Integrated Ag Services out of Milford Center, Ohio provides customers with crop consulting, soil sampling, data processing and yield mapping. The company offers fertilizer and seed recommendations, too. A normal place to find KUHN equipment, right? Absolutely!
However, the business has another major responsibility. Integrated Ag manages Champaign Premium Grain Growers. This is a group of about forty farmers who share existing resources and expertise among the owners rather than each farmer trying to operate independently. The farmers in the cooperative range from dairy to cash crop to everything in between. In total, the farmer cooperative represents approximately 80,000 acres in a 70-mile radius.
Managing 80,000 acres is certainly no small task. A good portion of these acres (about 45,000 to 50,000) need to have dry fertilizer spread across them. This is exactly where KUHN comes into play for Integrated Ag.
In late 2016, Kuhn North America was looking to test out their newest precision fertilizer spreader, the Axent™. Before machines go on the market, KUHN works with test operators (like Integrated Ag Services) to learn what farmers or custom operators think of the machine and if any improvements need to be made. With the Axent, the test operator was Integrated Ag Services and their cooperative of farmers, given their unique position in the agriculture industry.
Mike Grand, Operations Manager, is one of the employees who works with the Axent. His boss, Dave Scheiderer, learned about KUHN when he purchased a KUHN Axis® 50.1 fertilizer spreader. However, Grand had learned about KUHN a different way since he grew up with the brand in Europe. Grand was born and raised on a farm in Switzerland. He went through a specialized training in Switzerland to become a farmer. In 1990, Grand moved from Switzerland to the United States. Many years later, he started working for Integrated Ag Services.
As for Integrated Ag Service and the farming cooperative, they have really enjoyed using the Axent because of its wide spreading capabilities.
“The thing that attracted us to this machine was the fact we were capable of spreading 120’ wide with the products we use,” explained Grand.
Integrated Ag Services spreads several different types of fertilizer for their customers at varying widths. The products they spread include potash, MAP (an 11-52-0 nitrogen and phosphorous product), ammonium sulfate and ESN (a controlled release nitrogen fertilizer). The company does not blend any of these products and only uses them straight.
“We have found that we can spread any of these four products at 120’ accurately over the machines we were using that only spread around 75’ to 80’. That’s one of the biggest attractions we had to this machine,” states Grand.
The wide working widths on the Axent allows operators to spread fertilizer with a high precision rate up to 164’ depending on the material you are spreading. The result is more acres spread per hour and reduced fuel and labor costs. The patented triangular spread pattern ensures complete coverage even in high winds. Speaking of complete coverage, section control is an additional benefit that Integrated Ag admires.
“Another important part for us is section control in the field,” said Grand.
KUHN’s section control feature helps the Axent maintain proper working width by changing either the drop point or the spreading disc speed. With a unique system like this the spreader can be easily adjusted to minimize overspreading. Section control is a great feature in the Axent, but another feature Grand uses in his work with the machine are its interchangeable PowerPacks.
“We have the Axis and lime PowerPacks. The Axis PowerPack gives us a wide spreading ability out in the field,” explained Grand.
The Axent is able to spread both regular fertilizer products and lime products since it has a removable spreading system. The Axis PowerPack delivers maximum results in granular fertilizer or cover-crop feeding. If ag lime or other organic materials need to be spread, operators can install the optional lime PowerPack. The final feature Grand views as strong is the EMC system.
“The EMC system has been very effective for us in the field, there’s no question about it,” states Grand.
The Electronic Mass Flow Control (EMC) is a unique technology, well-established and proven with decades of experience. It uses a specially designed torsional sensor to precisely meter the application rate. No calibrations are necessary with this system and operators can achieve less than 1% deviation from the desired rate. Grand and Integrated Ag have three very important things in mind when discussing the Axent with others: the time savings, the efficiency and the capacity.
“In terms of acres covered, the extra width we can cover with the machine is making a significant difference in how much we accomplish in a day. On the machine we use today, we probably get only 500 to 700 acres done each day, but with the Axent it puts us somewhere between 700 to 900 acres.”