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Technology on the farm

August 27, 2009
By Jodelle Greiner

HANLEY FALLS - Farming equipment changes, and Titan Machinery of Marshall demonstrated the latest Case I-H tractors and attachments Monday in a field owned by Tim and Grant Velde outside Hanley Falls. The event ran from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and by noon, an estimated 150 people had shown up to see, hear and try out the machinery.

Technology has come to the farm and tractors are going high-tech, said Pete Merna, sales representative for Titan.

"The 305 and 535 have auto-guidance," Merna said. "In the 2009 models, they've come out with a fuel-saving mechanism. What it's designed to do is find the proper gear and transmission and engine speed for the best fuel economy.

Article Photos

Photo by Jodelle Greiner

Mark Klasson, left, Case I-H tillage product specialist, spoke to a crowd Monday during a demonstration of tractors and equipment near Hanley Falls.

"These tractors probably burn 20 gallons of fuel a minute," Merna said. "The University of Nebraska has gotten 25 to 30 percent fuel efficiency savings (using the mechanism). With the price of fuel today, that's a major savings."

Merna said tractors keep getting larger because they have to do more.

"Farms continue to get bigger," he said. "There are fewer farmers so they have to cover more acres. Tillage is getting deeper and more aggressive, so they need bigger tractors."

The main attraction Monday was the 870 tillage tool, he said.

"We've had a lot of interest in the new 870," said Mike Struve, field marketer for Titan Machinery. "Concept-wise, it's along the lines of the DMI 730C. I think we have improved it a lot."

Mark Klasson, Case I-H tillage product specialist, explained the finer points of the new tiller to a crowd of mostly men and how it's been redesigned to provide optimum mixing in the top four inches of soil.

"One of the bigger issues is getting the crop residue to break down after the season," Merna said. "Walk a fine line between conservation tillage to prevent erosion, but have it black enough in the spring to warm up faster."

Merna also said the tiller listed for $60,000.

"It's nice to have the technical people here from Case to talk through it," Merna said.

Klasson answered questions from the crowd gathered around the nine shank (18 foot) tiller. Case also makes the tiller in seven shank (14 foot), 11 shank (22 foot) and 13 shank (26 foot).

"I know you guys don't have any rocks around here," he said to chuckles from the crowd. "We feel we have a lot better rock protection (with this tiller)."

Klasson said the back of the tiller has been redesigned to be level and break up clods.

Willie Hoffman of Marshall was listening intently with his grandson, Christian Sanders.

"I'm always interested in different tillage," Hoffman said. "I don't farm myself anymore, but I go out and help my son-in-law, Mike Sanders."

Visitors were able to drive the tractors and test the tiller for themselves. Those who weren't in the tractors walked in the furrows left behind to check the depth of the overturned soil and ran their hands over the equipment, looking at every aspect.

"New and improved, I suppose," said Don Buesing of Granite Falls. "Probably cost too much. Does a nice, leveler job; looks like less maintenance. Better in high trash."

"It's new," said Brad Koepp of Boyd, who came to "see the newer technology."

"It's big and expensive," Gordy Koepp of Clarkfield said.

"Nice," said Joel Vanderputte of Marshall, who came with his dad, Bob, and son, Colin. "The neighbor got the new style of tillage machinery and I wondered what it looked like and if it will work in our country or not. Time will tell."



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