You inquired, we tallied. The result is our first-ever presentation of an annual "finOvation" award (a FIN Ovation for innOvative products) based on "circled number" inquiries. We renamed the old Readers' Choice award and updated the focus of the contest. Now we sort new products into input-buying categories. Each of our new 25 finOvation winners earned its award by receiving the most inquiries in its category in 1999.

Machinery tillage Large-acreage tillage

Readers were after a big one-pass tillage unit when they asked for more information on the John Deere 512 disk ripper.

The unit covers 22_1/2 ft. in one pass with its disk gangs and ripper shanks, so large acreages are covered quickly. Because the gang has low-concavity blades set at a fixed 18 degrees angle, the unit throws less soil. The rear gang also has the same low-concavity blades, but the angle may be set at 14 degrees or 16 degrees. The 512 breaks up compaction with its nine spring-reset, cushion-trip standards that rip as deep as 16 in. It folds to 18 ft. for transport. Contact John Deere North American, Dept. FIN, 11145 Thomp-son Ave., Lenexa, KS 66219, 913/310-8324.

Machinery tractors Small tractors from India

Readers liked the small size and price of the new utility tractor from Mahindra in India. The 4505 model offers 43 hp with 34_1/2-hp PTO for a price of $12,500. A slightly larger model, the 5005, delivers 50 hp with 42-hp PTO and retails for about $13,500. Both tractors feature a four-stroke, direct-injection, water-cooled diesel engine. Contact Mahindra USA Inc., Dept. FIN, 17723 FM 2920, Tomball, TX 77375, 800/887-2286.

Machinery combines Rotary combine

Our "first look" at the highly anticipated new rotary combine from John Deere drew a great deal of reader interest. The rotary combine, called STS (Single Tine Separation), provides top grain quality and higher capacities than were possible with Deere's cylinder/concave designs.

The STS combine features a single-tine separator system for threshing and separating. The design comes from a CTS (Cylinder Tine Separation) combine developed in 1991 for rice harvesting and later used for other tough-to-separate crops like high-yielding barley.

The new combine also includes a new feed accelerator for fast feeding performance in all crops and conditions. The accelerator includes 10 serrated bars that sweep material from the feederhouse and disperse it evenly into the feeding section. An integrated trap provides protection from stones.

Two STS models are available: the 9650 STS and the 9750 STS. These models are part of a new 50 series being produced by Deere. Four new cylinder/walker combines (9450, 9550, Sidehill 9550 and 9650) are available along with a 9650 CTS combine. This line replaces the current 10 series combines. Contact John Deere North American, Dept. FIN, 11145 Thompson Ave., Lenexa, KS, 66219, 913/310-8324.

Machinery accessories Cutting combine time

Tom Loftus couldn't get his farming done after word about his new combine sickle hit our pages last February. Called the Razer, Loftus's new sickle promises to speed up harvest while reducing shatter loss.

Loftus created the Razer by removing an existing reciprocating cutting blade on his combine's 20-ft. bean platform and installing a 50-ft. continuous cutting chain. According to Loftus, the improved bean head cuts through a field twice as fast as a standard head. He explains that, without the reciprocating cutting blades, the sickle runs smoothly with less vibration, which produces less shatter loss.

After hearing about these improvements, seed producers were ready to buy the Razer sight unseen, Loftus notes. Unfortunately, it will be at least another harvest before the Razer enters the marketplace. Loftus just signed on with HCC for manufacture of the Razer. Contact HCC Inc., Dept. FIN, 1501 First Ave., Mendota, IL 61342, 217/564-2242.

Fertilizer Precision fertilizer

Producers like the ability to precisely place fertilizer while fall tilling with the new 9800 Zone Fortifier from B&H Manufacturing.

The Zone Fortifier, first shown last February, applies dry fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia at the depth you want while acting as a tillage unit. This reduces trips through the field. It is available in 4 to 16 rows. It can be used for ridge-, strip-, conventional- and no-till. List price: $1,038/row. The company is also offering an upgrade on the unit that includes a cart system. Contact B&H Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Rt. 1, Box 53A, Jackson, MN 56143, 800/240-3288.

Farm/Office Actual-time inventory

Readers gave Farm Works Software and its Trac Mate program a "high five" for combining record-keeping software with the portability of a palm PC. The program lets you track inputs, fields, equipment and labor costs while you're in the field.

First, field records that are entered onto your desktop PC with the company's Farm Trac software are downloaded into a palm or handheld PC, using Trac Mate. When you're out in the field, you simply punch into the handheld the inventory you use, such as the number of seed bags planted.

