The 2022 National Farm Machinery Show, in Louisville, Kentucky, was back in full force after a pause in 2021 because of COVID-19. Tens of thousands filled the aisles of the four-day show in February, kicking the tires on new equipment.
Event organizers say the 56th edition attracted 800 exhibitors filling 1.2 million square feet of floor space. Nearly 225,000 people attended the show.
Here are highlights of implements seen and interviews done by the editors of DTN/Progressive Farmer while at the show.
Kurt Coffey, vice president, Case IH North America:
-- On Technology. Farmers are not spelling out exactly what they want. What they're saying is, "Here's my issue." "I have a challenge." And, in the case of our combine with AFS Harvest Command, "I want to save more." "I want less damage." "I want to have less going out the back." "I'm having a hard time with scarcity of labor." We hear [that] pain. And, it turns into a technology, which is harvest automation. Harvest Command with 16 sensors [monitors harvest and grain flow] multiple times a second. There's a laundry list of technologies coming [from Case IH] that optimize productivity for our customers. What we aspire to is that [our] customers use our technology to gather, collect, manage and then be able to own it and share it as they wish.
-- On Automation. We've talked about the [AFS Command] combine. Look at AFS Soil Command. It gives [farmers] the ability to manage soils and tillage practices on a prescription or a micro basis. We're at the leading edge in industry. These are differentiators. The writing is on the wall. We're doubling down in this journey.
-- On Autonomy. I can tell you that we were with one of our key partners, a large customer in the last few weeks. The discussion we had there was about the direction [of technology]. Now, my [discussion] with a totally different size customer or a different geography with different regulations would be completely different. This is what I mean by multifaceted. Go back to what solutions are we offering? [For farmers] the main issue is "I want to make more, and I need to grow as a better steward and be more sustainable." And, the No. 1 issue right now across dealers and our customers is scarcity of labor. [Moves such as] our investment in Raven [Industries] brings leading technology into the house of [CNH Industrial]. It telegraphs where we're focused in the future.
Jake Ridenour, Trimble Ag:
-- On Trimble Virtual Farm. We've taken a look at how we sell Trimble products. With Trimble Virtual Farm, you can log on to an interactive website and look at a virtual tour of a farm. It [shows typical problems] we hear about from growers every day. You can then view a certain problem [from a library of more than 600 videos] and see what Trimble solution fixes that problem.
-- On Technology Choice. That's an issue for growers. They buy products that didn't match what they wanted [to do]. Virtual Farm takes a different look and focuses on the specific issue on the farm. We can absolutely nail what solution fits that farmer perfectly.
-- On Farm Technology Advisers. A technology adviser on a farm [is a good idea]. He's able to train the team, and he's able to train all the operators. You want somebody that's technically savvy, somebody who knows how to move data. [A technology adviser] allows you to really focus on your data and make sure that everything is set up correctly. They also need to be a coach. This person needs to be able to talk to the other team members and the operators, and really be able to get them to understand [how systems work] and how that helps produce good data downstream.
BIGIRON STILL MONITORING BIG PRICE JUMPS:
Used machinery prices continue to soar, and there's not much of an end in sight, explains Mark Stock, CEO with BigIron Auctions.
"Higher than high," he explains.
Planters, trucks and tractors have been particularly hot on BigIron, an online auction site for used farm and construction equipment, as well as livestock and real estate.
"But, really, they're all superhot," Stock says, pointing to an overall 35% increase in value in equipment on the site.
Overall, listings are down compared to a year ago. January 2021 featured about 6% more listings than January 2022. But, prices are higher, so much so the site has seen 12% more money change hands despite the decrease in listings.
There are more farmers checking into each listing, helping to lead to those higher prices.
"We had a tractor, a John Deere 9460R, 2012 model, with 3,500 hours, bring $176,000, and there were eight different people bidding on it in the last half an hour," Stock says. "That's just a lot of people looking for that type of tractor, and they're doing it from all over, not just from 100 miles away but from 1,000."
A year ago, the average buyer was 240 miles from the seller. This year, it's 305 miles, a 27% increase.
The wild increases in the value of used equipment may be helping make decisions for farmers who were eyeing retirement in the next five or so years.
"If you know you're going to quit in a year or two, you know things are good now," Stock says.
SALFORD'S IMPLEMENT COMES READY FOR PRESCRIPTION TILLAGE:
Salford isn't in the prescription-tillage business yet, but it's on the doorstep, and the company's newest tillage product, the HALO VRT, was built with that in mind.
"Built to adapt," says Lee Kilpatrick, a territory sales manager for the company, as he showed off the latest product to come from the Canadian manufacturer. "This is 100% ready to accept" prescription tillage.
