TerraGator: Making Cents

Diesel prices remained fairly steady during the first three quarters of 2010, then jumped in the fourth quarter to more than $3 per gallon. For 2011, the price is expected to continue to climb, averaging $3.23 per gallon according to the Energy Information Administration’s December 7 projections — more than 7% higher than 2010. Fuel prices, among other rising operating costs, are an unpleasant reality for retailers and producers alike.

With fuel prices in mind, it was with a bit of trepidation Dustin Eh­ler replaced his company’s 2003 Terra­Gator 8103 floatation applicator with a new Tier III-compliant 2011 model TerraGator 8303 equipped with AGCO‘s exclusive continuously variable transmission (CVT), TerraGator Management System (TMS) and AGCO SISU POWER 8.4L diesel engine.

“Not being a big fan of Tier III emissions, I was anticipating the machine to burn about the same amount of fuel as our three other air spreaders — somewhere around 11 gallons per hour,” relates Ehler, co-owner/fertilizer plant manager for Ehler Brothers, Thomasboro, IL, a retail crop input business which operates a fleet of 15 AGCO application machines servicing more than 150,000 acres annually.

Ehler often finds himself behind the wheel of an application machine. An end-of-the day refueling experience caught his attention and proved to be a pleasant surprise.

“The other operator and I pulled in at the same time to fuel for the next day,” he explains. “He was running the new 8303 and I was in an 8103. We’d both been out for a 10-hour day covering the same number of acres on the same type of terrain. He reset the meter on the fuel pump before filling and it clicked off at 60 gallons.

“That caught me a little off guard, so I reset the meter again, and it took between 90 and 100 gallons to refill my machine.”

A Big Savings

In a business where fuel accounts for 20% to 25% of operating costs, Ehler was quick to do the math and calculated fuel savings of $7,500 per year with the new 8303 applicator.

More than 1,700 miles west and offering dry application services to an entirely different array of cropping systems than found in the Midwest, Mike Anderson, owner of Anderson Custom Application, Caldwell, ID, had a very similar experience with the fuel efficiency of his new 8303.

“I don’t have exact numbers, but I know I’m saving at least 10 percent a day on fuel costs,” says Anderson. “If I’m saving around $35 a day, that’s from $600 to $700 per month, which definitely adds up.”

Anderson also has experienced an improvement in his overall efficiency due to the shuttle-shift operation of the CVT. Operating in an area where many fields are just 20 to 30 acres, it can be tough to cover acres quickly because of time backing into field corners and slowing for frequent turns.

“The shuttle shift is so much quicker when backing up because you don’t have to wait for the machine to come to a complete stop, and it’s definitely easier on the transmission,” Anderson explains. “The linear acceleration is very smooth and the CVT combined with the TMS keeps the engine speed constant. That way, we keep the RPMs up and get a very consistent spread pattern all the way to the edge of the field regardless of the machine’s ground speed.” Ander­son spreads between 1,000 and 1,400 pounds to the acre and has even applied up to 3,000 pounds to some fields.

“Out here, we run from 7 to 14 mph depending on the rate we’re applying. The 8303 TerraGator handles any speed we need to go and does a beautiful job. It is awesome,” Anderson says.

Leave a Reply

Sprayers Stories

AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning Custom Applicators
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
Sprayers10 Sprayers That Will Showcase The Latest Application Technology In 2017
January 10, 2017
Sprayer manufacturers continue to step up their games with the latest in application technology. From direct injection systems and four-wheel Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojNo Alternative Facts: Dicamba Cropping System Applicato…
January 23, 2017
During President Donald Trump’s inauguration, much fuss was made over the use of the term “alternative facts” vs. some of Read More
Young Corn Plants
ManagementTimac Agro USA Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
January 20, 2017
Timac Agro USA, an agriculture supply company specializing in high-efficiency plant and animal nutrition products, has acquired St. Louis,MI-based A&E Ag, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsNufarm Teams Up With John Deere Financial
January 19, 2017
Nufarm and John Deere Financial have teamed up to help farmers grow a better tomorrow. This program helps make purchases Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
ManagementPresident Trump, Wisconsin Review, and a Dow-DuPont Upd…
January 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj reflect on a new administration, a recent winter show, and crop protection company mergers. Read More
Industry NewsBayer, MS Technologies Get China Approval For Balance G…
January 18, 2017
MS Technologies and Bayer have received import approval from China for Balance GT soybeans. The new Balance GT Soybean Performance Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump…
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesStudy: Focusing On Weed Seedbank Can Help Manage Herbic…
January 18, 2017
Researchers writing in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science provide important insights on the control of herbicide-resistant giant Read More
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More