said. “They’re trying to get their own ground to produce better.”
He said it also increases the value of the land should a farmer decide to sell.
“Most of the auctioneers, that’s the first thing they ask — ‘Is there any tile in there?’” Evans said. “They want that. If you have a piece of land that’s tiled versus one that’s not, I bet you it would bring $3,000 to $4,000 an acre more.”
 

Preplanning for an emergency

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In the midst of planning for the year ahead, one aspect that is often overlooked by farmers concerns health and safety.
Although time-consuming in some cases, preplanning for a farm emergency can be a lifesaving measure. Notwithstanding, statistics show few farms or farm families have an emergency plan in place.
Tawn Hall, emergency management director for Jackson County, said the top way to preplan for farm emergencies is having all emergency phone numbers, as well as maps and directions to all farmed property locations, in place for easy access if an emergency occurs.
“Farmers should make sure all emergency numbers, including the names and addresses of the nearest medical facilities, are posted where everyone can see them at all of the locations farmed,” Hall said. “And make sure the directions to your farm are posted by the phone or in a central location. Each farm should have at least one person trained in first aid and CPR and have designated safe places in the event of floods, tornadoes, lightning and fires.”
Hall also said farm workers should have a way to contact other workers in other areas of the farm site if there is an emergency, such as through charged cellphones or two-way radios.
Other plans for emergencies on farms should include having fire extinguishers easy to identify and retrieve in case of an emergency, as well as making sure they have been checked recently to ensure they are full; making sure all exits are clear of obstacles and plainly marked; having an emergency training program in place for all employees; and making sure to go over emergency training programs with all family members and employees annually.
The University of Maine Extension Service offers some additional pre-planning suggestions for emergencies, specifically concerning mechanical safety features and training. Extension officials say each person involved in the operation of the farm should know where and how to turn off the ignition on gas-powered equipment, how to operate the fuel shutoff on diesel equipment, how to adjust the tractor seat, how to drive forward and in reverse, where and how to turn off lights, the location of fire extinguishers, how to disengage the power takeoff, location of power lines in relation to movement of equipment, how to turn off augers and elevators, how to disconnect electrical power, how to operate equipment, how to turn on fans to get air movement in manure pits, the location of first aid kits, where other personal protective equipment safety items are located and how to use them, how to turn on grain bin aeration fans and driers and how to turn off automatic grain cycling equipment.
Extension officials also have compiled a list of what rescue workers need to know when they receive a call for help. Among those is the location of the incident and directions to the location, the telephone number from which the call is made, the nature of the incident, the number of victims, the condition of victims, the type of first aid given, whether someone will meet them and direct them to the victim and any special conditions in the area that will interfere with the rescue efforts.
“Planning for emergencies is vital for all businesses, homes, families and individuals,” Hall said. “Farmers have unique situations such as equipment, chemicals, remote areas and flowing grain that all first response personnel may not be familiar with. These diverse hazards can cause serious injuries or deaths, along with other catastrophic emergencies. Farm operators don’t often ask for help, especially from people who are not farmers or in ag-related business. However, when emergencies happen, they may have to rely on outside people who are unfamiliar with all the moving parts and do’s and don’ts of farm businesses. Therefore, it is essential that farmers do the leg work to preplan for their individual operations. Planning for locations and proper training will help responders take the right steps to save lives and preserve property.”
 

