Saturday, December 22, 2012

John Deere 9630: powerful and reliable

Nowadays, John Deere 9630 agricultural tractor is one of the most powerful heavy-duty machines there were available on the global market upon its release in 2007. The whole series was produced between 2007 – 2011. The models that followed belong to the John Deere 9560R series.
John Deere 9630, a four – wheel drive tractor is a true monster, powered by John Deere 13.5L 6-cyl, turbocharged aftercooled  diesel engine featuring 530 hp, with the large wheels featuring all -terrain rubber tracks or eight equally – sized tires. The tracked model is called the 9630T and is quite different from the standard John Deere 9630 tractor. First and foremost: it is not articulated. The design slightly varies as well.
Manufactured in Waterloo, Iowa, USA, the standard  John Deere 9630 tractor comes equipped with a 530, 6-cyl diesel engine, tested at 427 drawbar. It is the articulated tractor, weighing over 25 tons. Deere& Company, more often referred to simply as John Deere, is the leading producer of agricultural machinery in the world.  The company’s slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” is a deliberate play on words, basing on the similarities between Deere, which is the surname of the company’s founder,  and deer, the animal. John Deere products can also be identified easily by the standard combination of distinct shade of green and yellow, used to paint the machines.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Future’s Now: The New Generation of No-Driver Tractors

Finally it’s there!
The prototype Spirit autonomous tractor, presented  at the Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo, ND in September, breaks the convention and avoids of the necessity for a driver to operate the vehicle from the cab. Actually, with the driver aside and the machine’s rectangular shape, it looks like rubber-tracked yellow LEGO block, more than a modern tractor. “That’s the look of the future” says Terry Anderson, the president of the Autonomous Tractor Corporation and the Spirit designer at the same time. 
Anderson makes a point that not much has changed in tractor design for the last decade, except that the machines got bigger and more sophisticated. Being the entrepreneur, with some knowledge of communication technology, industrial machine design and manufacturing, Anderson decided that some changes are inevitable. The most conspicuous difference between the Spirit and the any traditional tractor, that you spot instantly is the lack of the tractor cab. The company’s design objective was to build a low – cost and durable tractor, featured with the safe, no-driver navigation system. The Spirit model is going to have long, 25.000 – hr. service life, a 500 – hr. service interval and a maximum 2-hr. repair time, with the selling price of $500 per horsepower. That includes a hybrid laser-radio navigation system, eliminating the chances to stray outside field boundaries.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Transgenic Trees May Boost a Green Revolution for Some Forest Crops

It seems that the same “green revolution” ideas that have given the incentive for the crop agriculture revolution and helped to fight the malnutrition in many countries all over the world may now prove equally useful in forestry. 
Scientists claim that “green” concepts once used, could work again to the benefit of wood biomass production or even greenhouse gas mitigation.
The researchers at Oregon State University have recently launched their latest findings concerning the reduced height growth in trees (as a result of genetic modification) and the positive influence it could exert on bioenergy or serve for more efficient water use.
That’s an important news for the agriculture: it turns out that the methods which made crops (i.e. wheat and rice) produce more food on smaller plants, could be applied in forestry. The research has made it obvious that genetic modification of height growth is within human’s reach and the genes that control plant growth are also responsible for the growth of trees. The semi –dwarf trees that were produced by conventional tree breeding techniques already remain the important part of the horticulture industry, enabling easier  fruit harvesting and higher yields.

