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RDO Equipment Co. News - September, 2016

Learn about our stores, equipment, employees and service to the community.


Basics of Backhoe Maintenance

Basics of Backhoe Maintenance

From construction to agriculture, utility work to maintenance, and snow removal to landscaping, backhoes are one of the most popular pieces of equipment, across numerous industries.

Their wide range of applications often means they see long hours and demanding tasks. While great from a productivity standpoint, the machines themselves can take a beating. If not properly cared for and maintained, a backhoe can go from productive and valuable to idle and costly.

“But I need my backhoe to operate all day; I can’t be spending hours on maintenance.”

Not to worry. Good preventative maintenance (PM) takes just a few minutes each day; a time investment well spent to ensure this machine experiences as little downtime as possible and remains the productive, hard working machine it’s designed to be.

The following five tips will get you started on the right foot to a solid backhoe PM program. Additionally, consult the operator’s manual for suggested best practices, specific to the machine, as well as to ensure safety while performing all PM activities.


Tip #1: Look It Over
At the start of each workday, take a quick walk around to make sure everything looks good, there’s no build-up of mud or dirt on any moving components, and any excess debris is cleaned off the machine.

An example of a daily, 5-step checklist might include looking for:

  • Bucket teeth damage
  • Cracked or broken hoses
  • Leaks
  • Inadequate tire pressure
  • Loose bearing bushings, pins, and bolts

Any issue, even one that seems small, should be addressed immediately. Not only will this prevent minor issues from escalating into major ones, it’s the best way to avoid potential – and costly – downtime down the road.


Tip #2: Examine the Engine
The engine is the powerhouse of the backhoe so it needs dedicated attention, both on a daily and less-frequent basis.

At the start of each day, check to be sure there’s no debris build-up in the cooling system. Also, look for signs of condensation in the fuel tank, as this can damage the fuel and possibly the engine itself.

While not a daily task, the air filter should be checked, and cleaned or changed as needed. Backhoes that operate in highly dusty or dry environments need their air filter attended to more frequently than those that don’t. A good practice is to check the air filter weekly and clean when dust and dirt build-up becomes noticeable. An air filter should always be replaced if it’s damaged or dirty beyond the point of cleaning, otherwise, a good rule of thumb is to replace quarterly or semi-annually for backhoes that operate in more demanding conditions, and semi-annually or annually in less-demanding environments (depending on total hours and use).

Similar to the air filter, the engine’s fuel filter doesn’t need to be checked daily but working it into a regular PM program is the best way to spot an issue early on before problems begin. When in doubt, refer to the backhoe operator’s manual for recommendations for the specific machine.


Tip #3: Check All Fluids
Probably the most obvious part of any equipment PM program is ensuring adequate fluid levels.

A checklist of 5 fluids to monitor on a daily basis should include:

  • Oil
  • Fuel
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Antifreeze/Coolant
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)

Refill fluids, as necessary. If oil or fuel contamination is detected, change the fluid and immediately discard the bad fluid in a responsible, approved manner.


Tip #4: Grease Crucial Points
A backhoe has several moving parts, making grease an important, daily PM point. Areas like the front axle, trunnion bearings, and swing system pins and bearings should be checked daily and greased if required.

Always use high-quality grease to ensure it’s capable of standing up to a full day in the dirt. Also, choose grease that’s appropriate for the temperature variances where the machine is operating.

While many operators apply grease at the beginning of the day, it’s actually a good habit to get into at the end of the day. A machine is more receptive to grease when it’s warm, after a full day of operation, versus cold, before it has been started for the day. That being said, it’s never a bad time to apply grease to crucial points so as long as it’s being done on a daily basis, that’s really all that matters.


Tip #5: Write it Down
Like any good company initiative, a PM program must be documented and tracked to gauge effectiveness and identify weak spots in the program that can be improved going forward.

A backhoe maintenance log should be kept, including machine hours to maintenance intervals. Assigning one employee to own the task of keeping the maintenance log will ensure tracking is done consistently, both in terms of frequency and detail of entries.

 

PM to Payback
Though it may seem like a significant undertaking, a good PM program only needs to take a few minutes each day, and pays back a big return on that time investment. These five steps are a great starting point for a solid backhoe loader maintenance program. Always consult the operator’s manual if you’re ever unsure of maintenance intervals, and to be sure PM is taken care of properly and in a safe manner.

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If you’re looking to buy a new backhoe, learn more about Say Yes – a special program, exclusively offered on John Deere’s 310L EP backhoe loader now through October 31 at RDO Equipment Co.

About The Author
Shane Griffin is Service Manager with RDO Equipment Co. and based in McKinney, TX.

For more information on backhoe maintenance, as well as PM tips for your entire fleet of John Deere construction equipment, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Update: September

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Update: September

In the early morning light of a Monday morning, months of hard work, tight timelines, and detailed punch lists came to fruition. On September 12, RDO Equipment Co. in Chandler officially opened its doors for business. The store, located on Interstate 10, south of the 202 in Chandler, is the second RDO Equipment Co. location in the Phoenix metro, serving the construction industry with equipment from major partners including John Deere, Hitachi, and Topcon.

Dennis Howard, Vice President of the southwest construction region of RDO Equipment Co., said the entire staff is eager to welcome customers to the new store. “We’re thrilled to be open for business and I’d like to personally invite all of our customers, neighbors, and the entire community of Chandler to stop by and visit our team at the new store,” he said.

The Chandler store features more than 31,300 square feet of space, with a 12-bay service shop, large parts inventory, and spacious retail area. It’s the eighth RDO Equipment Co. location in the state of Arizona, and 78 in the company’s network of dealerships across 10 states.

If you missed the August construction update for RDO Equipment Co. – Chandler, read it now.

John Deere and Big Iron Farm Show on the Agriculture Technology Podcast

John Deere and Big Iron Farm Show on the Agriculture Technology Podcast

September 13-15 marked the 36th annual Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo, ND. As in previous years, John Deere and RDO Equipment Co. were key participants in the show, with a large pavilion area featuring new John Deere products and technology, along with RDO Equipment Co. team members ready to speak with attendees and answer questions. 

Host Tony Kramer brought the podcast to Big Iron and invited three John Deere team members to discuss what’s happening at the show, right from inside the John Deere pavilion. Tony also broadcasted the podcast recording live on Facebook, and the full video can be viewed anytime on the RDO Equipment Co. Facebook page.

Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation. Listen to the full episode here.

TK
We’re recording live from the Big Iron Farm Show, talking to John Deere representatives about the multiple pieces in the John Deere portfolio. Don’t forget, Big Iron runs through Thursday, September 15.

Up first is Jim Xu to talk about the Big Iron event itself.

JX
Thanks, Tony. I’m Jim Xu, the show coordinator for the Big Iron Farm Show. Each year, about 80,000 people come out to the show and, so far on day one this year, we’re seeing steady traffic.

This year, as far as products go in the John Deere area, we have an emphasis on sprayer and application equipment. So we have the F4365 high-speed nutrient applicator. We also have an R438 sprayer. And we also have some all-new products, including our 9RX tractor.


TK
Next up, Dave Mulder to talk about the F4365 and touch on some ExactApply features.

DM
Thanks, Tony. I’m Dave Mulder, product line marketing manager for application equipment at John Deere. We’re showcasing a couple key new products that were just introduced to customers and dealers in August.

First the F4365 high capacity nutrient applicator. This machine is built for high productivity, high speed applications. It offers 365 horsepower and peaks at 400 so it’s able to pull in those tough conditions. It also offers the same transmission as our 8R Tractors for ease of use and intuitive use.

We’re also showing ExactApply, which is an intelligent nozzle control solution. John Deere focused on the customer needs over the years and this delivers on what they’ve asked for. It offers improved coverage, has individual nozzle control, turn compensation, and A/B nozzle switching, so both manual and automatic for better speed and rate range.


TK
Up next is Dennis Ogle to talk about the 9R family of tractors.

DO
Thanks, Tony. I’m Dennis Ogle, senior marketing representative for Waterloo Tractors. To go into the 9R family of tractors, some things you’re really going to see with these is maneuverability. When you’ve got this 4-track solution to turn under a load in a variety of situations, maybe traction is limited or it’s pulling bigger implements, these have the hydraulic capability and the power.

The other big thing to touch on is integration, the full integration. We’ve got green on green solutions. The 9R family of tractors is one solution, and it offers the John Deere dealer network for support and John Deere precision ag offerings.


TK
Thanks to all our guests from John Deere. And to close with what’s big here at the show, technology. We’re highlighting that, and the new offerings and new solutions that John Deere has.


Learn more about John Deere agriculture equipment by visiting its website.

Tony went into greater detail with each guest so please listen to the entire episode. Catch up on older episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Technology podcast so you never miss an episode.

Host Tony Kramer is a product specialist at RDO Equipment Co. To contact Tony with questions or about being a guest on the podcast, find him on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.

September 15, 2016  |  Category: Podcasts
Three Steps to Safe Operation with Backhoe Loaders

Three Steps to Safe Operation with Backhoe Loaders

The roar of equipment. The hint of diesel in the air. The digging and moving of earth. All are welcome sounds, smells and sights on the jobsite, as well as great indicators of how busy and action-filled construction worksites are at any given time. They’re also a constant reminder of the importance of equipment safety on the jobsite.

Few things in day-to-day construction operations are as important as safety. In fact, most would argue safety is hands-down the #1 priority.

Every piece of equipment comes with safe operation practices all its own. As one of the most popular pieces of construction equipment, backhoe loaders are present on nearly every jobsite so it’s especially important for backhoe operators to have solid training and awareness in safe operation.

Before a backhoe starts up for the day, throughout the workday, all the way until the operator goes home, backhoe safety must be top-of-mind. A safety strategy should be laid out and properly executed each day.


Rise and Shine
Start off the day on the right foot with some safety tips that begin before the backhoe goes to work.

Every backhoe operator should have thorough knowledge of the worksite. Two areas of particular concern with backhoes are utilities, both underground and overhead. An operator should never dig if he or she is unaware of what lies beneath the surface so the standard “call-before-you-dig” and utility markings should be taken care of before a project begins. During daily operation, it’s best to keep the backhoe away from areas with overhead power lines; however, if work is required near them, the operator must be aware and take caution not to make contact.

On a regular basis, before work starts for the day, everyone onsite should review the basic hand signals common with backhoe operation. This ensures clear communication and understanding between the machine operator and workers on-foot. 

Prior to starting the machine, conduct a quick walk-around and inspection, looking for any visible signs of damage, excessive build-up of debris, broken mirrors or lights, or anything else that could be a safety hazard. Any items of concern should be addressed immediately to prevent potential safety incidents during the workday.

After the backhoe has been cleared to begin work, maintain three points of contact when entering the cab. Clean the operator station of any clutter that could get in the way and, as a final safety check, test the horn and backup alarm to be sure both are in proper working order.


Daily Operation
Most backhoes are set up to run on either a backhoe or excavator digging control pattern. Be sure to check the setting prior to doing any work in case someone else operated the machine and changed the setting.

If the backhoe is driving from one area or site to another, ensure the boom is locked and the swing lock is in place.

A few simple operation best practices can also go a long way to enhancing safety for the operator and others onsite. First, always use the stabilizers when digging. Don’t operate the backhoe on steep or uneven grades, or too close to a ledge, to prevent tipping or falls. It’s also advised to keep a load close to the ground, only raising it until it’s at a spot ready to be dumped.


Calling it a Day
After a long day on the jobsite, it’s tempting to just shut down the backhoe and leave – however, a few final checks and practices are necessary to end the day on a safe notes.

First, be sure there are no workers near the machine who could be in harm’s way as the machine goes through its shut-down process.

Park the backhoe on a flat, stable surface and lower the boom to a safe position, ensuring the bucket is fully on the ground. Next, engage the parking brake – even though the machine is parked on a level surface, it’s a good final step to take and ensures the machine is in a fully secured, safe position for the first person who uses it the next morning.

Exit the backhoe, again, maintaining three points of contact, then do a final walk-around. Check for any excess debris build-up, as well as areas that look to be damaged and could possibly be missed during the following morning’s safety checks.


Day In, Day Out
Above all else, safety of yourself and fellow workers should always be put first. When operating a backhoe, having a safety checklist is a great way to ensure the busyness and chaos of the workday doesn’t take away from sound safety practices. Start with these key areas then expand your daily program to meet the unique needs of your jobsite, workers, and equipment.

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Interested in buying a new backhoe? Learn more about Say Yes – a special program, exclusively offered on John Deere’s 310L EP backhoe loader now through October 31 at RDO Equipment Co.

 

About The Author
Kyle Braswell is Sales Manager with RDO Equipment Co. and based in McKinney, TX.

For more information on safety for backhoes and all construction equipment from John Deere, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

September 6, 2016  |  Category: Products
RDO Water Acquires Kuida Ag Supply Company

RDO Water Acquires Kuida Ag Supply Company

RDO Water, along with RDO Equipment Co., announces the acquisition of Kuida Ag Supply Company of Salinas. Over the next few weeks, RDO Water will be moving all Kuida Ag operations to its combination RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water stores in Salinas and Watsonville.

The acquisition expands RDO Water’s offerings of irrigation products and solutions, which includes pipe and system rental; pipe and pump repair; system automation, design and installation services; consulting services; and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads, and fertilizer. RDO Water is also retaining the full Kuida Ag staff, bringing its strong community ties, deep knowledge of the industry and region, and more than 25 years of experience to the RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water businesses.

“We’re thrilled to be adding Kuida Ag to the RDO Water team,” Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water said. “The company’s strong customer relationships and regional insights are all valuable on their own, but most important is the philosophy of Kuida Ag. One that treats customers as stakeholders in the business and, above all else, puts people first. It aligns with how we’ve always done business at RDO Water and will continue to do going forward.”

Not only does the acquisition enhance RDO Water’s offerings, it opens additional opportunities for RDO Equipment Co. customers as well. Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas explained, “Our customers have come to expect a total solutions experience from us, with agricultural equipment, service, and irrigation solutions. It’s exciting for us to provide them even greater opportunities to enhance their business.”

RDO Equipment Co., a full-service John Deere agriculture equipment dealer, has been serving the Salinas and Watsonville areas since the dealerships were acquired in 2011. The company acquired RDO Water – Salinas in 2013 and added RDO Water to the Watsonville store in 2015.

A grand opening celebration is planned in October at the RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water store in Salinas. Customers and partners can stay up-to-date on details by visiting the RDO Water and RDO Equipment Co. websites.

Josh Messer, 360 Yield Center, on the Agriculture Technology Podcast

Josh Messer, 360 Yield Center, on the Agriculture Technology Podcast

Josh Messer has eaten, slept, and breathed agriculture his entire life. His career began as a child on his family’s North Dakota farm and has taken him to his current company, 360 Yield Center. As an Agronomist with 360 Yield Center, Josh works to educate growers and put them in the best position to maximize yield potential while minimizing risk and loss. 

Host Tony Kramer invited Josh on the podcast to learn more about the unique, productive solutions 360 Yield Center is offering growers, as well as discuss the young company’s new partnership with John Deere.

Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation. Listen to the full episode here.

TK
Tell us about 360 Yield Center – what it is, what your team does, and the ways you’re out there helping growers?

JM
360 Yield Center is focused on in-season management for plant health and nutrition, with our primary focus on nitrogen management.

Next to seed, nitrogen is the highest input cost on most acres. Not only is it a large investment, it’s also the most volatile nutrient. Mother Nature determines when and where we can access nitrogen, so we provide growers with tools and a systems approach so they can become more efficient, manage that risk and not lose that investment. At the end of the day, we can maximize yield potential with our nitrogen applications.

TK
A lot of people have heard the big news that 360 Yield Center has gone into an allied agreement partnership with John Deere. Can you explain why both companies did this?

JM
First off, what a privilege for us to partner with one of the world’s best ag companies!

John Deere wants to bring customers high-quality green equipment, but they also want to focus on being able to help growers make better agronomic applications with that equipment. That’s what we can do with the 360 Yield Center products, and John Deere sees the value of increasing profitability and yield potential by implementing our products into the John Deere suite of equipment.

TK
Will you give us an example of one of the products offered by 360 Yield Center?

JM
Our flagship product is the 360 Y-DROP. It’s a system we retrofit on your sprayer boom to extend the opportunity for side dressing nitrogen. Looking at some of the high-clearance sprayers on the market, we can get into tasseled corn and still be able to precisely place nitrogen at the base of the plant for maximum yield potential and also to minimize risk of losses throughout the season.

TK
Speaking of high-clearance sprayers, on our last episode we discussed the partnership between John Deere and Hagie Manufacturing. A lot of our listeners might be wondering if your products can be retrofitted onto Hagie sprayers.

JM
Absolutely. For example, our 360 Undercover, which mounts to the 360 Y-DROP, will retrofit onto any John Deere sprayer, past or models currently on the market, and that includes Hagie models.

TK
Getting into agronomic benefits, what have you seen as from utilizing 360 Y-DROP when it comes to yield increases in corn?

JM
One of the biggest benefits is placement. Nitrogen moves more vertically in the soil profile than it does horizontally. So when you make an application that’s 10 or 15 inches away from the row, that nitrogen has to move a long way to reach the root zone. Corn, for instance, acquires 63 percent of its nitrogen from a 7-inch radius of the plant. So by being able to place that nitrogen right beside the stalk, we can take advantage of the efficiency of root concentration.


Learn more about 360 Yield Center visiting its website.

Tony and Josh discussed more exciting products from 360 Yield Center and the key ways the products are maximizing yield potential for growers. Josh also gave Tony his predictions for what’s coming next from 360 Yield Center, so please listen to the entire episode.

Catch up on older episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Technology podcast so you never miss an episode.

