Results tagged “shows” from Scotts EQuip
I spent most of the last week of January in Kansas City at Ag Connect Expo.
This was only the third time this show has been held, and it started off on a pretty small scale—at least in terms of attendance. But from the start, this event has had some pretty impressive sponsors. All the major equipment brands are behind it. And it's becoming known as the “manufacturer's show”.
Ag Connect still isn't operating on the scale of the major events, such as the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, or Canada's Farm Progress Show in Regina, but it's growing. The 11,000 attendance number this year was nearly double the 5,800 that made the trip to Atlanta for the last show in 2011. And there were 400 exhibitors on hand to vie for their attention this time.
Ag Connect is held every second year; the next one will be in Indianapolis, Indiana, in January of 2015.
Just because this show doesn't rival others in terms of its size or attendance numbers, don't assume there isn't anything to see. Ag Connect takes a very different approach than any other North American event. You won't find brands taking up acres of space to parade their full machinery line ups, but you will find an ample helping of concept machines and interesting innovations from companies large and small.
Arguably, there is even more to hear than there is to see. Modeled loosely after Germany's Agritechnica, Ag Connect has a strong focus on the exchange of ag information of all types, which is what makes this event unique. If you're wondering what other successful producers are focusing on in their operations, Ag Connect is a great place to find out.
“Centre Stage” at Ag Connect Expo hosts a virtually non-stop list of panel discussions involving people from nearly every ag sector.
The show incorporates a long list of panel discussions, involving people from all aspects of agriculture. If you're curious about what is going on at the machinery companies, Ag Connect is the right place to find that out, too. There aren't many places where you can bump into the senior executives from all the major equipment brands wandering the aisles, listen to them discuss their company's approach to a variety of topics or ask them a question. But you can at Ag Connect.
An example of the equipment on display is Hagie's nutrient applicator bar for an SP sprayer.
If you're in the mood to attend a farm show that offers a little different kind of environment, Ag Connect might be for you. For more information on the next event, check out www.agconnect.com.
Last week I caught a flight to Toronto to take in Canada's Outdoor Farm Show (outdoorfarmshow.com). Although the show has been an annual event in southern Ontario for 19 years, this was my time through the gates to have a look at it.
Getting from Pearson airport out to Woodstock where the show is held wasn't a problem, because I was able to travel around with my friend Ray Bianchi who operates Classic Farm Photos and lives in Nearby Milton. We teamed up and hit the show together. But for anyone new to the region, it's not hard to get to Woodstock. It's only about 1 ½ hours by car from the airport.
Just like Canada's Farm Progress Show in Regina, most of the exhibits are outdoors, which means you need to be prepared to do some walking and have the sunscreen handy. But unlike the Regina show, this one is held in the countryside and that means there is ample room for show organizers to plan some infield demonstrations.
This year ploughing and dry manure spreading demos were held each afternoon through the course of the three-day event. For a prairie boy, seeing ploughs working in the field was almost a first. It's a rare event out west. Even though very few westerners would even consider adding a plough to their fleet, it was useful to see them in action and get a feel for why they can—or possibly can't—typically help with field management on the prairie.
And while talk of ploughing may cause a few to dismiss the outdoor show as an event that just appeals to southern Ontario producers, that isn't necessarily so. When Doug Wagner, the show's president, sat down with me for an interview, he commented that the show is gaining popularity with farmers from all across the country.
The reason, he says, is because organizers strive to seek out a wide range of new ag technologies and ensure they're represented at the event. Along with that, there are now arguably more similarities in regional equipment demands than there are differences. Wagner believes that even if visitors from western Canada are inclined to walk past implement displays featuring ploughs, they'll still be rewarded with a first-hand look at machines they do find familiar and useful.
There is also one other benefit to attending a farm show outside your home region: you find yourself asking company reps how some of the unfamiliar machines fit into different farming practices and just what each one can achieve, which means you start evaluating your own practices from another perspective. And pretty soon you start to wonder whether or not it's possible to do things differently—and better—than you do now.
Even if you come to the conclusion none of those unfamiliar implements can do the job better than the machines you use now, analyzing your operation and objectives from a fresh perspective certainly helps you to better understand your business. And that can help make you a better farm manager.
