New tech creating buzz

Calculating harvest loss on the go

A new type of hopper made to fit on most types of combines is creating a lot of talk this fall.

And no, it wasn’t created by the traditional companies known for rolling out new fancy gizmos, but rather a father-son tandem out of Battleford, Sask.

Trevor Scherman and his father Pat, farmers and owners of ScherGain, developed a drop-pan to measure losses in behind the combine.

Scherman says it was created to be simple and accurate using volumetric measuring.

“You don’t have to weigh anything and you just dump it into a grain gauge and you look at a chart and you can see what your losses are on the chart,” Scherman says. “It asks what crop you are harvesting, asks how big your header size is and from there, the chart tells your losses to the millimetre in the grain gauge.”

Scherman says farmers go to do a lot of work to grow their crop and it's a shame if it is only to have profit be thrown out the back-end of the combine. He says they've had clients find they were throwing away more than $60 per acre.

Scherman says the device has been an instant seller with very little marketing. It was debuted at canolaPALOOZA in Saskatchewan this summer, where they sold 20 in one day. Since then, they have been manufacturing them in their yard non-stop.

Scherman says their tag line reflects the mindset behind their technology.

“The most money per hour you will ever make farming is setting your combine and knowing your losses,” he says.

Water management

The topic of water management in fields has seen significant growth over the past five years. As a result, companies are starting to develop technology to provide farmers with surface and sub-surface solutions to excess water in their field.

One company providing beginning to end solutions is Rocky Mountain Equipment.

Steven Gillis, who is an ag technology sales specialist with RME, says the pick-up in conversations in the western Prairies can be attributed to the precipitation they received in northern Alberta in recent years.

“There’s a lot of guys there dealing with substantial water for the past few years and lost a lot of crop with it,” Gillis says. “It wasn’t uncommon to see a combine in front of seeding equipment and that’s because of the water last fall that kept them from getting the crop off.”

And while it may be a new conversation in Alberta, it's a familiar one in Manitoba.

“When you go into the Winnipeg region, Red River Valley area water management it is just part of normal farming practices. You go west of there to the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border, it’s fairly common practice, but not to the same extent it is in central Manitoba.”

Part of the solution involves tile drainage, where Gillis reminds farmers they should know their soil before they come in and install it.

“With tiles, if you have clay, it’s a very different solution than if you got light sandy soil. If you have sandy soil water, it will move through it very quickly. You can place your tile lines further apart and still have an effective solution."

"If you have heavy clay and the water can permeate the soil, your tile lines need to be closer together. That’s something you need to be aware of before you go in there and start doing the installation.”

Gillis says one of the advantages of their set-up is they can work with any brand of equipment.

Bottom line

Improved efficiencies are frequently within reach with some inventive thinking and technical know-how - and farm shows are a great place to see the latest innovations.

Article by: Craig Lester