Host Tony Kramer is a product specialist at RDO Equipment Co. To contact Tony with questions or about being a guest on the podcast, find him on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.

September 1, 2016  |  Category: Podcasts

RDO Equipment Co. a Key Participant at Big Iron Farm Show

Field demos and special equipment offers highlight the annual three-day event

On September 13, the 36-annual Big Iron Farm Show kicks off in West Fargo, North Dakota. The event is expected to bring more than 64,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors to the Red River Valley Fairgrounds for three days of equipment demos, educational seminars, expert outlooks, and networking. RDO Equipment Co. is exhibiting and participating in field demonstrations at the show.

In addition to its shortlines booth, 1307 and 1308, RDO Equipment Co. product experts will be at the John Deere area, in the Schollander Pavilion. The show opens daily at 9 a.m.

Fertilizing equipment, management, and solutions is the focus of this year’s field demo series, and the overall show is featuring new technology and advancements. RDO Equipment Co. will be showcasing spraying technology from both John Deere and Hagie Manufacturing. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to attend the field demos, held daily from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

To get the complete show schedule, find additional information, and see a full list of exhibitors, visit the Big Iron Farm Show website. Unable to attend the show? Contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store to learn more.

September 1, 2016  |  Category:

RDO Equipment Co. Named to Prairie Business Magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work

RDO Equipment Co. has been named to Prairie Business magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work, specifically in the top 25 large for-profit companies (100+ employees). All 50 companies were honored in the September issue of the magazine.

Prairie Business is the only business-to-business magazine dedicated to the northern Plains region, focusing on the success and opportunities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Minnesota. For the annual Best Places to Work contest, the magazine received nearly 950 nominations through an anonymous employee survey that outlined work environment, employee benefits and employee happiness.

“It’s a point of pride for our winners because being nominated as a great place to work by actual employees on all levels of hierarchy is a testament to really being a great company. You can’t claim to be a great place to work unless the employees who actually work for you agree,” said Lisa Gibson, Prairie Business editor.

Chris Cooper, RDO Equipment Co. Chief Operating Officer, commented, “It’s an honor to be selected as one of the Top 50 Best Places to Work. And because this recognition is based off of employee submissions makes it all the more rewarding.”

To view the magazine and see the complete list, visit:http://bit.ly/2bQWtBM

August 31, 2016  |  Category:
RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update: August

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update: August

Phase I construction is wrapping up at the new RDO Equipment Co. store in Riverside, with final items including building and site utilities, and finish work tracking to be completed by month-end. Concrete has been poured on the south side of the shop and racking install is currently underway in the new Parts Warehouse.

“The end of phase one marks a significant milestone in this building project,” Duane Bonini, General Manager said. “We’re so pleased with the progress of our new store and look forward to starting phase two in September.”

Dennis Howard, Vice President of the company’s southwest region added, “The team has been working hard to keep the project on track, minimizing the impact on customers and our service. It’s a great reward for all to see phase one coming to a successful close, and everyone’s eager to jump right into phase two.”

If you missed last month’s construction update of RDO Equipment Co. – Riverside, read it now.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 22: Duane Fierstine, RDO Equipment Co.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 22: Duane Fierstine, RDO Equipment Co.

Early in his career, Duane Fierstine heard something that still sticks with him today: “When you open a bag of seed, that seed already has its yield potential.” Since then he has focused on trying to help growers eliminate factors that reduce those yields, both in his time with Hagie Manufacturing and now as an account manager with RDO Equipment Co.

With John Deere’s recent acquisition of majority ownership of Hagie, host Tony Kramer invited Duane to the podcast to share the Hagie story, discuss agronomic benefits of the sprayers, and get his prediction of what the future might hold from the collaboration of these powerhouse companies.

Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation. Listen to the full episode here.

TK
Can you start by telling us about Hagie Manufacturing?

DF
Hagie has an interesting story. It started out in 1937 as a seed company, then developed a high-clearance detasseler. It had a catwalk on the front, and workers would walk across it and clip the top of the tassels. One day, Mr. Hagie went into the local elevator and somebody mentioned the idea of putting a wet boom on the front of the machine. And the first-ever self-propelled sprayer was born.

TK
Some of our listeners know and some don’t, John Deere recently acquired half of the Hagie company. How are John Deere and its dealerships benefiting from bringing on Hagie as a product line?

DF
Dealers are teaming up with the industry’s leader in the high-clearance product. Now they’re able to add that product to their already-stellar portfolio of products.

For John Deere, now they don’t have to spend billions of dollars researching and trying to come up with their own high-clearance machine, they instead teamed up with the best one out on the market.

TK
You know a lot about Hagie equipment so can you give us an overview of the products Hagie offers?

DF
Hagie has two models, the STS, which stands for single-tank system, and DTS, which stands for dual-tank system.

The DTS is a smaller machine that features two 500-gallon saddle tanks on each side, a 90-foot boom, and it weighs in at 18,000 pounds.

The other, the STS, has four models with 1,000 to 1,600 gallon-capacities. It’s a larger machine that can go from 90- to 132-foot booms. Something that’s significant with a lot of customers is the 120 and 132 booms are aluminum, and Hagie is now manufacturing its own aluminum booms.

TK
On top of the units and some of the other tools that Hagie is offering, I know there’s for sure one aftermarket option maybe a couple other ones, right?

DF
The main one is the Fennig Equipment interseeder. It’s a dry box in place of the wet tank on the Hagie sprayer. We’ve had some field days with North Dakota State University soil health, showing interseeding with cover crops.

TK
Could it also be used with dry fertilizer?

DF
That’s the really good part about the Fennig system; it can be used, really, with any dry product.

TK
Wrapping up, what can you say about the future of Hagie and John Deere?

DF
We all have a lot to learn from each other, and John Deere and Hagie are going to learn a ton from each other. And I think, together over the next couple years, they’re going to turn the industry upside down.

Learn more about Hagie Manufacturing by visiting its website. To read the official announcement of John Deere’s joint venture with Hagie, the news release is available on the John Deere website.

Tony and Duane continued to discuss the future of John Deere and Hagie’s collaborative efforts, as well as Hagie products and agronomics, so please listen to the entire episode. Catch up on older episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Technology podcast so you never miss an episode.

Host Tony Kramer is a product specialist at RDO Equipment Co. To contact Tony with questions or about being a guest on the podcast, find him on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.

August 18, 2016  |  Category: Podcasts
5 Tips for Better Accuracy in Underground Utility Plowing

5 Tips for Better Accuracy in Underground Utility Plowing

From upgrading existing services to installation of high-quality broadband, a vibratory plow is an in-demand piece of equipment. Utility installation projects, both rural and urban, can go quickly and smoothly with the help of this machine – when it’s operated correctly.

Failing to plan, forgoing maintenance, and other simple missteps can be major hits to a plow’s accuracy. Focus on five areas of best practices for optimum operation. 


1. In the Know
Efficient plow operation begins with knowing the area – both what’s above and below the surface. Smaller projects may not go through a full geological survey phase, in which case it’s even more crucial for the team to do its homework on the site.

It’s both smart and responsible to know what’s underground and map the plowing path accordingly. Not only will this prevent accidents and damage to existing utilities, avoiding underground obstructions will result in more accurate plowing and a better finish product.

Above-ground obstacles like telephone poles and boxes should also be noted and accounted for on the path. Plows aren’t agile machines that can turn on a dime. If an unexpected obstacle is encountered, the machine has to stop, reposition, and alter its course, an interruption that costs precious time and delays that can and should be avoided.


2. Made in the Blade
The plow blade is a big key to optimal operation. It needs to be as wide as the line, whether cable, conduit, etc. going into the ground. That said, the wider the blade, the harder it pulls, so choose a blade that’s no wider than it needs to be.

On a similar note, certain blades pull better in certain ground conditions. Going back to knowing the area prior to starting the job, this is a great time to assess the soil and underground conditions to be sure the blade choice is appropriate.

A final tip with blades, always choose a blade with a leading edge in good condition, and the same goes for the toe. Dull tools decrease performance.


3. Proper Operation
Any piece of equipment is only as good as its operator. A few best practices and simple tips can make a big difference in time savings and accuracy.

When using the up/down and swing functions, place the hydraulic control levers in float. This allows the plow to better follow the path of the machine, especially valuable in projects with several turns and hilly terrain.

To prevent wasted time and effort, never plow deeper than what’s specified. Not only is it wasteful, it’s unnecessary. Plus, any deviation from job specifications communicated by the project owner could have a negative impact on the company.


4. Maintenance Matters
An unreliable plow or one that’s in poor condition can’t possibly operate at its best, making it important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance, and a few other tips too.

Prior to each day’s operation, do a quick visual inspection. Walk around the machine to check for issues. Oil and fuel leaks, cracked hoses or any visible signs of damage to the machine should be addressed immediately. Take time to check pins and bushings too. Secure or replace pins or bushings in need.

Push and pull the attachments to confirm full range of motion, and grease if needed. For best results, grease should always be applied at the end of the day, when the machine is warm and more receptive to it – a habit to adopt when shutting down the plow for the day.

Finally, take advantage of the slow winter months to give the plow extra TLC. RDO Vermeer offers service and winter inspection programs, designed to address any issues from the tough working months, as well as prepare the machine for next season’s busy schedule.


5. Assessing the Alternative
Sometimes the best way to efficient plow operation is to use other equipment.

Wait, what? That doesn’t sound right. It’s true though. Utility work, especially in rural areas, often requires different machines for specific needs. Knowledgeable operators identify this upfront and plan accordingly.

For example, most rural ditching projects cross over numerous county roads. Because plowing through the roads is not an option, a horizontal directional drill (HDD) can be brought in for that part of the project. This strategy works for a variety of other projects, from those that go under creeks and rivers, to those that cross major highways or busy interstates.

Similar to swapping in different pieces of equipment on the jobsite, a variety of attachments are offered to cater to different projects, soil conditions, and other unique jobsite factors.

Rocky soil and very hard underground conditions are common. In this case, it may not be necessary to switch from a plow to HDD machine; instead, a trencher or rock saw/wheel attachment can tackle the job.

Also common with rocky soil is the use of a backhoe attachment. Rather than alter the path and drill around large rocks, the backhoe can dig up the obstruction and remove it from the equation.


From Start to Finish
Accurate vibratory plow operation is more than one tip, it’s a full strategy. A strategy that begins with a thorough understanding of the area and its characteristics, continues every day with best practices and maintenance, and doesn’t end until the job is completed – a day that will come much quicker by following these recommendations.

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About The Author
Mark Rieckhoff is Sales Manager for RDO Vermeer and based in Burnsville, MN.

For more information on proper operation of vibratory plows, or servicing your existing equipment, visit your local RDO Vermeer store.

August 17, 2016  |  Category: Products
RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Construction Update: August

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Construction Update: August

In less than one month, the doors will open at RDO Equipment Co. in Chandler. The new store, located on Interstate 10, south of the 202, is the company’s second location in the Phoenix metro, eighth in the state of Arizona, and 78 in the RDO Equipment Co. network.

“The new store in Chandler furthers our commitment to customers and is allowing us to expand our overall services and product support capabilities in this growing market,” Dennis Howard, Vice President of the company’s southwest region said. “We look forward to next month when we’ll officially open our doors for business and welcome Chandler into the RDO Equipment Co. family.”

Final details of the 31,300+ square-foot facility include exterior and interior finishes, wiring, safety features, and interior signage.

In case you missed it, RDO Equipment Co. – Chandler’s July construction update is available here to read now. And watch for details of the store’s grand opening event, coming soon.

Back to School with Compact Excavators

Back to School with Compact Excavators

By: Jason Riley, Demo Specialist, RDO Equipment Co.

For even the most seasoned equipment operator, it’s wise to stay up-to-date on the latest technique tips and regularly brush up safety practices. As students of all ages head back to school, what better time for every equipment professional to take a little refresher lesson in compact excavators. 

The following three areas are key best practices areas to review when operating a compact excavator.

Intro to Safety
Don’t let their size fool you – compact excavators pack a lot of punch and power. While a smaller machine, it deserves just as big a focus on safety as a crane, dozer or other large jobsite staple.

  1. Did you know most incidents happen, not during operation, but during the loading and unloading of the machine? The best safety tip for avoiding transport troubles is to use caution when loading and unloading, and ensure the boom is always facing the direction it’s being moved.
  2. Another safety precaution comes before even starting up the excavator: slips and falls from the machine. To prevent these types of accidents, always maintain three points of contact with the machine when getting in and getting out.
  3. Finally, know which control pattern the machine is in prior to operation to avoid improper direction and movements of the boom and bucket.

Workday 101
Before setting foot in the machine, during operation and prior to calling it a day, a few best practices should be part of each work day with a compact excavator.

  1. At the beginning of the day, do a quick pre-operation inspection of the machine. Check the tracks, look for any areas that appear to be damaged, and ensure fluids are all at adequate levels. Also, clean mirrors and replace any that are broken.
  2. When in the cab and ready to operate, be alert and aware of surroundings, including structures, different types of terrain and other machines working on the jobsite. Adjust operation accordingly for smooth traffic flow, efficient operation, and safety. And most importantly, watch for and always yield to people on the worksite.
  3. At the end of the day, it’s tempting to simply shut down the excavator and go home. But a few extra minutes spent on addressing two items pay back big time in productivity and reduced downtime.

Fuel up the excavator at the end of each day. It’s one less thing to worry about the next morning, but more importantly, a full fuel tank leaves little room for condensation in the tank and system. Condensation can ruin fuel and cause problems in the engine so this one simple practice can save time and money due to wasted fuel and costly repairs. 

End-of-day is also prime time to address any points that need grease. Again, not only does it save a step the next morning, the bushings and pins are more receptive to grease when warm, after a long day of work, than when they’re cold, prior to machine start-up in the morning.

Advanced Tips
Every operator can benefit from drawing on experience of others. Here are a few tips from the experts at RDO Equipment Co.

  1. “To achieve faster cycle times when using a bucket, go into the dirt at a 45-degree angle, and come out at a 45-degree angle.” -- Kenny Lopez, Rental Sales Professional
  2. “Most John Deere compact excavators have an automatic shift feature that essentially acts as an automatic transmission. If you leave the tracking speed in high, it will automatically shift to low when under pressure, then return to high as you straighten back up again. Other brands, you have to manually shift but these do it on their own.”-- Tory Williams, Product Specialist
  3. “Increase productivity by placing spoils close to where you’re digging versus taking the time to rotate and put them behind or further away.” -- Robert Mommsen, CWP Sales Professional

Head of the Class
This back-to-school season, a quick review of safety and operational tips can be the difference in leading your team in optimal equipment operation or getting schooled on the jobsite.

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Looking to buy a new compact excavator? Learn more about Choose Your Deal - a special offer on John Deere compact equipment now through October 31.

About The Author
Jason Riley is a Demo Specialist with RDO Equipment Co. and based in Phoenix, AZ

For more information on excavators and all compact worksite products from John Deere, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

August 12, 2016  |  Category: Products

Grand Forks Employees Each Celebrate 25 Years of Service

Grand Forks Employees Each Celebrate 25 Years of Service
Two Grand Forks employees celebrated their 25 years of service – Jason Kouba, Field Service Technician, and Mike Sundberg, Service Technician.

General Manager Roni Lillehaugen spoke highly of both Mike and Jason. “Mike is a highly skilled, highly trained, and highly respected team member.  He is quick to lend a hand to others and is a great mentor to our new team members. Mike has built strong relationships with our customers – they often ask for him by name and request that he work on their machines.”

“Jason’s extensive technical training and many years of experience have led him to be a highly respected diagnostician and technician.  He is a strong supporter of our Customer Engagement Experience and focuses on helping our customers increase their profitability and lower their risk by ensuring he provides topnotch service and repairs.”

Kevin Grove, Service Manager, echoed those sentiments of both. “We are lucky to have the skill, expertise, knowledge, and commitment from both Mike and Jason on our team. Everyone in our shop has learned from them.”
Both Mike and Jason had their own recognition lunches attended by their family members.

Aftermarket Tips from RDO Equipment Co.

Aftermarket Tips from RDO Equipment Co.

The majority of hot weather overheating problems are found to be either low air flow or low coolant flow. Plugged radiators, fans on backwards, missing baffles, or damaged shrouds are frequent causes of low air flow. Low coolant flow can be due to failed water pumps, plugged radiator tubes, collapsed hoses, or low coolant level. In addition, trapped air in the cooling system, is something else that can cause an overheat issue.

Thermostats are the least likely part in a cooling system to fail, yet they are the first part to be replaced when a cooling system complaint is received.

With radiator inlet and outlet temperatures, we can determine whether the problem is related to air flow or coolant flow. If the temperature differential between the inlet and outlet is larger than the system is designed to produce, it is indicative of low coolant flow. If the temperature differential is smaller than the designed amount, it indicates low air flow.

In order to know if there is a problem with the cooling system, the designed temperature differential across the radiator must be known. This can vary, depending on cooling system design. For nearly all John Deere diesel engines, the temperature differential should be around 10°F (6°C) when running at full power and thermostat fully open.

Higher temperature differentials such as 20°F (11°C) indicate low coolant flow. The low coolant flow will result in slower rate through the radiator. The longer the coolant spends in the radiator the cooler it will become. Hence the temperature differential will be greater than 10°F (6°C).

Temperature differentials less than 10°F (6°C) indicate low air flow. Low air flow reduces the cooling efficiency of the radiator. Since the coolant is spending the same amount of time in the radiator as it normally would, and cooling efficiency is less the coolant will not lose as much heat as it should. Hence the temperature differential will be less than 10°F (6°C).


