Researchers with the Auburn University College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station will soon be farming more efficiently, thanks to a deal with farm machinery manufacturer Case IH and KY-based H&R Agri-Power. In exchange for a minimal annual payment, the college and experiment station are now in possession of a new, highly advanced tractor that will be replaced with new equipment annually. The Case IH Magnum 340 tractor was delivered to Auburn’s E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter this week.
The lease arrangement was facilitated by Donnie Sanders, a 1969 alumnus of what was then Auburn’s agricultural engineering program. A long-time supporter of the Department of Biosystems Engineering, Sanders leads H&R Agri-Power’s Aliceville, AL, dealership.
John Fulton, Alfa Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Biosystems Engineering, AAES researcher and precision agriculture team leader with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said the machine will greatly improve the research center’s work in the rapidly advancing field of precision agriculture.
“This tractor provides real-time kinematic auto-guidance capabilities for accurate operation of implements, along with collection of spatial performance data,” Fulton said.
Case IH and H&R Agri-Power provided the machine through a university lease program that gives institutions access to the latest agricultural equipment at a nominal fee, facilitating cutting-edge research that is transferred directly to producers through Extension and often drives further innovation. The Magnum 340 is a 300-horsepower machine with a retail price tag of about $325,000.
Biosystems engineering professor and department head Steve Taylor said the new tractor will be a tremendous asset to Auburn scientists.
“It will allow researchers at E.V. Smith to work more productively and in a timelier manner, conducting tillage and planting operations for experimental trials more quickly when the weather is optimal,” Taylor said.