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New product cuts grain loss in field

MITCHELL, S.D.--In a world of $3 corn, farmers looking for higher yields may not have to look much further than what's already in their field. Operation Harvest Sweep, a product sold by Leading Edge Industries based in Groton in northeast South D...

Chains created by Leading Edge Industries and named Operation Harvest Sweep are on display Wednesday at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Jake Shama/Republic)
Chains created by Leading Edge Industries and named Operation Harvest Sweep are on display Wednesday at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Jake Shama/Republic)

MITCHELL, S.D.-In a world of $3 corn, farmers looking for higher yields may not have to look much further than what's already in their field.

Operation Harvest Sweep, a product sold by Leading Edge Industries based in Groton in northeast South Dakota is a chain that can be attached to a combine and has been found to reduce up to 85 percent of shatter loss during harvest, according to the company's vice president of marketing and sales, Lucas Pearson.

"Even at $3 corn, it's an immediate return on investment," Pearson said Wednesday, the second day of the big Dakotafest farm show in Mitchell. "It's putting money back in the farmer's pocket, which as a company, that's what we need to do."

As conditions become drier, combines are unable to collect every kernel from the field. In turn, that scatters grain onto the ground.

Operation Harvest Sweep replaces a stock component in a corn head with a custom deck plate with a retaining edge. The links of the product's chain are the same as those found in other systems, but Leading Edge added a custom paddle to the chain and also mount an impact sweep pad to the head.

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While results may vary from field to field, early adopters have reported a cutback of up to 85 percent on shatter loss per row and have immediately called back for more orders.

The product was invented by Shawn Gengerke, of Groton, who wanted to solve gaps in the agriculture sector, Pearson said.

"He felt the farmer was losing value or things could be way more efficient on a cost-return standpoint. He really set his mind to it and really came up with two amazing products, which have been very successful," Pearson said.

Leading Edge also sells a guidance system for loading hopper-bottom grain trailers, which utilizes an app and hardware to determine how much grain is being loaded into a trailer and how quickly.

The products are on display at Dakotafest's new Exhibits and Innovation Center, which is part of the Reaves Buildings Innovation and Technology Campus on the north end of the grounds.

Also on display in the center are drones sold by Maverick Drone Systems, of Savage, Minnesota.

The company was displaying four drones, which can be used for thermal scanning, capturing video and other processes, but Maverick President and CEO Adam Shaw said the company is preparing to offer a new drone, made by DJI, called the Ag Grass MG1, which will be able to carry three gallons of fluid and cover 10,000 square meters. The drone will be the first capable of physically applying any substance to fields, Shaw said.

"Everybody is kind of getting ramped up to purchase that," Shaw said.

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Shaw said the MG1 will be on display next year at Dakotafest.

According to Shaw, drones are becoming more popular among farmers, and he expects the tools to continue to grow in popularity.

"I think the drone will be as common as the cell phone. I think everybody's going to have drones on the farm. There's probably going to be one in every house," Shaw said. "It's just going to be a tool that you're going to have fun with or get the job done."

Maverick also repairs drones and gives pilot lessons, and licenses can be purchased from the Federal Aviation Administration's website for $5, he said.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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