Friday, October 5, 2012

New Holland Trade Centre at World Dairy Expo for the First Time

The largest new commercial space that has ever been seen at World Dairy Expo since 1995 was shown on 2nd October at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.
The 26,000 – square - foot- indoor space of New Holland Trade  Center, named after its sponsor, allows the room for 130 exhibitors, and the waiting list has been full so far. The additional space enables displaying more technology and management tools to be viewed by the customers. It’s the enormous tent on the Outdoor Mall, which makes it impossible to miss. The New Holland Trade Center is willingly used by all kinds of manufacturers, including those producing farm machinery and equipment, dairy products and accessories among others. The exhibitors are pleased with the new space to explore as so much extra room gives better exposure and provides better flow of traffic.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Protecting Ecosystems Proves Beneficial for the Society

We all know that ecosystems are extremely important to the general well-being and integrity of the human race as they provide people with whatever they need  to live: food, clean air and fresh water. Apart from that, ecosystems can also be considered as some fine sources of the outdoor recreation opportunities.
The PEER Research on EcoSystem Services initiative brings closer the idea of how various EU policies can contribute to the increase of the benefits provided by ecosystems and  supports the inclusion of the ecosystem services approach into the European policy measures which affect the use or the condition of natural resources.
The outcomes of this research initiative were presented in September in Brussles to the international board of experts, helping DG Environment of the European Commission to introduce the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
That plan includes, among others, giving the incentive to the Common Agricultural Policy and restoring wetlands, thereby improving water quality. Moreover, as bees and bumblebees are so important being the main pollinators, high resolution data of forests were used to map the ecosystems in which bees and bumblebees build nests and localize the flowers. The information of that kind is crucial to persuade farmers to protect these areas as they increase their agricultural output. The mapping and evaluating the possible ecosystem services are essential, yet not sufficient enough to obtain the ecosystem service targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
The rational and cost-efficient management of ecosystems should be also focused on those EU policies which influence ecosystems (both, directly and indirectly) i.e. the policies created to cause social and economic changes  (referring to agriculture, international trade, nature conservation and land use).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Experts Reluctant to Blame Pesticides for the Honeybee Decline

It seems that general conviction on pesticides being responsible for the gradual annihilation of honeybees has to be revised as the UK scientists deny there’s the immediate connection between pesticides and the bees colony collapse.
Now, a more thorough research has to be conducted to predict the impact of the popular agricultural insecticides ( often referred to as neonicotinoids) on honeybee population.
The scientists from the University of Exeter and Food and Environment Agency point out that there are several inconsistencies in the report published in Science, April 2012 which predicted that neonicotinoids could be the main reason for the honeybee colony collapse. The neonicotinoids are commonly used in agriculture as insecticides. Unfortunately, honeybees ingest residues of the pesticides while gathering nectar and pollen from treated plants. The April report has been widely cited by scientists and politicians who claimed the impact of these pesticides on honeybees is detrimental. As a result, French government has decided to put a ban on the use of thiametoxam, the active neonicotinoid included in Cruiser OSR, the pesticide produced by Syngenta, the Swiss company.
Yet, the new research underestimates the findings of the previous one, arguing that the calculations in April report were wrong as they failed to reflect the rate at which honeybee colonies recover from losing its individuals. The previous research indicated that bees died more often having drunk nectar laced with neonicotinoid pesticide, which is thiamethoxam. Now, the recent research published in September proved that the calculation may have used an inappropriately low birth rate.
It seems that neonicotinoids do affect honeybees, but there is no infallible proof that it puts bees colony at the risk of a collapse. Still, there is an urge to introduce a proper plan that would protect bees from the exposure to chemicals used by humans to boost their crops. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reading Food Labels Keeps You Thinner

It’s now become a fact! Shoppers, women in particular, who care to read food labels are slimmer than those who don’t bother about it.
At least these are the findings of the study, published recently by Steven T. Yen, the professor working at the University of Tennessee, in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Professor Yen discovered that women reading food labels weighed about 9 pounds less than those who don’t. According to Yen, reading labels helps the shoppers to improve their diet by making more informed decisions in food purchases.
The research was carried out on the basis of data provided by the annual “National Health Interview Survey”, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey included more than 25.000 observations on eating – related habits. The study, published in the “Agricultural Economics” journal checked if there is any relationship between the obesity and the nutritional label. The results proved that reading labels was the significant factor in cutting down on obesity, particularly among women.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wild Pollinators Boost Farm Productivity