Cooling System Tips:

  • Make sure coolant/recovery tank is full. Check daily and for leaks.
  • Make sure fan/water pump belts (If equipped) are tight and in good condition.
  • Make sure you are using Cool-Gard II Antifreeze recommended for John Deere Engines and change at required intervals to prevent internal cooling system damage and corrosion build up in the radiator.
  • The new coolant/ Anti-Freeze is compatible with all engines, but older, generic coolant should not be used in the new IT and FT engines.    
  • Make sure the radiator hoses are not damaged or soft from age.
  • Make sure fan and shroud are in good condition, no missing pieces. Air flow is important.
  • Make sure you clean out debris, (restriction) between the radiator, coolers, and AC.
  • Your radiator might look clean externally, but to see if it is clean you should be able to see through it. By shining a light on one side you should see light on the other side, every square inch of the radiator surface.
  • Your radiator cap plays an important part in the cooling system, maintaining the pressure in the cooling system. Replacing the radiator cap occasionally improves cooling system functionality.

Have more questions? Visit your nearest RDO Equipment Co. location or call:1-800-834-0187.

August 9, 2016  |  Category:
Austin Demo Day a Success

Austin Demo Day a Success

Austin Demo Day a Success
More than 80 customers attended Austin’s Demo Day event in mid-June. The event was centered on excavator products and featured several machines from the 26G up through the 350GLC. The John Deere 350GLC excavator was set up with Topcon machine control and allowed customers to experience operation with the system and dig trench with slope on grade.

In addition to giving customers the ability to move dirt, they also demoed the senseFly albris. John Otwall, RDOIC Account Manager, said the feedback on the drone was really positive. “The comments that stood out were those about the potential for drone technology in our industry, and also how stable the albris was, even in high winds. But people are most amazed at the applications and data after the flight is over.”

“This was a terrific day for our team,” commented Austin General Manager Cory Kosse. “It’s these types of opportunities that allow us to develop deeper relationships with our customers and demonstrate our total solutions philosophy. Thank you to the Austin team for putting together a top-notch event.”

The Running Deere Cooking team, made up of members of the Austin store, cooked a BBQ lunch at the event – and even booked their first ‘catering’ job! They’ll be cooking with their pit for Lane Construction in a few weeks.

August 8, 2016  |  Category: Events
Arlanza Community Garden Improvements

Arlanza Community Garden Improvements

Arlanza Community Garden Improvements
The Arlanza Community Garden is located on the site of an old WWII-era fire station that was demolished and left vacant until 10 years ago when the garden was built. The site fell into disrepair until youth groups from the local community banded together to create a “safe space for community building, health and social change” in the troubled community of Arlanza in the City of Riverside.

The Southern California RDO team arrived on site at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15. Eric Tusler, Southern California Vermeer Sales Manager, and Jay Charlson, Fontana Account Manager, brought RTX450 and RTX100 Vermeer trenchers and trenched almost 500’ in new main and lateral water lines to service the different gardening beds. Daniel Stone, Riverside Parts Specialist; Jimmy Van Vleet, Riverside Parts Specialist; and Marc Oprzadek, Riverside Service Technician jumped in with power tools and sweat equity to put new siding on the gardening shed located on the property. The maintenance supervisor for the garden was overwhelmed with the RDO Equipment Co. team’s response and said there would be many happy residents when they saw the work that had been done.

This project was especially close to Daniel at the Riverside location. He stated, “I was born and raised in this neighborhood and still live just a couple of streets away. It makes me feel good that we can come together as a team and give back to our local communities.”

Day of Play Events Held in Aberdeen, Casselton, and Moorhead

Day of Play Events Held in Aberdeen, Casselton, and Moorhead

Day of Play Events Held in Aberdeen, Casselton, and Moorhead

Three Midwest Ag stores held John Deere Day of Play events over the past few months. While each event was unique, they all shared the same mission – provide a fun-filled day for the whole family.

Aberdeen
Roughly 450 people attended Aberdeen’s Day of Play event and they raised $375 for the local Boys & Girls Club of Aberdeen.
The team’s event featured barrel train rides, units from both the police department and fire department, and of course, plenty of John Deere equipment. Ride and drives with different courses were set up for lawn mowers, gators, compact utility tractors and ski steers and were popular.

The Boys & Girls Club was onsite doing face painting and tattoos for the littlest guests, along with a coloring contest. Guests of all ages enjoyed the Army National Guard’s Humvee and rocket launcher.

“As our event continues to grow, we continue to look for ways to engage our community members and provide an exciting day for them,” commented Brian Bjordal, Store Manager.

Casselton
Temperatures were in the 90’s but that didn’t stop the fun in Casselton. The event included tractor and combine rides, yard games, battery operated gators, and the ever popular barrel rides.

Kids were given John Deere toy gators and RDO Equipment Co. tattoos. A hot dog lunch was served to more 175 people.

“Watching a child have his or her first tractor or combine ride is really exciting. This event is so much more than showing people what RDO Equipment Co. and John Deere has to offer – it’s about being part of the community,” said Nic Miller, Store Manager.

Moorhead
Moorhead’s event had roughly 300 in attendance. Gator rides, barrel train rides, battery operated gators, John Deere tricycles, a bounce house, and large equipment rides were the highlights for many of the younger attendees.

The team served lunch and had gave miniature John Deere gators to attendees.

“We had beautiful weather and a great crowd. It’s always fun to interact with so many families from our community that may not typically make their way to our store,” Mike Wollschlager, Store Manager, commented.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 21: Eric Frasure, Dow AgroSciences

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 21: Eric Frasure, Dow AgroSciences

Idaho native Eric Frasure has been involved in the agriculture business his entire life, starting with his childhood experiences growing up on a barley farm. After obtaining his Masters’ Degree in Weed Science at University of Nebraska, Eric went to work with Mycogen Seeds in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he partners with growers to advance their businesses through hybrid seed testing, data analysis and implementation of new technologies.

Host Tony Kramer invited Eric on the podcast to discuss his work with Mycogen Seeds and parent company, Dow AgroSciences. Eric also touched on the John Deere Operations Center and how he uses it to help customers collect data more efficiently and better analyze it to make smart decisions.

Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation.

TK
Briefly talk about the relationship of Dow AgroSciences and Mycogen Seeds, and a little bit about what the companies do.

EF
Dow AgroSciences owns Mycogen Seeds; it’s one of Dow’s seed brands. The companies have a world-class breeding program for products like corn, soybeans, sunflowers, canola, and alfalfa. We do work in South America, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, so there’s both localized testing and global research breeding programs.

TK
I understand Mycogen uses John Deere Operations Center for data management with farms. Why are you using it?

EF
Our Agronomists have established partnerships with growers, and the program has allowed us to better personalize those relationships to each grower. For example, we’re able to look at data and work one-on-one with that grower to see what the hybrids are doing on a specific piece of ground. 

TK
What’s one area you’ve seen great value from John Deere Operations Center? 

EF
Wireless data transfer really has made a difference. No longer do we have to download data, put it on a flash drive and deliver it to customers. Instead, data goes right into the Operations Center.

TK
That’s great. You guys are saving time and cost, and keeping the customers up and running.

How about data analysis; we know a lot of growers have data, collect data but they don’t know what to do with it or maybe they don’t even look at it.

EF
Right, we know it happens where the data is collected but never makes it out to a place where it can be easily looked at and analyzed. We share the same customers with John Deere and, at the end of the day we both want to help them get the most production and value. The Operations Center makes it so the data is automatically put in a place where the grower easily can see it. They’re able to take a look and know exactly what happened on every acre of the farm.

TK
What are some of your overall successes or stories working with customers using the John Deere Operations Center?

EF
One of the biggest wins for us using the Operations Center goes back to helping us build relationships. We hope that working with our agronomists is a big benefit to these farmers and we want them to get the most out of that relationship, help them make better decisions going forward.


Learn more about Dow AgroSciences and Mycogen Seeds by visiting their websites.

Eric and Tony went into greater detail about John Deere Operations Center and the key ways it benefits growers, so please listen to the entire episode. Catch up on older episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Technology podcast so you never miss an episode.

Host Tony Kramer is a product specialist at RDO Equipment Co. To contact Tony with questions or about being a guest on the podcast, find him on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.

RDO Integrated Controls Expands Partnership with Topcon

RDO Integrated Controls Expands Partnership with Topcon

RDO Integrated Controls has been named an Authorized OEM Machine Control Dealer by Topcon Positioning Systems. The new agreement goes into effect immediately and affects RDO Integrated Controls’ stores in the state of Arizona.

A division of RDO Equipment Co., RDO Integrated Controls is already an established Topcon dealer in California, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This existing relationship, combined with a successful track record of sales and service, opened up the opportunity for the expanded agreement.

“While we’re honored to be recognized by Topcon and excited for the added opportunity in Arizona, the greatest impact of this agreement will be felt by our customers,” Dennis Howard, Vice President of the company's southwest region said.

Visit the RDO Integrated Controls website for more info on the full offering of Topcon positioning solutions now available at stores in the six states, or contact RDO Integrated Controls directly with questions.

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About RDO Integrated Controls
RDO Integrated Controls, founded in 2009, is a division of RDO Equipment Co. that provides solutions through GPS, lasers, GIS, survey, UAVs and machine control technology for the construction, mining, and landfill industries across the United States. For more information, visit www.rdoic.com.


About RDO Equipment Co.
Founded in 1968, RDO Equipment Co. sells and support agriculture, construction, environmental, positioning, surveying, and irrigation equipment from manufacturers including John Deere, Vermeer, Topcon and senseFly. With 77 locations across the United States, including partnerships in Russia, Ukraine, and Australia, RDO Equipment Co. is a total solutions provider. 

2016 Washington FFA Advisor Conference Demo

2016 Washington FFA Advisor Conference Demo

2016 Washington FFA Advisor Conference Demo

This year’s Washington State FFA Advisor Conference was held in Pasco, WA and the Pasco team had the opportunity to be a part of this year’s conference.

Months prior to the conference, they were contacted by the FFA advisor for Kennewick High School with hopes that the AMS team would be willing to hold a field demonstration for some of our visiting FFA advisors from around the state. The goal was to showcase some of John Deere’s latest advancements in agriculture equipment technology as well as the potential career opportunities that such technology would bring to the industry. The store agreed and made preparations for the presentation.

The demo site was a bare corner approximately 20 miles outside of Kennewick, WA. Gary Licquia, RDOIC Account Manager, performed a drone flight. In addition to a drone presentation, they provided demos of three late model machines (7290R, 8270R, R4038 Sprayer). Each machine was setup accordingly and operated by an AMS team member (Jared Kummer, Dick Muhlbeier, Alex Umpleby, Cayde Berglin). With each of these machines, the FFA advisors were able to witness firsthand the capabilities of John Deere’s latest AMS software products such as AutoTrac, Machine Sync, iTec Pro, wireless data transfer, and the John Deere Operations Center. 

Based on the feedback the team received, it’s safe to say that the demonstration was an overall success.

“We hope that through our efforts, these advisors were able to leave with relevant knowledge to pass onto their students in regards to the growing career potential in the field of precision agriculture technology,” commented Jared Kummer, Agronomist.

August 2, 2016  |  Category: Events
Lakeside Supports Eastern San Diego County Junior Fair

Lakeside Supports Eastern San Diego County Junior Fair

The Lakeside team donated several machines to help with loading straw and shavings, and assist with cleanup at this year’s Eastern San Diego County Junior Fair. The event was held in late May at the Lakeside fairgrounds.

This fair is a non-profit organization that benefits local agricultural students and their work with project animals.

The Lakeside team received great visibility through the equipment and logoed banners at the event. “We are always happy to support events and causes that help the youth in our community,” commented Mike Fenton, General Manager.

RDO – Vermeer Team Members Support Dozer Day Event

A community staple, Dozer Day was held in late May, and the RDO-Vermeer teams in Eugene and Portland once again jumped at the chance to be involved.

Dozer Day is like going to a fair, only the rides are heavy construction equipment. Kids hop in the driver’s seat and actually drive dozers, dump trucks, and other pieces of heavy equipment, with a professional operator at their side. The event is put on by the children’s organization, the Nutter Foundation, which raises money for several children’s charities in the community.

Eight employees volunteered at the RDO-Vermeer booth, which is always a hit.

Kids use a Vermeer 500 gallon vacuum excavator to launch tennis balls at a target (Shooting for Prizes is the name of their booth). For a nominal donation, kids had the chance to launch tennis balls and win prizes. The team’s booth raised $1,768 for the Nutter Foundation!

Nick Frappier, Portland Account Manager, commented, “This event is always a huge hit with the kids and fun for us, too!”

Forklift Donation Helps Cal Poly Raise Scholarship Funds

Forklift Donation Helps Cal Poly Raise Scholarship Funds

In late April, RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas, and RDO Water in Salinas and Santa Maria partnered to help sponsor the Cal Poly Open House Truck and Tractor Pull.

The Tractor Pull Club organizes the tractor pull each year as a part of the campus’ Open House event at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. It takes the club two weeks to set up for the event.

The RDO team donated the use of two Harlo forklifts to help the club with setup and tear down of the “stadium.” Without the use of the forklifts, the club would probably not be able to get the stadium done in time.

The event averages 2,500 attendees and raises nearly $30,000 which is awarded in scholarships.

Jeff Reynoso, RDO Equipment Co. Rental Developer in Salinas, and Ryan Pehle, RDO Water Construction Advisor in Santa Maria, commented how much they enjoyed being a part of this event and look forward to continuing to support the club’s efforts with this event.

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update - July

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update - July

With so much focus on construction of the new RDO Equipment Co. store in Riverside, from large exterior work to the smallest interior detailing, it’s important to note that safety hasn’t taken a backseat. In fact, the team has been conducting safety audits every day for the past several months.

“Our daily audits ensure we’re always keeping safety top-of-mind, above all else,” Duane Bonini, General Manager said.

Dennis Howard, Vice President of the company’s southwest region echoed Bonini’s sentiment, saying, “Curbing, flooring, environmental compliance. All of these day-to-day tasks are important but none ever take priority over keeping our team and the community safe. We’re proud of that.”

In case you missed it, read the recap of RDO Equipment Co. – Riverside’s June construction update now.

July 25, 2016  |  Category:

Bozeman Team Members Get Involved in Community Project

Bozeman team members Ryan Schlicting, Territory Manager, and Kenny Kroschel, Lead Technician, are active Kiwanis members.

Every year, the Bozeman Kiwanis club organizes a Sandbox project. They construct and distribute simple sandboxes and sand to community members, free of charge.

Kenny utilized his Community Time to run the excavator and assist the project. Ryan also helped onsite during distribution.

To watch a recap of this unique community service project, take a look at this story from KBZK in Bozeman.

Baptiste Tripard, senseFly, on the Agriculture Technology Podcast

Baptiste Tripard, senseFly, on the Agriculture Technology Podcast

After quitting the aviation industry which was, in his words, “too slow, and full of technical standards and regulations,” aerospace engineer Baptiste Tripard entered the drone industry. Now managing director for senseFly, a leader in development and production of professional aerial imaging drones, Baptiste brings the opportunities of drone technology to customers in numerous industries, from agriculture to construction to mining.

Baptiste was invited on the podcast to discuss drones, one of the hottest topics in the country right now. New host of the Agriculture Technology Podcast, Tony Kramer, asked Baptiste about two specific models of senseFly drones, some unique applications he has seen, and which term he personally uses: UAS, UAV or drone. 

Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation.

BT
When I joined the senseFly team in 2012, drones were just kind of, you know, a notion. Now, in the past four years, we’ve worked to put our technology in the hands of many different people, from farmers to mining companies, across the United States.

TK
For our listeners out there who have heard the terms drone, UAV and UAS, what is the correct term to be using?

BT
I prefer the term drone because it’s much simpler and also, it’s kind of poetic because of where that term comes from. The first time people talked about drones was during WWII, when the army and navy built remotely-controlled aircrafts that the pilots could use as training targets. They called those aircrafts drones.

Now, the FAA is officially using the term unmanned aircraft vehicle, or UAV, to qualify those flying machines, and the term unmanned aircraft system, UAS, being the drone, the flying device, and the ground station. Again, I use drone because it has been used for decades and because the general public understands it.

TK
Can you tell us about senseFly drones and what people are using them for?

BT
The eBee platform is designed for mapping applications. It’s a fixed-wing platform, which allows the eBee to cover a lot of acreage in one single flight. That’s the reason why it’s mainly used to map large areas like crops or construction or mining sites.

The Albris is specifically designed for inspection work. It will just hover, it can do stationary flights, and thanks to sensors, it’s able to sense its environment and calculate the distance to any kind of structure. So we use the Albris for under-bridge inspection, cell tower inspection or pole line inspection.

In summary, the eBee is used for mapping applications while the Albris is used for inspection work.

TK
Can you share some unique applications you’ve seen in your time with senseFly?

BT
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but there is a huge amount of plastic debris that is gathering specifically in five areas in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. To raise public awareness, drones flew over these trash vortexes, collected imagery, then the images were made public so people would realize the impact of plastic pollution on the earth.

Another application I want to highlight is disaster management and risk reduction. In 2012, tropical storm Isaac completely destroyed homes in Haiti. So the United Nations, in partnership with senseFly, used drones to generate maps that would be accurate enough to show how many houses were destroyed by the storm. That info was used to plan a rebuild of as many new houses as possible.

To learn more about senseFly, visit sensefly.com

Baptiste and Tony discussed much more, so please listen to the entire episode. Catch up on older episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Technology podcast so you never miss an episode.

Host Tony Kramer is a product specialist at RDO Equipment Co. To contact Tony with questions or about being a guest on the podcast, find him on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.

Bismarck Part of First Ever Touch a Truck Community Event

Bismarck Part of First Ever Touch a Truck Community Event

The Bismarck store was a part of the first annual Touch a Truck event in Mandan, ND on May 21.

The store had several volunteers that got the equipment onsite or worked the event and answered the many questions from the kids.

