I'm a news intern for DTN/The Progressive Farmer now. But climbing on machinery and observing Sunflower's new tillage equipment at a recent AGCO event reminded me of my grease monkey tag-along days with my dad on our family farm near Guthrie Center, Iowa.
While many young girls were playing house and pretending to be princesses, I was playing real farm with my dad as a little girl. Not to brag, but I was the best four-foot-tall, right-hand woman he could hope for. Each time he asked for a tool, I eagerly handed it to him as I sang a tune from my most recent singing lesson.
"Lindsay, I need the Vise-Grips pliers," he would say. "Now, hand me the wrench."
I always did everything he asked of me. One time I took what he said too literally and actually peed on the feed grinder he was working on. This incident came after he threw the wrench I had just handed him on the ground and yelled something that your imagination might be able to guess. My sly joke changed his expression from anger to laughter and disbelief.
Many years later, I have stopped the sly jokes and gained more interest in the equipment the wrench was fixing. I was delighted by the chance to attend AGCO's media event in Beloit, Kan., with DTN Reporter Russ Quinn.
While other interns throughout the U.S. were memorizing the menu at the nearest coffee shop and perfecting their photocopying skills, I spent my time in a wheat field learning about AGCO's newest equipment and touring their Sunflower manufacturing facilities.
AGCO revealed several pieces of Sunflower equipment to improve seedbed preparation and planting practices. The 6631 vertical tillage tools were designed to easily shred and mix tough crop residue and enhance warming of cold, wet soil. It also creates a consistent seedbed for more uniform emergence. The 5056 Series field cultivators were beefed up for use in less than ideal field conditions. The 9700 Series drills provide one-pass seeding with several fertilizer placement options.
AGCO also had field demonstrations of a Challenger tracked tractor, a Fendt 900 Series tractor and a new Challenger combine series.
I was most impressed by the Challenger 500C series combine that Brent Kvansnicka, combine field marketing specialist, said was the "smoothest combine on the market." The 2013 Challenge 500C Series combines will arrive on farms guidance-ready from the factory and has optional NightBreak HID and LED lighting, heated and cooled operator's seat. It is video-ready for up to four Ag Cam cameras.
Seeing AGCO's newest products during this field day gave me the itch to bring out the grease monkey in me again. These days, hopefully I could do more than just hand the wrench when commanded.