CASE IH – Kentucky Herd Expansion Possible with Producers' Efficient Equipment Line
In the last year, Philip Parish and Chris Hooks, who operate P&H Farms near Eddyville, Kentucky, have doubled their cow-calf operation. Their Case IH equipment was an important factor in making the expansion a success.
“We had the employees and the equipment in place to expand the herd,” Parish says. “It has been a matter of keeping the equipment running and making sure the change was efficient for the entire operation. We’ve always been happy with the reliability and service of our Case IH equipment, and we’ve just kept adding to it.” Parish and Hooks have been farming together since the mid-90s. They farm more than 15,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. A cow-calf herd has always been a part of their operation, but they recently gained more suitable land to add more cattle. In the past year they’ve added about 120 heifers so they now have about 400 cow-calf pairs. Another employee, Harry Epley, manages the farm’s hay production and runs the Case IH RB564 baler. In the past few years, P&H Farms has stepped up their herd management by adding two barns for feeding and weather protection. They have been working to get breeding more synchronized, and they have been growing and feeding more of their own alfalfa, reducing their reliance on purchased feed. Last year, Epley baled more than 3,000 round bales with a Case IH RB564 baler. After their Case IH dealer, H&R Agri-Power, talked to them about the ease and efficiency that net wrap can provide, they made the switch and it has been more cost-effective than twine. “The net wrap was a big change for us but it has been great,” says Hooks. “It makes it easier for us to transport bales and to store them.”
Efficient Equipment Mission Critical
Over their years of farming together, Parish and Hooks have found that like most businesses, efficient equipment is a prerequisite to expand an operation and reach higher profits. When Parish and Hooks began working with each other, they had older equipment and it took longer to get the crops harvested. “We quickly learned that we needed more efficient equipment,” Parish says.
After their first harvest, they purchased two Case IH Axial-Flow 2188 combines and leased three Case IH Magnum 8950 tractors.
“We see the benefits of better equipment, which has given us confidence in our investments and a promise that improved productivity will pay off,” says Parish. Over the years, they have added many new pieces and upgraded equipment. They have worked with site-specific yield mapping, autoguidance systems and eventually the adoption of 20-inch rows for corn and soybean production. Today, P&H Farms has assembled a full line of Case IH tractors, combines and hay and forage equipment to meet the needs of their crop and livestock operation.
Equipment Needs of Livestock Producers
In 2013, Case IH sponsored a survey of 800 livestock and crop producers across North America. Producer respondents, who reported a significant portion of their income as generated from livestock operations, said they look for low maintenance and easy-to-service equipment from an innovative manufacturer. The research showed livestock producers think more about the ease of maintenance, while crop producers think more about reliability to avoid downtime. “Livestock producers are running their equipment every single day, year-round, while crop producers are running them for longer periods of time during select seasons,” says Ryan Drollette, Farm Management Specialist from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Making that daily process simpler and less time consuming for producers can mean higher efficiency for that operation.
“Having quick service stations on equipment is key,” says Drollette, a former dairyman himself. “If I can head out to the barn and do my daily maintenance check without having to crawl around the machine, I can get to work that much sooner.”
Understanding Livestock Producers’ Needs
Case IH Hay and Forage Product Specialist Brett DeVries says Case IH understands this need. “Case IH talks to customers where they work to identify needs and drive the design of our products so that we’re giving producers the innovation they need to best meet their needs,” DeVries says. For example, producers can pair an easy-to-operate Case IH Maxxum or Farmall 100A tractor with a new Case IH DC3 series disc mower conditioner. Case IH designers created lightweight, impact-resistant access doors for the DC3 to simplify in-field adjustments. The research confirms that livestock and crop producers also retain their equipment differently. While livestock producers may keep their equipment for five to 10 years, crop producers who buy new equipment tend to trade more frequently, according to DeVries. Spending is part of this equation, and the research shows that pricing and discounts are of medium importance to livestock producers, while they are further down on the average crop producer’s list.
“Investing in the right new technology can be profitable for any operation, but specifically for a livestock operation if it can help cut down on labor costs,” Drollette says. “After all, it boils down to the people: those that are working on your operation and those that are working for your operation.”
Case IH Dealers Serving Customers in the Field
Research results show that dealer experience is important, considering that both the crop and livestock producers ranked dealer responsiveness as No. 5 on their list of considerations. Case IH understands that good support is important, as it continues to dedicate more than two-thirds of its North American employees to working alongside producers every day. This field-based team backs up Case IH dealers and is committed to putting their customers’ needs first. “Having access to a supportive, responsive dealership is critical for all producers,” Drollette says. “An operation’s success is dependent on its ability to stay up and running, and equipment plays a crucial role in that.” Parish and Hooks credit their dealer relationship for the success they’ve had with their Case IH equipment. Jeff Morgan of H&R Agri-Power has had a close relationship with P&H Farms for more than 20 years.
Parish and Hooks are mainly the ones who make equipment purchasing decisions, but several of their employees are involved in daily operations and service of equipment. “P&H Farms has many knowledgeable employees and operators for their equipment,” says Morgan. “When we get a call from them, we know that they need our assistance and service immediately. We work quickly to make sure their job is easier and make sure they have what they need to operate efficiently.” Morgan regularly checks in with personnel from P&H. In addition, H&R Agri-Power has set up service station boxes at P&H Farms so that frequently used parts such as belts are stocked and ready when they need them. “They’re operating a large operation and often their equipment is quite a distance away from our dealership,” Morgan says. “Anything we can do to help them save downtime, we are happy to do. We want to anticipate their needs to keep them up and running.”