They brought a John Deere 624K loader and 8310R tractor to the event, bringing a nice balance of green and yellow to the streets of downtown Mandan.

Bismarck volunteers included Chad Hegel, Sales and Service advisor; Jared Mittleider, Rental Coordinator; Denver Silha, Regional Sales Manager; Mike Held, Account Manager; Adam Klabunde, Account Manager; Curt Berreth, Transactional Account Manager; and Duane Hoffert, Yard Coordinator.

The employees enjoyed being a part of this community event. Jared Mittleider said, “It was great to see the kid’s eyes light up when they walked up to the machines.” And Chad Hegel added, “The kids would jump up and down with excitement.  It was a joy to see and made the day worthwhile.”

Get the Most Out of Your Grinder

Get the Most Out of Your Grinder

By: Andrew Knudson, Recycling Account Manager, RDO Vermeer

Day in and day out, horizontal and tub grinders are put to the test. Wood, compost, recyclables, and waste of all types are thrown at these machines, with the expectation that a precise finished product will come out on the other side.

Although they’re built to be tough, dependable machines, a grinder is only as good as its operator. Neglecting maintenance, using the wrong type of cutting tips, even disregarding safety practices all can result in a machine that operates at less than an optimum level.

From production and profitability to uptime and uniformity, get the most out of your grinder with these five tips.

Suitable Screen Configuration
Round or square openings. Large or small screen area. Added features to achieve a specific outcome. Several types of grinder screens are available. To get the best results from the grinder, use the proper screen for the material being processed and the desired end-product.

As a general rule of thumb, round screens are ideal when consistent finish material is the desired outcome; for example, mulch production. Conversely, square screens have more open area for higher production, making them a great choice when consistency isn’t of high concern but volume is. Certain screens are designed for wet material and commonly used for compost, food waste, and green waste. Further specified configurations are available with assistance from a local dealer.

Correct Cutting Tips
Similar to screen configurations, a variety of cutting tips is offered to suit different types of materials. Ensuring the proper tip is used for the material being processed is crucial to preventing issues with the finish product as well as damage to the tips.

And just as important as the material being processed is what else might be mixed in with it. Contaminants can be present in all types of material and, when not identified upfront, can damage the grinder’s cutting tips and screens.

For example, abrasion-resistant tips should be used when processing dirty material that could include highly-abrasive contaminants like sand. Conversely, wide-block tips are the most universal style and work well on wood, compost, and green waste. Additional options are offered for further specific applications.

Regular Routine Maintenance
Prior to starting up the machine, the operator should conduct a quick inspection. A daily checklist might look something like this:

  • Visually inspect machine for anything that appears to be damaged or could interfere with operation
  • Check the engine oil level
  • Check the engine oil to be sure it’s free of contaminants; change as needed
  • Grease high-activity areas of the machine
  • Check wear parts; replace as needed

*Smaller screen size tends to increase wear on the cutting tips so operators who use this configuration need to replace more frequently

A final note, many of the grinder’s wear parts can be rotated for maximized life expectancy. Depending on the machine’s hours and applications, the operator should follow a schedule for timely rotation.

Standard Safety Checks
Be aware of nearby people and equipment when operating a grinder. An operator should always put the safety of him/herself and others ahead of all else.

All operators must comply with OSHA and their employer’s regulations regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with or around a grinder.

To reduce the potential of a fire hazard, clear the machine of debris daily, taking extra care to ensure the mill bearings are free from debris. Make sure the infeed roller is clear before turning on the machine.

On-Point Operation Technique
Whether a 10-year veteran of a company or a new employee, every grinder operator should receive thorough training on the machine prior to operating. Owners, mechanics, and anyone else who may work with the machine at some point should be trained on it as well. Reputable dealerships typically provide free training at the time of equipment setup.

Prior to starting the machine for the day, address all daily maintenance and safety checks.

At the end of the day, allow the machine ample time to cool down before fully shutting it off. Never attempt to do any maintenance checks of the machine, especially the engine, until it has cooled completely.

By combining a small time investment with heightened awareness, every operator can get the most out of horizontal and tub grinders.

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About The Author
Andrew Knudson is Recycling Account Manager for the Southern California region of RDO Vermeer. Contact him at [email protected] 

For more information on grinder operation or servicing your equipment, visit your local RDO Vermeer store.

July 19, 2016  |  Category:
2nd Annual RDO Charity Fun Run

2nd Annual RDO Charity Fun Run

On June 18, RDO team members and guests traveled 200 miles throughout the Minnesota lakes country during the 2nd annual RDO Charity Fun Run. Thirteen motorcycles, 12 cars, and 35 people participated in the event, even with the bad weather around the group.

They were forced to make a few minor changes to the route to keep everyone dry and luckily only had one brief rain shower they had to wait for.

Team members from the Ag, CE, and FSO divisions were represented. The furthest riders came from the Mankato location.

As part of the event, funds are raised to support the Lake Region Hospice. This year’s ride raised almost $700.

“We heard a lot of great comments from riders that they really enjoy the opportunity to raise money and ride, but also meeting others within the RDO family,” commented Mike Makovsky, Breckenridge Store Manager.

Chandler Construction Update - July

RDO Equipment Co. strives for environmentally-responsible design in all new construction projects. With that focus in mind, the new RDO Equipment Co. store in Chandler is installing its Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) this month. Research has shown EIFS to be the best performing exterior cladding for thermal and moisture control. It’s also fully compliant with modern building codes that focus on energy conservation through the use of continuous insulation and a continuous air barrier.

According to Dennis Howard, Vice President of the company’s southwest region, “Not only does EIFS ensure a comfortable environment for our customers and staff, it keeps us in compliance with energy codes and national standards. Both are very important to us.”

If you missed last month’s RDO Equipment Co. – Chandler construction update, read it now.

Lakeside Co-Sponsors AGC/EGCC Golf Tournament

Lakeside Co-Sponsors AGC/EGCC Golf Tournament

The Lakeside store helped sponsor the Associated General Contractors/EGCC golf tournament, held May 20. Since the store co-sponsored the event, they were set up on the first hole and gave out water, hats, and can koozies. They gave a John Deere toy model to the longest drive winner in each group that came through.

Proceeds from this annual event go to support local students through the EGCA Scholarship Foundation. The tournament will fund multiple scholarships to the Palomar College Diesel Program, AGC's Project Management Course, and the Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program at San Diego State.

Mike Fenton, Lakeside General Manager, said, “This is a beneficial event for our team to be a part of. It provides us the opportunity to interact with many major players in our area and connect in a fun, unique setting.”

July 15, 2016  |  Category: Events
Imperial Serves 200 at Customer Appreciation Day

Imperial Serves 200 at Customer Appreciation Day

The Imperial store held its annual Customer Appreciation Day event in late May.

The team served nearly 200 attendees tacos, beans, rice, and ice cream.

The entire sales team, along with members of Parts and Service, were involved in cooking and serving.

“It was a great event to say thank you to our customers and to demonstrate how much we appreciate their partnership,” commented Joe Castillo, General Manager.

July 13, 2016  |  Category: Events
What’s the Right Size Compact Utility Tractor for You?

What’s the Right Size Compact Utility Tractor for You?

When you visit your local equipment dealership, you’ll be greeted with dozens of different tractors. Among them, compact utility tractors (CUTs) are a common tool for customers with large properties to maintain thanks to their manageable size and compatibility with attachments.

John Deere further categorizes its CUTs into sub-compacts (1 and 2 Series) and standard compacts (3 and 4 Series).

While logic might say an owner with a lot of acreage needs a larger tractor, and a smaller property owner can get by with a sub-compact model, this is not always the case. Below are five key factors that should be considered when choosing between a sub-compact and standard compact tractor.

Factor #1: The Landscape
When looking at tractor size, potential buyers should note all the characteristics that make up their property’s unique landscape. Does the property have features like fencing and hardscapes? Are there several shrubs and trees? What about uneven or rocky areas?

The Choice: Sub-Compact or Standard
A sub-compact tractor can fit through narrow gate openings and closely-spaced trees, as well as easily navigate around hardscapes and gardens.

A standard compact offers greater height clearance. On properties with uneven terrain and large obstacles on the ground, such as rocks, this added height ensures the tractor can clear obstructions without damage to the unit or disruption to the operator.

Factor #2: The Grass
Every property has grass and the grass needs to be mowed. The question is: What type of grass?

The Choice: Sub-Compact or Standard
A John Deere sub-compact tractor is offered with an easy-to-attach, under-mount mower deck. Compared to larger, tow-behind mowers, these under-mount models do a better job of clean, close cutting on common-variety lawn grass.

A John Deere standard compact can be paired with a tow-behind mower attachment which, in contrast to the under-mount model, does a much better job handling longer, thicker grass in sizable fields. 

Factor #3: The Animals
A customer who owns animals has unique factors to consider when determining tractor size. Does the property have fencing, corrals, or barns to contain the animals? How much feed and hay are required for the animals each day?

The Choice: Sub-Compact or Standard
A sub-compact tractor’s smaller size allows it to go between pens and buildings. The small size is also ideal for narrow gate openings in fences – in fact, the sub-compact might be the only size tractor that can get through them.

A standard compact’s larger size is a better choice if there’s need to move a lot of feed, hay, and other equipment and materials. A larger tractor can be paired with larger attachments like pallet forks and buckets needed for these chores.

Factor #4: The Applications
It has already been established that most tractors need to double as mowers. What other tasks are going to be required of the tractor?

The Choice: Sub-Compact or Standard
A sub-compact tractor pairs well with basic attachments used for simple tasks like lawn mowing, gardening, and light material handling.

A standard compact can be paired with nearly all the same attachments as a sub-compact, while offering greater capabilities in terms of capacity, lift height, and power.  

Factor #5: The Ownership
In most households, more than one person uses the tractor. What’s the comfort level of everyone’s maintenance and operation capabilities?

The Choice: Sub-Compact or Standard
A sub-compact tractor is often more appealing to newer operators. The smaller size feels more manageable, attachments are typically easier to handle and change out, and it takes less time to perform routine maintenance on a smaller machine – but keep in mind every tractor has daily and periodic maintenance needs, and will come with basic ownership costs.

A standard compact costs a bit more to maintain, in time and dollars. Its greater size doesn’t necessarily make it harder to operate but it is more machine to handle, and can be more intimidating to the novice operator. Rest assured, standard compacts offer ergonomic features and intuitive design so they’re just as comfortable to operate as their sub-compact counterparts. 


Because they’re not one-size-fits-all machines, it’s important to closely consider each of these factors when determining the right-sized CUT for you.

There’s no one-size-fits-all CUT for everyone. There is a size that’s ideally-suited to each individual, his or her property, and the primary applications for which the tractor will be used. A reputable dealership will help you find the best option for your unique needs.  

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About The Author
Richard “Woody” Fenley is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southwest Ag region of RDO Equipment Co. 

For more information on choosing the right compact tractor and attachments, or servicing your existing equipment, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Burnsville – VER, Sauk Rapids, and Rochester Cohost Sherrill Training

On May 5th, the Burnsville – VER, Sauk Rapids and Rochester Vermeer teams cohosted a Sherrill training event for customers.

Two Certified instructors conducted the course for 21 attendees at a park in Burnsville, MN.

Bruce Getman, Burnsville – VER Customer Service Advisor, commented, “The event was well received and offered a lot of interaction between the trainers and attendees. We already have requests for topics at next year’s event.”

July 11, 2016  |  Category: Events
Meet Agriculture’s Game-Changer:  Drone Technology

Meet Agriculture’s Game-Changer:  Drone Technology

Not since the invention of the tractor has a technology come along with the potential to impact the agriculture landscape in a significant way. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, are changing the business of farming. Thanks to drone technology, farmers have access to more data and information than ever before, and are harnessing it into knowledge to find new, innovative ways of advancing day-to-day operations, such as:

  • Improve resource efficiency, productivity, and profitability
  • Maintain targeted use of water, fertilizers, and pesticides
  • Monitor moisture content and nutrient levels
  • Obtain real time analysis of soil health, plant health, weather patterns, and more
  • Access fields anytime, anywhere, even within the comfort of their own homes

At RDO Equipment Co., we’re committed to being a partner and resource, setting up our customers with both the cutting-edge technology they want and the support they need to advance their operations and impact the bottom line.

Learn more about our total solutions - including the latest in drone technology by visiting our website.

July 11, 2016  |  Category:
RDO – Vermeer Oregon Team Conducts Operator Safety Training

RDO – Vermeer Oregon Team Conducts Operator Safety Training

Dave Geiger, Account Manager, and Travis Gornick, Aftermarket Manager, for RDO-Vermeer Oregon conducted an operator safety training event for Asplundh Tree. 

The operator safety training consisted of basic and advanced safety information while operating Vermeer chippers. There was a large turnout for the event and the feedback received was very positive. 

Dave stated, “Vermeer equipment is the safest in the industry and paired with our ongoing operator safety training ensures that we are providing our customers with the safest possible option in the industry.”

July 7, 2016  |  Category: Events

RDO Water Moves to Neighboring RDO Equipment Co. Store

SALINAS, Calif. (July 6, 2016) – RDO Equipment Co. announces RDO Water, the company’s division that offers irrigation solutions, has relocated into the existing RDO Equipment Co. store at 501 El Camino Real S. in Salinas. The move brings to the store RDO Water’s full irrigation solutions including pipe and system rental; pipe and pump repair; system automation, design and installation services; consulting services; and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads and fertilizer.

As a full-service John Deere agriculture dealer with both new and used equipment, a vast parts inventory, and highly-trained service department, RDO Equipment Co. has been serving Monterey County since the dealership was acquired in 2011. The addition of RDO Water now enables the store to offer a true total solutions experience to customers, according to Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas. “It’s exciting for us to provide customers with more opportunities to enhance their business,” he said.

Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water, echoed Olson’s enthusiasm, saying, “Both current and potential new customers will benefit from the expanded offerings now available.”

A grand opening celebration is planned in August. Customers and partners can stay up-to-date on details by visiting the RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water websites.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 19 Available

In this episode we talk with Brock Magnuson, a product specialist based out of Missoula, Montana. He talks with us about a form of long-term agriculture, or forestry. The forestry industry uses a blend of construction equipment adapted for use in forests and technology similar to what we see in agriculture for GPS and mapping. Listen here

To learn more, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. or John Deere dealership.

Follow us on social media: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

Minnesota Vermeer & Construction Teams Support MMUA Training

Minnesota Vermeer & Construction Teams Support MMUA Training

RDO Equipment Co. delivered on total solutions at the recent Minnesota Municipalities Utilities Association (MMUA) training event. Each year the MMUA holds a safety and training exercise in Marshall, MN for its linemen. The MMUA consists of Municipal Electric Divisions from mainly Minnesota, but other municipalities from bordering states with cities near the Minnesota borders are also members, including Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Vendors are asked to bring in equipment for the lineman's use to complete jobs at the training center. The MMUA then sets it up and runs it like an actual jobsite in one of the municipalities’ city limits.

RDO Equipment Co. team members were there to showcase John Deere and Vermeer products and help train and show the linemen how to use the equipment, which included a John Deere 333E skid loader and 310SK Tractor Backhoe; a Hitachi 17G mini excavator; a Vermeer RTX750 trencher with backhoe attachment, D23x30 Series III drill with a MX240 mixing system, an S450TX mini ride-on skid steer; and a McLaughlin V550 vac. Each piece of equipment was used for some type of training.

The event consisted of four days of alternating classroom training with outdoor hands-on training with underground equipment.

“It’s a great opportunity for these linemen to operate our equipment and then share their experiences and opinions with their companies. Our team was the only company there that had construction equipment onsite,” commented Josh Hunt, Marshall/Sioux Falls CSA.

“Our presence at this type of event not only allows us to demonstrate the capabilities of the machines and manufacturers, but the service, solutions, and expertise that RDO Equipment Co. can provide,” added Mark Rieckhoff, RDO-Vermeer Sales Manager.

July 5, 2016  |  Category: Events
Why there’s Much More Behind Oil Than a Price

Why there’s Much More Behind Oil Than a Price

Proper engine oil maintenance is essential to protecting your equipment. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to oil.

Operator’s Manual recommendations are critical
• Lubrication recommendations in Operator’s Manuals ensure good performance over a long period of time. Refer to the Operator’s Manual and follow the recommended lubrication practices.
• Oil changes are necessary regardless of base stock type.
• Oil loses many of its lubrication qualities as it absorbs contaminants and its additives are depleted.
• Oil thickens as it breaks down and oxidizes. If it gets thinner during use, fuel dilution or coolant leak may be the cause.
• Oil oxidation and excessive contamination cause the oil to eventually become unfit for further use.

Oil color may not determine replacement need
• In a diesel engine, good oil should turn dark with use to be effective. Detergent and dispersant additives in oil attract and hold soot and other combustion products in suspension for removal at the time oil is drained. In a hydraulic system, it may be different.

Cheap oil does not save money
• Too many people are trying to save money on oil when they should be saving their equipment. Ten dollars saved through buying cheap oil can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars of expense incurred prematurely.

Use manufacturer’s recommended filter
• Buy quality oil filters as recommended in your Operator’s Manual. The money saved by buying cheap “will-fit” filters is negligible compared to the damage that can possibly result from their use. Filters meeting exact operating specifications are critical to the life of the machine.

An aftermarket oil additive may reduce protection
• John Deere has adopted a general policy of not approving the use of additional or supplemental oil additives, oil treatments, or engine treatments.
• Additional oil additives and engine treatments could produce more problems than benefits. These products could create a general chemical imbalance in the oil formulation and adversely affect the overall performance of the oil.
• There is no need to add anything to improve John Deere oils, which already deliver exceptional performance.

