Machinery Chatter
Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter

Tuesday 07/17/12

AGCO Sunflower Shows Off New Tillage Tools

Don't be jealous, but I live a glamorous life.

AGCO Sunflower equipment.

Yes, the enchanting existence of being a farm machinery reporter takes me to such alluring places as a sweltering north-central Kansas wheat-stubble field in July.

Do not hate me.

Last week, I attended an AGCO Sunflower tillage field day held near Beloit, Kan. The company gave ag media members a sneak preview of some of their new products as they worked in the field.

First and foremost was Sunflower's unveiling of new and improved tillage tools. Sunflower had several new tools they will be introducing to farmers at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, next month.

Among the new implements was a new series of in-line rippers, the 5056 field cultivator and 6631 series vertical tillage tools.

The 4700 Series In-Line Ripper is intended for primary fall tillage, according to Bob Boelsen, AGCO product marketing specialist, seeding and tillage.

"These rippers are designed to slice through crop residue and deeply penetrate and shatter compacted soils," Boelsen said.

Three models are available in five widths. Options include front coulter blades to slice residue and parabolic shanks.

The 5056 Field Cultivator comes in five models, ranging from 45- to 63-feet-wide.

The new cultivators feature shanks available in either a spring-tension design or an S-tine design with up to 190-pound point load to maintain the proper sweep angle in the soil. A self-leveling hitch maintains a level frame from front to rear both in the field and on the road.

The 6631 Series Vertical Tillage Tool is designed to produce a consistent seedbed that results in more uniform emergence for better yields, said Larry Kuster, product marketing specialist, seeding and tillage.

The tool features ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic bearings and bushings. This feature eliminates metal-on-metal contact and wear and eliminates the time and expense of grease and regular service.

"You would be taking maybe a good half of an hour, maybe 45 minutes, every day climbing around greasing this tool if we didn't use this material," Kuster said.

Pulling the different tillage tools were tractors from AGCO -- two Massey Ferguson wheel tractors and two Challenger tracked tractors, as well as a 927 Fendt tractor. I made it a point to ride in the Fendt tractor as I have never been in one before.

After seeing the Sunflower tillage tools working in the field, the group also got a quick tour of the manufacturing facilities in Beloit. I say "quick" mainly because the work floor of the plant had to be well over 100-degrees that day as the various machines produce much heat.

As with any manufacturing facility, it is kind of interesting to see farm equipment come together. Large plates of steel are turned into the frame and other metal components of a tillage tool with the help of lasers, robots and welders.

Along with the smaller parts, the freshly painted frames and wheels are loaded onto trailers at the one end of the facility to be assembled at the implement dealer. A bright red field cultivator was loaded onto a flat-bed trailer, ready to be shipped, while we walked through the plant.

So the day started off in a Kansas wheat-stubble field that was 102 degrees by noon and ended at a farm machinery manufacturing plant that was that hot and probably then some by the afternoon.

Again, do not be jealous of me!


Posted at 6:26AM CDT 07/17/12 by Russ Quinn
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