Fifty years after its humble beginning as a small welding shop, Kinze Manufacturing is reflecting on a half-century of innovation with a look back at how they have become a recognized technology leader and innovator of planters for row-crop production and grain auger carts. The company has also remained true to the core values it was originally founded upon in 1965 by Jon Kinzenbaw, including innovation, excellence, integrity, customer focus and mutual respect.
History of Innovation
With only $25 in his pocket and a small bank loan, Kinzenbaw opened his own welding shop in Ladora, Iowa in 1965. Everyone who knew him could see that he had a gift for fixing things, but no one could have predicted his welding business would one day grow into one of the largest privately held agricultural equipment manufacturers in North America.
The first product Kinzenbaw manufactured and sold was a 13-knife, 30-foot anhydrous ammonia application toolbar. His first patent was for a high-clearance, variable-width moldboard plow. In 1971, Kinze introduced their first 435-bushel two-wheel grain auger cart. This design set a new higher standard for speed and performance in grain handling. In 1975, it was the urging of local farmers, who wondered why a planter couldn’t be “folded up” that inspired Kinzenbaw to develop the first rear-fold planter. “There is nothing more powerful than a satisfied customer. That first rear-fold planter we built sold 20 more. Those next 20 sold an additional 80. And that’s the way it happens,” said Kinzenbaw.
As business grew, Kinzenbaw bought 10 acres of land just off Interstate 80. In 1976, Kinze moved to their current location in Williamsburg, Iowa to begin their next chapter in innovation. For a full timeline of Kinze innovations and products, visit kinze.com.
According to Kinze, their growth has come from listening to customers. Farmers want their equipment to be at the forefront of innovation, taking advantage of new technologies that will maximize their productivity. Today, Kinze Manufacturing has continued to be a leader with a number of industry “firsts,” including manufacturing the world’s first commercially available electric drive, multi-hybrid planter.
Kinze uses 4900 Multi-Hybrid Planter to showcase their 50th Anniversary
In honor of their 50th anniversary and to showcase their leadership in multi-hybrid technology, Kinze used its new 16 Row 4900 Multi-Hybrid Planter to plant two large 50s
in the demonstration fields near their Williamsburg headquarters. This showed how the new multi-hybrid planter has the capability to switch automatically between multiple seed varieties. In order to create the 50s, prescription maps were made to tell the planter where to plant the two different hybrids. Then the prescriptions were loaded into the multi-hybrid planter and the fields were planted accordingly. This resulted in the large 50s shown in the enclosed aerial photos. This same technology can be used to maximize yield potential in a field with varying soil types.
Kinze Invites Visitors to Enjoy 50 Years of Innovation
Kinze Manufacturing recognized its milestone anniversary with an open-to-the-public exhibit of Jon Kinzenbaw’s collection of vintage farm equipment. A selection of the historic equipment is on display in front of the Kinze Innovation Center and will remain in place for a majority of the summer. The Kinze Innovation Center embodies 50 years of inspiration, imagination and hard work by Kinzenbaw and generations of dedicated people. Visitors are invited to see a variety of exhibits and displays, including the very first grain cart, after which all of Kinze’s other carts are modeled, and experience firsthand “Big Blue,” Kinzenbaw’s signature tractor that pulled his original moldboard plow at the 1974 Farm Progress Show. The Kinze Innovation Center and the outdoor historical equipment display are open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.