Synthetic oils
• Synthetic oils are composed of base-stock products altered from their natural state through changes in their structure.
• Synthetic base stocks, like petroleum base stocks, require the addition of the proper additives for the optimum performance of the finished engine oil. Synthetic engine oils perform the same functions as mineral oil and require the same oil-drain intervals.
• The value of operating with synthetic oils is most apparent under extreme operating conditions—very cold and very hot ambient temperatures.

Contact us with your oil maintenance questions.  

Lakeside Continues Partnership with ECSA

Lakeside Continues Partnership with ECSA

For several years, the Lakeside store has been involved with the El Capitan Stadium Association (ECSA) and the largest event they organize each year is the Lakeside Rodeo.

ECSA is a non-profit organization, staffed entirely by volunteers to benefit the youth of Lakeside. ECSA funds academic programs, athletic activities and site improvements for both the Lakeside Unified School Districts and El Capitan High School. ECSA also partners with the El Capitan Family Health Center providing a financial partnership that offers no cost medications to Lakeside children in need.  The majority of their funding is raised by hosting the annual Lakeside Rodeo, which is fully sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and is held each year in April.

The Lakeside team was involved as a sponsor and also had several volunteers staff one of the snack bars. In addition, they had a booth onsite to promote RDO Equipment Co.; they donated the shirts that the rodeo bullfighters wore; and supplied a piece of equipment used throughout the week.

“Our involvement with the ECSA spans many years, and we’re happy to continue our store’s tradition of supporting and getting involved with this organization’s annual event. It’s a fun event to work together as a team, while also giving us an opportunity to interact with many of our customers,” commented Mike Fenton, General Manager.

Fontana Hosts College Students

Fontana Hosts College Students

Students and instructors from Mt. San Antonio College (located in Walnut, California), recently visited the Fontana store. The store has developed a strong relationship with the college throughout the years and hosts a visit each year.

The store had several demonstrations of equipment available. Fontana team members Rick Shepherd, CSA; Rigo Leon III, Service Technician; Alex Santiago, Service Advisor; Breanne Chastain, Office Administrator; and Colby Gergovich, Regional Aftermarket Manager, were onsite to help with the event and discuss how diagnosing equipment has progressed over the years, as well as what tools and training are required for Service Technicians to be successful.

“The students are always a great crowd and they had a great time this year. Giving students experiences like this is a great way to gain positive momentum and exposure for RDO Equipment Co.,” said Colby Gergovich, Aftermarket Manager.

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update - June

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update - June

The construction team at RDO Equipment Co. in Riverside is working to stay on track and hit a significant goal: complete Phase 1 construction by the middle of August. The final step in the process is the demo of the existing showroom and parts warehouse, a step that will mark the start of Phase 2 construction.

“The construction timeline was established to make the most out of the summer months, and ensure minimal disruption to our current operations,” Duane Bonini, General Manager said. “Our primary concern is providing top-notch service to customers while we work towards the new facility.”

Don’t worry if you missed last month’s update on construction progress at RDO Equipment Co. – Riverside. You can read the recap now.

Flagstaff Participates in Local Forestry Event

Flagstaff Participates in Local Forestry Event

The Harvesting Methods & Wildfire Preparedness Open House was a recent event held in Flagstaff that the RDO Equipment Co. store took part in. The event served as an opportunity for the community to learn about the various harvesting methods and measures taken by professionals to reduce the risk of severe wildfires.

Five Flagstaff team members and their families attended the event and answered questions about the specialized Deere forestry equipment they had on display which included an 843L Feller Buncher and a 648L Skidder.

“This was a great community event focused around the forestry industry. We had lots of interaction with community members and were happy to be a part of making the community more comfortable with forest restoration efforts,” commented Adam Spade, Store Manager.

FAA Part 107 Rules for Flying Drones was Just Finalized. What’s next?

FAA Part 107 Rules for Flying Drones was Just Finalized. What’s next?

On June 21, the FAA announced that Part 107 Rules for UAS (Drone) Operations in the National Airspace have been finalized.

The name of the operator's certificate required is "Remote Pilot's Certificate" and clients will need one to fly with Part 107 or their Exemption.

However, the new rules will not be implemented for 60 days, presumably in late August. Until then, you may consider the current operating rules unchanged, and use this window as a time to prepare.

Overall, this announcement has great benefits for the use of UAVs in agriculture, civil engineering, aggregate, and mining industries. Becoming compliant to fly commercial UAVs will be more accessible for many companies.

Here are the highlights from today's announcements:

Getting the Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification for non-FAA Pilots

  • You may begin the Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification training online.
  • You may take the Knowledge Exam at an FAA testing Center once the Rule is implemented.

Getting Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification for current FAA Pilots

  • You may begin the Part 61 additional Remote Pilot Certification training online.
  • You do not need to take a Knowledge Test at a testing center, but must complete the online training course .

Current 333 Exemption Holders

  • Your FAA Pilot must complete the online Remote Pilot Certification training online before the implementation of Part 107.
  • Your 333 Exemption is still valid per the time period stated on it.

Pending 333 Exemptions

  • You will be notified by the FAA that you are in one of three tiers and be given options to continue or transfer to Part 107

TSA Approval

  • You will be required to be approved and vetted by the TSA in order to fly with a Remote Pilot Certification.

What are the final rules?

  • The FAA has posted a summary and a complete overview of the final rules, which will be implemented later this summer.

Want to Learn More?
Our experts at RDO Integrated Control offer an FAA Compliance Package as part of our Fleet Shield Services. This consulting service provides best practices, advice, and training on all topics covering compliance with the FAA, TSA, and local governments as they pertain to commercial drone flights. Contact us to learn more.

Helpful Links
Fact Sheet
UAS FAQ's
Final Rules Summary
Final Part 107 Rules

10 Tips to Keeping Your Equipment Running Smoothly this Summer

10 Tips to Keeping Your Equipment Running Smoothly this Summer

1.     Perform routine maintenance checks
2.     Check antifreeze/coolant regularly
3.     Check that the A/C is working properly
4.     Clear away any dust and debris
5.     Check the battery and connections
6.     Clean the radiator
7.     Check the belt tension
8.     Review the Machine's health with it's Monitoring System like John Deere WorkSight and JD LinkTM
9.     Let the engine cool down and don't overwork it
10.   When not used, put your equipment away to protection against the sun and other seasonal elements

Something not working quite right?
Schedule Service Today!

June 21, 2016  |  Category:
Team Volunteers at Fargo Ronald McDonald House

Team Volunteers at Fargo Ronald McDonald House

The Central Parts Ordering team, based at the FSO-Moorhead, took an afternoon to utilize Community Time and volunteer at the Fargo Ronald McDonald House. The time was used for outdoor spring cleanup and various cleaning tasks inside as well. The team raked the lawn, picked up sticks, debris, and leaves, and cleaned the grill outside. The inside tasks included dusting, vacuuming, washing windows, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, and taking out garbage. The team split up to get all of the tasks completed.

Glen Haekenkamp, Central Parts Manager, stated, “This was a great opportunity to work as a team for the same goal. The Ronald McDonald House does wonderful things for the community and this is one way that we can assist the families in need.”

Fontana Teams Up for Arbor Day Event at San Diego Botanic Garden

Fontana Teams Up for Arbor Day Event at San Diego Botanic Garden

Fontana team members Gabe Jarvis, Account Manager, and Eric Tusler, Sales Manager, brought a Vermeer HG6000 grinder to an Arbor Day event hosted at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Seven different San Diego county tree companies were also in attendance and between all involved, nearly an acre’s worth of old green waste, dead trees, and plants that had accumulated the past several years was cleared from the garden.

The Fontana store was invited by the Professional Tree Care Association – San Diego Chapter, which Gabe serves as the Executive Membership Chairman.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with many of our customers and give back,” commented Eric. “As team members, we had a great time being involved in this project and working the equipment. It was an added bonus knowing how beneficial our work was to this organization.”

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Construction Update - June

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Construction Update - June

Employees and customers will soon have a better vision of what it will look like each time they drive in and walk up to the new RDO Equipment Co. store in Chandler. Work has been done on concrete curbing in various areas of the building, with the employee parking and front entry area now completed. Soil grade is complete on the west side of the building, and the entire site is being prepped for concrete pavement.

“We’re pleased with construction progress, and it’s especially rewarding to see our entire team getting excited as the area transforms into their future home,” Dennis Howard, Vice President of the company’s southwest region said.

Catch up now on the most recent construction update at RDO Equipment Co. – Chandler.

New Chandler Location
1400 S. Maricopa Road
Chandler, Arizona 85226

June 15, 2016  |  Category:
Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 18 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 18 Now Available

In this episode we continue our conversation with Stephen Hegarty, precision farming manager at Vanderfield, about agriculture and precision agriculture in Australia. In this episode we focus on cotton, small grains, and sugar cane and the technologies that growers are using to be more efficient and protect the environment.You can check it out here

Find RDO Equipment Co. at www.rdoequipment.com and Vanderfield at www.vanderfield.com.au

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Second Annual Drone Focus Conference Held in Fargo, ND

Second Annual Drone Focus Conference Held in Fargo, ND

FARGO, ND (June 13, 2016) – Drone Focus Conference, the all-day, all-drones event, was held in Fargo on June 1. Organized by Emerging Prairie, a nonprofit organization in Fargo, the event brought together a sold-out crowd of 300 attendees with numerous speakers to discuss the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry. RDO Integrated Controls, a division of RDO Equipment Co., was a major sponsor of the event for the second year in a row.

Why Fargo?
North Dakota has gained national recognition as a leader in UAS technology and business implementation. What began in Fargo as the monthly, “Drone Focus Meetup” where educators, students, and enthusiasts could discuss regulations, technology, and business opportunities, evolved into the full-day event.

“Interest in the monthly meetups was growing rapidly,” Greg Tehven, Co-founder and Executive Director of Emerging Prairie explained. “We recognized the need for a dedicated drone conference and knew the value of it being held in Fargo where so much UAS action is happening.”

With six FAA-approved test sites, major universities and aviation schools, and a huge presence in the agriculture and energy sectors, North Dakota is a natural home for innovation and growth in the UAS industry.

Speaker Highlights
John Hoeven, U.S. Senator and former Governor of North Dakota, kicked off the event with a welcome address. A vocal and longtime advocate of UAS innovation, Hoeven hit home on North Dakota’s leadership in the industry, noting how the state is advancing the integration of UAS into national airspace and empowering businesses, from local startups to international corporations, to find new applications for the technology including improving agriculture operations, delivering goods to consumers, supporting law enforcement, or securing the nation.

Among the more anticipated speakers of the event was Baptiste Tripard, Managing Director for senseFly. His talk included a general overview of UAS applications in agriculture, surveying, and inspections, as well as insight into the future of UAS. He illustrated the benefits of UAS with a story of senseFly’s role in a project that mapped the surface of Switzerland’s iconic mountain, the Matterhorn. What previously took one company one year and one million dollars to produce an image, manually and via satellite, was done in one year and at a cost of approximately $15,000, using six of senseFly’s eBee drones.

One of the few speakers who presented at the inaugural Drone Focus Conference last year, Matt Hayes, Mapping Product Supervisor, RDO Integrated Controls, returned to discuss renewable energy and civil applications for UAS. After his presentation, Hayes commented on the increased level of participation at this year’s event, saying, “The growth was noticeable. In one year, this event went from a few speakers and about 100 drone enthusiasts to more than 20 speakers and 300 attendees, and people in all areas of the industry, from drone manufacturers and entrepreneurs, to business owners and students.”

Hayes also pointed out how noteworthy the industry growth has been in the course of a year, saying, “Last year, we were discussing all the possibilities. Things we could do, what we expected for this industry. Now this year, our discussions were based on experiences. We have more info, we have concrete data, we all have so much more knowledge we can share, and that’s really exciting to see.”

Additional, Notable Speakers
Ed Adelman, director of safety and analytics for Union Pacific Railroad
John Cavolowsky, director of NASA’s airspace operations and safety program
JD Claridge, CEO and co-founder of xCraft, the drone company famous for netting a deal with all five investors on the popular TV show, “Shark Tank.”
Dr. Mark R. Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System
Stuart Munsch, Rear Admiral, United States of America
Drew Wrigley, Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota

Drone Focus Conference 2017
Plans are already underway for Drone Focus Conference 2017, with the event scheduled for May 31, 2017. Tickets are available now. Follow RDO Equipment Co. on Twitter @rdoequipment to get updates as the event approaches.

For more information on drones for business applications, contact the RDO Integrated Controls team.

Drill School Held for Minnesota Vermeer Customers

Drill School Held for Minnesota Vermeer Customers

In mid-May, the RDO Vermeer team hosted the annual Drill School training event. Eight companies were represented at the event.

A two-day session was conducted at the Sauk Rapids store for employees and customers. The first day was classroom instruction and the second day was hands-on training running equipment. Nearly 30 customers completed the training along with numerous employees from Sauk Rapids, Burnsville-VER  and the Technical Support Center. 

Customers were able to run both new models as well as older models to get a fair comparison of the differences in new technology. New models include the D23X30S3 and D24X40S3 Horizontal Directional Drills and the DCI F5 Falcon locating system.

Classes included drilling operation and techniques, DCI locating, Wyoben mud properties, service tips and tricks along with a session on the latest advancements in cutting edge tooling.  Field specialists were on hand from RDO, Wyoben, DCI and Vermeer Corporation.

“A special thanks to the team members at both the Sauk Rapids and Burnsville-VER stores for their efforts. This event was a huge success and would not have been possible without all of us pulling together as one,” said Mark Rieckhoff, Burnsville – VER Sales Manager.  Plans are already underway for the next school, which may come as early as this fall.

June 13, 2016  |  Category: Events
Spring Training Held in Bloomington

Spring Training Held in Bloomington

Before the busy construction season hits in the Midwest, the RDOIC team organized a training event for operators and GPS pointmen.

There were roughly 20 attendees at the Bloomington store. Mark Anderson, RDOIC Account Manager, kicked off the training with GPS theory. He then covered base station setup, rover operations, and features of the pocket 3D software.

He switched gears to cover machine setup. “Calibration of a machine is a big one and some of the features of the machine software like 3DMC2.

Mark says that in any training the RDOIC team facilitates, they try to tailor the class to issues they can address, or specific topics customers like to spend extra time on.

“Our trainings provide valuable information to everyone in an organization – from the owners to the grade checkers – by providing up-to-date information on the latest features from our manufacturer partners. It’s a big value-added benefit for our customers,” said Mark.

June 10, 2016  |  Category: Events
Sacramento Hosts Advanced Rigging Seminar

Sacramento Hosts Advanced Rigging Seminar

A record 96 people attended Sacramento’s Advanced Rigging seminar. The store has been hosting approximately one seminar every six months, rotating between rigging-focused classes and climbing-focused classes.

SherrillTree Co. conducts the training and offers continuing education credits (CEUs) for all attendees. For certified arborists, the classes that our locations offer provide great value. 

“It’s a great opportunity for us to partner with Sherrill and host these training events,” commented Brandon Kyse, General Manager.

June 8, 2016  |  Category: Events

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 17 Now Available

This is the first episode in a series of episodes on farming and precision agriculture in Australia. We talk with Stephen Hegarty, who is the Precision Farming Manager with Vanderfield's VNET team. Vanderfield is Australia's largest John Deere dealer, and Vanderfield and RDO Equipment Co. entered into a partnership in 2012.

To learn more about Vanderfield visit their website at: www.vanderfield.com.au/
Also visit the VNET website at: vnet.net.au

Hay Day Event Held for Imperial Customers

Imperials customers saw the latest in haying solutions from RDO Equipment Co. and John Deere at the store’s Hay Day event.

Onsite, RDO Equipment Co. team members displayed John Deere’s W235 Windrower with a 500R Header, as well as Frontier’s Hay Tedder, displayed on a 6-Series tractor.

“This event was a great opportunity to give our customers an up-close view of our equipment solutions,” commented Joe Castillo. “We heard lots of positive feedback and were pleased with the attendance.”

June 6, 2016  |  Category: Events
Tucson Displays New Lobby & Parts Department at Customer Open House

Tucson Displays New Lobby & Parts Department at Customer Open House

The Tucson store underwent a remodel to the lobby and Parts Department areas of the store, and showcased it during a Customer Open House event in late April.

As part of the remodel, Parts Specialists have their own individual parts pods and a newly-configured space behind them, which gives them additional warehouse space.

The lobby was also reconfigured to allow for more space in the lobby. Now mini excavators or skid steers can be on display.

And the remodel was completed just in time for the store’s annual Customer Appreciation Open House. “We had a great turnout and heard a lot of positive feedback on the new look and feel of our store,” said Pat Burnham, Store Manager.

June 3, 2016  |  Category: Events
Austin Service Department Serves Up Crawfish Lunch

Austin Service Department Serves Up Crawfish Lunch

Each quarter, the Austin Service Department organizes a lunch for parts and service team members to celebrate wins and demonstrate appreciation for everyone’s hard work. Since crawfish season is nearing its end, the team decided a big crawfish boil would be something fun and different than the usual pizza.

In addition to the unique meal choice, the team involved the entire store in the feast. A shopping list was made, the Service Advisors split it up, went shopping, and prepared the shop with tables, bread, and empty pans for shells.

John Tunstall, Service Advisor, cooked 90 lbs. of crawfish, potatoes, sausage, corn, and mushrooms in three separate batches.

Everyone sat down for lunch on May 6. Crawfish may be a southern delicacy, but many team members had never tried it. However, they were quickly shown how to eat them!

“It was a great, memorable experience for our entire store,” stated Susan Harrod, Service Advisor.

