Standing in the shadow of a Case Quadtrac farmers Randy Webb and Jim Kelich were dwarfed by the massive threaded triangular wheel of the enormous red machine.
Webb owns a farm near Elwood, and he and Kelich, who works for him, had come to the Farm Show in Fort Wayne on Tuesday to look over the offerings. Webb said he had just replaced two 1980 tractors with a 2012 Case. The difference, he explained, was like going from a Packard to a Mercedes.
Webb said newer tractors now run with additives in their already clean diesel fuel to clean up their emissions even more. That's something the EPA smiles upon. He figures he will save some money with the more fuel-efficient engine but what he really likes is the program that helps him automatically steer the large machine.
“To install automatic steering on a 1980 tractor can cost as much as $15,000. It's not worth it. But when you are getting a new tractor which already cost so much, what's another $15,000?” Webb said with a smile.
Down the row from the Case Quadtrac Virginia Rettig and her sister-in-law Christine Rettig from Defiance, Ohio, paused in front of a CAT Challenger. It's not the machine that has Christine transfixed but the row of 100-pound weights, used for stabilization of the vehicle on the front. Rettig's husband had recently purchased 40-pound weights for his tractor, which ran several hundred dollars apiece.
“There are thousands of dollars in this machine in the weights alone,” she said with a shake of her head.
Although it was mid-afternoon on a Tuesday the parking lot at Memorial Coliseum was two-thirds full and traffic in and out of the coliseum was steady.
This is the 24th year for the Fort Wayne Farm Show, which is in the coliseum's Expo I II and III through 4 p.m. Thursday. Along with the vendors the event has educational seminars from Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Purdue Cooperative Extension Services. Parkview Health Systems will offer free CPR classes each day of the show.