Equipment Update: New Designs, Big Sales and Bonus 'Ask The Mechanic'

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Unverferth brings the Raptor strip-tillage tool to market. (Photo courtesy of Unverferth)

In this Equipment Roundup, Unverferth introduces a new strip-tillage tool, the Raptor. Raven Industries Inc. announces its purchase of all the intellectual property and patents of Jaybridge Robotics. Great Plains Manufacturing offers its BD7600 box drill with a hydraulic drive option for the split-box configurations. BKT introduces a new, all-steel radial tire. U.S. farm tractor sales extend their growth streak to 11 straight months in March. And, in a bonus Ask The Mechanic, Steve Thompson answers a reader's question about converting a tractor from a 6-volt to 12-volt system.



Unverferth has introduced a new strip-tillage tool, the Raptor. This tool tills a strip of soil for planting, leaving between-row residue intact. Raptor features TerrainPro row units with independent depth control, creating the seedbed in six stages:

-- The leading swivel coulter with 20-inch blade has 1,500 lbs. of down pressure to cut through residue.

-- Free-floating row cleaners with curved finger design help clear residue from the strip.

-- Centrally mounted crowfoot-style wheels maintain row unit depth.

-- The tillage shank tills the soil from 6 to 12 inches deep.

-- Eighteen-inch concave closing coulters are mounted on each side of the shank to keep the soil in the strip.

-- Standard trailing crowfoot-style conditioning wheels break up clods, condition the strip. Other conditioning options include 15-inch rolling harrow baskets or 15-inch rubber press wheels.

The Raptor is available in pull-type 12- or 16-row models with 30-inch spacings or 3-point mounted units in 6- 8- and 12-row models with 30-, 36- or 38-inch row spacings. Pull-type models can be equipped with liquid or dry fertilizer systems.

For more information:



Raven Industries Inc. has purchased all the intellectual property and patents of Jaybridge Robotics, an early developer of automated agriculture technology.

Jaybridge's portfolio includes patents for technology related to path-planning, obstacle detection and avoidance, and multi-machine control systems. Raven says these technologies are important to the company's ongoing development of Driverless Ag Technology -- including integration of the technology into the company's AutoCart platform.

For more information:



Great Plains Manufacuting is offering its BD7600 box drill (first introduced early in 2020) with a hydraulic drive option for the split-box configurations, giving producers full on-the-go variable-rate capabilities.

Hydraulic drive allows producers to simultaneously apply two products.

The hydraulic drive option includes an enhanced user interface with Great Plains DrillCommand. Operators can control sections or adjust seeding rates with the touch of a button, or they can be automatically controlled by importing a prescription-rate map to save time and input costs.

For more information:



BKT is selling a new, all-steel radial tire, the Skid Max SR-Skidder. The tire is designed for use in extremely heavy work environments and on hard surfaces.

Skid Max SR-Skidder is equipped with steel belts that give greater resistance on the casing and therefore against aggression, such as punctures and penetration by foreign bodies. The Skid Max SR-Skidder also is equipped with a guard that protects against any punctures and impacts around the rim.

For more information:



U.S. farm tractor sales extended their growth streak to an 11th straight month in March, according to the latest data collected by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

U.S. total farm tractor sales rose 81.4% in March 2021 compared to March 2020. Sales grew across every segment, with the biggest gains in the small sub-40-horsepower segment (nearly doubling, growing 96.5%). The 100-plus-hp row-crop units were up 33.7%. Four-wheel-drive units grew as well, up 2.5% for the month, reversing February's small decrease.

By unit numbers, manufacturers sold more than 29,000 two-wheel-drive tractors, 100 hp and below in March. They also moved 1,861 two-wheel tractors of more than 100 hp and 203 four-wheel drive units.

For the year, all U.S. tractor sales are up 52.1% over the same three-month period in 2020.

Self-propelled combine sales grew 6.7% (382 units in March 2021 compared to 358 combines, same month 2020). Combine sales are up 16.5% for the first three months of 2021, compared to the same months in 2020.



Question: I am in the process of changing my 8N Ford tractor to a 12-volt system. The tractor has a side-mounted distributor. I have asked several people exactly how to install the battery and how the wires go to the coil. I seem to get mixed answers. Can you give me that information?

Steve: The 6-volt to 12-volt conversion is a little confusing. One reason for the confusion is that many older 6-volt tractors and cars came from the factory as 6-volt and a positive ground. But that thinking changed when engineers found that when the positive post was grounded to the frame it caused more corrosion than if it were grounded as negative. So, the change was made. Another reason for the change came when the alternator came into play on vehicles. The alternator will charge at much slower engine speeds, but it will not charge if the system is a positive ground.

The alternator is sort of neat because it will charge no matter which way it is turning, which makes it very flexible. A generator will charge turning only one way. So, here is the way to make the conversion work on your 8N.

Change the battery to a 12-volt. You can get one the size of your old 6-volt. Change the polarity of the battery to negative ground. The wires on the coil need to be reversed -- the hot wire to the plus side and the negative side to the distributor. You can use the 6-volt starter. Which alternator you choose (3-wire or 1-wire) will make a difference in alternator wiring. One more thing. You will need to either place a resistor between the switch and the coil to drop the voltage or replace the 6-volt coil with a 12-volt coil. I recommend replacing the coil with a 12-volt, internal resistor coil.

Steve's Safety Tip:

I guess we have all experienced the aggravation of running into garbage that people have dumped in the field. The other day I got into some electric fence wire brought to me by my neighbor's cows. The wire wrapped around the gauge wheel hub, and eventually the complete length of the 24-foot cultivator. It finally sliced a tire like a sharp knife. When removing the wire, it was very difficult to keep the sharp cuts in the wire from springing back and cutting my fingers. The lesson? Be careful with tight wire. It moves very quickly when cut. As Pappy Thompson always said, "Bad fences make bad neighbors."

Dan Miller can be reached at

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