This past week I spent a couple of days wandering the aisles of the Manitoba Ag Days show in Brandon. After you've logged as many miles walking through machinery exhibits as I have, you become pretty tuned in to the subtleties. I find myself comparing not only the show to other machinery events, but also how the various exhibitors present themselves.
Even though Ag Days is far from being a giant among shows, it's big enough that making the trip to see it is a worthwhile effort. And it always seems to attract an interesting blend of exhibitors. That's good news for a machinery editor, like me, who is always on the lookout for something new and innovative.
Probably the biggest criticism anyone can offer about the show, itself, is the confusing floor plan. Even with a map, it's easy to get lost in the maze of hallways, barns and exhibition rooms. I feel like I should be rewarded with a piece of cheese when I successfully find the booth I'm looking for!
My first day at the show proved a little frustrating as I kept getting lost. Finding my way was even more difficult when the midday crowd swelled to the point everyone was bumping shoulders. But, eventually I got onto it.
If you arrive at the Keystone Centre—where Ag Days is held—anytime after mid morning, be prepared to park at the farthest reaches of the parking lot. You may even have to spend a little time searching for a space.
The most interesting comparison I find myself making, though, is with the presentation of the exhibitors' booths and how easy the representatives are to talk to. All the exhibitor companies have spent money to buy floorspace, haul their products to the show and man their booths; but not all seem to milk that investment for all its worth. I think many of the smaller companies come to find out just how specialized marketing skills are.
This is a situation most farmers can relate to. There is so much to know about running a business that it's impossible for one person to be good at every aspect of it. Farmers can't be professional mechanics, skilled equipment operators, agronomists, pesticide specialists and tax experts all at the same time. Just as it makes sense for them to hire experts to lend additional skills to a farming operation, many small manufacturers ought to think about doing the same with their businesses.
When I looked at some of the new equipment creations the small manufacturers were showing, it was clear there were some pretty inventive minds behind the designs. But often the person maning the company booth was acting as creator, engineer, owner and marketer, along with numerous other roles. Unfortunately, not all of these people were doing the marketing part very well; and that's what farm shows are all about.
You can't expect a small operation to be able to invest money in creating a splashy booth along the lines of those set up by the multinational corporations who also attend the show, but investing in help from someone who knows how to put the company's best foot forward and cause passers-by to stop and ask questions could be money well spent.
Some of the exhibitors who were clearly running mom-and-pop scale operations were a little shy and didn't seem to be making the best of the public interest they could attract. Subtle things like presenting body language that suggests they're willing to answer questions rather than hiding at the back of the booth seemed to be one thing that caused some people to just keep on walking rather than stop and chat.
Kevin LaFlamme, product manager for Rotary Lift, used his hobby as an Elvis impersonator to attract attention to his company's booth. It seemed to help break the ice, starting conversations and creating some buzz about his product.
As a member of the farm media, one of the things that always amazes me is when exhibitors don't seem interested in having their product featured in an article in a publication like Grainews. Many of these same firms have actually been spending money to buy advertising space in a variety of magazines; but when given the opportunity for some free publicity, they shy away from it.
If you're a manufacturer trying to market a product you believe in, be proud of it; and don't be afraid of having it featured in an article. The major brands spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to attract media attention to their products. They recognize the value of that kind of publicity.
Fledgling manufacturers need to recognize where their strengths are and where they could use some help. I bet those that do see it pay off in increased sales.
With only a few hours left before the doors close for the final time on Agritechnica 2011, more than a few people were trying to squeeze in a final visit. The exhibition halls were busy, to say the least. Because it's Saturday, there were parents and kids almost everywhere.
With a journalist's press pass, though, I could avoid the crowds by coming in early and staying late each day in order to get unobstructed photographs of the machines on display. And that pass also allows access to the press centre, which offers amenities like workspace and internet access so we can do our jobs and get information out to you—no matter where you are.
The overall view of just one of the 24 display halls filled with new equipment and emerging technologies
Spending time in the press centre meant I was able to meet other writers from farm publications all across Europe. As one of only three Canadian journalists at the show (at least only three that I know of), a lot of people were eager to ask about our country and its agriculture industry. We spent a lot of time talking about the differences and similarities among farms and farming practices in various regions of the world.
To a large extent, the kind of information exchange we shared in the press room was also what the organizers of Agritechnica were trying to facilitate between equipment manufacturers and show visitors. They want this event to be the global meeting place for the exchange of information and ideas for everyone's benefit, not just a showplace for new machines. And those two purposes seem to mesh very nicely here.
