Wes Veach can remember when the Case IH dealer in Oakland, Illinois, first put a Birkey’s sign out front in 1991. Since then, he’s watched the dealership—and the equipment—grow and change.
Two of the more obvious changes include the increased size of equipment and the enhanced role of technology.
Wes Veach at the Case IH tractor plant in Racine, WI
Take grain carts, for example. To help him harvest the 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans he works, Wes bought the largest grain cart he’s ever owned—a 1200-bushel 1282 Brent—from Birkey’s last season. The farm already had a 1000-bushel Brent cart in their fleet. But the larger wagons brought new challenges. Wes explains, “The big wagons sit up so tall. You can see the side nearest you, but the other side is impossible to see. You’re just guessing…and spilling a lot of corn on the ground.”
That’s when technology came in. Wes adds, “With a camera, you can look at that far side. It helps out a lot.” About five years ago, the farm chose to install observation systems on their grain carts. Wes had his new 1282 outfitted at the start. “I got my last grain cart in mid-season, and I told Jeremy, [Oakland’s Precision Farming Specialist], to hook the camera up. He’s really good with that kind of stuff. And the shop made a mount for the camera in back.”
The camera in the back provides extra safety. “When you’re going down the highway, you can’t see behind you. The cart is so wide. To me, you almost have to have a camera for safety.”
Adapting to the new system has been simple for Wes. “It’s really easy to use. We put it right into our Pro 700. For each different camera, I just move to a different run screen. It’s pretty neat.”
Currently, Wes’ wife runs the grain cart, and the observation system is a big help. Wes explains, “She didn’t drive a grain cart until a couple years ago, when I was desperate for help. She grew up on a farm but never operated equipment. She has latched on to the new Brent cart and really likes it.”
“It’s really easy to use. We put it right into our Pro 700. For each different camera, I just move to a different run screen. It’s pretty neat.”
The observation system gives grain cart drivers confidence to know when a load is ready. Wes jokes, “This past harvest season, I was in the combine and my wife was loading a wagon. I was high enough to see that it was getting full so I came on the radio to warn her. Before I had a sentence out, she replied, ‘I got it! I got it!’”
At the end of the day, what matters most is a smooth harvest. Wes notes, “It takes time to clean up spilled corn. No spills means one less thing to do—it keeps you going.”