The VRT, the latest from the company's HALO line, is built for variable-rate tillage. For now, it's the tractor operator that has that ability, able to control four gangs and tilt them to vary the angle of the blades from 0 to 15 degrees. That allows the driver to treat a field differently throughout that field.
"What sets it apart is the ability to vary the gang angle on the move at your desire and the ability to do even two different things in one field," Kilpatrick says. "You might think, 'I need to get more aggressive' or 'I need to get less aggressive,' and you can do it from the seat of the tractor."
The VRT is designed for use immediately, of course, but Salford is even more excited about what it will be.
"ISOBUS for tillage is new, still in its development stage," Kilpatrick says. "There's really not much off the shelf today; but from talking to manufacturers we're working with, we know that's what they're working on, so we're waiting on the right piece of electronics to come along."
THE SCOOP IS THE SCOOP ON DEERE'S 6R TRACTORS:
John Deere is pushing out its new 6R tractors for the model-year 2022. The machines boast a reversible fan plus plenty of upgrades in the cab, such as improved visibility to make the smaller machine more similar to its larger 7000 and 8000 series tractors.
One of the most noteworthy scoops, however, is in the, well, scoop.
"One of the big adds is the new 640R loader and the loader technology package that comes with it," says Nate Williams, a territory customer support manager for Deere.
There are three main innovations in the new loader.
First, the equipment can detect and report the weight in the bucket.
It has a "resume to height" feature that can be programmed into the cab's joystick buttons.
Finally, it has the ability to maintain a level position with the bucket even as the tractor might rock and roll over bumpy ground.
Even beyond those three upgrades, there's a camera built into the scoop to make it easier for an operator to line up what he or she is aiming for.
"It's all tied to the 6R," Williams says. "You can put tech on anything, but you want it to be valuable to the customer."
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NATIONAL FARM MACHINERY SHOW
-- Kinze 3505 True Speed pivot fold planter. This planter offers advanced technology for smaller farms or small fields. It's offered with or without split 8-row 30-inch and 6-row 30-inch configurations. Including Kinze's True Speed technology, consisting of a high-speed seed meter and seed tube, the 3505 enables farmers to plant at speeds up to 12 mph. Performance is optimized with Kinze's Blue Vantage display, Blue Drive electric drive and True Depth hydraulic downforce for accurate seed placement to maximize performance and productivity. It has a bulk-fill seed-carrying capacity of 50 bushels, with liquid and dry fertilizer options. It's made for corn, soybeans, sweet corn, cotton, sunflowers, milo/sorghum, edible beans, sugar beets and wheat. Planned introduction is 2023.
-- Massey Ferguson 6S. The 4-cylinder, 4.9-liter AGCO power engine ranges 145, 155, 165 and 180 hp. Operators choose from two transmission options: Dyna-6 transmission offers maximum fuel efficiency through 24 forward and reverse speeds; Dyna-VT transmission allows operators to select the exact speed without compromising engine rpms (revolutions per minute) for optimal output. Maximum lift capacity is 21,164 pounds.
-- Great Plains BD7600 HD 50-foot drill. With split-box configuration, this box drill has 180 bushels of capacity. Its Metering System allows producers to meter large seeds, small seeds and fertilizer through the main box of the drill. The opener disc blades are offset, with alternating leading edges to enhance stability and reduce side-shifting. The T-handle offers 18 positions for adjustments and depth control. It also includes a wider walkway for access to the drill, optional hydraulic drive, scales and box lid lights.
-- WR Series Hesston by Massey Ferguson self-propelled windrower. It has three models, WR265 (265 hp), WR235 (235 hp) and WR197 (197 hp). The closed center auxiliary hydraulic system is for 10% fuel savings or 10% power boost. MF Guide reduces overlap and can save up to 12% fuel during field operations. It has a 150-gallon fuel tank; a 7.4-liter 6-cylinder AGCO engine in 265 and 235 models; WR 197 mounts 4-cylinder, 4.9 liters. The new shielding and vent design offer better airflow into the engine compartment.
-- Kinze 1121 Harvest Commander dual-auger grain cart. It holds 1,100 bushels and has Camso tracks, an on-demand horizontal auger drive and dump door cleanout, auger spout grain control, upgraded lighting, centralized grease bank enabling swift lubrication. Available for 2022 harvest. Coming in 2023, it has new-row crop configuration.
-- Kubota L3302, L3903 compacts. 33 and 37.5 hp. Its restyled LA526 loader offers better handling of materials and more stability with predrilled holes for a cutting edge. LED head and work lights are standard, with optional brush guards to protect the lights. The upgraded seat suspension has an optional armrest. There's an independent PTO switch on the HST models, no more clutching.
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