Back in the office, information from the handheld is loaded back into the PC where Farm Trac inputs and tallies all the information.

Price is still $200. The company also is introducing Farm Site Mate, a mapping program that works with a GPS receiver. Contact Farm Works Software, Dept. FIN, Box 240, Hamilton, IN 46742, 800/225-2848.

Fertilizer Crop growth

Controlled nitrogenA liquid nitrogen formulation that allows controlled release without plant damage caught the eye of readers of our February issue. Manufactured by Helena Chemical Company, the product, called Coron, is foliar-applied to soybeans between late flowering and early pod formation stages. It forms a glaze on the plant and allows a gradual release of nitrogen into it. The company reports that traces of Coron are found on the leaf for up to six weeks after application. Contact Helena Development Lab, Dept. FIN, 7664 Moore Rd., Memphis, TN 38120, 901/752-4403.

Machinery planters Rugged row unit

Readers approved of an "Evolution Series" row unit featured in a new 3000 series line of planters from Kinze.

The new row unit is designed for longer life, simplified adjustments and smoother, more dependable operation. The unit with load-equalizing gauge wheels provides more consistent seed placement, even in heavy residue or rugged planting conditions. Double disc opener blades are 20% heavier than the previous ones to ensure longer life. New precision-molded translucent seed hoppers offer 18% more seed capacity and better cleanout. Plus, the row-unit hopper support is shorter to give you more room to work around narrow-spaced rows.

The new row unit is available on Kinze's 3000 series line that includes a 3000 pull-type planter; 3100, 3120, 3140 planters to mount on a 3-pt. hitch; 3200 econo-fold planter; 3400, 3500 and 3600 twin line planters; and a 3700 front-folding planter. Contact Kinze Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, I-80 at Exit 216, Williamsburg, IA 52361, 319/668-1300.

Machinery field improvement Short irrigator

First-time irrigators and producers with small fields sought more information about the Hydrus micro pivot.

The new pivot is well suited for growers with a capacity of 5 to 75 acres. Plus, the system runs on DC power, making it safe and easy for growers trying irrigation for the first time. A typical unit handling 40 acres retails for less than $20,000. Contact Div. of Irrigation Components International, Dept. FIN, Box 1063, Mobile, AL 36633, 334/432-5085.

Transportation ATVs ATV Cat

You picked a winner for the transportation/ATV category: the Arctic Cat 500, 5-speed utility ATV.

Since our ATV rodeo coverage that featured the 500, the company has added an automatic to the 500 line. It also released seven ATVs for the 2000 model year.

The new 500 4x4 automatic features a Duramatic constantly variable, belt-driven tranny and has a suggested retail price of $6,600. Contact Arctic Cat Sales Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 810, Thief River Falls, MN 56701, 800/681-8558.

Transportation accessories Pickup truck lift and load

Ever since Steve Dixon can remember, his dad has owned the local welding and machine shop. So it was natural for Steve to design the TK Loader, a ramp with a winch mounted on one end used for loading cumbersome objects into a pickup truck.

When we first reported on the manual lifter, its design required the operator to crank the winch to pull the load in place. "Now, it's totally automatic," Dixon says. "With a push of a button, electric winches tilt, extend and move the platform into place." He says that just about anyone can operate it. "With the manual loader, you had to make sure your truck was level." Now you can use it at most any angle.

It can be used for many applications, including loading ATVs, mowers, hay bales, fuel tanks and any other heavy object that can fit into a pickup. Price for a basic unit: $2,000. Contact Grant Mfg., Dept. FIN, Box 955, Industrial Park, Petersburg, WV 26847, 304/257-5430.

Transportation trucks Toyota's V-8 intro

"The Tundra got off to the fastest start of any Toyota product in the company's history," says Joe Tetherow, marketing manager for the company. "It went on sale in June, and by October, 28,000 units had been sold in the U.S." The company expects that first-year sales will reach 70,000 to 80,000.

The 32-valve, V-8 truck is made exclusively in Gibson City, IN. You can pick a two-door regular cab with an 8-ft. bed or a four-door access cab with a 6_1/2-ft. bed. Both deliver 245 hp and 315 lbs. ft. of torque and have enough power to haul a 1-ton load and pull up to 7,200 lbs. The company will be introducing the Sequoia SUV in late 2001 with the same chassis and driveline V-8 as the Tundra. Tundra prices start at $15,475. Contact Toyota Motor Sales, Dept. FIN, 19001 S. Western Ave., Torrance, CA 90509, 800/331-4331.