In fact, it's impossible not to find yourself learning about how farming is done elsewhere simply by looking at the kinds of equipment on display and talking with the exhibitors about how and why farmers use them in various countries. Then, of coure, there are the exhibitors showing products that push the limits of current technology and give a glimpse of what the future holds. Information exchange seems to be happening here whether its planned or not.
I spoke to a few of the prairie manufacturers who are showing their equipment at the Canadian pavilions, and it's clear they're learning too. Getting feedback on their machinery from foreign farmers helps them assess not only demand for it in potential new markets, but it gives them a chance to assess other technologies, which may or may not work on implements intended for sale in Canada. That means many Canadian farmers could benefit from the dialogue at this show, even if they did come to it.
As Agritechnica has matured over the past decade, that global meeting place concept has solidified. “We could really sense an international feel to this year's Agritechnica,” said Dr. Reinhard Grandke, CEO of DLG, the show's organizer, at the closing press conference. “One of our missions is to become a platform for networking.”
I'd have to say mission accomplished.
This wraps up my second visit to an Agritechnica show—I was also here for the last one in 2009. Be sure to keep your eye on future issues of Grainews and Country Guide for detailed articles on this year's event.
If you enjoy looking at the latest and best in farm machinery and expanding your knowledge about the industry you earn your livelihood in, making the trans-Atlantic trip to see a future show could really be worth the effort. Agritechnica runs every second year, so the next one will take place in November, 2013.
Yesterday, I gave you a few stats on just how many exhibits were on site here at Agritechnica in Hanover Germany. But here's a little trivia on the facility itself—or the Hannover Messe, as it's known locally.
Hanover is in the northern region of Germany and the Messe (fair grounds) is located on the south side of the city. Covering a total of 91 acres, the Messe has 24 halls offering a total of 388,452 square metres of occupied, indoor exhibit space for this show. And almost every exhibit is under a roof, making this an all-weather event.
About half of the available floor space is occupied by the 1,361 exhibitors representing German companies. So as you'd expect, there is a lot of German being spoken on the floor. But you can expect to frequently overhear conversations in Russian, Italian and English as well. Representatives at each exhibit wear lapel pins with flags of the countries whose languages they speak. That makes it easy to know who to approach if you have a question.
Because the site is so large, you can wear down a lot of shoe leather getting from one end to the other. Fortunately, the show offers complimentary shuttle buses that run around the entire grounds, making it surprisingly easy and fast to get from one end of the Messe to the other.
To satisfy your appetite, there are countless restaurants and food stands offering everything from high-end cuisine to bratwurst and beer. And you can wander through the exhibition with your beer if you want.
Before I wrap up today's post, here's a look at New Holland's second-generation hydrogen tractor prototype, which is on display at the company's large exhibit. Aside from the updated appearance, this tractor has seen some significant redesigning under the sheet metal. With a rated output of about 140 horsepower, this one has a little more muscle than its predecessor. And it has an increased fuel-cell capacity of 340 litres, but that still only gives it two to three hours of working time. Product reps acknowledge that is an area that needs further development.
This tractor heads out for field trials
near Turin Italy next season. The farm chosen for the testing will be
producing its own hydrogen for the tractor and other energy needs.
Engineers will evaluate the tractor's performance after the season is
over and the challenge of making improvements will begin all over
Every second year, the German Agricultural Society, DLG, hosts Agritechnica, the largest farm machinery exhibition on the planet. It's held in Hanover Germany. By any standard, the show is enormous. 2,700 exhibitors from 48 countries are showing their newest and best. But unlike nearly all other venues, many manufacturers are also giving you a glimpse of what they intend to offer in future.
As a result, Agritechnica is unique in its size and scope. And in order to make the event interesting and offer more than an ample helping of eye candy, exhibitors go to unusual lengths to be creative. AGCO's Valtra stand is a prime example. The company is using the show to introduce its new N Series tractors, which offer a pretty wide variety of options. So you can order one with the unique specifications you need on your farm, really put your mark on it—so to speak.
Passers-by are invited to step up and put thier fingerprint on this new N Series Valtra tractor.
