Farmers from Minnesota and surrounding states gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center in December to check out the latest farm products on display. Some 400 exhibitors oversaw 900 booths. Fred Cline, show director, says attendance was up from last year. "The weather has been good, so guys got their work done," Cline says. Here's a look at the newest products that show goers previewed.

Economical compact For farmers who want more than just a garden tractor but don't want to spend the money for a compact, Kubota introduces a lower-priced option. The BX series compact tractors, which include the 18-hp 1800 and 22-hp 2200 models, feature a two-range hydrostatic transmission for smooth operation, 4-wd, a 3-cyl. Kubota liquid-cooled engine, power steering, 3-pt. Cat. I hitch, 540 rear PTO, and a mid-PTO to power a 54- or 60-in. mower deck attachment. Other attachments include a quick-attach loader, snow blower, broom and blade. Suggested list price for BX 1800 with 54-in. mower deck: less than $11,000. Contact Kubota Tractor Corp., Dept. FIN, 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503, 310/370-3370.

Mobile mapping unit Farm Works Software offers a lower-cost alternative to paying your dealer to do GPS-based mapping, scouting and variable rate application on your fields. Its new Farm Site Mate software program can run on your palmtop or laptop computer and be connected to a GPS receiver so you can do the same functions yourself. Because the program works with ArcView Shape Files, the data can be downloaded to any geographic information system. It requires a Windows CE operating system or Windows 95 or higher. Suggested list price: $250 to $750, depending on the number of functions you choose. Contact Farm Works Software, Dept. FIN, Box 250, Hamilton, IN 46742-0250, 800/225-2848.

Row cleaners that lift From your tractor seat, lift your planter row cleaners at the end of rows or in sticky conditions with the RC2000 hydraulic lift row cleaner. Powered by your tractor's hydraulics, it lifts every row hydraulically at the same time so you don't have to adjust each row unit individually. Each row is on its own independent parallel linkage. It fits all late-model planter makes and sizes. Install the unit yourself in 10 to 15 min./row. Suggested list price: $550/row, including entire row-cleaning assembly, gauge wheel, cleaning disc and required hydraulic hoses and manifold. Contact B&H Mfg., Dept. FIN, Box 53A, Jackson, MN 56143, 800/240-3288.

Canadian bale chopper Chop a bale in less than 3 min. and then windrow- or bunk-feed your cattle with the new Bale King bale processor. It can reduce feed costs by as much as 30% by mixing the outer layer with the sweet inner core while blowing away dust and mold for a more palatable and digestible ration, the company claims. Some models come with a grain tank so you can top-dress the hay with grain for even more nutrition.

According to the company, the Bale King also can spread a uniform layer of straw throughout pens to provide better bedding over a larger area with less straw. Other uses include spreading mulch to control erosion on hills, runways and ditches and spreading straw to control odor in lagoons and weeds in shelter belts. Suggested list price: $10,800 to $16,500, depending on size. Contact Bridgeview Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 4, Gerald, Saskatchewan, Canada S0A 1B0, 306/ 745-2711.

Move bulk seed fast Need a structure that can hold bulk seed bags? The Seed Shuttle can handle four 2,500-lb. boxes or bags in one trip. Once you get to the field, you can fill a 12-row planter in only 5 min. by moving the 18-ft. auger and pivot arm from transport to operating position. A telescoping spout helps direct the seed to the planter or drill box. Powered by an 11-hp motor, the Seed Shuttle mounts on your wagon, trailer or flatbed and is available in 2-, 3-, or 4-unit models. List price: $4,000 to $12,000, depending on size. Contact Adam Industries Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1259, Fairfield, IA 52556, 800/472-2168.

Automatic seed fill Prevent the downtime caused by the need to fill individual row hoppers with this new seed transfer system, which automatically fills the hoppers as you plant. The bulk tank is pressurized, sending seed to each box through air-pressured hoses. When the hopper is full, seed covers the air delivery tube to stop the flow and prevent overflow. The tank is available in capacities of 64, 80, 96 or 120 bu. and will feed 8 to 24 rows. Colors match most major planters. Suggested list price: $7,300 for implement-mounted model or $12,600 with cart. Contact Gandy Co., Dept. FIN, 528 Gandrud Rd., Owatonna, MN 55060, 800/443-2476.

Strip-till tool Apply anhydrous ammonia, liquid nitrogen, and dry or liquid manure at a uniform depth with the new heavy-duty 2984 series Maverick opener. It features parallel linkage instead of a shank to make the opener easier to pull and able to follow the contours of the ground. Four adjustable springs allow you to regulate ground pressure. Suggested list price: $617, including anhydrous knife and sealing discs for 7- x 7-in. bar. You can add a coulter for $168 to help cut a path for the fertilizer, and residue managers for $222/set to clear trash. Contact Yetter Farm Equip., Dept. FIN, Box 358, Colchester, IL 62326, 800/447-5777.

