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Farmers view satellite–guided steering system

By Laura Gossman

lgossman@postbulletin.com

A high-technology, satellite-guided tractor steering system will help farmers save money on gas, one dealer said.

Minnesota Ag Group employee and Case IH dealer Josh Oaks, who works out of Northfield, discussed the capabilities of several autopilot products with area farmers who stopped by his booth Wednesday at the 26th annual Agri News Farm Show at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds.

The AgGPS Autopilot RTK system has new technology but is catching on, Oaks said. A satellite signals received by a GPS device helps steer the tractor or combine in a straight line.

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"As the cost of fuel goes up, farmers want to be more accurate when they’re planting, fertilizing or combining their rows," Oaks said.

The product also helps save time and reduces farmer fatigue because the farmer can sit back and be free of the steering wheel until getting to the end of the row.

"It also allows them to focus more on other tasks, such as sprayer or planter performance," Oaks said.

Alkota Cleaning Systems dealer Jim O’Connor of O’Connor Repair in Blooming Prairie has exhibited at the show since it started.

He sells pressure washers, steam cleaners and waste recycling systems used on farms and also repairs them. His family raises hogs and often uses the pressure washers to clean its buildings.

He was happy to see a few younger farmers at the show.

"We really need to get young people into farming, but we also need to get the older generation to help them out."

He encourages even those living in the city to come to the show to learn more about how their food is produced.

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Elgin farmer Jim McFarland was just one farmer who browsed the exhibits.

He said he comes to see the latest pieces of machinery.

"We farmers are working so hard most of the time, McFarland said. "We hardly ever see each other."

McFarland had already bumped into one of his neighbors.

"I’m betting if I take a few more steps this way, I’ll find someone else I know," he said.

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