To help convey that message, show goers here can put their mark—their name and fingerprint to be exact—on the display tractor. After the doors close on this event, the tractor will get a clear-coat paint job to protect all the prints and then be auctioned off. The proceeds will go toward funding an agricultural development project in Africa.
This week I'll be posting daily updates to this blog to give you a taste of what you're missing, if you didn't make it across the Atlantic. So stay tuned for more.
Oh, and in case you're wondering. Yes, my fingerprint and the Grainews name will be encased forever on that Valtra N Series along with hundres of others.
My thumb print, like hundreds of others, will stay on this tractor. All the surfaces will eventually be protected by a clear top coat, making this a truly one-off machine.
Auf wiedersehen from Germany,
If you're a fan of farm machinery shows—and who isn't—be sure to take in the Agritechnica preview presentation, which will be held during the second day of the Western Canada Farm Progress show.
On Thursday, the 16th, representatives from Agritechnica, the world's premier machinery show, will be making a presentation about their next show. It will be held in Hannover Germany from the 15th to the 19th of November this year.
If you're a manufacturer looking to improve your position in the European market—or get established there—you really should take in this presentation. Both Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) and Manitoba Trade and Investment will be outlining their plans to help prairie businesses set up displays at the show.
By going in with these groups, businesses get the advantage of being part of a team, even though each company is furthering its own marketing efforts. But getting access to services like interpreters and assistance in setting up a booth can make it possible for many companies, who may not have the resources to do it on their own, to participate. And by positioning a booth within a Saskatchewan or Manitoba pavilion, firms can really get noticed. I'm told by manufacturing company executives who have used this method that Canada has a pretty good reputation internationally, and displaying your wares under the maple leaf makes a big difference.
But even if you're not a manufacturer, Agritechnica also is worth seeing. Really, it's the farm machinery industry's equivalent of the Detroit Auto Show. You'll see one-off prototypes of new equipment and get a look at what machinery companies are focusing on for future trends. Kevin Hursh, a prominent ag journalist here on the prairie, is working with STEP to put together a junket for farmers interested in attending the show as part of a group. He'll be at the preview, as will I, so stop buy and get your name on the travel list.
The preview presentation will be held in salon 1 at 10:00am in the Queensbury Centre at Evraz Place in Regina during the Western Canada Farm Progress Show. Check it out.
And by the way If you need an incentive to go to the Regina show in the first place, here's one.
You'll be one of the first to see Bourgault display this new giant air seeder cart. The company just officially unveiled it at a dealer convention last week. It has an impressive 980 bushel capacity. It's just one of the new products scheduled to make an appearance.
It's auction season, again. Every spring those few weeks between the start of milder weather and the day farmers need to head into the fields are packed with farm sales. This year, however, milder weather is a pretty relative term. Last week when I attended my first sale of the season, I had to come home and drink a pot of coffee to shake off the chill from standing around in two-degree temperature and snow flurries.
Nonetheless, taking in that first auction sale every spring is still a very welcome event for me, and—I suspect—for many others. Aside from being a mechanism for those leaving the industry to clear out inventory, they seem to be a barometer of farmers optimism for the coming season. If producers think there are good times ahead, there'll be a lot of people at sales; and they'll have their wallets out ready to pay for what catches their eye.
Down in the States where it always seems to be auction season somewhere, sales have seen a lot of money change hands in the past few months. U.S. farmers have been paying top dollar for good used tractors. In fact, buyers have been paying record prices for low-hour machines. John Deere's own Machinery Finder Blog is currently highlighting one of those record sales.
A 2002, 7410 two-wheel drive tractor sold for U.S. $61,000 at a sale in Iowa. It only had 618 hours on it, but that price puts it way above normal. To understand just how much, I checked with Ritchie Bros. online auction prices site to see what others have sold for. The site shows only one other two-wheel drive version being sold recently, and it netted only US $37,000. Even the listing of comparable MFWD 7410s doesn't show any of those coming close to that price.
John Deere's site has also shown several other green machines that have set records at U.S. sales this year. In every case it's the clean, low-hour tractors that are creating the highest demand. And models from other brands that show well are seeing strong buyer interest,too.
But until the early April sales are in the book, it's anyone's guess whether or not farmers here are in a buying mood.
