Tate Mesbergen of Mesbergen Farms feels the need for speed — and so do his customers. After all, when the alfalfa is ready to cut, the farmers and local dairies north of Greeley, Colorado, don’t want any delays that could affect the value of their crop or quality of their feed. Fortunately, for those customers, Mesbergen Farms doesn’t disappoint.
Tate’s father, Harvey, began running JAGUAR forage harvesters made by CLAAS when he first started his custom cutting business more than 20 years ago. With the help of his sons Troy and Tate, and Tate’s wife, Carly, the family operation is more productive than ever before. And while Harvey still prefers to run the CLAAS JAGUAR, his son Tate runs their triple mower conditioner, a DISCO 1100 RC, behind the wheel of their AXION 880 tractor. Both the mower and tractor are made by CLAAS.
On July 1, 2018, just after noon, Tate put the hammer down on his triple mower in front of about 40 witnesses who came to cheer him on. Exactly eight hours later, he stepped out of the cab of his tractor as the new world record holder. A survey crew and independent witnesses would later confirm that Tate had cut a total of 348.7 acres in four different fields, beating the previous record by more than 100 acres.
Reaching a maximum speed of 19 mph in the field and more than 30 mph between fields, Tate averaged 43.6 ac/h in his world record attempt. “Not all of the fields were close together, so the ability to fold the mowers quickly for transport and make good time on the roads was key,” explained Tate.
Not everything went as planned.
“We had a thunderstorm come through the day before the attempt that dropped a half-inch of rain and made the fields wetter than usual. It delayed our start by a few hours and made for a wet first field.” Tate also made two unscheduled stops during his attempt. The first stop was between the first and second fields. “I hit a chunk of cement in first field and wanted to confirm that I hadn’t damaged the mower. We did a quick inspection and both the blades and cutterbar looked fine.” The other stop was to check to make sure the DISCO mower was folded properly before getting on the road for the final field.
The prior record attempt was made in grass, not alfalfa, with an unconditioned mower. A much easier task. According to Andreas Saile, CLAAS Product Manager for Balers and Hay Tools, “The DISCO 1100 RC has a full-width rubber roller conditioner that puts a crimp on the alfalfa crop for faster dry down and maximum leaf retention. The conditioner makes the mower a little heavier and it requires more horsepower, but it didn’t slow Tate down.” During his attempt, Tate produced an impressive 2.34 dry tons of alfalfa.
CLAAS is in the process of submitting paperwork to Guinness to make the record official in the eyes of the world-record-governing body. It usually takes several weeks to get an official confirmation.
“A couple years ago, our dealer, Taylor Implement, brought the tractor and triple mower out to demo,” explained Tate. “We were blown away by the performance of both machines and added them to our operation.”
Last November, the Mesbergens joined a trip hosted by CLAAS to visit the company’s manufacturing facilities in Germany and France. As part of that trip, the tour group made a stop in Hannover, Germany, to visit Agritechnica, the world’s largest farm show.
“We were walking around the farm show and saw a banner claiming that a Polish manufacturer held the world record for the most hectares harvested with a triple mower in an 8-hour period,” explained Tate. “I was with my dealer at the time and told him I thought I could break the record.”
“At a reception that night, I had the opportunity to meet Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser, the Chairwoman of the CLAAS Supervisory Board. When I mentioned the record, she told me to go for it! So we did.”