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update - May

RDO Equipment Co. - Riverside Construction Update - May

In addition to conservation practices in everyday operation, RDO Equipment Co. strives to be a good steward of the environment in new store construction. As part of construction progress, the new RDO Equipment Co. – Riverside store has begun scheduling weekly inspections for compliance with its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

“We know the positive impact good erosion control practices have on the prevention of things like water pollution and wildlife habitat loss,” said Duane Bonini, general manager. “This is why erosion control is a primary area of focus in the construction of the new store, and we’re taking our SWPPP compliance very seriously.”

Miss last month’s update on construction progress at RDO Equipment Co. – Riverside? Get caught up now.

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Construction Update - May

RDO Equipment Co. - Chandler Construction Update - May

Things are starting to take shape at the new RDO Equipment Co. store in Chandler – literally. Steel erection is complete for the shop area, giving a sense of space to what will be the 12-bay service shop. Furthermore, concrete curbing and perimeter fencing are in progress, helping to further define the space of the land’s 11 acres.

“It’s exciting to see, what was once a completely vacant space, start to really have an identity with these defined areas,” said Dennis Howard, vice-president of the company’s southwest region.

If you missed last month’s update on construction progress at RDO Equipment Co. – Chandler, read the recap now.

Selecting the Right Attachments for a Compact Tractor

Selecting the Right Attachments for a Compact Tractor

By: Brian Lohse, Regional Aftermarket Manager, RDO Equipment Co.

Compact Utility Tractors (CUTs) are incredibly versatile. You can use them for landscaping and fence building projects. They can move snow and mow lawns. They are both gardeners and earth movers.

How is it possible that one machine can be so many things and accomplish so many tasks? One word: attachments.

When paired with the right attachment, a CUT goes from a machine to a productive workhorse. To best complement your new CUT and enable it to tackle any task, here are the top five attachments you should consider.


Rear Hitch
One of the biggest concerns customers have regarding attachments is adding the attachments. Specifically, the perceived difficulty of adding attachments can be intimidating to owners, especially new ones.

To address this concern, some manufacturers offer hitches that make it quicker and generally easier to change attachments. John Deere’s iMatch Quick-Hitch is an example of these easy-to-use hitches. The operator simply backs up, hydraulically-lifts the unit, and secures latches. Compatible with numerous types of attachments, this one is a must-have for all CUT owners.


Loader
Thanks to the versatility it provides, a front loader is one of the most popular CUT attachments. A loader can move dirt, haul rocks, even pick up and move heavy snow in the wintertime.

Loaders are also the base for several other attachments including pallet forks, buckets and snow pushers, making it one of the first that a new CUT owner should consider.


Mower Deck
Nearly all tractor owners also own property and one of the biggest tasks on every property owner’s to-do list is mowing. Many CUTs are equipped to be lawn mowers with the addition of a mower deck.

A bonus of this type of attachment is some manufacturers have designed mower decks to be incredibly easy to attach. John Deere offers a drive-over mower deck – simply drive over it, listen for it to click to the PTO connection and it’s ready to go without the driver having to leave his or her seat.


Weights
Whether pairing a tractor with attachments at the front of the machine or the rear, those pieces add extra weight to the CUT – something that can throw off the tractor’s balanced design. Wheel weights will even out the change in load.

An added benefit of wheel weights is better traction and balance on uneven terrain.

Lights
These days, tractors don’t just work from sun-up to sun-down. Many CUT owners do a fair share of work before dawn or in the dark of the night, making lights an essential attachment for both productivity and safety. 

Front and rear light kits are available for many types of CUTs and give operators a greater view of what’s happening around them.


These five basic attachments are a great starting point for all new CUTs. Your dealership will be able to show you additional attachments that will meet your unique future needs.

--

About The Author
Brian Lohse is the Regional Aftermarket Manager for the Midwest Ag region of RDO Equipment Co. Contact him at [email protected]

For more information on choosing the right compact tractor and attachments, or servicing your existing equipment, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 16 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 16 Now Available

In this episode we talk with Greg Tehven, one of the founders of Emerging Prairie in Fargo, North Dakota. We talk about innovation in the community, the monthly drone focus meetings, and the upcoming Drone Focus conference happening on June 1, 2016. Listen now.

Click here for more information about DroneFocus Conf 2016.

Connect with us on Twitter!
RDO Equipment - @rdoequipment
Nate Dorsey - @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on a mobile device using any podcasting app.

Employees Partner with Customer to Help Washington Family Ranch

Employees Partner with Customer to Help Washington Family Ranch

Chris Stanley, Eugene Account Manager, and Ollie Windle, Portland/Eugene General Manager, donated time and RDO/Vermeer equipment to help the Washington Family Ranch near Antelope, Oregon. 

The Washington Family Ranch is a youth camp on a 100 square mile property in central Oregon.  Chris and Ollie worked alongside one of Chris’s customers, Paraclete Tree Service, trimming trees, chipping brush, and stump grinding with Vermeer equipment. 

“It was a great opportunity for us to work with our customers, show off Vermeer equipment, and help the ranch,” said Chris.

Three Tips for First-Time Lawn Mower Owners

Three Tips for First-Time Lawn Mower Owners

By: Marcus Braswell, Transactional Account Manager, RDO Equipment Co.

You’re ready to purchase your first riding lawn mower. After going online and researching, you see there are a lot of options. Add in a trip to a big-box store with aisle after aisle of aimless wandering and you could wind up more confused than when the search began.

The good news is this doesn’t have to happen to you. A reputable dealership with trusted salespeople is a great place to start and finish the buying journey. You don’t have to spend countless hours online researching before you head to the store and, once you get there, you won’t be left to go at it alone. Just be ready to answer the three basic questions a good salesperson at your local dealership will ask.

Question #1: “What’s your property like – size, shape and landscape?”

The characteristics of a buyer’s property set the stage in determining the mower type. One of the primary differentiators is steering. There are three main types offered to suit different property sizes and characteristics.

Two-Wheel Steering
A more entry-level class of mower, this type works well for homeowners with an open space that doesn’t have many obstacles or tight corners. It’s generally a good fit for properties 1/3 of an acre up to 3 acres. Yards with a few slopes are no problem for a two-wheel-style unit.

Four-Wheel Steering
A four-wheel-style mower offers a tighter turn radius than two-wheel steering, making it great for lawns that have naturally-occurring obstacles like trees and shrubs, or hardscapes. It’s typically advised for larger property owners with a total land area of 3 acres or more. Like the two-wheel-style, this unit can also handle slopes well.

Zero-Turn Steering
Just as the name implies, a zero-turn mower (ZTR) has a zero-turn radius, and can hug tight corners and curves. This precision, combined with their speed, makes ZTRs a common choice for professionals in the lawn and landscape, maintenance, and parks and recreation industries. Homeowners with properties that include gardens, hardscapes, and several plants, shrubs and trees may find this mower is the best option. Unlike two- and four-wheel-style mowers, ZTRs are best suited for flat land with minimal slopes.

The property’s characteristics can also help determine another primary decision: deck size.

Does the yard have a fence with a narrow opening/gate? Are there trees or shrubs close enough to one another that it could be a tight fit for the mower to get through? Knowing these unique features of the property ensures the proper deck size is selected.

Question #2: “What extra tasks do you expect the mower to do?”

Along with selecting the type of mower is finding the right accessories. Every buyer has different needs and expectations, and a variety of attachments and implements are available to meet them. However, keep in mind that some are only available with certain types of mowers, and certain features, designed for comfort or advanced operation, are offered as the mower goes up in price point.

The Basics
Depending if bagging or mulching is preferred, the first and most common attachment needed is a bagger or a mulch kit, or, for some customers, both. Sweepers are another common material handling attachment. Tow-behind carts are great for hauling materials and supplies for gardening and landscape activities. Sprayers can apply a variety of materials including liquid fertilizer, weed killer and even de-icing material.

More Advanced
Those looking to do more with a mower or who are looking at options above the most entry-level model can take advantage of more options. Single-use and multi-use attachments offer landscaping abilities like tilling, aerating and thatching. Box and rear blades handle tasks like grading and backfilling. Operators planning to work longer hours or have more than one person onsite should consider safety accessories like mirrors and lights.

Weather-Specific
No matter what part of the country, weather is a factor in any type of outdoor work. Sun shades protect from summer’s heat and powerful sun rays, while full-enclosures and heater add-ons are ideal for cold-weather comfort. Front blades, blowers and brooms offer the ability to turn a mower into a snow removal machine during the winter months.


Question #3: “How long do you expect the mower to last?”

This question seems like a no-brainer – the mower should last for as long as possible, right? But it’s an important question to consider, as it sets up the buyer to take ownership of the maintenance and care needed for best mower performance and longevity.

Operator’s Manual
All mowers include an operator’s manual. This handbook is key to understanding the parts of the machine, safety features and the proper way to perform basic maintenance tasks, so new owners should take time to review and become familiar with it.

First Things First
New mowers have an engine “break-in” period, meaning engine oil should be changed after the first 8 hours of new mower operation. After that, check the oil prior to every use.

Additionally, before each use with the mower, do a quick overall inspection. Check for any visible signs of damage, loose parts that should be tightened, or areas needing grease. Also, inspect the tires to be sure air pressure is adequate and even. Check the fuel level and refill when necessary. Finally, give the mower a quick cleaning to remove excess debris. 

Routine and Ongoing
Every year, the air filter should be changed. Large property owners and those who live in dusty, drier environments should check and clear air filters on a more frequent basis.

Oil changes are another task typically done on an annual basis or per every 100 hours of operation. Just like with the air filter, that frequency can change based on amount of use and operational conditions.

The mower deck should also be checked periodically, including the blade and belts, to ensure nothing is clogged, cracked or dull. The mower’s blade should be sharpened annually, prior to the first mowing of a new spring season. Blades can be sharpened throughout the season but don’t overdo it, as too much sharpening can actually degrade the integrity of the metal.

If the mower sits idle for a month or longer, the fuel likely needs to be changed. Ethanol-gasoline blends will separate over time. This can lead to condensation build-up or water in the carburetor – both can cause a host of problems. If it’s known that the mower will be taking an extended break, add fuel stabilizer. Or, the fuel can be drained completely and properly discarded. 

Finally, some dealers offer an annual mower inspection. Take advantage of this service and get, not only the full TLC treatment the mower needs, but the peace of mind knowing the machine is primed and prepped for the season ahead.

--

About The Author
Marcus Braswell is a Transactional Account Manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Pasco, WA. Contact him at [email protected] 

For more information on choosing the right lawn mower and attachments, or servicing your existing equipment, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

May 12, 2016  |  Category:

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 15 Now Available

In this episode, we go back to the basics and introduce GPS technology. We talk with Larry Herman, a product specialist based in Bismarck, North Dakota, about what GPS is, how it works, and how it's being used in the agriculture and construction industries. Listen here

Connect with us on Twitter!
RDO Equipment - @rdoequipment
Nate Dorsey - @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on a mobile device using any podcasting app.

Moorhead Holds Successful Customer Appreciation Event

Moorhead Holds Successful Customer Appreciation Event

On March 31, nearly 400 customers filled the Moorhead shop for their annual Customer Appreciation dinner. This event serves two purposes: to thank customers for their business, and to allow team members an opportunity to spend time with customers in a more relaxed atmosphere. According to Mike Wollschlager, Store Manager, “It’s great to see everyone laughing and having a good time together.”

“We have our sales and service teams available to help with any questions and our Parts Specialists are very busy during the event,” said Mike Wollshlager, Store Manager.

Employees not only cleaned and prepared the store and shop for the event, but prepared and served the meal, which included grilled steaks, baked beans, potato salad, and dessert.

“As our customers gear up for planting and construction season, we’ve been busy making sure their equipment is ready to go and that we’re ready to meet their needs when it’s go time,’” commented Mike.

May 9, 2016  |  Category: Events
Imperial Organizes Food Drive

Imperial Organizes Food Drive

Imperial team members organized a food drive for their local food bank. The store matched the amount of food donated by the team members. The total donation weighed in at 455 pounds of food when they delivered it.

The team volunteers at the local food bank monthly with their Community Time, and wanted to organize a food drive as another way to give back.

“Our team members have enjoyed getting involved with our food bank, which provides for so many in our community,” said Joe Castillo, General Manager.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 14 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 14 Now Available

In Episode 14 we talk with Aaron Brehmer, a product specialist based in North Dakota, about John Deere machine sync. He goes over the basics of how multiple pieces of equipment can communicate with each other, the hardware needed to make this work, and the benefits of using this technology. Listen here.

Connect with us on Twitter!
RDO Equipment - @rdoequipment
Nate Dorsey - @RDONateDorsey
Aaron Brehmer - @RDOAaronB

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on a mobile device using any podcasting app.

South Dakota Ag Stores Host Spring Clinic

South Dakota Ag Stores Host Spring Clinic

Spring in the Midwest means one thing for farmers: planting. For the past several years, the Aberdeen, Redfield, and Webster stores have teamed up to offer customers a beneficial clinic to help prepare them for the planting season. These clinics focus on equipment optimization and the latest technology solutions available for the type of equipment the customer will be utilizing.

In late March, about 50 customers attended their spring clinic that focused on planting and seeding operation. New at this year’s event, the local Firestone dealer presented on the importance of proper tire inflation and the impact it can have on soil compaction, along with industry updates on the latest tire technology.

Terry Lacher, Product Specialist Supervisor, commented, “We heard many customers say it was nice to have an outside party come in and talk about tires, as they don’t typically have an opportunity to attend sessions like that.”

He added, “With the economic times we are currently experiencing, our customers are looking for ways to better utilize their equipment and make every operation they perform more efficient.”

May 2, 2016  |  Category: Events
Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 13 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 13 Now Available

In this exciting episode we talk with Gary Licquia, an account manager with RDOIC. Gary specializes in UAV technology and their applications in agriculture, construction, and mining operations. In this episode he covers some of the basics of the technology and also the senseFly line of drones that RDO Equipment Co. and RDOIC support.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on Twitter @rdoequipment

You can also connect with Nate Dorsey on Twitter @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on a mobile device using any podcasting app.

Construction Update: Chandler, AZ

Construction Update: Chandler, AZ

With every new construction project, RDO Equipment Co. looks for opportunities to implement effective conservation practices and procedures. The company’s second location in the Phoenix area is no exception.

Construction is progressing at the RDO Equipment Co. – Chandler store, highlighted this month by the concrete pour for the 37,300+ square-foot facility. The final flooring will be polished concrete, a finish that promotes a much more efficient cleaning process to both reduce energy usage and water waste.

“We’re committed to responsible environmental stewardship at every location,” said Dennis Howard, vice-president of the company’s southwest region. “Something one might perceive as simple flooring design can have a significant impact on that mission.”

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 12 Now Available

In this episode we talk with Jeff Wiener, Service Support Center Manager, about RDOs unique service support center. He talks with us about how the service support center benefits RDO customers and about the technology that enables them to support customers and solve problems remotely.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on Twitter @rdoequipment
You can also connect with Nate Dorsey on Twitter @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on a mobile device using any podcasting app.

RDO Integrated Controls Expands Topcon TopNET live Network

RDO Integrated Controls Expands Topcon TopNET live Network

Industry leader in Topcon solutions and support adds five states to coverage network

FARGO, ND (April 15, 2016) – RDO Integrated Controls, a division of RDO Equipment Co., brings Topcon’s TopNETlive network to Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. This expands RDO Integrated Controls’ footprint from California, and builds on the existing network coverage already established in 19 other states, making TopNETlive the largest network in the country with more than 700 reference stations.

TopNETlive is a network cooperative managed by Topcon Positioning Systems and its global dealer network. The unique nature of this cooperative enables clients and users the opportunity to invest in the network. Those who choose to do so receive benefits from the cooperative that enable them to recoup their initial investment in less than three years, and maintain the benefits as long as their reference stations are active in the network.

“What we see on the horizon is deeper integration into live networks, and ease of use for clients to run machine control and survey equipment in a connected environment,” Adam Gilbertson, General Manager of RDO Integrated Controls said. “TopNETlive gives our clients the most flexibility and reliability available on the market today from the largest network in the United States.”

The Topcon TopNETlive network is both a productivity-enhancing and cost-reducing opportunity for clients and users. It’s also the most flexible network in the world, allowing users to connect to a true VRS network when available, and providing the option to select a single baseline RTK correction in an area where signal quality is degraded. Subscribers have the ability to connect quickly to a reliable network with 24/7 accessibility, and there are no bases for users to set up and localize on their own.

Click here for more details on the Topcon TopNETlive network from RDO Integrated Controls.

Construction Update: Riverside, CA

Construction Update: Riverside, CA

RDO Equipment Co. is committed to environmentally-responsible design in all new construction projects. This month, construction at the Riverside store is focused on a unique water conservation feature.

The Riverside store will include an 18-bay service shop with a ClearBlu Environmental system. This water recycling system works by filtering the water used for washing equipment, allowing it to be reused continually.

“Especially considering the large service area we’ll have in this location, we know the ClearBlu system is going to have a major impact on reducing our overall water usage,” said Duane Bonini, general manager.

Stay up-to-date on all company news by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 11 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 11 Now Available

We're joined in this episode by Danilu Ramirez, a Water Management Consultant with RDO Water in California. She talks with us about some of the laws and issues around managing water in California, and some of the consulting services she provides through RDO Water.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on Twitter @rdoequipment
You can also connect with Nate Dorsey on Twitter @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on a mobile device using any podcasting app.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 10 Now Available

In our tenth episode we talk with Dave Gratton, an account manager in Hawley, MN, about variable rate planting. He talks with us about the equipment and technology that's needed to start as well as the basics on making a variable rate prescription.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on Twitter @rdoequipment and with Nate Dorsey @RDONateDorsey.

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app.

Field Service Technician Featured in Diesel Power Magazine

Field Service Technician Featured in Diesel Power Magazine

Jordan Gailbraith, Field Service Technician in Irving, has a lot of interests, but diesel engines most likely top his list. He’s worked for RDO Equipment Co. for the past 12 years, but the diesel bug bit him long before that.

