Farm equipment manufacturer Case IH chose Uruguay and its local distributor Corporación Global, for the Latinamerican launching of one of its largest and most state of the art combine, the Axial-Flow 8120.
The event took place last March 19th in Dolores, heart of Uruguay’s grain and oil seed belt, and convened 600 people including top officials from Case IH, Advance Show, Ramon Erro president of Corporacion Global and three “pioneer” farmers who were especially honoured for having acquired the first three Axial-Flow 8120 combines to reach the country.
With a tag price of 400.000 US dollars, in global hard times, the three farmers, --and two more combines which are en route-- not only are expressing with their hard earned money confidence in Case IH equipment but are also the anticipation of what Mr. Erro described as a record Uruguay soybean crop.
The presentation ended with a display of the three Axial-Flow 8120 combines and their 40 feet wide Draper 2162 harvesting a few acres of soy, which was followed by test-drives for farmers interested in the equipment.
The Axial –Flow 8120 has a 469 HP 6 cylinder turbo charged Tier III, 10.3 litre engine and is equipped with a hydrostatic rotor of easy maintenance. The 40 ft wide draper, the largest in the region, has an innovative blade system designed to cut with precision and at high speed with a constant pitch impeller for top quality grain, crop adaptability and highest performance per hectare.
“This is precisely the kind of equipment needed to keep improving production, yields and face mounting costs. The new line of Case IH combines was launched only last September in the United States at the Farm Progress Show and this is the first in Latinamerica”, said Mr. Erro whose cluster of companies has been in the agro-business for over six decades.
The axial flow system was pioneered and patented by Case IH in 1979, and fifteen years later incorporated by the rest of the industry, “it’s a system which is more stable, with less loss of grain and crackage and more cost effective”.
Mr. Erro said the Axial-Flow 8120 model belongs to the high precision farm machinery category which in this particular case has GPS and a computer system which adapts tasks to weather, temperature and soil conditions at different times of the day.
Regarding grain and oilseed prospects, Mr. Erro said that according to Case IH sales in the US “are still strong”, maybe not so much in Europe, depressed in East Europe because of lack of credit but South America, particularly the Southern Cone countries, has become a crucial role in the supply of certain grains and oilseeds, “so maybe we might have to slow down in a few things but overall our challenge is to incorporate new technologies, which not necessarily mean greater risks, but rather to diminish them”.
And ahead “we have the largest crop of soybeans in Uruguay’s history to harvest”.
Further on Mr. Erro explained why he used the word “pioneer” when talking about the three first combines sold in Uruguay. “Not only was Case IH pioneer with the axial flow in 1978, but the following year the system was already in Uruguay, so our farmers are good, innovative pioneer farmers, always trying to improve with more advanced technology.”
He also mentioned a recent experience, with the rice sector and new harvest equipment which needed adapting to the harsh conditions of certain types of rice.
“We consulted with Case IH, our field mechanics worked with their engineers and came up with a joint solution which is known worldwide as the Uruguay Kit, precisely for those harsh conditions working with certain types of rice”.
Finally Mr. Erro said he was optimistic about the future in spite of the daily barrage of negative news because the Southern Cone countries have consolidated as the great producer of soybeans, with an edge over other areas in the world.
Besides soy bean has become a “fashionable protein” globally and even when record prices (which are not healthy for the business), input costs have also moderated and the futures market have given more medium term stability for farmers to plan their tillage and type of crops.
“Demand remains strong, we have no problem selling soybeans, and for that you need advanced equipment and technologies”.