If that first sale I attended was any indication, there is some spare change jingling in farmers pockets on the Canadian prairie. That almost always means higher demand for used farm machinery. When I arrived at the sale, there was a sea of pickup trucks spilling over from the designated parking area. So I had a long walk just to get to where the action was. And when it did get there, I noticed even the lineup to get a hamburger or coffee was easily fifteen people deep.
Selling prices were pretty strong throughout the day. Anything in good condition was bringing a good price. But there was one notable change from sales in years past. At one time, it seemed there was a buyer for everything, even what most people would consider junk. At this sale, and those last year, one thing seemed clear: farmers are only looking for good, usable machinery and equipment. Auctioneers no longer need to pull everything out of sheds to add a few dollars to the overall sale tally. The junk can stay in the trees behind the farmyard.
Have you picked up a bargain at a sale this year? Have you seen a machine go for a record price? Let me know what you've found memorable about this year's auctions.
As companies vie for attention from visitors at farm machinery shows, every year there seems to be a little more bling. That notion first dawned on me when I walked through New Holland's display at the 2009 Agritechnica event in Hannover, Germany.
Due entirely to good luck, rather than good management, I happened to be on the spot when organizers released a troupe of exotic dancing girls who whirled through the parked blue machines and completely stopped pedestrian traffic in the process. It goes without saying that kind of spectacle captured the attention of every man in the vicinity. But this sight was so unusual, even the women were agog.
Fortunately, I captured the scene with my handy camera. Because when I spoke to friends about it, they started to give me the same look a fisherman gets when he talks about the 20-pounder that got away. However, I had evidence.
Now that the Facebook images are starting to get posted from the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, there is clearly some added bling for visitors there to see as well. Of course, New Holland seems to be no slouch in that department—again. But this time there is no mention of dancing girls, just custom paint jobs. Maybe we conservative North Americans aren't quite ready for that kind of display. I hope someday we will be, though!
In the meantime, here's a look at one of the custom paint jobs on display.
Custom paint seems to be catching on more and more with farmers, too. That's not surprising when you consider how much money they have invested in their equipment. Wanting it to stand out from the crowd seems only natural. That's the whole basis behind much of the customization that occurs with cars and hot rods.
As an example, AGCO just released a scale model of one of their Massey Ferguson tractors, but they took inspiration from one of their large-scale French customers. This custom operator decided he wanted to stand out from his competition, who also used Masseys, so he asked for his fleet to be painted black. AGCO brass liked the idea so much they painted their scale models black, too.
All of this begs the question, has the customizing bug bitten you? Have you painted your tractor or other machine in a way that fits your own personal style? If so, let me know. Send me a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of North America's newest farm machinery shows opened its doors on Friday in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2011 AG Connect Expo, the second to be held, was paired with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) convention at the Georgia World Congress Center. Members of ASABE are the ones who design the farm machines that appear at shows like AG Connect.
AG Connect is a little different than most of the other big shows in the U.S. and Canada, though. While there are still many machines on display, the number is considerably lower than at most other events. But the number of senior company executives on hand to discuss nearly any topic related to their shiny new equipment or the farm machinery industry itself is unprecedented. For a farm journalist, that's a rare treat.
The show also focuses on education and an exchange of ideas among producers and others in the ag. business. So there is a heavy schedule of discussion panels.
Held in downtown Atlanta this year—and Orlando, Florida, last year—organizers expected its southern locale would also make AG Connect a destination event for farmers and others in the industry. After this week's show wraps up, it will begin its bi-annual cycle. The next one is scheduled for January, 2013, back in Orlando.
DLG, the German agricultural society that administers Agritechnica, probably the world's foremost machinery event, is a co-sponsor of AG Connect, which is part of the reason it is scheduled to run in the period between the bi-annual Agritechnica shows. The next Agritechnica is in November.
Keep an eye out for some of the highlights from this week's AG Connect in upcoming issues of Grainews. One of which takes a look at the redesigned 820 Series of Fendt tractors AGCO is launching in North America. And as for what those executives had to say about the business end of the industry, keep an eye on future issues of Grainews' sister publication Country Guide for the lowdown.
For now, I better pack up my computer and get to the Atlanta airport. A major winter storm is about to swoop down on this city along with most of the southeastern U.S., and it's expected to shut down air traffic. So I better get while the getting is good. It's a good thing the 2013 show will be held even farther south. It seems to be getting harder to keep away from snow storms.