Gleaner Celebrates 90 Years with Commemoration, Caravan and Parade

Gleaner Celebrates 90 Years with Commemoration, Caravan and Parade


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Hesston, Kan. (July 25, 2013) — Gleaner® combine enthusiasts will celebrate the brand’s 90-year history of harvesting innovations on Saturday, Aug. 17, with three special events including a commemoration, combine caravan and parade. Gleaner, a leading combine brand manufactured by AGCO (NYSE:AGCO), boasts many innovations, including being the world’s first self-propelled combine, introduced in 1923.

The day of celebration will begin with a short ceremony in Nickerson, Kan., at 7:00 a.m., to mark the brand’s 1923 birthplace. At 7:30 a.m., a combine caravan of old and new machines will travel from Nickerson to Gleaner’s present-day manufacturing home in Hesston, Kan. Gleaner  enthusiasts are encouraged to join the celebration by bringing their combines and joining the caravan, which will culminate with a community-wide parade through the streets of Hesston. Everyone is invited to join the celebration, and combine drivers who choose not to travel in the 40-mile caravan from Nickerson to Hesston may still join in the one-mile parade through the streets of Hesston. Those interested may get more information or preregister by sending an email to Preregistration for the combine caravan and parade is required by Aug. 7.

The combine caravan will travel from Nickerson to Hesston via 82nd Avenue and Dutch Avenue, arriving at the Excel Industries, Inc., parking lot at 200 S. Ridge Road for parade staging at approximately 11:00 a.m.

At 11:30 a.m., the combine caravan will be joined by other parade participants, including a 1925 Gleaner combine, a 1954 Gleaner A, the Wichita Caledonia Pipes and Drums band, public safety vehicles, motorcycle organizations and many other participants. Spectators may watch the parade as it travels down Ridge Road from Excel Industries, Inc. to AGCO Hesston Operations, where combines will be on display during the early afternoon.

Combines built for a purpose

Gleaner combines have a rich history of innovation, which is being celebrated on Aug. 17. Several benchmark Gleaner models will be featured in the caravan and parade, providing examples of the harvesting milestones delivered by Gleaner during the past 90 years.

“Gleaners were designed for a special purpose,” says Kevin Bien, brand marketing manager for Gleaner. “Many of the design concepts of the original machines — reliability, simplicity, transportability — as well as those introduced through the years, still apply today and are the basis for what we now call Optimum Harvesting Performance.”

The Gleaner Baldwin Company got its start in 1923 with the first self-propelled combine. The Gleaner combines were developed by the Baldwin brothers, who operated a custom threshing business for farmers. Curtis, George and Ernest Baldwin designed their combine so minimal repairs would be needed to keep it running. Even the bearings were chosen with service in mind — large, of good quality and in common sizes so the operator could carry a small stock of spares when a replacement did become necessary.

“They designed machines that were extraordinarily reliable and useful,” Bien adds. Some of the early Gleaner combines had a short wheelbase and axle track, which allowed the combine to fit on a truck. The grain header did not need to be detached for transit, because it would fit over the cab of the truck.

Through the years, the brand has led the combine market with innovations such as:

  • An auger that replaced canvas drapers to move crop into the feeder house and threshing system
  • A down-front cylinder that put threshing closer to the crop
  • A rasp-bar threshing cylinder instead of a spike-tooth arrangement
  • Electro-hydraulic controls — an innovation that other companies didn’t incorporate for 25 years
  • Torque sensing drives

It was the quest for greater capacity without increased machine size, higher productivity per unit of cost, less sensitivity to slopes, improved weight, balanced weight distribution, reduced grain damage, and less vibration and noise that resulted in the first rotary combine, the Gleaner N6, introduced in 1979.

Combine caravan features

One special combine featured in the parade is a 1954 Gleaner A sold by Hayes Baldwin in 1955 in Kalvesta, Kan. Today, Hayes’ son Bruce owns the combine. Despite not having a cab, air conditioning or power steering, the combine was considered top of the line in its day and sold for $5,500. Frank Buehne, the original owner, used the machine until the early 1970s, when he retired from farming. Bruce Baldwin bought the combine for $350 in 1998. It features a 14-foot header and six-cylinder Hercules motor.

Other key models expected for the event:

  • Gleaner C, which was powered by a 262-cubic-inch turbo diesel in 1962, with Gleaner using turbocharged diesel engines far before the competition.
  • Gleaner E. A total of 17,300 machines were manufactured from 1962–69. These harvesters utilized a 36-hp, 226-cubic-inch, four-cylinder gas engine.
  • Gleaner N6, the first rotary combine, which was introduced in 1979.
  • Gleaner N7, the largest and first Class 7 combine, with grain headers as wide as 30 feet.

Individuals wishing to participate in the combine caravan and all with parade entries are asked to register with an email including your entry description and contact information and send it to by Aug. 7. For more information about Gleaner combines or to find a dealer near you, visit

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Dee Weeda, Broadhead | 641-344-0757 |
Travis Thompson, Broadhead | 612-747-7822 |

Gleaner is a registered trademark of AGCO.

About AGCO
AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), is a global leader focused on the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery. AGCO supports more productive farming through a full line of tractors, combines, hay tools, sprayers, forage equipment, tillage implements, grain storage and protein production systems, as well as related replacement parts. AGCO products are sold through five core machinery brands, Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey Ferguson® and Valtra®, and are distributed globally through 3,150 independent dealers and distributors in more than 140 countries worldwide. Retail financing is available through AGCO Finance for qualified purchasers. Founded in 1990, AGCO is headquartered in Duluth, Ga., USA. In 2012, AGCO had net sales of $10 billion.

4205 River Green Parkway, Duluth, GA 30096-2563 USA
Telephone: 770-813-9200