AGCO Equipment Tackles the Toughest of Crops

Renew Biomass relies on Challenger® tractors and Hesston™-made hay equipment to muscle the mighty miscanthus.

By Jason Jenkins | Photos By Jason Jenkins

When it comes to biomass crops, few are as daunting to harvest as Miscanthus giganteus. Reaching up to 15 feet tall, the perennial grass produces tough, bamboo-like shoots at a rate of 7 to 10 tons per acre. Getting all of that material out of the field and into storage quickly and efficiently requires machinery that’s as tough as the crop being harvested. So, to tackle the gnarly crop, the decision makers at Renew Biomass in Aurora, Missouri, rely on Challenger® tractors, as well as balers and windrowers made at AGCO’s Hesston™ manufacturing facility.

“My farmers are relying on us to get it done, and this equipment is the equipment that can get it done,” says Eric Allphin, director of agriculture and quality assurance at Renew Biomass. “It all starts with the windrower.”

Hear Eric Allphin describe how Renew Biomass uses AGCO equipment:

Renew Biomass operates the Hesston-made 9970 windrower equipped with a 9286 low-profile RazorBar™ cutter bar and TwinMax™ double conditioner. Allphin says the machine’s steel-on-steel conditioners provide the crimping necessary to take Miscanthus, which is often taller than the windrower, and transform it into material that can be baled.

“It’s very stemmy and hard, and with the extra rollers, there’s a double crimp, so it crimps the cane to where we’re able to bale it a lot easier,” he explains. “There’s not another windrower out there that can mow Miscanthus like the 9970 with the RazorBar head.”

After previously running Hesston-made 2270XD large-square balers, Renew Biomass opted for the all-new Hesston 2370 Ultra High-Density baler to harvest its 2018 crop. Allphin says the new baler’s ability to create 3-x-4-foot bales with 20% greater density is important when transporting and storing Miscanthus, which is usually cut and baled at 15% moisture.

“The big thing with any biomass crop is your transportation cost. Your transportation will eat you alive,” he says, noting that the UHD’s heavier bales can max out a tractor-trailer load. “Then when I store it, I’m paying for less storage space and less string cost as well.”

The new 2370 UHD is pulled by a Challenger 1038, which Allphin describes as “the Cadillac” of high-horsepower tractors. “To have that much horsepower on a front-wheel assist, non-articulating tractor is just amazing,” he adds. “The 2370 requires a lot of horsepower, and the 1038’s 350 HP-PTO delivers.”

Completing the package is the service that Renew Biomass receives from its AGCO® dealer, Ziegler Ag Equipment. “They’ve been a good partner,” Allphin says. “They’ve always tried to keep our best interest at heart, making sure that our equipment’s ready to go when we need it.”