Two new tractors, hay baler ready to roll at NCTA

Two new, shiny green tractors and a hay baler will be ready to roll when students arrive on campus for classes this month at the University of Nebraska-Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

A John Deere 6105M tractor and 6190R tractor with satellite-based steering were presented to NCTA administrators recently as alumni observed the technical ag school’s 100th anniversary at Curtis.

An annual, low-cost equipment lease plan with Plains Equipment Group enables the latest in technology and will enhance NCTA’s 520-acre farming operation and hands-on ag technology classes for students.

“Where it used to be two horses out in the field 100 years ago, now we are seeing many more horses under the hood of these John Deere tractors,“ said Ron Rosati, NCTA Dean. “I don’t think we could have anticipated this level of technology even 10 or 15 years ago.”

Mike Connely of Broken Bow, Plains Equipment Group sales representative in Ord, knows the importance of hands-on training. He graduated from NCTA in 1992, after two years of technical study in the Agriculture Production Systems (APS) program.

“The NCTA students will be able to work with the latest in technology,” Connely told a gathering of alumni during a partnership “signing” ceremony at the NCTA Education Center which houses the agronomy and precision farming classes. “The expansion and growth of NCTA is a tremendous thing for an alumnus to see, and Plains Equipment is proud to a part of this growth.”

Scott Mickelsen, PhD, NCTA associate dean, applauded the new partnership with Plains Equipment. “We will still have our old equipment for repairs and learning, and now have new technology in the field and classroom each year.”

A satellite-based guidance unit, a Global Positioning System (GPS), works with computerized monitors, receivers and rate controllers in the cab, and guides the tractor for pre-determined “prescriptions” for precision farming such as variable rate planting, variable rate fertilizer applications, and variable spraying.

“The driver can take his hands off the steering wheel and concentrate on the adjustment and management of implements,” Connely said. “It (the Ag Management Systems technology) takes a lot of stress and strain off the operator with less management of the machine.”

Classroom-aided technology will provide hands-on learning with simulators and Power Point presentations, Connely said. “The students will experience the theory of the steering operation during non-crop times.”