Smart technologies are revolutionizing farming, enabling farmers to monitor and manage every part of every field. In this world of precision agriculture, products like Oxbo's 5180 detasseler machine, powered by a John Deere 4.5L Stage V engine, empower seed companies, contractors, and farmers alike to optimize productivity and yields.
Oxbo's origins can be traced back to its humble beginnings in the Netherlands and in the U.S., where it gradually evolved over several decades through the acquisition of specialized agricultural equipment manufacturers. In 2022 all these brands unified under a single name with a shared vision: optimizing farming together.
The science of detasseling: a refined and challenging craft
Corn naturally has male and female parts. The male tassel pollinates female silk, creating corn kernels. For hybrid seed corn, producers plant two inbred corn varieties: one for new hybrid seeds (female rows) and another for pollination (male rows). Detasseling is vital for cross-pollination: Female rows are cut to let tassels grow. Then the tassels are removed to ensure that fertilization only happens from designated male rows.
The window for corn detasseling is short yet pivotal for hybrid seed production.
"The timing of detasseling is crucial to achieve genetic purity; doing it too early can reduce yields, while waiting too long can result in the female rows self-pollinating," says Don Cook, global market manager for Oxbo's seed products. "The window to act is only about 5 to 10 days. The precise depth of cuts and accurate removal of tassels from female rows significantly influence the overall yield and quality."
The 5180 detasseler machine: unprecedented productivity, flexibility, and accuracy
To make the most of the limited time, Oxbo's detasseling machine offers exceptional productivity, flexibility, and accuracy with a favorable total cost of ownership (TCO). The unit's ingenious design enables operators to remove up to 97% of the tassels, which is higher than the industry average. Plus, it leaves more leaf matter, supporting higher yield per acre.
"We have some outstanding features that make this possible," says Cook. "Smart technologies keep the machine perfectly 'on track.' The Detector Vision adjusts the cutter and puller based on corn height for consistent cutting, while the advanced Steer-By-Stalk technology keeps the chassis aligned between rows, significantly enhancing cutting and pulling accuracy, even at speeds of up to 25 kilometers per hour [15 miles per hour]."
Another key feature is the TS4 toolbar, which is fully adjustable between 60- to 76-centimeter (23.5- to 27.5-inch) rows and can change patterns from 4:1 and 4:2 to 6:1 and 6:2. This enables contractors to switch from cutting to pulling in under 30 minutes.
Transporting the 5180 is easy with the rear-folding boom. On the road it can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour. Moreover, Oxbo's FleetCommand app optimizes efficiency across the board, allowing all units to operate at maximum capacity.
E.P. Barrus Ltd: Changing the game in support
Oxbo's 5180 detasselers are manufactured at its plant in Fakenham, England, and then shipped to customers across Europe and the U.S. This makes a Stage V emission engine a must for compliance.
E.P. Barrus Ltd, John Deere engine distributor for the U.K. and Ireland, specified the 4.5L Stage V industrial engine and delivered a complete, ready-to-drop-in package.
"It speeds up machine assembly and simplifies customer support," says Cook. "The support from Barrus is outstanding. Ian Turner, the technical services manager, responds to our global team within hours, regardless of the time. His detailed replies leave no room for confusion. Furthermore, Barrus lent us software for analyzing the engine ECU data — allowing us to evaluate it for a few years. And they offered valuable training on using the John Deere PowerAssist™ app for online manuals and troubleshooting."
Another thing that sets E.P. Barrus Ltd apart, according to Cook, is the parts supply the distributor keeps on hand.
"The real game-changer is that Barrus keeps stock for us. When we place an engine order, we can rely on timely delivery on a call-off basis," says Cook. "This provides tremendous peace of mind, especially when many businesses face supply chain disruptions. With Barrus, we are confident that our operations will continue to run smoothly."
After several years in the field, the 5180 has proven to be the perfect match for modern farming. Levi Smith, production manager at Hubner Industries in West Lebanon, Indiana, U.S., praises its efficiency.
"We used to be able to pull 60–70% of tassels. With the 5180, that's up to 80–90% at a speed of nine miles per hour," says Smith. "And the 5180 is incredibly user-friendly. We can train operators in an hour."
David Lee from Becks Hybrids in Atlanta, Indiana, U.S., emphasizes the unit's flexibility.
"With a simple touch, a single operator can adjust pulling heights and switch from cut to pull mode in 20 minutes," says Lee.
With the John Deere-powered 5180 in their arsenal, contractors are revolutionizing their detasseling to reach new heights in productivity and quality results.