A small but mighty company in Newton, Kansas, just 30 miles north of Wichita, is helping farmers harvest more efficiently.
TRIBINE Harvester boasts an ag solution that provides 40% more harvesting capacity with a 1000-bushel tank and the lowest ground pressure of any grain harvester. Harvesting operations typically require multiple combines serviced by multiple grain carts and tractors. TRIBINE’s increased capabilities allow these same operations to reduce the size of their combine, grain cart, and tractor fleet resulting in a lower cost per acre for harvesting. The resulting reduced compaction using one robust machine also means increased yields over time.
Ben Dillon, the founder of TRIBINE Harvester, is a farmer from Indiana. He retired as president of the Toledo Scale Company, and after the company went public, he moved back to his family’s farm, in operation since 1840. Dillon had been working on the TRIBINE Harvester concept for 20 years and set about assembling his team and developing his product in 2015.
The company expanded and moved to a new production facility in early 2016. Six months and a day later, TRIBINE Harvester rolled its first machines off the line in July of that year. TRIBINE Harvester’s equipment has been showcased at the Farm Progress show in Decatur, Illinois, the nation’s largest outdoor show in the ag industry, held in August, as well as at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Nebraska, held in September every year.
According to TRIBINE’s Chief Operating Officer, James Shurts, TRIBINE has enjoyed a loyal following among early adopters since the company’s launch in 2016, even though it was still prototyping into 2017. The company continued development and began generating revenue in 2018.
TRIBINE received a new patent in March 2019 covering an industry-first system that will enable farmers to permanently sequester carbon in the soil that is now annually released into the atmosphere.
The new TRIBINE exclusive system will be used during grain harvesting and incorporated into the industry “game-changing” TRIBINE Harvester. The TRIBINE Harvester’s total operating solution can reduce soil compaction up to 35%, and the new sequestration developments can mitigate any remaining soil compaction immediately after it occurs.
According to Robert Matousek, Vice President of Engineering, the new system, in conjunction with good no-till and perhaps cover crop practices, can sequester up to 1.4 tons per acre of carbon in the soil. This solution removes up to 5 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere compared to farmland that is subjected to deep tillage every year.
The company produces all of its machines in its Newton plant with a relatively small team of 20. “Our small boutique shop doesn’t require a lot of excess decision-making authority to make a change or improvement. This is how we execute, and it’s helped us expand without unnecessary stalls and approvals that can slow progress in larger operations,” said Shurts.
Referencing the founder’s decision to locate in Newton, Shurts explained that the Corn Belt and Grain Belt areas, comprising a swath of the country across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, make up 80% of the market for grain harvesting equipment in the U.S. Newton provides an excellent source of engineers who also happen to be farmers themselves, making Newton the logical place for the company to build.
Shurts added that TRIBINE Harvester has opted not to follow the traditional distribution model in heavy equipment, but to go directly to consumers; this strategy is based on the company’s market research indicating that prospective consumers prefer to purchase harvesting equipment through the manufacturer rather than through the dealer.
The TRIBINE Harvester works with traditional broadacre or row crops such as corn, soybeans, milo, wheat, sunflowers, and sorghum. TRIBINE Harvester does not manufacture headers, though its harvester is equipped for standard mounting, so it is compatible with headers produced by other manufacturers in the market.
The TRIBINE Harvester is able to accommodate a 1000-bushel load, the equivalent of a full semi load. The machine is still capable of unloading on the go, but the extra carrying capacity allows operators to manage their traffic patterns and unload in target areas, thereby reducing compaction throughout the field. Plus, its harvester can unload the 1000 bushels in two minutes for the fastest rate in the industry, according to TRIBINE.
Shurts added that the target customer for TRIBINE is any operation looking to increase profitability through compaction reduction, increased efficiency, reduced labor, and increased asset utilization. Additionally, he cited TRIBINE Harvester’s commitment to exceptional customer service as a core feature of its business. The company stays with the customer for a week when it delivers the machine to configure electronics, hook up the header, and provide training around use and proper maintenance. The company also sends out techs if needed for troubleshooting and repair, or to help switch out headers.
“We pride ourselves on providing the support that is critical for harvesters on deadlines. We distinguish ourselves from larger manufacturers and distributors that are not as agile in offering this level of hands-on support,” said Shurts.
He added, “All of our employees have worked for one of the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and all of our employees are active farmers using the machines themselves. In a company of our size, everyone is wearing a few different hats, and there are no layers of management, so we are quick to respond to the needs of the market and of our customers.”
Visit https://tribine.com/ to learn more about this company.