MARSHALL - About 70 area farmers attended the first Combine Seminar at Schuneman Equipment Company's new Marshall location Monday.
Schuneman, which acquired the Marshall location from its previous owners on Jan 1, has had annual seminars at other locations in Minnesota and South Dakota for 35 years. Speakers Jim Woster, John Melius, Doug Stienessen and Nathan Deutz covered subjects as diverse as the market for Minnesota corn and soybeans in China to adjusting the settings of combine heads to assure optimum harvest.
"We're addressing maintenance and setting out of field and in-field preparations to insure maximum performance before customers get into the fields this fall, and safety reminders," said General Manager Tom Schuneman.
Woster was a farm report radio personality for many years and is now semi-retired. He writes a column for the Tri-State Neighbor agricultural publication and spoke Monday about the current harvest prospects.
"We've got some areas good, some areas really good, and some areas absolutely terrible," Woster said. "But we've had three-four very good years and most farmers are such good businessmen they've prepared for bad years. We wouldn't want to see more than a couple years of this though."
John Melius represented Hurley and Associates Agri-Marketing Centers, and spoke about the huge market for corn and soybeans in China.
"We've had the worst corn crop in many years but we're still producing 32 percent of the world's corn," Melius said.
"China's diet is changing, there's a new KFC opening in China every 18 hours."
Though Melius said China's demand for corn and soy was growing at an incredible rate, he warned farmers not to grow complacent.
"Don't think the markets will always bail you out," Melius said, "everything always comes back to equilibrium."
Doug Stienessen, Schuneman service technician led a more active part of the seminar, walking participants around a John Deere combine at times crawling into the wheel wells to show farmers the techniques of adjusting tension and spacing of the reaping heads to adjust for different grain quality, depending on the yield and moisture content of the harvest.
Nathan Deutz then walked seminar participants through the intricacies of the GPS and computer controlled Agricultural Management System (AMS) that is a virtual autopilot system for combines.