Transportation tires High marks for low-profile radial

Michelin's XM108, 65-series low-profile radial caught the attention of many readers when it was featured in our May/June issue. The radials provide high flotation in the field, fit standard rims and are available in a full range of 19 sizes from 16 to 42 in. in diameter. They perform on 2-wd, mechanical front wheel assist tractors and 4-wd tractors with 60 to 230 hp. Contact Michelin North America, Dept. FIN, One Pkwy. S., Greenville, SC 29615, 864/458-4068.

Shop fuel/lube Safer gas storage

"Practically everyone has fuel, either in machines or cans, sitting around the shop or garage that needs to be stabilized," says Ed Newman of Amsoil.

Evidently he's right because the company's new Gasoline Stabilizer grabbed the top product in our shop fuel/lube category. "By its nature, gas is unstable," Newman adds. "If stored over a period of time, it will degrade, causing varnish and gum to build up in fuel systems and storage containers."

By adding the stabilizer, you'll prevent stored fuel from deteriorating by reducing the oxidation process. It's available in 16-oz. containers. Mix 1 oz. with 2_1/2 gal. of fuel for worry-free winter storage. Price: $6.25. Contact Amsoil Inc., Dept. FIN, Amsoil Bldg., Superior, WI 54880, 800/ 777-8491.

Shop Supplies Electrical cord clamp

A simple solution grabbed the attention of readers of our January issue. The Cord-Clamp made by Beamer Bayer International keeps two electrical cords plugged together even if you've stretched the cords as far as they will go. The rubber piece keeps cords off the ground and out of water spills. Priced under $4. Contact Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc., Dept. FIN, 4525 W. Grenshaw, Chicago, IL 60624, 800/621-1780.

Farm/Office communications Talk about a two-way!

When we pulled out the TalkAbout two-ways at our Truck and ATV Rodeo last year, one Team FIN tester joked that they looked like we bought them at Toys R Us.

Well, they're far from being toys; the radios from Motorola kept us in communication for the next five days of testing. Depending upon terrain and conditions, the radios gave us up to a 2-mile range of communication.

The compact units operate on the free Family Radio Service for crystal-clear talking. The water-, dust- and shock-resistant units offer 14 channels and have a battery-level indicator. Price range per radio: $125 to $190. Contact Motorola Inc., Dept. FIN, 600 N. U.S. Hwy. 45, Libertyville, IL 60048, 800/331-6456.

Shop tools Precision cutting

He's been a farmer, a rancher, a machinist, a saddle maker, a cowboy and even a welder. But mainly, Bill Shippin is a tinkerer. "And boy, do I love to tinker!" Shippin says.

Through his tinkering, Shippin came up with the Accu-Cut, which received the most inquiries for products in our shop tool category. The kit features a solid-cast clamping unit that fits any acetylene/oxygen cutting torch. Shippin guarantees his kit to cut within 1/32-in. accuracy. It also comes with four attachments for cutting small or large circles and straight edges.

"Right now, I'm working on an addition that will cut saddles in pipe," he says. "You'll be able to join pipe at 45 degrees or 90 degrees angles or even cut a square/round pipe." He also wants to upgrade it to be able to cut pipes of different sizes with just a plate change. Price: $35. Contact Accu-Cut, Dept. FIN, 4412 N. State Rd. 17, Pretty Prairie, KS 67570, 316/459-6917

Farm/Office personal gear Gloves for farmers.

"I know what it's like to have cold, wet hands while you're trying to work outdoors," says Kevin Caskey of Compliance Safety. "I grew up on a livestock farm in Minnesota."

It was this experience that drove Caskey, a partner in a safety products company, to develop the Polar Gard gloves. The gloves' cotton outer shell features leather trim on the palms and fingers for durability. Inside is a layer of PVC that creates a waterproof barrier between the outer glove and its Thinsulate lining.

"We've now added a woman's line. And if you check with your local Deere dealer, you'll find custom-made green and gold gloves, with protective earmuffs to match," Caskey says. "We first made the earmuffs in blue; the minute we changed them to Deere green, sales more than tripled."

Prices: under $10 for gloves; $18 for earmuffs. Con-tact Compliance Safety Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 676, Northbrook, IL 60065, 800/340-3413.

Shop buildings Self-contained shed door

A few years ago, Doug Kerkvliet, owner of Cottonwood Welding and Manufacturing, was given a challenge: to build a door sturdier than a bi-fold for a shop that had an opening too big to accommodate a roll-up door.

His solution, a one-piece solid door called the Hydroswing, doesn't hang on the building. Instead it has its own framework, so support stress is transferred to the ground. Two hydraulic cylinders open the door straight up and out from the building in about 35 sec.

