Farm shows offer look at new products

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Farm Forum

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By Connie Sieh Groop

Special to the Farm Forum

Winter farm shows introduce new items for farmers and ranchers to consider for their operations. In January, I headed to Vermillion for three days to hang out at the Dakota Farm Show. Visiting with people in that setting was informal and fun. Those attending were eager to learn from the exhibits.

People walking past booths were enticed to stop depending on their interests. The Farm Forum booth was next to one of the hottest items at the show. I mean real heat! The lobby area of the Dakota Dome was downright cold. Across from me, an ag heater blasted out welcome warmth.

Tim Zeeb, the Farm Forum ad rep for that area, stayed in the booth while I checked out some of the displays and learned at the educational seminars. The booths where I stopped probably differ from what would interest my husband or neighbor. This is what caught my eye when I took a break to check out the booths:

• The Val6 Radiant Heaters replaces the old Knipco heaters that I remember my dad using. The FIR 2000 Val6 portable radiant heaters are filled with diesel fuel or kerosene. Odor was minimal, with no smoke and the device was quiet. It takes a 110v electrical connection. If there is an electrical outage, it can be operated from a 12v battery with an optional inverter. Jim Zoucha told me that some people use them in their homes to warm four-season rooms as well as in shops. Many stopped to warm their hands and bodies in front of the devices. 1-800-846-5157

• Some of the booths had outstanding displays. Others let their product do the talking. Walking past the Tuff-bilt tractors, the machines looked much different from many of the 4-wheel drive machines we see in fields. The one I saw looked like a cross between a stripped-down tractor and a lawnmower. These are from Walthill, Neb. The appeal was to those with small acreages that are too narrow or tough for today’s larger equipment. It had a number of implements and a hydraulic drive system which utilized a 19-hp engine. Brochures stated they are economical and operate on 1 gallon of gas per hour. 1-884-486-3268

• When I introduced myself to the fellow at the Shivvers grain drying specialists booth, he told me he knew who I was. Tim Mertz used to live in Houghton, and I used to visit with him about events in the area. He explained to me that their in-bin Continuous Counter-Flow Drying technology does not need babysitting as there are precision controls and automation with computerized accuracy. The company has been in business for 50 years. The computer is what makes it work well as it tests grain going to another bin. When the grain coming from the bin is too dry, it tells the system to turn down the heat which saves energy. The lower and the slower you can dry grain, the better the quality. Electronic controls can manage the system remotely from cell phones. It has enough surge capacity for the dryer to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1-800-245-9093

• Those at Bench Industries of Great Falls, Mont., told me more people are seeking grain cleaning systems in North Dakota, western portions of South Dakota and Nebraska. They offer several modular designs and a mini-version. In addition to the machines, Diversified Screening offers removal of vomitoxin, bug damage, other grains, stones, ergot, fines from corn, plus color sorting, sunflower sizing, and thins from barley. 1-800-977-6514

• I learned that silicones can be used in a product called Raincoat which is a powerful hay protection program that protects hay in the windrow. The application reduces damage by coating hay with a protective barrier to minimize leaf loss. It is supposed to be safe for humans and animals as silicones are a common ingredient in numerous food and consumer product. 763-244-5972

• Several vendors offered many types of hoop buildings. Some were full size, others showed samples of the walls and photos. One of the vendors said some of the steel structures are becoming a popular way to incorporate housing and a machine shop into one structure.

• The Rock Block by Horter Repair of Bristol is an aftermarket bolt-on kit to reduce rocks and debris from hitting your tractor cab and breaking windows. The attachment goes on the front of rotary/disc style mowers, hay cutters and conditioners and protects you and your tractor. 605-216-4852

• Bierman Sales of Marcus, Iowa, offered the EZ Dual Changers, industrial wheel movers and wheel trolleys that can be used on tractors and combines. Three different lengths of arms are available to fit tire sizes from 380 metric to 800 metric tires. They offer a tire safety rack to store duals in an upright position. It works in conjunction with the EZ Dual Changer. The Easy Gripper 2160 makes difficult handling easy with just one man. It has lifting capacity of over one ton and provides a firm grip on the tire. 1-712-324-1930

• Trouble-free lighting of Allegan, Mich., slammed their lights on the counter to show the durability of their product. The LED light uses state-of-the-art made in Michigan circuitry and the light gives off no heat and uses no glass. They appeared to be a product that would be very useful in the shop. They couldn’t guarantee that my husband wouldn’t cut the cord but said the light is indestructible. 1-616-994-9970

• Some displays were meant to inform, such as the one by the Southeast Research Farm at Beresford which works to provide unbiased research for the public good by utilizing innovative thinking to enhance resource management in a sustainable manner – economically, environmentally and socially. The work is done in cooperation with the SDSU Extension program. 605-563-2989

• The Yetter 5000 Stalk Devastator knocks over corn stalks as the combine rolls through the field. It can save on tire repairs as stalks can destroy expensive tires and track equipment. By crimping the stalks, it leads to faster decomposition of residue and improves field conditions for spring planting. It is quick and easy to install with mounting kits for most corn head models. 1-800-447-5777

• I’ve read about giant grain bins and talked to Stacy Hadrick at the booth for the Walkabout Mother Bins of Faulkton. They are innovative pieces of farming equipment that allow economic and efficient grain storage in the field; the missing link between grain carts and trucks. The WMB is totally mobile and is able to move from field to field as the harvest progresses even when partially filled. It has a capacity of 4,000 bushels, is 58 feet long, 13 feet wide and 12 feet and one inch high with split front and rear flow gates. Information says farmers can operate with less help as the bins can be left in the field and grain carts can fill it. The grain can then be loaded into trucks, creating less compaction in the fields. 605-598-6688

• Royal Oil Co. offers X-celerate, which Joe Schumacher told me is a surfactant possessing all of the key characteristics needed to be highly effective and extremely cost efficient as a weed-fighting tool. Weed biotypes have built a resistance to traditional kill methods. Kochia weeds have been real nightmares. The slimy consistency of the product causes it to cling to the surface, giving the powerful surfactant time to break down the surface tension or boundary layer, sending more of the product deep into the plant. Joe says it is a safe and effective method for assisting in the killing of the “superweed” varieties. It penetrates beyond the foliage, providing a lethal dose of the killing agent delivered directly to the root system. 1-800-332-1926

• The Elm Creek, Neb., design team produced and tested the first ADS Bulk Seed Buggy while maintaining its primary objective of building a simple, easy-to-use, and safe-to-operate seed tender. The design has been constantly reviewed and updated to the present models. They use galvanized construction to reduce maintenance and add to the life and value of the seed tender. Their display showed the Bulk Seed Buggy which allows growers to transport boxes of seed to the field. 1-800-657-2184

The three days went by quickly. I saw several dads with kids, grandparents with grandkids and families with kids in strollers. Many young people sported tractors or trucks on their attire. It was great to meet people at the show and to watch as young people explained to their parents why they should stop at booths or talked about cool displays. Listening to the chatter about the displays warmed my heart and is what farm shows are all about.

Connie Sieh Groop is a freelance ag journalist. If you have any suggestions for ag stories, email her at

Ag heaters on display at the Dakota Farm Show in Vermillon. Photo by Connie Sieh Groop
Yetter’s Stalk Devastator display at Dakota Farm Show in Vermillion 2018. Photo by Connie Sieh Groop