Perhaps not many people are aware of the fact that as much as 84% of crops across the whole Europe depend on insect pollination. Although the managed honeybees pollinate certain crops, the wild honeybees, together with wasps and flies do the same job for much broader spectrum of plants, being considered as the most important pollinators.
That is why the grave decline in the number of both honeybees and wild bees that was reported in Europe over  the last years came as a threat to the agriculture and environment , bringing forth the focus on pollination services provided by the combination of honeybees and wild bees. It looks like wild bees can improve, or at least, support farm productivity helping the agriculture to sustain the desired level of crops. Additionally, wild bees are a cost – efficient way to go as they don’t need to be rented commercially provided there is sufficient high quality pollinator habitat available.
To raise the awareness among the farmers concerning the importance of wild pollinators, the EC FP7 project STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators) has published a farmers’ factsheet translated in 15 European languages. That is supposed to encourage farmers to take the advantage of wild insects pollination services and, as a result, cut down on relying totally on honeybees as the sole species responsible for crop production.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Discovering the Seeds of Defense: Stress Causes the Widespread Epigenetic Changes Aiding In Disease Resistance

For a very long time, the scientists were convinced that methylation, the essential part of every living organism development process, was just a static modification of DNA, which was not possible to be altered by environmental conditions.  However, according to new findings provided by the researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the DNA of organisms experiencing stress undergo changes in the DNA methylation pattern which alters the way genes are regulated.

Professor Joseph Ecker working at Salk’s Genomic Analysis Laboratory believes that the epigenome may not be a static set of instructions but can also take part in “rewriting” those instructions according to the received experience. Eventually, it all boils down to the theory that life experiences leave an imprint on our DNA.
Using the genome-wide sequencing technologies, the researchers have tracked numerous methylation changes in the plant’s response to bacterial infections and went on with a number of analyses focused on analyzing the way such changes are able to alter gene expression. The Salk findings are sure to influence the agriculture, including plants DNA methylation process engineering aimed at generating pathogen-resistant crops and minimizing the pesticide exposure. These technologies bring about huge interest among farmers , as more than 30 per cent of the yearly crops are lost due to pathogens and cost of $500 billion.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wastewater As Fertilizer? Why not!

Using liquid manure, wastewater and sewage sludge as the fertilizer components for food production has been quite a common way to boost crops in agriculture. Fraunhofer scientists have now come up with a “green”, chemical - free process allowing the recovered salts to be converted directly into organic food for crops.
Every person that works in agriculture industry knows that phosphorus is the essential element, not only for plants but for every living organism. However lately, farmers have faced the increasing shortage of that mineral and as a result, the prices of phosphate-based fertilizers have soared. That is why coming up with the alternative solution was just a question of time.
The researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart have invented a solution allowing the use of the locally available resources which are abundant in the wastewater from sewage treatment plants and in the fermentation residues from biogas plants. The process, developed by the researchers,  precipitates out the nutrients in a form that allows applying them directly as fertilizer. That energy- saving, eco – friendly process is now being tested in a mobile pilot plant. It seems that agriculture has received a powerful ally when it comes to improving crop performance!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Drought Monitor Alert: the Record- Breaking Expanse of Drought Across the U.S.

According to the latest report on drought in America, there are more parts of the U.S. suffering from moderate drought nowadays than there were within the 12-year history of the American Drought Monitor.
The analysis of the latest drought monitor data shows clearly that 46.84 per cent of the nation’s land area remains in various stages of drought – moderate or even worse than that. The recent dryness and heat is catching up on the national scale and the government has to deal with the problem of drought on a larger section of the country than it was previously assumed.
The report brought some unrest to the farmers as it remains a serious threat to the agriculture issues: moderate droughts damage pastures and crops causing the streams and wells get low. What’s more, the great droughts include crop and pasture losses, accompanied with the shortages of water and causing water emergencies.
Now the government needs to take some preventive steps in order to stop this adverse effect from spreading or worsening and safeguard the future of agriculture industry.