The sturdy door seals tight with a pressure-sensitive rubber seal and withstands winds up to 155 mph. Since we featured the door, Kerkvliet changed the bottom truss to square tubing for a more aesthetic look. Doors are built to your exact specifications. Contact Cottonwood Welding & Mfg., Dept. FIN, Box 15, Cottonwood, MN 56229, 507/423-6666.

Seed hybrids/varieties High-yield soybean

A Roundup Ready soybean variety from Dairyland Seed that yielded more than 90 bu./acre in an Ohio State University test attracted reader interest when it was announced in our mid-February issue.

More acres were planted to the DSR-293/RR soybean than any other Dairyland Seed product, according to company CEO Tom Strachota. He emphasizes that, although this year's sales of the variety have been strong, it will still be available for the 2000 crop.

Trials continue to show strong yields. Michigan State University trials the last two years in four southern Michigan locations show the variety averaged 71.4 bu./acre. Farmers also report high yields from the past season: 87 bu./acre at Elida, OH, and 82 bu./acre at Holy Cross, IA.

Strachota says that, in addition to top yields, the variety has very good tolerance to white mold and Phytophthora. Contact Dairyland Seed Co., Dept. FIN, Box 958, West Bend, WI 53095, 800/236-0163.

Livestock feed/pharmaceuticals Treatment for lactating dairy cows

An expanded approval for a broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment earned Liquamycin LA-200 from Pfizer Animal Health top product in the livestock feed/pharmaceutical category.

The product may now be used for lactating dairy cows. Previously, it was available for replacement heifers, calves or bulls to treat diseases such as pneumonia and shipping fever, pinkeye, footrot, diphtheria and wooden tongue.

Contact Pfizer Animal Health, Dept. FIN, 812 Springdale Dr., Exton, PA 19341, 610/363-3100.

Livestock Rear loading

Hay farmers and ranchers liked the looks of the new Hydra Frame for working with hay or silage bales.

The Hydra Frame, manufactured by M&H Metal Works, attaches to a 3-pt. hitch and holds a load up to 4,500 lbs. A super-penetrating spear to hold the bale can be angled down, up or level with a single set of tractor remotes.

The unit sells for $1,495. Other attachments may be purchased for the frame, including a boom, forks and silage head. Contact M&H Metal Works, Dept. FIN, 341 W. Weeks St., Norman Park, GA 31771, 912/941-5625.

Seed grain handling/Storage Gentle grain moving

A grain and seed pneumatic system that promises a gentle ride piqued the interest of enough readers to make it a top winner in the grain handling and storage cate-gory.

The system from Kongskilde uses low pressure to gently move grain and seed. It includes an electronic air regulator that controls the amount of air and grain in the pipeline. This keeps a consistent airflow, and grain gently enters the airstream, lessening damage.

The system works with new and existing grain drying and storage facilities. Price of a base unit starts at $6,000. Contact Kongskilde, Dept. FIN, 231 Thames Rd. E., Exeter, Ontario, Canada NOM 1S3, 519/235-0840.

Chemicals equipment Easy treating

Readers were interested in a do-it-yourself soybean seed treatment system from Trace Chemicals.

The FAST (Farmer Applied Seed Treater) system includes a 2_1/2-gal. jug filled with the company's Vitavax or Apron XL (or other product) that hangs on the side of a grain truck or wagon. The chemical is siphoned from the jug and drips into a fill auger. Seed is treated as the auger fills the planter.

Now the company offers another chemical for seed treating that combines two of its products for top disease control. FAST retails for $315. Contact Trace Chemicals, Dept. FIN, 839 Brenkman Dr., Pekin, IL 61554, 800/846-2980.

Chemicals crop protection Odorless seed treatment

The idea of a new planter box seed treatment appealed to farmers who read about Kernel Guard Supreme in our February issue.

Kernel Guard Supreme coats each kernel with fungicide and insecticide to protect corn and soybean seeds from seed or seedling diseases as well as seed-feeding insects such as wireworms, seed corn maggots and seed corn beetles. Manufacturer Trace Chemicals reports that the product promotes an even stand and good yield.

A big plus to this product is its lack of odor, according to Dave Moe of Trace Chemicals. He says that customers complain that the smell of other seed treatments is strong enough to give them headaches.

Available in 1_1/2-oz. canisters or 4-lb. pails, Kernel Guard Supreme costs about $1.25 to $1.75/acre. Contact Trace Chemicals, Dept. FIN, 839 Brenkman Dr., Pekin, IL 61554, 800/846-2980.