National dealer meetings are where companies work to create excitement for their products. Often, media are invited in at the same time to check out the newest tools coming to market.
Great Plains recently held a media event to launch a range of new tools and offer insight on the company's marketing of new products with new global partners. In 2016, Great Plains was purchased by Kubota, the same company that owns Kubota Tractor and the Kverneland Group.
Linda Salem, president and CEO, Great Plains, explained to Farm Progress that while the company is owned by Kubota, “We’ve been operating as we always have and are working to enhance our products.”
She noted that being part of a global company has helped the firm refine processes, but the business has long been a world-class manufacturer of tillage, seeding and fertilizer tools.
Salem noted that the market has turned for the company, with an increase in sales. The company recently bought a 350,000-square-foot building in Abilene, Kan., to expand its production. And the firm continues to invest in new technology to innovate products.
David Disberger, president of the Great Plains ag division, discussed the recent news that Great Plains will serve as the U.S. distributor of select Kverneland Group products. Three were on display or the event — including two plows and a precision fertilizer spreader.
“We’ll be the sole provider of the plows and the Geospread product line, and we’ll provide parts support for seeding and tillage products,” Disberger said. “This is an opportunity for our dealers to grow their businesses, and it provides Kverneland an outlet for product.”
Great Plains had plenty of its own products on hand to view including the new Ultra Disk, a high-speed tillage tool that enters a growing market segment. These machines move beyond traditional vertical tillage, and they work both in fall and spring for residue management and seedbed prep.
The Ultra Disk is available in three sizes — the UD2600 at 26 feet, the UD3000 at 30 feet; and the UD3600 at 36 feet.
Michael Ohnsat, product engineer, discussed the new machine, noting it is the company’s take on the European-style tillage systems. “We use a bigger blade and different spacings than our competitors,” he said, adding that the company tested a range of approaches before settling on this design.
The design provides constant, level-height fore-and aft tanks.
There are two disk gangs each at opposing angles; the front is at 18 degrees, and the rear at 14 degrees in opposition. What stands out is the SpeedBlades at the front of this machine. These disks, at the size for the UltraDisk, are exclusive to Great Plains. They turn about 5% faster than traditional concave blades, and they help turn and size residue as they move through the field. The rear disk gang, at an opposing angle, help mix material. Spring tines and a rolling basket help break up material and level the field.
Ohnsat explained that the SpeedBlades’ shape, along with the disk angles, help avoid a smear layer below the tillage layer as the machine moves through the field. The company is dedicated to testing, and it has put more than 10,000 acres on test machines to ready them for market.
A range of planters
Great Plains is ramping up its planter offerings with three new machines — but that enhancement is more than new toolbars. The company is bringing out a new 5000 Series Row unit that’s a significant upgrade from its predecessor. The 5000 Series Air Pro meter has been re-engineered to include a 66% larger seed pool, and it has a simplified housing. The unit uses positive air pressure, which also requires less engine torque to maintain seed-to-disk contact.
The row unit is new, as is the optional Individual Row Control system, an electric-drive product offering row-by-row control for the planter; it also offers variable-rate planting. That meter is optional on the 5000 Series Row unit.
The new PL5500 planter is an eight-row, 30-inch planter with a wing-fold design that is less than 10 feet wide for transport. This narrow-transport machine has been sold in Europe, but has been redesigned to meet U.S. customer demands.
Options for this planter include the ability to apply liquid or dry fertilizer. Coulters and dribblers are available to place fertilizer in-furrow, or 2 inches from the row. Hopper choices are either 1.6-bushel or 3-bushel, with shock-assisted lids.
Going bigger are the new PL5800 planter, which uses a positive-pressure design; and the 5000 Series Row Units. The row units can be mated to a hydraulic drive or the optional IRC, which would eliminate all chains and shafts. And they can be outfitted with single or twin rows, with spacings from 15 to 36 inches.
Jake Riffel, engineering manager, planter product line, was visibly excited about this new planter. With the new row units, and optional IRC, the machine offers farmers a lot of options. A key feature is the redesigned air box, which boosts planter efficiency. “We went through 17 different iterations to come up with this new air box,” he said. “We went from a welded box to a more efficient design that provides more uniform flow to the row units.”
The control system for the planter has been simplified as well. The new WSMT3 Control System allows the operator, with just two or three commands, to get into the field and plant. “We’ve made the user workflow simpler,” Riffel said. “You run a planter for two or three weeks a year, then come back to it in the spring — and you don’t want to have to remember a lot of commands. We’ve solved that.”
There is an optional ISO-compatible Topcon X35 monitor available for enhanced diagnostic capabilities. The center-fill planter can be outfitted with optional liquid or dry tanks for applying fertilizer during planting.
And Great Plains offers a specialty planter for the peanut market that uses the 5000 Series row unit on a fixed-frame planter. The features of that row unit combined with a disk designed for bigger peanuts were a hit for Southern dealers attending the event.
Applicators and plows
The Exacta TL Geospread 3900 fertilizer spreader from Kverneland will be marketed by Great Plains for 2019. This unit is ISOBUS-compatible and can work with any terminal that is Agriculture Electronics Foundation-certified. The machine regulates section control within 6.5-foot sections, with a maximum of 24 sections and the ability to switch sections over the middle to reduce overlap. Sections are controlled by changing the position of the fertilizer discharge point on the disk, and the rate per minute. Disk speed remains unchanged during section control, which helps manage spread pattern more precisely.
The machine has a 110-bushel capacity, and it can spread fertilizer more than 175 feet.
The machine is a weighing spreader, which means it can automatically calibrate to provide accurate spreading. The machine can be controlled with the Tellus PRO or Tellus GO controllers. The PRO is a more complete computer system for managing the spreader; the GO is a smaller unit with more limited function.
The new Great Plains ADC2352 Air Drill Cart has two 175-bushel tanks and a seeding capacity of 350 bushels. The two tanks can be run simultaneously or independently, allowing producers to meter a range of seeds and dry products. The optional auger has been repositioned to the driver’s side for greater convenience.
The machine also features the new DrillCommand software that’s ISO-compatible and provides operators control of drill and blockage functions with a simple, modern terminal.
Another tool to be marketed by Great Plains is the Kverneland plow lineup. These are Euro-designed plows that Pierce Randall, Great Plains sales, explained offer the company a way to meet the needs of a range of producers.
“There are two models of plow — the PW semimounted model and the EO fully mounted design,” he said. “These plows can be used for managing herbicide-resistant weeds, managing mold and fungus in fields, and for organic producers."
This is a traditional style of plow, and these are two-way plows for maximum productivity. The plows are designed to allow the user to work in-furrow or on-land, depending on conditions.
Both the EO-100 and PW-100 plows come with Variomat, which is an adjustable plow-width system to match soil conditions, the plow and tractor for top output. The system is designed to ensure that parallel linkage is maintained along the entire plow for easy handling, and minimized wear and tear. With Variomat, furrow width and depth adjustments are made hydraulically, on the go, from the driver’s seat.
The EO-100 Series is a five- or six-furrow plow. The PW-100 Series is a 3-in-1: low with a semimounted, reversible plow in front and a mounted reversible plow at the rear, which allows the user to choose the right combination based on conditions.
The PW series can be fitted with Packomat, which combines plow and packer into a single unit. The unit changes sides automatically in the plow-reversing process, and it is rigidly mounted via a packer arm.
Learn more about all of these new products by visiting greatplainsag.com.