Michael Horsch was an anomaly in his part of Germany when he started building big farm equipment he felt he needed for his Bavaria farm. The average size of farms in those early days was much smaller than the target Horsch aimed for in productivity. In fact he was building equipment for people who didn't want it. But that all changed when the Berlin Wall fell in 1990, and East Germany with its giant collective farms - in sizes more familiar to a Midwestern farmer - needed new equipment.
Horsch was there with his bigger planting tools and high-productivity tillage equipment. The company moved to the U.S. and started marketing equipment from its North Dakota headquarters and for 2017, the push is on productivity.
Jeremy Hughes walked through that company history, and shared information about new tools coming from the company for the new season recently. "Horsch is a farmer driven company," Hughes said. "We're owned by farmers who are still actively farming."
That farmer-driven approach is what led the company to be the first to offer electric planter meters in its Maestro line. For 2017, there's a new innovation, the Maestro SW gets tracks. "Since 2013, customers have been asking us for tracks, and with a lot of wet springs compaction has been an issue," Hughes said.
The Maestro SW is a popular planter with a range of features, including the ability to plant at higher speeds. The company is expanding the line to include plates for canola planting too. With the canola seeder setup the Maestro SW can plant at 30 to 40% higher speed with precise seed placement.
The Maestro is already an innovative planter. It was the first to have wing weight transfer to help eliminate trouble with pinch rows, and it was the first planter to offer hydraulic down force.
New canola-focused drill
For several years, Horsch has offered a high-speed drill in Europe, the Pronto. The company is bringing the Proto DC to the North America for 2017. This is also a canola-focused machine and is a new style drill, Hughes explained. "This is not for corn, it's for canola in Western Canada and the Northern Prairie areas of the United States," he noted.
This is a one-pass high-speed air seeder that preps the seed bed and provides precision planting. It uses a small-seed plate and has been proven in Europe, Hughes said.
The Pronto DC has a three step seeding process. The first provides seedbed preparation, the second is a firming and finishing tire packer and finally there's precise seed placement with the TurboDisc Seed Coulter designed to maintain proper depth at high speeds.
Hughes noted that the seedbed prep would be valuable for helping manage weed resistance issues too since it would be cultivating away some of those weeds at planting time. The machine is available as a 40-foot model.
New full-tillage choice
The new Terrano MT 21 is designed for black-earth farmers who want to churn through residues. The machine is based on the concept of a disk ripper, but it is different, Hughes said. He noted there's a higher disk gang at the front that helps to mix residues so they degrade faster - which is a problem in high-yield conditions.
The Terrano has a mulch mix system on the shanks to provide vertical soil and residue mixing beyond what you get with the simple slice of a ripper. With accelerated residue decomposition, farmers will release nutrients that can be trapped. Faster residue availability is good news for the following-year crop.
For all these new products, visit horsch.com for more information.