New farming technology impresses top SA producer

Casper and Estie Badenhorst recently visited the EIMA Exposition in Bologna Italy. The visit was part of a sponsored study tour to Italy, which was the prize Casper won for achieving the Farmer of the Year award.
Issue date:23 March 2007

Casper Badenhorst and his wife Estie were recently overwhelmed by the sophistication of modern agricultural implements equipment on show at the EIMA International Agricultural Implement Manufacturers’ Exposition in Bologna, Italy.

This one of the largest implement exhibitions in the world. The complete show, approximately 10 times the size of Nampo, is housed under one roof.

Casper was crowned 2006 Farmer of the Year by the Agricultural Writers’ Association of South Africa, Old Mutual Mutual & Federal Agri. He won a study tour to Italy sponsored by GMG Power SA, importers of tractors Gaspardo Mascar implements.

After the show, Casper, prominent pineapple grower from Hluhluwe in KwaZulu- Natal, said, “Farmers and operators who buy this new-age equipment will have to undergo highly specialised training, and the manufacturers of this equipment will need to provide that training.”

He has been elected Pineapple Farmer of the Year more than once has been South Africa’s biggest exporter of Queen pineapples since 1998, with exporting to eight countries. “Never before have I had an experience to equal this. The technology being developed to create equipment that will perform more economically for farmers is simply mind-boggling,” Casper remarked. “I saw equipment for drip and spray irrigation that only could have dreamed of until now. It will definitely benefit African farmers to visit EIMA, as mechanisation will play an increasingly larger role in the future sustainability of farming operations."

In Italy, he said, it is not unusual to see three tractors working simultaneously on 3ha farm. This work is all undertaken by contractors. The farmers, who cultivate every square centimetre of land, cannot afford the tractors labour themselves.

Visit to world-renowned factory
The Badenhorsts, who were accompanied by Chris Höll, managing director of GMG Power, also visited the SAME tractor factory in Treviglio. This is where 21-year-old Francesco Cassani designed the world’s first four-wheel drive, diesel-powered tractor in 1928.

The first tractors were called Cassani, after the inventor, the name changed to SAME in 1942. The company spends more than 19 million euros (about R180 million) on research development annually to keep pace with current technology. he latest engines, manufactured by the SAME Deutz-Fahr group for use in its tractors, will function on standard diesel or mixtures, including up to 100% biodiesel (conforming to EN14214 standards). These engines have fuel injection systems where each injector has pump that enables it to handle with high viscosity fuels, such as biodiesel.

Casper test-drove the new SAME Iron 200 tractor that will make its South African debut at Nampo in May. This is six-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled tractor rated 157kW, with four-ratio powershift transmission giving 27 forward reverse gears. – Joe Spencer For more information on SAME tractors, contact Chris Höll of GMG Power SA on (011) 392 1144, fax (011) 392 1150 or e-mail [email protected]. |fw