Team FIN couple Daryl and Peggy Bridenbaugh headed west to Tulare, CA, last winter to cover the 35th anniversary of the World Ag Expo. This massive show provides 2 million square feet of exhibit space for 1,400 exhibitors. The Bridenbaughs combed the show for two days, picking out new, innovative equipment.
Till, spray, fertilize, plant in one pass
Daryl claims that this is the biggest farm tool he has ever seen. The Optimizer is a one-pass tool that completes all tillage and planting as well as herbicide and fertilizer application. Stretching 41 ft. long and 18 ft. wide, it should save a farmer time and fuel because it reduces the number of field passes required. But it costs $160,000 and needs at least a 350-hp tractor to pull it. The manufacturer Tillage International claims the Optimizer offers a one-year payback in some locations. The implement will plant all forage crops and soon corn and soybeans. The company is adding GPS capability to prevent expensive overlapping on row crops.
A series of tools on the Optimizer complete tillage and seedbed preparation, including a disk, disc coulters, rotating reels, chisel plow, rotating baskets and a finishing roller that is interchangeable with the planting units. It prepares a seedbed from 3 to 12 in. deep in many field conditions from heavy residue or stubble to clay, sandy and loam soils. According to the manufacturer, the tool is built to last 50,000 acres, lending itself to shared use with neighbors. The Optimizer folds to 8½ ft. for transport and weighs 32,000 lbs. For more information, contact Tillage International, Dept. FIN, 2328 Paulson Rd., Turlock, CA 95380, 209/321-9253.
Easy hay stacking
The Hay Buddy was one of Daryl's favorite products. You can use it to stack 12 bales of hay up to 14 ft. high. A squeeze attachment, it fits on all tractors, skid-steer loaders and lift trucks. Depending on the tractor, it will lift up to 2,400 lbs. The forks are 48 in. long and will open 58 in. and close down to 34 in. It retails for $3,695 plus shipping.
Also available from Marco Machineworks is the Bale Buddy. It attaches to any vehicle including an ATV or skid steer to bunch up the bales before handling with the Hay Buddy. It may be purchased from Marco for $300, or the company will give you plans to make your own Bale Buddy. For more information, contact Marco Machineworks Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 1356, Scappoose, OR 97056-1356, toll-free 877/646-5504, orwww.haybuddy.com.
Secure fuel storage
If you're storing fuel or fertilizer at a remote location and need extra security, a ConVault storage container should do the job. One of these storage containers will survive a two-hour fire, point-blank gunfire or the impact from a vehicle. The containers are constructed with a steel tank inside to hold liquid, a layer of Styrofoam insulation, a special HDPE liner to hold any leaks from the steel, and then 6 in. of concrete. The company is so confident that the container is leakproof that it offers a 30-year warranty. Plus, the containers may be locked to prevent theft. Available in sizes from 125 to 12,000 gal., a 1,000-gal. tank for storing fuel costs about $9,000, depending on options, and a 3,000-gal. tank costs about $15,000. For more information, contact Oldcastle Precast, Dept. FIN, 1901 Isabel Ave., Livermore, CA 94550, toll free 866/743-8285, or www.convault.com.
Updated skid steering
Two new models of Bobcat loaders now feature all-wheel steering as well as the popular skid steering, a first for the loader industry. The all-wheel steering provides a smooth ride and less ground and concrete disturbance than skid steering. Yet the skid steering mode is available for work in tight, confined areas. The A220 all-wheel steer loader is rated with a operating capacity of 2,200 lbs. and is a radius lift machine. Suggested retail price is $36,000. The A300 model just released this spring is rated with a 3,000-lb. operating capacity and is a vertical lift machine. It retails for $38,000. For more information, contact Bobcat Co., Dept. FIN, Box 6000, West Fargo, ND 58078, 701/241-8700, or www.bobcat.com.
The Loewen model 6250 spreader vacuums manure off dairy barn aisles and then spreads the manure in the field. A scraper attached to the spreader cleans the aisles, and the spreader's vacuum system sucks the manure into the tank, filling in two to three minutes. A dairy farmer using the 6250 doesn't need to push manure out of buildings with a skid-steer loader or tractor. The Canadian-built spreader may be equipped for surface application or injection. It is available in sizes up to 7,500 gal. Prices range from $20,000 to $80,000, depending on sizes and options. For more information, contact Loewen Welding & Mfg., Dept. FIN, Box 66, Matsqui, British Columbia, Canada V4X 3R2, 604/826-7844.
Certa-Set PVC irrigation piping
A new type of PVC irrigation pipe caught Daryl's eye because it is flexible and easily pulled down a field. The Certa-Set PVC piping is leakproof, corrosion-resistant, easy to install and reusable, according to the manufacturer CertainTeed. The company claims the pipe laterals and couplings will not be affected by sunlight, electrolysis, chemicals or fertilizers. Plus it contains impact modifiers for added strength. Contact CertainTeed Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 860, Valley Forge, PA 19482, 610/341-7000.
Tired of swinging a hammer? The Danair pneumatic nailer, designed to drive up through 16d nails as well as fence staples, will end that task. The nailer is palm-sized to fit in tight spaces. A magnetic guide holds nails and staples so only one hand is needed for starting and driving. Plus, the nailer has no trigger. Instead, the hammering action begins with light pressure on the nail and stops when the nail is set as desired. Although the nailer is not new, it was one of Daryl's favorite products at the show. The company makes a variety of nailers ranging in price from $150 to $300, as well as many accessories. For more information, contact Danair, Dept. FIN, Box 3898, Visalia, CA 93278, 800/232-6247, or www.danairinc.com.