Karen McMahon


Karen McMahon has been a well-respected and award-winning agricultural journalist for more than three decades. In 2000, she served as president of the American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA), a group of more than 400 professional farm writers. She also is active in the Agricultural Media Summit (AMS) and served as chairman in 2001 and chair of the sponsorship committee for several years. She has attained the top Master Writer Award level from AAEA and won various writing awards from the Am. Society of Business Publication Editors and Minnesota Monthly Publications Association.

Karen joined Farm Industry News as senior editor in 1998 and was named editor two years later. Prior to that, she was managing editor for five years of another Penton publication, National Hog Farmer. She grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm near LeMars, IA, and earned her degree in journalism from South Dakota State University. Since then, Karen has worked in agricultural communications.

Her experience on magazines and organizations includes work on Hog Farm Management, the National Pork Producers Council, and Hogs Today/Farm Journal.

Karen may be reached at 9520851-4680

Variable-width axle for self-propelled sprayers allows for on-the-go width changes

Changing axle widths on self-propelled sprayers to accommodate different fields and crop widths is not a convenient task. But the Italian sprayer manufacturer Bargam has solved the problem. The company designed an axle that allows on-the-go width changes from the cab. The new variable-width axle is available in two sizes, from 60 to 70 in. and from 70 in. to 85 in., both at center wheel. The sprayer must be moving when making the width change. An electronic control system is included to ensure safe operation.

2013 Buyer's forecast: Interest rates

The current low interest rates should remain low through 2013 and possibly through 2014, according Purdue University agricultural economist Mike Boehlje. He says the U.S. Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates artificially low to stimulate an economic recovery.

“Ben Bernanke has said he will continue to keep interest rates low even until 2015,” Boehlje explains. “That is a pretty good indication we will probably have interest rates at this level for the next year.

EIMA gallery 3: Tractor of the Year, adjustable axle, all-wheel drive and more

Europe’s 2013 Tractor of the Year award went to the Deutz-Fahr Agrotron 7250 during Italy’s EIMA International Show. The tractor was on display along with other innovations that Same Deutz-Fahr was recognized for at the show. Other innovations recognized at EIMA included things like a nozzle wrench, automatic sprayer washing and on-the-go adjustable axle width.


EIMA gallery 2: Combines from New Holland and AGCO's Laverda, beauty queens, and more
The second photo gallery of displays at the EIMA International show held in Bologna, Italy, offers many unusual sights. See new combines and beauty queens from both New Holland and AGCO's Laverda; elegant displays of components; and espresso bars.
Claas, John Deere, Case IH, Landini exhibit new machinery at Italy's EIMA International
Italy's EIMA International agricultural show held every two years just drew to a close. Among the 1,750 exhibitors were Claas, John Deere, Case IH and Landini. Here's the first photo gallery showing equipment from these and other companies at the show.
New concept tire from Bridgestone uses soy oil

Bridgestone Americas unveiled a new concept tire this fall. The Firestone tire contains more than 10% soybean oil, which amounts to 90 lbs. soy oil in the 900-lb. tire. Because one bushel of soybeans yields about 11 lbs. of soy oil, about 8 bu. of soybeans were used to produce the concept tire.

Kinze’s autonomous tractor system tested in field by farmers

The robotic system that operated on Rick Elliott’s farm near Monmouth, Ill., didn’t resemble a robot. Instead, it looked like a typical combine-tractor-and-grain-cart setup—except the tractor moving through the field was empty.

Newest innovative equipment from fall farm shows

Last year’s remarkable farm income helped drive this year’s influx of innovative new products coming from equipment manufacturers. Visits to the fall farm shows confirmed it. Exhibitor space was filled and farmer attendance strong in spite of the heat and drought.

New top-notch tires for agricultural equipment

Several of the major agricultural tire manufacturers launched new tire product lines and made their announcements at fall farm shows this year. These are a few that were highlighted this fall.

Goodyear IF ag tires:

Climate Corporation upgrades weather insurance

The Climate Corporation has upgraded its Total Weather Insurance (TWI) program for 2013. The company made the announcement as it was completing insurance payouts for one of the worst and most extreme growing seasons on record.

The company reported it had made payouts on 80% of all TWI corn policies for this year. In Iowa, 90% of all TWI corn policies resulted in insurance payouts. Illinois received even more wit 98% of the TWI corn policies garnering a payout. Results from soybeans were not yet available.

New Tango4 lightweight aluminum corn head for handling more rows

The Tango4 Aluminum Corn Head, displayed at farm shows this summer, weighs 25% less than conventional models constructed of steel. Built in Argentina, the new corn head is being sold in the United States by Tango4, a Pleasureville, KY, company.

The light, aluminum corn head means a combine can handle a header with more rows than usual. Tango4
reports that an aluminum 18-row head is lighter than a typical 12-row steel unit. The new aluminum corn head fits on all brands of combines. It is available in 2 to 22 row models, and row spacing of 18, 20, 22 and 30 in.

New Enogen hybrids produce more ethanol, profit for the grower

The new Enogen hybrids are nearly ready for harvest on Mike Missman’s fields near Woden, Iowa. Missman planted 160 acres of Syngenta’s new hybrids designed for ethanol production. He expects good yields because his area received timely rains.

Although the Enogen hybrids look like any other with insect- and herbicide-resistant traits, Missman will receive a 40-cent/bu. premium for the Enogen crop when it is delivered to an ethanol plant.

Premium paid

New products from fall farm shows: Part 3
The recent farm show in Boone, Iowa, featured more new products and equipment, including the new Iowa-made Mitas tires, John Deere's new 6 Series tractors, and a new side-discharge crop shredder.
Filter Blaster for blasting air filters in large ag machinery

Blast dust from your combine’s filter with the Filter Blaster from Salmon River Innovations, Spencer, Iowa. The Filter Blaster is designed to quickly clean air filters used in large machinery like combines, tractors and trucks. Frequent cleaning during use will improve fuel efficiency and increase the life of the filter. Dennis Grieve who invented the Blaster says a filter may be cleaned up to 20 times. The Blaster is available as a shop model where the dust collects in a shop vac or a portable model used in the field. A source of compressed air is needed to operate the Blaster.

As corn and soybean plants suffer, crop insurance covers much of yield shortfall

The 2012 drought will be one for the record books. Its high temperatures and lack of rain put it among the 10 worst droughts in U.S. history, and the Corn Belt is stuck in the middle of it. The corn crop is expected to be 13% smaller than last year’s crop, according to USDA.

Insured crop

Continuing Education
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