Monday, July 23, 2012

“Superweeds” Immune to Glyphosate Prove Less Susceptible to Diseases

According to the Purdue University research, scientists trying to understand the way superweeds get their immunity against the common herbicide glyphosate may have lacked the essential piece of information.
Everybody knows that glyphosate, the active ingredient included in the popular herbicide called the “RoundUp” kills the majority of weeds across the USA. Not all of them, however. That made the farmers take some additional steps as far as the herbicides go. It is not quite clear what mechanisms have let weeds become resistant to the weed killers, yet some scientists believe that soil microbes might be responsible for that process.
It could be true as most laboratory tests are done in sterile soil, lacking all the microbes. These findings, published in Weed Science journal may bring all the details of the process owing to which some plants are not affected by the glyphosate. And that’s good news for  the agriculture industry as some further research is going to check how fungi in the soil affect root development, both with and without glyphosate. Now, farmers are hoping that the findings of the scientists from Purdue University will allow them to finally grow some fine crops, free of weeds and fungi.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Likelihood of Food Crisis Due to the Global Warming

Scientists warn that the UK consumers are likely to suffer dramatically reduced food choices very soon, unless something is done to cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions.
The Sustainable Consumption Institute research shows some threatening statistics according to which the food, now taken for granted, such as meat and vegetables, could become too pricey for many families should global temperatures stay in line with the present trends and reach 4˚C within the lifetime of one generation.
What is worse, the situation is not likely to improve even when families carry on lowering their carbon emissions coming from the energy use as global farming emissions tend to rise, along with the increasing appetite for the energy-intensive foods. The report puts forward what many people have been aware of years before: there’s a chance to minimize the adverse effects of global warming, yet people must reduce the consumption of energy and food alongside with goods and services.
Yet the situation looks like a vicious circle so far, as together with the rise of temperature more fertilizers would be used in agriculture and farming in order to boost the crop growth. And it would definitely lead to further rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cultivators: A Big Comeback

Some farmers may wonder whether the tillage equipment is going to work extremely hard this summer. Well, apparently it can, and it is all owing to the tenacity of herbicide-resistant weeds, as stated in the report by CAST (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology).
The report recommends fighting the glyphosate – resistant weeds with the use of “integrated management solutions, perhaps including tillage”. However, intensifying tillage brings about some issues, such as costs, increased labor, machinery limitations and  the related conservation challenges.
Definitely, one of the solutions to control herbicide – resistant weeds is to adopt site-specific mechanical control. Yet, many farmers have already sold or junked their cultivators, so the remaining equipment may have the wrong spacing or corroded sweeps. That is why, if the widespread cultivation becomes a must, a lot of new iron is going to be designed and marketed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deere & Company On Its Way to Expand Manufacturing Capacity for Hydraulic Cylinders

According to the latest news coming from Deere & Company, they are going to invest $47 million to expand manufacturing capacity in their Moline, Illinois factory, where the company produces a wide range of the hydraulic cylinders used mainly in agriculture, construction and forestry around the world.
Deere continues the strategy aimed at the global growth and requires some investments in manufacturing operations.  Fortunately, market demand for John Deere products has remained high and the planned improvements in manufacturing hydraulic cylinders will be launched in order to meet that growing demand.
The investment is supposed to result in crucial upgrades in machining tools at the cylinder operations, however they won’t  require any changes to the physical design. Also, no jobs will be added as a result of the investment itself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are the Changes in John Deere Senior Management Team Going to Affect the Company’s Policy

 The announced changes in the company’s senior management team made the observers wonder about the direction in which John Deere is going to head. The decision, made as a result of the anticipated retirement of the two executives, is hoped to enhance Deere & Company ability to develop the leadership talents.
Samuel R. Allen, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer believes that these leadership changes will add up to the management effectiveness and the advanced organizational alignment in Deere’s strife to complete the 2018 objectives.
David C. Everitt, the president of agriculture and turf division, and James R. Jenkins, senior vice president and general counsel have revealed their retirement plans early enough for the company to initiate the transition process of the key roles in organization.  Allen has announced that all the management assignments related with the planned retirement  are effective September 1.