One-pass stalk chopper Harold Fratzke always hated the job of chopping stalks because it required an extra tractor and fuel, hired hand, chopper and time. So he mounted a 3-hp push lawn mower onto one row of his combine, cut open the front of the mower deck, started the mower, got in the combine and started chopping. "It did such a good job that I decided to build a complete unit on my M2 Gleaner 6-row corn head," Fratzke says.

He refined his invention and now markets it under the name Roto Chop corn-head-mounted stalk chopper. It fits most 4-, 6-, and 8-row corn heads and is mechanically driven from the jack shaft of the combine. Horsepower requirements: approximately 3 hp/row. Suggested list price: $1,350/row. Contact Crary, Dept. FIN, Box 849, West Fargo, ND 58078-0849, 800/247-7335.

Stylish truck cover Protect the contents of your pickup box in style with the Truxedo pickup box cover, made of heavy-duty, 18-oz. leather grain fabric. To install, simply attach the cover to the inside of the truck bed with C-clamps and adjust tension with a 9/16-in. wrench. The sides fasten down with Velcro fasteners for fast attachment and removal, and a rubber seal protects all four sides to keep water out. The cover can remain down when opening the tailgate. When not in use, it can be rolled up and stored at the front of the bed. It is available in six colors and for all pickup makes and models and works with most side rails, toolboxes and locking tailgates to keep cargo secure. Contact Shur-Lok Co., Dept. FIN, Box 713, Yankton, SD 57078, 877-868-9336.

One-man bale mover Eliminate the need for an extra tractor loader when loading and moving large round bales with the new McFarlane Round Bale Mover. It operates off of two hydraulic lines to allow you to transport five 5-ft.-long or six 4-ft.-long bales from the seat of your tractor. Simply back up to the bale, slide the bale onto the railing, raise the frame, drive to the next bale and repeat the process until all bales are loaded. When you are ready to unload, the whole frame drops down and leaves the bales in a line for storage on the fence line. It can handle twine-, silage- and net-wrapped bales. The frame can be adjusted for 4-, 5-, and 6-ft.-dia. bales. Suggested list price: around $4,500. Contact McFarlane Mfg. Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 100, Sauk City, WI 53583, 800/627-8569.

Super-rugged controller The new PF3000 Pro precision farming system is designed to be even more rugged and weather resistant than the PF3000 model to meet the needs of high-end farmers and commercial applicators. It features a fully sealable card slot, wraparound front cover, waterproof switches and a GPS receiver with satellite and beacon differential correction that are built into the main housing to reduce the number of connection cords. Use the unit to mark field locations while on your ATV, monitor yields in the combine, or vary rates of seed, chemical or fertilizer from your tractor cab or spray rig.

Suggested list price: $9,635, including monitor, cables, sensors, 110v power supply, GPS receiver and 20-meg flash card. A new leasing program, called Precision Plan, allows you to pay 10% down and schedule annual payments for April 5 or July 5 for three, four or five years with a residual at the end of either 10% or $1. Contact Ag Leader Technology, Dept. FIN, Box 2348, Ames, IA 50010, 515/232-5363.

Easy-tote seed vac The Mini-Vac dry vacuum from Electric Cleaner Company is now on a cart instead of casters so it can be moved more easily over grass and rough ground. Growers of certified seed can use the Mini-Vac to clean out foreign seed and debris from their planter boxes, drills and combine tanks between seed varieties. It also can be used to vacuum corn cob debris from grain dryers. Retail price: $360 for 12-gal., 18-gauge steel tank, or $550 for 20-gal. tank, including cart, a 10-ft. hose and blower tip. Other attachments such as a two-piece S-wand, 14-in. floor brush, crevice tool and dust brush also are available. Contact Electric Cleaner Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 400, Osseo, WI 54758, 800/456-9821.

Bigger mixer Handle large, round, dry hay bales, wrapped silage bales and other feed commodities used in a total mixed ration with Jay-Lor's vertical mixer 2575 trailer model, designed to be more aggressive than the company's smaller models. It features a 575-cu.-ft. capacity and a patented square cut auger (see inset) that requires less horsepower to run than corkscrew augers so you can use a smaller tractor. Suggested list price: around $37,000.

Also new is Jay-Lor's Added Value Program, which entitles you to six hours of free nutrition consultation with the purchase of any Jay-Lor vertical mixer. Contact Jay-Lor Fabricating Inc., Dept. FIN, Rt. 2, Orton, Ontario, Canada L0N 1N0, 800/809-8224.

Excavator for rent Originally from Austria, the compact Mustang excavator made its U.S. debut in August. It is designed to provide farmers with a more versatile, maneuverable and productive alternative to the loader backhoe at an economical price when paired with a skid loader. Use it for tiling, landscaping or footing work. A leveling feature allows you to dig a straight trench on hilly ground using a hydraulic cylinder that raises the entire cab and loader arm. Choose among 12 models with operating weights from 3,200 to 17,500 lbs. and horsepower ranges from 14 to 62 with standard digging depths from 6 ft. 10 in. to 14 ft. 5 in. Rental rate begins at $30/hr. or $1,500/month, depending on size and dealer location. For the name of the Mustang excavator dealer nearest you, contact Mustang Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, Box 547, Owatonna, MN 55060, 507/451-7112.