“I guess you could say I first got started racing when I was a kid. I was always trying to go fast whether it was on my tricycle or motorcycle. Ever since I got my first diesel truck, I’ve been making them go fast,” he said.

Jordan and his truck, Rusty Racer, are featured in the April issue of the popular magazine, Diesel Power. The article features several photos and an interview with Jordan, discussing the truck’s unique and clever style. (You can catch the complete article and 20+ photos here.)

Jordan was spotted by Diesel Power at the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) World Finals last year. They took some pictures and asked Jordan some questions about his truck. “Next thing you know, and I’m in the magazine. It’s a dream come true!”

Susie Johnson, Sales Professional and Jordan’s teammate in Irving, said, “Jordan is such a reliable, hard-working guy. He deserves being recognized for his work both at RDO Equipment Co. and with his diesel truck. This article highlights his passion and showcases his talent.”

Agronomist Workshop Held in MW Ag Region

Agronomist Workshop Held in MW Ag Region

Members of the Midwest Ag team held a one-day workshop for agronomists at the Red Horse Ranch in Fergus Falls, MN.

In total, 48 agronomists from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota attended and participated in the precision agriculture workshop.

The workshop featured four different sessions, covering topics like using the John Deere Operation Center to manage an agronomy consulting business and work with customers. Another session focused on how to send prescription maps to equipment through JDlink, mobile data transfer, and standard USB. One session focused on drones and aerial imagery, and the last session was on the capabilities of common John Deere equipment in terms of precision agriculture.

RDO Equipment Co. Agronomist, Nate Dorsey, commented, “We had a lot of hands-on activities for attendees to help them practice the skills in a safe environment, and provided the lecture materials and activity sheets so they could continue practicing and have additional training with their customers.”

The event received very positive feedback from the agronomists who attended and many said they’d be interested in additional training and attending future workshops.

“We have never provided this type of training to our customers trusted advisors in the past and it was great to hear such positive feedback from them. We are continuing to demonstrate the value that the RDO Equipment Co. team can provide,” said Joel Kaczynski, Product Specialist Manager.

April 1, 2016  |  Category: Events

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 9 Now Available

In this episode we talk with Colin Artz, an account manager based in Aberdeen, South Dakota, about John Deere's JD Link System. JD Link enables you to monitor machines, manage logistics, and data to and from equipment.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on twitter @rdoequipment and Nate Dorsey @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid FAQs

Diesel Exhaust Fluid FAQs

Diesel Exhaust Fluid FAQs
By: Carlos Martinez, Parts Manager, RDO Equipment Co.

Everyone who owns or operates large equipment has likely heard of Diesel Exhaust Fluid, or DEF. Yet not everyone is fully aware of what exactly it is, what it does, and how it fits into an existing operation. Fortunately, for every question about DEF, there’s an answer.

Below are 10 of the most frequently asked questions – and answers – regarding DEF.


1. What Is DEF?
Diesel exhaust fluid, commonly referred to as DEF, is a solution of 67.5% deionized water and 32.5% high-purity urea, that’s used to chemically reduce nitrogen oxides emissions (NOx) from non-road mobile machinery and heavy equipment.

Just as important as knowing what DEF is – knowing what it’s not:

 DEF is not a fuel additive.
 DEF is not toxic or harmful to humans or animals.
 DEF is not flammable or explosive.

While safe, DEF should still be handled with care to avoid unnecessary spills, contact with eyes, or accidental ingestion.

In the event of a spill on the floor, cover and contain the spill with an absorbent, non-combustible material such as sand. Shovel and dispose of the material in an appropriate container. If DEF is spilled in a sink, on a vehicle, on clothes or gets into the eyes, flush immediately and thoroughly with water.


2. How Does DEF Work?
DEF is used in Final Tier4 diesel engines with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems. SCR is an after-treatment technology that treats exhaust gas downstream of the engine, with the goal of reducing levels of NOx emissions that are harmful to the environment and health. DEF is injected into the exhaust stream, prior to the SCR catalyst, and converts NOx into harmless nitrogen and water.


3. Why Does My Equipment Need DEF?
All Final Tier4 engines are equipped with SCR systems. Not only does this technology work with DEF to reduce NOx, the SCR process allows engines to operate at maximum efficiency for better fuel economy and lower costs.


4. How Do I Use DEF?
Although its name may imply otherwise, DEF should never be used in the diesel fuel tank. It should only be used in the appropriate, dedicated DEF tank, which features a smaller opening than a fuel tank and a blue cap so it’s easy to identify.


5. How Much DEF Can I Expect My Equipment To Use?
Every engine varies in its use of DEF. John Deere engines are designed to use less DEF than similar engines; typical DEF use is 1-3% of fuel consumed. So for every 100 gallons of diesel fuel consumed by a John Deere tractor, approximately 2 gallons of DEF would be needed.

Some engines are designed to burn more DEF; up to 10-12% relative to fuel consumption. Those operating equipment with different engines should research and monitor DEF consumption to accurately assess expected usage.

Additional factors affect DEF usage, one being equipment application. More demanding applications typically require more fuel and DEF.

Although minimal, temperature and humidity also affect DEF consumption. Hot, dry climates use more; cold, humid climates use less.


6. How Often Do I Refill DEF?
One might think because DEF isn’t consumed at the same rate as fuel, it doesn’t need to be refilled at the same rate. However, most DEF tanks are much smaller than fuel tanks so they do need regular checks and refills. Most tanks are sized appropriately to be refilled with every fuel refill or every other fuel refill.


7. How Do I Store DEF?
Because it’s corrosive to aluminum, DEF must be stored in appropriate containers made from durable composite material. Storage containers made from stainless-steel, polypropylene, and high-density polyethylene are appropriate options, and DEF can usually be stored up to one year without issues.

Keep in mind climate when storing DEF. Because it’s 2/3 water, DEF begins to turn slushy at 12 degrees Fahrenheit and will freeze solid. The good news is DEF isn’t harmed by freezing; it can be thawed and used with no side effects. Do not add chemicals or additives to DEF in an effort to prevent freezing, as doing so may contaminate and ruin the fluid.


8. How Do I Know If My DEF Is Old Or Contaminated?
The easiest way to spot bad DEF is to look at it. The fluid is naturally clear so if it appears cloudy or colored, it’s likely contaminated or old.

If one needs to dispose of bad DEF, do so in an ethical manner. Do not pour DEF down a drain or dump outside. Every area has proper DEF disposal regulations so check with the local government, municipal and environmental agency.


9. How Much Does DEF Cost?
DEF costs about the same per gallon as diesel fuel – but keep in mind, it’s not consumed at the same rate as fuel, so be sure to factor in that usage when planning the expected cost.


10. Where Can I Get DEF?
DEF is available in several places, even some gas stations and retail stores. However, not all DEF is created equal. To get high-quality DEF and the type that’s designed for heavy equipment, it’s best to purchase from a reputable dealer. And regardless of where DEF is purchased, ensure it’s American Petroleum Institute (API) and AdBlue® certified.

RDO Equipment Co. offers DEF in various amounts, as well as containers, dispensing units and pumps. Bulk programs and delivery are also available for added convenience.

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About The Author
Carlos Martinez is Parts Manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Imperial, CA. Contact him at [email protected] 

For more information on DEF and equipment, including portable dispensing units, pumps and bulk fluid programs, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 8 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 8 Now Available

In this episode we talk with Kris Green, a product specialist based out of Webster, South Dakota, about how to send files to and from John Deere equipment.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on twitter @rdoequipment and Nate Dorsey @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 7 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 7 Now Available

In this episode we talk with Frank Toves, an Account Manager with RDO Water in Salinas, California. RDO Water is an irrigation company that specializes in using the latest in irrigation technology to improve water use and crop health in many areas of the Midwest, Southwest, and Northwest United States.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on twitter @rdoequipment and Nate Dorsey @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 6 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 6 Now Available

In episode 6 we talk with Ben Hilde, a product specialist based in Minnesota, about the John Deere App Center and one of the apps available there, the GoSeed App.

Connect with RDO Equipment Co. on twitter @rdoequipment and Nate Dorsey @RDONateDorsey

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app. 

Midwest Ag Stores Support Riding on Angels Wings

Midwest Ag Stores Support Riding on Angels Wings

The Ada store recently had a fun visitor. 

Riding on Angels Wings is local organization that offers Equine therapy for children with special needs.

They have approximately 12 horses at their stable, where staff and interns from North Dakota State University’s Equine program care for them.

They have benefited hundreds of children in area communities since getting started in 2002. Ada, along with Moorhead, Breckenridge, and Casselton, supported their annual fundraiser and is also working with them on some potential group volunteer projects.

As a thank you for supporting them, Riding on Angels Wings brought Tinker, one of their original ponies, to the store to meet the Ada team members.

“It’s not every day you have a pony in a store! It was great opportunity to further our connection with the group. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them and finding ways to support them and the work they do,” said Evan Fonder, Store Manager.

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 5 Now Available

Agriculture Technology Podcast - Episode 5 Now Available

In episode 5 of our Agriculture Technology podcast, our guest is Alex Umpleby, a product specialist with RDO Equipment Co. based out of Hermiston, Oregon. With the spring planting season fast approaching we talk with Alex about the different Air Seeder options available from John Deere and also the SureFire Ag system for delivering nutrients at planting.

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app.

Practice Makes Perfect in Potato Peeling Contest

Practice Makes Perfect in Potato Peeling Contest

By Matthew Weaver, Capital Press

Six teams of three from the Northwest potato industry competed in the second annual potato peeling contest at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference in Kennewick, Wash.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Six teams turned out to compete for the title of fastest potato peelers in the Pacific Northwest.

The second annual potato peeling contest helped to build industry enthusiasm during the first day of the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference in Kennewick, Wash.

“It seems to be a crowd favorite,” said Ryan Holterhoff, director of marketing and industry affairs for the Washington State Potato Commission. “You see a lot of people gathered around and even after they’re done peeling, they’re sticking around to see who’s going to win.”

Judges Debbie Graaff and Pam Nutter, sisters from Quincy, Wash., looked for the number of potatoes peeled and how much peel remained. All three teams in the final round had five perfectly peeled potatoes, they said.

Graaff and Nutter have judged potato peeling during the Quincy Farmer Consumer Awareness Day for six to eight years. How fast are they themselves?

“Not,” Graaff said with a laugh. “I just judge, I’m not a peeler.”

Jarrod Bailey, service advisor for RDO Equipment Co., said his company sponsored two teams last year and this year.

“It was kind of a no-brainer that we were going to enter,” he said.

Bailey’s team, with teammates Jennifer Boyer and Kelvin Efterfield, emerged the big winners after two rounds and a championship round.

Teams paid a $100 entry fee. The winners received $25 gift cards and plaques. Proceeds from the contest, roughly $500, will support the SAGE Center in Boardman, Ore., an interactive visitor center that highlights sustainable agriculture and energy.
Bailey said the team watched some how-to videos on YouTube and practiced earlier in the day.

They “absolutely” plan to compete again next year.

“Have to defend the title,” Bailey said.

Advice to aspiring teams? Bailey says nope.

“Not as long as I’m competing,” he said.

The judges were more free with suggestions.

“Peel potatoes,” Nutter said.

Check out some fun videos from the event, including some live potato peeling by the RDO team!

https://youtu.be/v_TL6qSFktM
https://youtu.be/ZRpNhS_uWxs

Basic Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

Basic Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

By: Ramon Beltran, Regional Aftermarket Manager, RDO Equipment Co.

There’s nothing worse than unreliable equipment. A machine that doesn’t deliver top-quality results is a waste of precious time and effort, and one that won’t start causes even more frustration.

Routine maintenance is one of the best ways to extend the life of equipment. In the case of a lawn mower, that little bit of TLC goes a long way to ensuring a perfectly manicured lawn is achieved with every mow.

Quick and easy for even the novice equipment owner or operator, the following five, basic maintenance tips will keep your John Deere mower running properly for years to come. 

Note: Always consult the operator’s manual for specifics to your machine, like proper oil type and filter.  Before proceeding with any maintenance, make sure to wear the appropriate safety gear, park the mower on a flat, level service and double-check the engine is off and cool. For more information on proper lawn mower maintenance, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Clear the Air
Dirty air filters do more than hamper a mower’s performance – they create inefficient operation that wastes fuel. They can also cause permanent engine damage if they allow dirt and other debris to enter it.

The average user should replace the air filter once a year. For those who maintain large properties, mow commercially or operate in dusty conditions, the filter may need replacement more often.

When it’s time to change the filter, first clear away any debris from the air intake area. Remove the paper element and foam pre-cleaner. While a paper air filter element should never be cleaned, a foam pre-cleaner can be cleaned in a bucket of warm soapy water. Rinse, squeeze out excess water and allow the pre-cleaner to dry on a clean towel.

Once dry, replace the pre-cleaner, taking care so debris doesn’t get pushed into the engine. Insert a new, clear air filter and close the cover.

A Fresh Fuel Filter
A clean fuel filter keeps potentially harmful particles from entering and damaging the engine, while also aiding in efficient fuel consumption. When it’s time to change a fuel filter, start by placing a drain pan under it. Also, note the arrow on the existing fuel filter and the direction it’s pointing. It’s crucial the new filter is attached so that the arrow is pointing in the same direction.

First, inspect the fuel filter and connecting hoses, ensuring the hoses aren’t worn or cracked. Next, loosen the hose clamps and move them away from the filter. Disconnect the hoses from the old filter, then quickly reattach the new filter – again, make sure it’s facing the correct way. Finally, reposition the hose clamps to ensure the filter is secure.

It’s a good idea to start the mower and let the engine run for a few minutes while quickly checking for any leaks. 

And don’t forget to properly dispose of the fuel filter, as well as spilled fuel and any fuel-soaked towels.

Oil Toil
Engine oil should be checked prior to every use but it only need to be changed annually. Those whose mower use exceeds that of a typical homeowner or those who mow in dusty conditions should change more often. Additionally, new mowers have an engine “break-in” period, which simply means the engine oil should be changed after the first 8 hours of new mower operation.

To change engine oil, start by placing a drain pan under the oil plug and loosen the dipstick. Next, drain the oil. Replace the oil plug, then take the time to wipe down and clean up the area. Replace the engine oil with a fresh fill and finally, replace the dipstick.

Run the engine for a minute, then shut it off and allow ample cool-down time. While the engine is cooling off, clean up any spilled oil and dispose of the old oil in a proper manner. Check with local regulations and look for recycling options in the area.

When the engine is cooled, check the oil level. Over-filling can damage the spark plug and lead to engine start issues so be sure the oil level is at an appropriate amount before calling this job finished.

Keep That Spark
If the mower engine is experiencing hard starts, running unevenly or misfiring under load, the spark plug may be damaged or dirty. Identifying a dirty or damaged spark plug is easy and so is changing it.

Remove the spark plug wire. Next, use the spark plug socket and turn the plug counterclockwise to remove it.

Use a spark plug tool to set the gap distance as specified in the operator’s manual. Tighten the new spark plug in place, then reattach the spark plug wire. Occasionally, a spark plug may just be a dud so start the engine to test the new one.

Hit the Deck
To ensure good airflow, lift and quality of cut, the mower’s deck needs periodic maintenance.

Start by removing the mower deck as instructed in the owner’s manual and clean it of any excess debris.

Inspect the drive belt for worn or cracked areas and replace the belt, if needed. Next, remove and check the blade, looking for any signs of damage or excessive wear. Depending on the condition, a blade can be replaced or may just need to be sharpened.

Prior to installing the new or sharpened blade, take one final opportunity to remove any buildup of dirt and debris.

Conclusion
Although it may sound time-consuming or complicated, basic maintenance is one of the easiest, most cost-effective and all-around best investments you can make in your lawn mower. By giving it some simple, routine care, the mower will pay you back with years of dependable operation and beautifully cut grass. 

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About The Author
Ramon Beltran is Regional Aftermarket Manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Imperial, CA. Contact him at [email protected]

For more information on lawn mower and other equipment maintenance, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Compact Utility Tractor Troubleshooting Tips

Compact Utility Tractor Troubleshooting Tips

By: Joe Gonzalez, Account Manager, RDO Equipment Co.

It has happened to everyone at one time or another. You’re ready to begin a day’s work – but your compact utility tractor has other ideas.

From starting trouble to engine issues, there are a host of problems one can face when operating a CUT on a daily basis. Fortunately, many of these complications are minor, and can be addressed fairly easily.

Below are three of the most common CUT operating issues, along with possible causes and the corresponding troubleshooting tips.

Note: Always consult the operator’s manual for troubleshooting help. Before proceeding with any troubleshooting, make sure the machine is on a flat, stable surface and the engine is turned off. For more information on equipment troubleshooting, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

From the Start
If the engine is hard to start, won’t start at all or starts but stalls almost immediately after, there are several potential causes to investigate.

Possible Problem Area: Battery
Troubleshooting Tip: Ensure the battery is fully charged, and posts and terminals clean. If the problem persists, replace the battery.

Possible Problem Area: Electric Circuitry
Troubleshooting Tip: Check for a blown fuse and replace if needed, as specified in the operator’s manual.

Possible Problem Area: Fuel System
Troubleshooting Tip: First, ensure the fuel shut-off valve is open/on and adjust if needed. Next, check to see if a dirty or clogged fuel injector or fuel filter is the problem. Clean or change if needed. If the problem persists, the fuel may be stale or contaminated. Drain the fuel and replace with a fresh fill. A final check should be made to the fuel lines to ensure there are no loose connections.

Possible Problem Area: Air Intake
Troubleshooting Tip: Clean the foam pre-cleaner with warm, soapy water. A paper air filter element should never be cleaned, as it can easily become damaged from wiping or blowing air. Instead, always replace a dirty filter.