Pipestone County Producer Involved in Many Facets of the Pork Industry

Ted Stout started raising pigs in 1993 as a way to diversify his business.
“Diversification in agriculture is important,” he said.
Stout and his wife, Joan, as well as one of their sons and his family, live on the family farm site west of Hatfield that his grandparents established in 1907. It was there that he grew up and learned to farm from his father, Robert.
“I pretty much followed my dad around every day if I could,” Stout said. “I never was in the house. I pretty much was with him all the time.”
Stout started farming with his father when he was a senior in high school. Today, he grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa on around 1,200 acres of land and raises around 4,400 pigs.
Stout is a contract grower for Spronk Brothers. He receives young pigs, and feeds and raises them until they’re ready to be sent to market. He said contracting was a way for him to get into the business with less start-up costs than he would have had on his own.
“When I first got into it I borrowed every dime to build the two pig barns,” he said. “I didn’t have any money. It was a 10-year payback. It worked well.”
Stout now has three barns — two 1,000-head capacity barns that he built in 1993 and 1994, and a 2,400-head capacity barn built in 2005. All his barns are located on the same half-section on which he lives.
He uses bio-security measures at his barns: people who have been around other pigs cannot enter; those wearing street shoes can’t walk beyond a certain point; and different boots are used in each barn to prevent the spread of any illnesses. He said there have been no added precautions taken at this point in response to the African swine fever, which has been spreading recently in Asia and Europe.
Stout’s foray into the pig business led him down a few other pork-related paths.
About 20 years ago he joined the Pipestone County Pork Producers Association, a group of producers who work together to promote pork, largely by grilling pork at events around the region. Stout said that’s how he became involved.
“Years ago I always did a lot of grilling on my own, so that’s kind of how it all started — with the cooking,” he said.
His primary involvement in the organization today remains the grilling aspect.
Adding pigs to his operation also led Stout to start a manure hauling operation.
“I bought my own manure equipment, so I did that myself,” Stout said. “Then pretty soon we ended up getting bigger in that and now we custom haul manure as well.”
Once he’s done harvesting his crops this fall, he’ll spend about five or six weeks hauling manure. Typically, he’s finished hauling manure by December, but he said the wet weather this fall has delayed the harvest a bit, which could delay the manure hauling. As of early October, Stout said he had around three weeks of harvesting to do.
 

Pork Producers up to the Challenge

Pork producers large and small are facing several challenges these days, from weather to waste management, trade to tariffs and foreign animal diseases to the farm bill.
Jay Moore, director of environmental services at Jackson-based New Fashion Pork, said weather affects everything in agriculture, from the harvest to spreading of manure. Moore said manure is the most natural way to return nutrients to cropland and NFP officials are developing new ways to apply it with a greater deal of precision, ensuring only the areas being planted in any given year are covered, which gives the soil around them a chance to regenerate and be more useful in the future.
Moore said farmers are among the finest environmental stewards around, though they don’t always do a great job of promoting that fact.
“Farmers are the true environmentalists,” Moore said, adding they want their land and families to be prosperous, so they work hard to do things the right way, and the best way.
Other issues of great concern in the industry are trades and tariffs. The pork industry is asking for some help with the farm bill right now, Moore said, and the ask involves quite a large amount of money, but it’s for something Moore said is absolutely crucial — vaccines.
Moore said industry leaders are constantly monitoring foreign animal diseases and are worried the current levels of vaccines at the ready are not near enough if there were to be an outbreak.
If there were a foot and mouth outbreak, it could well devastate the country, Moore said. And if that’s not enough to keep pork producers up at night, industry leaders are keeping an eye on a new threat — African swine fever.
Deb Murray, veterinarian at New Fashion Pork, said African swine fever is a legitimate concern for all pork producers. While it originated in Africa, there have been cases of it popping up in China, Russia, and different parts of Europe. The disease is 100 percent fatal to pigs, she said, and there is currently no vaccine available to treat it.
“In terms of diagnosis, this virus can look like several other pathogens that we have here today, so could possibly go unnoticed at first, which means more time to spread,” Murray said. “NFP, along with many other farmers and producers, has conducted training sessions for employees and producers to heighten awareness of what to look for and what would need further investigation if it were to be seen.”
Moore said many pathways exist through which the disease may travel. Industry officials have documented it traveling through feral pigs or wild boars to hogs on farms.
Another way is through travel. Domestic firms that outsource the cleaning of casings to China, for instance, are needing to take extra precautions to keep product returning to the United State clean and safe.
Murray said the virus is strong, and can last for years if frozen and up to 100 to 300 days in meat.
The introduction of a new foreign animal disease in a country can be devastating. A 1997 outbreak of foot and mouth disease, accompanied by one of classic swine fever, cost Taiwan around $379 million dollars. The first case of African swine fever was identified in Belgium just last month.
While the challenges facing pork producers may seem overwhelming at times, Moore said he has great confidence in those involved in the industry.
“The pork industry is very innovative,” he said. “There are many great minds pursuing excellence.”
 

