HOXIE, AR (KAIT) - Farming is big business. Every gallon of diesel, every drum of fertilizer and labor costs must be closely monitored.
One way farmers can keep ahead is with new technology.
The last Massey Ferguson tractor I had anything to do with wasn't as complex or as large as the 21st century Massey Fergusons.
Tori Hicks says with new tractor techonology, a lot less labor is required to farm now.
"Technology that allows you to put one man in one tractor with one planter and plant 3 thousand acres in a lot less time than we used to."
Size, power, and technology can be combined to be economical.
Jason Klipfel an Agco High Power Specialist gave me a ride on an 8670 model tractor. We were quickly moving down the black top at over 30 miles an hour in quiet comfort. Jason didn't even have to raise his voice to talk to me.
"The big advantage is at the end of the day, you're usually doing more acres on less gallons of fuel."
With fuel, seed and fertilizer so expensive, waste of anything adds to costs. GPS based technology can make planting and applications precise and economical.
"Auto steering will let you hold equipment more accurate, more steady. It will keep your overlaps the same you'll waste a lot less fuel. You'll waste seed a lot less."
Del Massey sells precision farming technology for Geo Shack--equipment that practically has equipment drive itself.
And, even though this Massey monster is painted red, it's green. New EPA standards say that by 2014, all diesel engines over 100 horsepower must be Tier 4 emissions compliant. This tractor is nearly at that level by using DEF or diesel exhaust fluid put in a tank next to the diesel fuel.
Blake Cox showed me the exhaust scrubbing system and explained how it works.
"It actually mixes a mixture of urea into this catalyst chamber of the engine and what that means for you. "
As he fired up the engine, no thick black cloud of smoke that usually accompanies a diesel start up appeared.
Cox says, "Air coming out of the exhaust is actually cleaner than the air going in. It gives the farmer a more fuel efficient cleaner way to meet Tier 4 emission standards."
Even with all the air ride seats and ac and satellite radio, farming is still a very demanding job, riding in a tractor cab for 12 to 14 hours takes a lot out of a person.
Klipfel says, "Comfort and efficiency are key. The longer you can run that tractor and still not feel like you've been in a fight, The more your apt to get up and do it again the next day."
This is definitely nothing like my grandfather's little gray Ferguson tractor.
For more information on Massey Ferguson, just click on the link I have provided for you. It is truly amazing how far tractors have advanced over the years.