By Connie Sieh Groop

Special to the Farm Forum

This summer, I spent time at Farmfest in Minnesota and Dakotafest in Mitchell for the Farm Forum. As I walked through the tents and checked out the aisles, I visited with people and learned from presentations. Hundreds of booths and displays offered some old standards plus the latest in technology. Major equipment dealers showed off the latest in precision technology. And there were plenty of great bargains along with tasty food.

Concave system

Aftermarket combine concaves drew a lot of attention at the farm show, especially from those running multiple combines. At the Estes Performance Concaves booth, I learned that rotor combines lose 2 to 5 bushels per acre. That’s a loss of up to $30,000 per one thousand acres of soybeans. The Estes concave system says it stops rotor loss and works on all crops. There is no changing concaves from crop to crop which means less down time. The company says with those savings, the device pays for itself after about 200 acres.

By changing to these concaves, ground speed is increased by 1-3 miles per hour. The devices provide 135 percent more threshing surface area than round bars so grain is threshed and captured sooner. This means no more overloaded separation sections on a slow ground speed. The Pac-man notch design provides better threshing without having to run the rotor fast. This means more effective threshing with fewer cracks and splits.

The company is based in Frisco, Texas. They used advanced engineering technology and state of the art analytics to design a cutting-edge concave system for John Deer and Case IH combines. For more information, call 1-765-650-4550 or visit

German engineering

An interesting machine that has the look of a combine on the grounds of Dakotafest was a German-engineered Krone hay mower conditioner. Painted light green and yellow, the equipment has three wings — each 10.5 feet — so the machine can drop the hay into three windrows or merge them into one large windrow. It can be followed with a big baler or harvester. The hay is laid out wide for easy pick up.

“There are about 15 to 20 of the machines running in South Dakota,” said Randy Benson, territory manager for Krone North America. “Customers are large hay producers. There are a fair number in Minnesota.”

Benson said the machine cuts the hay and kinks the stems of the alfalfa. That helps the moisture escape from the stem which makes the dry-down better. “That’s what it means when hay is conditioned. It dries it out so it’s easier to put up. You can have one big swath or three smaller swathes for faster drying.”

The company’s website provided more details. The Krone company focuses on hay and forage equipment. The Krone BiG M 420 self-propelled model leaves a 32-foot pass of hay. The six-cylinder, inline Liebherr engine with PowerSplit control delivers 449 hp. The fully welded and heavy-duty cutterbar with satellite driveline provides maximum stability while the power flows through the rear gearbox and down massive and quiet-running spur gears to drive the satellite gears and the discs. The M 420 works at a rate of more than 37 acres/hr. On the road, it travels at 25 mph between fields. A version of the machine has been on the market since 1997. For more information, visit

Colorful gates

Tony Robertson with PolyDome in Litchfield, Minn., said the company is known for calf huts and feeders, and now offers some colorful polyethylene fencing options. They are durable for cattle and horse, and because they are made from polyethylene, there will not be any rods that break and injure cattle. They come in just one length and can be attached together with bars. Many can be strung together with posts providing stability for long spans.

Many like to use them in horse corrals. Robertson said container-loads of the gates have been sent overseas for those with horse operations. The expected life of the gates is 20 to 30 years. They are under warranty for 5 and 10 years.

For more information, call 320-693-8370.

Tough stuff

Paul Schurz with Diamond Mower of Sioux Falls offers a way to take care of problem areas in large operations. The Diamond Mower is mounted on a skid-steer loader and used to take care of areas that have problems with growing trees up to 10-inches in diameter. They are great for shelterbelts or areas with cedar trees encroaching on field. The company matches the hydraulics on the mower to the skid-steer.

The company has been making mowers for municipalities, counties and the state for years.

“About five years ago, we saw that farms and ranches had a need for something like this. It isn’t meant for regular mowing. It’s for areas that have trees that are 2- or 6- or 8-inches in diameter. This mower will take care of the problem for years,” Schurz said.

For more information, call 800-658-5561 or go to

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