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Continuing Evolution of Farm Equipment
In 32 years of farm equipment sales, Roger Spires has seen some major trends pushing his industry forward.
"Less customers, bigger farmers farming more acres, so they're gonna need bigger equipment that's gonna get it done quicker," Spires said.
That's a trend that can easily be seen with what size planters farmers were buying back then.
"The average planter size back then was probably an eight-row narrow, and eight-row 30," Spires said. "That was an average size. A few 12's, but most of them were eight-row."
Spires said today, 24-row is the average.
Dashes used to be filled with all sort of levers and gauges. Now, it's an armrest filled with switches, coupled to LCD panels.
"Lets them know what it's making right then, and they can map it, map the field," Spires said. "And they can make some management decisions with what the reports show them, either with hybrids, selection or drainage."
Operating the implements is a lot easier now that most can drive themselves thanks to auto-steer.
"First of all, it makes a neat-looking farmer out of him," Spires said.
"Second thing it does, it take a lot of stress away from having to be there every second of every round, per se, and also save them money. If they're putting down nitrogen, or seed, say, it's an insurance that they're gonna get the right width of the pass that they're working on."
In today's eco-conscious world, tractors have also become much greener, even when they're painted red.
"The EPA has made some mandates that have been staggered," Jerry Burns of Sievers Equipment said. "And you have to meet certain requirements of engine emissions."
Case IH has met those with their SCR system, involving a tank filled with diesel exhaust fluid referred to as DEF.
"DEF is a fluid that's injected into the exhaust gases that reduces the oxides, and the bad particles in the exhaust," Burns said. "So the atmosphere is a lot cleaner."
This technology will likely advance significantly.
"Stage Four now, we've got one more stage to go to meet certain emissions," Burns said. "So the efficiency of the engine, and the emissions that it puts into the atmosphere, is drastically reduced."
But what changes are in store for the next 10 or so years?
"I think there's probably gonna be more full autonomy," Spires said. "And I don't think the size is quitting. Things are going to be more efficient. It's probably where it's headed."
In Macoupin and Sangamon Counties, Mike Brooks, ABC NewsChannel 20.