The Heat Is On
Excessive heat is one of the leading causes of engine failure. If the engine overheats and the tractor isn’t being operated at overload, consider the following possibilities.

Possible Problem Area: Oil
Troubleshooting Tip: Check the engine oil level and fill to the proper amount if needed.

Possible Problem Area: Coolant
Troubleshooting Tip: Check the coolant level and add engine coolant if needed. 

Possible Problem Area: Fan Belt
Troubleshooting Tip: First, adjust the fan belt to ensure it’s to the specified tension. If upon examination, the fan belt appears damaged or broken, replace it. 

Possible Problem Area: Air Flow
Troubleshooting Tip: Clean the foam pre-cleaner and/or replace the paper air filter element. As mentioned above, never attempt to clean a paper air filter. If the issue isn’t the air filter, air flow may be restricted. Clean the area around the engine, ensuring there’s no buildup of dirt or other debris.

Steering In the Right Direction
If the tractor’s steering seems off, there are a few possible culprits.

Possible Problem Area: Oil
Troubleshooting Tip: First, check to be sure the transmission/hydraulic oil is at the proper level, and fill if necessary. Then, allow the engine to run a bit to ensure the transmission/hydraulic oil isn’t too cold.

Possible Problem Area: Filter
Troubleshooting Tip: Check the oil filter for dirt, clogging or damage, and replace if needed.  

Possible Problem Area: Lack of Lubrication
Troubleshooting Tip: Lubricate the steering linkage.  

Possible Problem Area: Bent Front Axle
Troubleshooting Tip: If the axle is bent, the tractor should be brought to an authorized service center to be fixed properly. 

Encouraging Uptime
Knowing what to look for is the first step in properly diagnosing and fixing issues with a compact utility tractor.

One final tip: Most common tractor problems can be prevented with proper preventative maintenance. Dedicating just a few minutes each day or even every week is the best defense to unplanned and costly downtime. 

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About The Author
Joe Gonzalez is an Account Manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Imperial, CA. Contact him at [email protected]

For more information on equipment troubleshooting and maintenance, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Bismarck Delivers Meals with Meals on Wheels

Bismarck Delivers Meals with Meals on Wheels

During the months of September, November, December, and January, Bismarck team members have been assisting with meals on Wheels for area residents.

The idea came from team member Sandy Doffee, who coordinated it with their local hospital. The deliveries were set for the same time each weekday and the team would do a month at a time. Wanda Hoffert, Office Manager, commented, “It is such an awesome way to get involved. We had the same route three out of the four months, so you really get to know the people.”

“I would encourage all our stores to look into volunteering with Meals on Wheels. It’s easy, enjoyable, and necessary to help provide meals to those who are in need.”

Bloomington Team Serves Meal at Ronald McDonald House

Bloomington Team Serves Meal at Ronald McDonald House

After a long day at the hospital, families look forward to a “home-away-from home” cooked meal. The Ronald McDonald House “Cooks for Kids” meal program gives volunteer groups a special opportunity to support families with children with serious medical conditions. Groups purchase, prepare and serve a buffet-style meal of their choosing and by doing so, they give the families one less thing to worry about.

On January 6, the Bloomington store had 10 team members volunteer their time and prepare a dinner meal for the 80-100 people staying at the Oak Street Ronald McDonald House. This house is the largest of the four that are in the Twin Cities metro area; it is always full with a waiting list for families needing a place to stay. The group served pulled pork sandwiches, homemade mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, fresh vegetables, and several desserts for the house guests.

“We enjoyed preparing the meal and serving the families, knowing that this was one small way to help during a difficult time,” commented John Ahart, Regional Aftermarket Manager.

Phoenix Donates Toys to Arizona Burn Center

Phoenix Donates Toys to Arizona Burn Center

In December, the Phoenix team conducted their annual toy drive for the Arizona Burn Center. Team members donated more than $700 worth of toys.

In addition, the sales team was able to collect $12,000 in donations from multiple customers and businesses that was also presented to the Burn Center.

The Burn Center had a need to update the shower table they use when a burn patient first arrives. This piece of equipment is used on a daily basis, and their current table is metal, uncomfortable, and doesn’t allow complete mobility for the patient. The money that was donated will enable them to be able to purchase a new, state-of-the art shower table, made of a heavy-grade plastic with the ability to raise and lower a patient’s head to aid in comfort.

The Arizona Burn Center has been a grateful recipient of toys from the Phoenix store and this year, were blown away by the donation that can be used for such a necessary piece of equipment. Patricia Kardos, Director of Nursing at the Burn Center, commented, “We look for this simple piece of equipment to make a huge difference in the lives of both our pediatric and adult burn patients. We appreciate all of your efforts so much. Thank you again for all that you have done for our team.”

Dennis Karre, Phoenix Sales Professional, has a passion for the Burn Unit. Roughly seven years ago, one of Dennis’s customers was burned badly in an accident on his farm. Dennis spent quite a bit of time at the Burn Center while his customer was recovering. While there, he learned about the many kids recovering from burns, and one of the things they looked forward to was picking out a toy after having their dressings changed. Dennis started a toy drive in the store, and since then, has continued to help grow the donation.

“Knowing that our efforts in collecting donations will help provide a new, state-of-the-art piece of equipment at the Burn Center is a great feeling,” said Dennis. “I am so proud to work for an organization that allows us to support and get involved in the causes we feel important.”

RDO Equipment Co. Announces “Agriculture Technology” Podcast Now Available on iTunes

RDO Equipment Co. Announces “Agriculture Technology” Podcast Now Available on iTunes

RDO Equipment Co. announces the launch of its new podcast, “Agriculture Technology,” that discusses the latest products, services, and technologies in the agriculture industry.

The podcast is available for listeners on iTunes, Soundcloud, or any mobile podcasting app. Topics such as John Deere’s Harvest Mobile App and John Deere’s 9R Series tractors are among the first covered. Future episodes will cover topics like spring planting, variable seeding, self-propelled sprayers, and UAVs.

Nate Dorsey, RDO Equipment Co. product specialist supervisor and agronomist, commented, “We’re excited to provide information in this format to growers. Those in the agriculture industry are expected to continue to do more with less, and our goal is to help provide information on the technology that allows them to do so.”

Find the Agriculture Technology podcast on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/rdo-equipment-co), iTunes, or on any mobile device using any podcasting app.

Community Builder Program

Community Builder Program

The unique program, launched in July 2015, is designed to support charitable organizations R.D. Offutt Company and RDO Equipment Co. team members work with, while building vibrant and prosperous communities in which we live and work.

The Community Builder program features an opportunity for team members who have a strong history and ongoing engagement with a charitable organization in their own community to apply for a grant benefiting that organization. The grants awarded are meant to be transformative and impactful to the benefiting charities.

A total of $105,000 was granted to five charities.

Here are some details behind each application.

Boys and Girls Club of Aberdeen – submitted by Brian Bjordal, Aberdeen Store Manager
Brian has been involved in the Club for more than 12 years, currently serving on the Board of Directors. “The Boys and Girls Club is a great, worthwhile, and much-needed project for our community and north eastern South Dakota and I plan to continue being an active volunteer and cheerleader for the club,” commented Brian.

The Boys and Girls Club of Aberdeen serves the youth of Aberdeen by providing a safe and enriching environment with after school care including non-school days and during the summer. In 2014, the club’s membership peaked at 937 and it has been operating above capacity for the past 24 months.

“We are extremely excited about the support this grant will provide towards our Capital Campaign project,” commented Mike Herman, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of Aberdeen. “It will go a long way towards our goal and allow us to begin construction in the summer of 2016. We are grateful for this generous gift, their trust, and most importantly, their commitment to this project.”

Krum ISD Education Foundation - submitted by Daryl Shelton, Vice President – Texas region
Daryl has been involved with the Foundation since 2013 and he has helped the organization incorporate as a 501(c)3. He commented, “We have invested in a long-term, annual commitment to support the goals and mission of the Foundation, and have quickly seen the impact this investment has made to enhance the education experience of our youth.” Krum Independent School District was formed in 1903. Krum, TX is located 45 miles north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The District is comprised of more than 2,000 students and is expected to grow at a rate of four to six percent annually.

The Krum ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors commented, “We are so grateful for the kind generosity of RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Company. This grant award will make a substantial impact to continue the Education Foundation’s goals of preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges through four key areas: technology grants, instructional initiatives, student enrichment grants, and teacher scholarship grants.”

Toys for Tots (DFW Metroplex) – submitted by Roscoe Elkins, Technical Communications Specialist, Irving
Roscoe served as a U.S. Marine and has been involved in the Toys for Tots – DFW program for 10 years.

“I have seen how the Toys for Tots program brings joy to families who would not have a holiday if this program didn’t exist,” Elkins commented. “We are fortunate to have RDO employees volunteer to stand with our Marines and collect donations,”
The Dallas/Fort Worth Toys for Tots program is the largest one nationally, benefitting more than 255,000 children each year. As the metro area continues to grow, so does the need.

David Marks, Event Chair, DFW Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run commented, “Donations are critical to the DFW Toys for Tots Foundation efforts to meet the needs of the local community. It is critical that our fundraising efforts are successful so that we may buy toys to fill out the orders submitted by our distributing agencies throughout the community. We value our corporate donors in these efforts because of the stable and continuous contributions they bring.  Thank you RDO. We look forward to a long and continuous Toy for Tots partnership.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley – submitted by Adam Gilbertson, RDOIC General Manager – Northern Region, Bloomington; Greg Moffet, Kindred Store Manager; and Emily Keeling, HR Generalist, FSO – Fargo
Adam Gilbertson was a beneficiary of the Ronald McDonald House’s support and services when his son, Henry, was born in 2011. At 28 weeks gestation and weighing only 2 lbs, 1 oz., Henry required heart surgery soon after his birth and was life flighted to Denver, CO. Following his surgery, Henry’s recovery was much more difficult and slower than expected and the family’s seven day stay soon turned into seven weeks. “Having no family or connections in the Denver area, the Ronald McDonald House provided us a place to call home as we spent the days with our son,” commented Adam. “The house provided us a support network of staff and other families who were in similar circumstances. Their support and understanding through this difficult time was invaluable.”

Greg Moffet was also helped by the Ronald McDonald House, not once, but twice. In 2001 and again in 2005, his two sons were both born at 26 weeks. “When your first son is born at 1 lb 15 ½ oz, and then we went through it again with our second son, born at 2 lbs, 1 oz – even if everything goes best case scenario, you know it’s going to take a long time before you get to take your child home,” says Greg.

The Ronald McDonald House the Moffets stayed at was located about 10 minutes from their hospital near the University of Minnesota campus. “I will always have kind words and support for the Ronald McDonald Houses, their staff, and the businesses that support this organization,” continued Greg. “They helped us during the scariest times in our lives.”

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley supports families whose children are receiving medical care in the Fargo Moorhead community and provides home-like comfort, support, and care for families. In 2014, the organization served more than 1,000 people from 321 families, representing 3,219 total nights.

Emily has been involved in planning for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley’s annual fundraiser, called the Sweetheart Ball. This event is the largest local fundraiser for the organization each year. “Several years ago, my family went through a time where one of my family members needed extended medical care outside of our community,” stated Emily. “During that time, we realized the importance of having a place to call ‘home’ each night while we were going through such a stressful time. In the same way, the Ronald McDonald House allows several families throughout the Red River Valley to have a place they can call home while their child is receiving medical care. Given my family’s personal experience, I feel the people at the Ronald McDonald House have a family’s best interest at heart and are a great organization.”

“After 33 years in Fargo, we have once again begun to outgrow our family space and need to address growing concerns,” commented Jill Christopher, Executive Director at Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley. “This generous grant from RDO Equipment Co. & R.D. Offutt Company is a vital piece as we look to what the future holds for the Ronald McDonald House and how we can best help even more families who need it.” 
RMH: left to right: Christopher, Executive Director at Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley; Adam Gilbertson, General Manager at RDO Equipment Co.; Ryan Offutt, Executive Vice President at RDO Equipment Co.; and Greg Moffet, Store Manager at RDO Equipment Co.

Ruth Meiers Hospitality House – submitted by Lon Kindseth, Vice President of Midwest Construction, Bismarck
Lon, along with his family, has been involved in supporting the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House both financially and through volunteering for nearly 20 years. “My wife Dianna and I are proud to be associated with an organization like Ruth Meiers that does so much to help so many people,” he commented.

The Ruth Meiers Hospitality Shelter provides services to low-income individuals and families, seniors, Veterans, people with disabilities, homeless individuals, and people who just need some extra help in their lives. In 2014, the organization provided more than 43,000 nights of shelter and 100,000 meals to men, women, and children in the region. Ruth Meiers provides direct services to Bismarck and the surrounding communities.

“Through the generosity of RDO, Ruth Meiers continues to work with the business community to end homelessness in our region,” added Jaclyn Hall, Director of Ruth Meiers Hospitality House. “Their support makes programs like ours possible.”

Hayward Participates in Health and Safety Fair

The Hayward store participated in the annual Health and Safety Fair organized by the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) for their employees. Last year’s event had more than 400 park employees in attendance.

Team members Frank Gouveia, CSA; Brandon Kyse, General Manager; and Diane Johnson, Sales Coordinator, were onsite for the event. Their booth featured a Vermeer chipper and stump cutter as well as various safety items on display, from climbing belts to bug eye goggles, which turned out to be one of the most popular items.

The event was held at the Little Hills Ranch in San Ramon, California, and featured several other companies related to health and safety, as well as Park Rangers who brought one of their mounted patrol horses and flew in a helicopter during the event. The full-day event wrapped up with a BBQ and raffle.

“EBRPD has been a great customer for years and the Health and Safety Fair is a great way to meet, greet, and train the front line park employees,” said Brandon.

February 11, 2016  |  Category: Events

Redfield Team Helps Deliver for Meals on Wheels

Redfield Team Helps Deliver for Meals on Wheels

Since August 2015, the Redfield team has been delivering meals for their local senior nutrition program. One week a month, they deliver the meals to Redfield seniors. Team members who are able to deliver the meals that week take a shift.

“The senior nutrition program has told us how grateful they are for our continued help as they have seen a decline in volunteers in the past several years.  We enjoy the opportunity to give back to the community in this area,” commented Clae Hoots, Store Manager.

Account Manager Kerry Baird added, "The Meals on Wheels recipients have shown nothing but gratitude for delivery of their daily meals. They have made us feel good about the services we have provided. Many recipients thank us personally and look forward to our conversations."

RDO Equipment Co. Breaks Ground at Newest Location in Chandler

RDO Equipment Co. Breaks Ground at Newest Location in Chandler

Construction has started at RDO Equipment Co.’s second location in the Phoenix-area. On January 29, team members gathered for an informal groundbreaking ceremony. The new store is located on Interstate 10, south of the 202, and is expected to open in early 2017.

Like the current RDO Equipment Co. location in central Phoenix, this new location will sell and support John Deere construction equipment.

“The new store in Chandler furthers our commitment to our customers and allows us to expand our overall services and product support capabilities in an expanding market.  We look forward to growing our close-knit team into an additional location and continuing to serve the Phoenix community for many years to come,” commented Dennis Howard, Vice President of Southwest Construction.

*Photo: RDO Equipment Co. team members, along with Gordon Bluth of Blucor Contracting Inc., held a ground breaking at the site of the new Chandler location. Blucor is performing the dirtwork.

*Photo from Blucor Contracting Inc.

RDO Equipment Co. Announces Partnership with Vermeer Equipment Holdings Pty. Ltd.

RDO Equipment Co. announces that they have partnered with Vermeer Equipment Holdings Pty. Ltd. and acquired 50% interest in five Vermeer locations in Eastern Australia.

Vermeer Equipment Holdings Pty. Ltd. (VEH) is the dedicated Vermeer dealer for all Eastern Australia states plus Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations. VEH is headquartered in Brisbane, with additional locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Townsville.

“Our organization was founded on the principles of entrepreneurship and innovation with a focus on our customers and team members, and VEH has a very similar history,” stated Christi Offutt, RDO Equipment Co. CEO and Chair of the Board of Advisors. “VEH’s commitment to providing solutions allows them to continue to take care of customers and grow and develop their employees and we are excited about the strength of this partnership in continuing these ideals.”

“As a family-owned business, Vermeer Corporation puts a great deal of focus on succession planning to remain progressive while providing confidence and consistency to our team members, dealers and customers. We expect the same of our dealership network. VEH and RDO Equipment Co. have demonstrated a best practice in their efforts to work together to develop a progressive succession plan that will provide customers confidence for years to come,” commented Jason Andringa, CEO of Vermeer Corporation.

VEH founder Peter Pullan added, “I am looking forward to sharing resources, ideas and best practices with RDO Equipment Co. who are a successful machinery dealer in the strong but competitive USA market. I can see many mutual benefits for Vermeer dealerships on both sides of the Pacific.”

Commenting about the acquisition, Ryan Offutt, Executive Vice President and head of international operations for RDO Equipment Co., said, “We are excited to expand our international dealership presence and to grow our relationship with Vermeer. Vermeer Equipment Holdings Pty Ltd is one of Vermeer Corporation’s best run and largest international operations.”

Pasco’s Customer Appreciation Dinner

Pasco’s Customer Appreciation Dinner

In early December, the Pasco team hosted their annual customer appreciation dinner. The event had a great turnout, with more than 400 customers in attendance.

For the second year, the store had the Kennewick FFA chapter help by greeting customers, serving food, and clearing tables.

The store organized a silent auction at the event, with all proceeds benefitting the FFA club. The auction raised $2,115.

“We were pleased to see so many customers in attendance and be able to thank them for their business this past year,” said Tassie Alderliesten, Service Manager.  “And the fact that we were able to partner with one of our local FFA groups was the icing on the cake.”