Farm Machinery Maker Horsch Opens Educational Farm In Illiniois


German machinery manufacturer Horsch has opened a second educational farm, this time in the United States, with the goal of further developing the brand.

The new farm called AgVision Farm is based near Downs, Illinois, near Bloomington. It’s in addition to the company’s other farm, AgroVation, in the Czech Republic.

Horsch runs the farms to help farmers and contractors exchange experiences and ideas – and turn those ideas into practical solutions to help them become more efficient in agriculture, according to the company.

The AgVision farm is intended to help develop the Horsch brand in North America. It focuses on key agricultural topics important to the U.S. market, according to the company. As with AgroVation, the U.S. farm creates a new center of expertise for farmers to talk with Horsch staff. They will better understand the company’s agricultural knowledge as well as see machines in practical use in the field.

Due to its good infrastructure, the 160-acre AgVision farm is ideal for the purpose being situated centrally in the Midwest Corn Belt where mainly soybeans and corn are grown. Horsch officials say it will extend its crop range on the farm to include sugar beets, wheat and rape to gather further experiences with those crops. The farm is managed by Daniel Fulton, who has experience in field-test analysis. It features an administration building with a training room as well as a machine hall with repair shop.

The entire farm has already been converted to controlled-traffic farming, expanding and demonstrating the company’s knowledge in the area. Controlled traffic farming is a management tool used to reduce damage to soils caused by heavy or repeated agricultural machinery passes on the land. It’s a system that confines machinery loads to the least possible area of permanent traffic lanes. The farm’s change highlights the prevailing importance of soil and climate conditions, and showcases the benefits of controlled-traffic farming.

Horsch has a 32-row Maestro 32.15 single-grain seed drill as well as a Joker disc cultivator working on the farm. More of the company’s machines such as a Leeb LT sprayer are on the way.

Catch crops – fast-growing crops grown between successive plantings of main crops – are becoming more popular in the United States. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions because catch crops have not played a major role until recent years. Horsch representatives say they’re confident the company can contribute knowledge regarding catch crops. Single-grain sowing of cereals is also becoming of more interest in the United States; the first tests on that will start on the farm this fall.

The objective of the AgVision farm, according to the company, is to work in a dynamic way to test lots of agronomic systems. There will be test plots with non-genetically modified seed to compare to genetically modified-seed. While genetically modified is already part of everyday life in U.S. agriculture, biogenetics is heavily criticized in Europe.

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