Innovative Storage, Handling and Tractor Solutions from AGCO

There are plenty of variables over which farmers have no control. Steve Sork of Fairfield, Ill., decided to take charge of all that he could.

By Des Keller | Photos By Christy Couch Lee

Not only is soil compaction reduced from use of Challenger track tractors, but Stephen and Ernie Sork (at right, respectively) also see lower fuel costs, and their crew enjoys enhanced cab comfort.

Not only is soil compaction reduced from use of Challenger track tractors, but Stephen and Ernie Sork
(at right, respectively) also see lower fuel costs, and their crew enjoys enhanced cab comfort.

With ever-increasing pressure for greater efficiencies on the farm, Stephen Sork decided to take charge of every variable he could. In the process, he switched much of his farm equipment to AGCO brands, as well as expanding his GSI-made grain storage and handling facilities.

Steve, who owns and operates Sork Farms in southeast Illinois with his father, Ernie, likes the ability to do nearly everything—planting, harvesting, spraying and fertilizing—in-house. These days, Challenger® tractors are integral to making it all happen.

From Green to Yellow

A former Deere customer, Steve first tried a Challenger track tractor nearly 10 years ago and was sold on the concept and the results. “We really liked them,” says Steve. “Their ability to reduce compaction in our 20-inch rows has meant no emergence issues with corn or soybeans. We get the same kind of horsepower on the ground in a much narrower width.”

Steve, who owns six Challenger tractors and two RoGator® 1100 sprayers, says he’s also seen
a savings in total fuel use, as well as increased comfort. “These machines are a really smooth ride over rough terrain, whether going over a ditch or working through washouts.”

The working relationship the Sorks have with their dealer, Altorfer Inc., has been just as comfortable. “Steve knows what he needs and the horsepower range he wants,” says Jason Simpson, the Sorks’ sales representative at Altorfer’s Dix, Ill., location. “We tailor our equipment to suit his operation.”

Simpson once even operated a new Challenger on the farm for hours to keep things moving until Steve’s father could arrive. Now that’s service.

Innovative Storage and Handling

The quest for greater efficiency and control, however, didn’t end with tractors and sprayers. Over the past 10 years, the Sorks have nearly doubled the storage and handling capacity on their farm.

In addition to stronger bin designs from GSI that can be built taller than previous models, their system features GSI En-Masse conveyors and a Hi-Flight pit conveyor. The En-Masse conveyors are maintenance-friendly, with bolt-removal access to the shaft, sprocket and bearings; while the Hi-Flight conveyor features a heavy-duty chain tension take-up system with corrosion-resistant acme-threaded screws. Together, the Sorks’ handling system moves grain faster and with less damage than augers or air systems.

Their GSI drying system comes with a Vision Control panel that can be installed directly on the dryer or in a building up to 1,000 feet away, as well as an identical remote monitoring and control display for use on a smartphone, tablet or computer using GSI’s WatchDog feature.

“It is unbelievable,” says Blaith Belangee, Sork Farms farm manager, about the ease of use and efficiency of WatchDog. “From where I live, it is a 15-minute drive to the dryer. I can now just look at my phone to see if it is performing the way it should. Otherwise, I’d have to drive all the way there in the middle of the night.”