Farmers Need to be as Concerned with Safety as with Harvest

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With this year’s fall harvest quickly approaching, local farmers should be as concerned with their safety and the safety of those around them as they are with getting the crops out of the field.
Or even more so.
That’s the word from officials with the Heron Lake Ambulance Service, who have seen more than their fair share of preventable harvest-season injuries over the years.
The bulk of those injuries happen on the road.
“We might be called out on average once a year for a major farm-related accident,” said Larry Liepold, longtime crew member with the Heron Lake Ambulance Service. “And those major accidents are mainly transportation or transportation-related accidents.”
Liepold said most of those accidents involve cars hitting a semi or another piece of farm equipment moving slowly down the road.
“People driving and approaching a loaded semi don’t realize the semi is moving much slower than the traffic flow,” he said. “They end up running into the back of the semi or other slow-moving farm equipment. Those semis move slower, especially getting started. Awareness by the public is the key. People need to remember that when approaching a loaded semi or slow-moving farm equipment of any kind, they need to begin to slow down well in advance of meeting them.”
Liepold said even with slow-moving vehicle signs on farm equipment or a tractor and flashing lights, people still run into the equipment or trucks, making it the most common serious accident his ambulance service encounters.
“And even with the flashing laser lights that come on the newer equipment, people still don’t react fast enough to slow down sometimes,” said John Hay, director of the Heron Lake Ambulance Service. “My wife was rear-ended during fall harvest a couple years ago by a semi in a similar accident. Those types of farm accidents happen all too often.”
Hay said other common harvest-season accidents include corn heads slipping off and a farmer getting injured while trying to fix it in the field and incidents related to power takeoffs.
“People getting caught in equipment has been more common in the past,” Hay said. “But the newer technology has caught up with that.”
Properly installed safety shields have also reduced the occurrence of those types of accidents, he noted.
“Preventive maintenance in the preseason checkups helps reduce the number of injury accidents in the field too,” Liepold said. “By not having a breakdown in the field, lives and limbs can be saved — especially when a farmer is in a hurry and knows a breakdown can cost him time and money too.”
“A good night’s rest plays a part in farm accident safety as well,” Hay added. “A number of farm accidents can center around fatigue. Getting a good night’s rest is important, just like good equipment maintenance is. Other accidents can happen when farmers are climbing around a combine or stepping off a combine.”
Fire is another ever-present concern, Liepold said.
“Combine fires can happen when the combine is hot after being operated for many hours and oil or fuel spills on the manifold or engine,” Liepold said. “But wind can play a part in that. The newer equipment is self-cleaning, which helps save time and reduces accidents combining.”
Additional accidents can occur when a farmer enters a field that has been sprayed, but has not waited long enough to safely do so, Liepold said. Accidents related to dust and mold, grain bins, fueling equipment and unseated passengers on farm equipment not equipped for passengers, as well as distracted driving of the equipment, can also create potential injury problems, he added.
“Still, the biggest thing is transportation,” Liepold said. “The public needs to watch for slow-moving tractors pulling equipment and loaded grain semis. And sometimes drivers can encounter as many as four loaded semis in a row, so they need to slow way down. Public awareness is the key during the fall harvest, which — in a good year — lasts somewhere between three and six weeks.”
“Plenty of rest and taking breaks is important from the farmer’s standpoint,” Hay said. “Modern equipment is made to shut down if a farmer doesn’t get off the seat every so often — after so many hours. It helps keep farmers from having accidents too.”