“Farming is in my blood.”
That’s what Joe Miritz said when asked why he got into agriculture. Miritz is a fourth generation farmer who runs his own business, Miritz Custom Chopping in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Miritz custom harvests about 3,000 to 4,000 acres of forage (including hay and alfalfa) and 2,000 acres of corn silage per year. Miritz works with about two dozen customers who have him do custom work such as cutting, merging, harvesting and chopping their crops.
Miritz has been doing custom farm work for about 17 years. He began custom chopping in 2008 and his business has been going strong ever since. He has one full time employee, Joe Schultz, who plays a vital role as the operation’s field manager. Miritz says without Schultz it would be difficult to run his business.
Miritz also works with about a dozen part time seasonal employees on his operation. Those part-time employees include several family members including his two cousins, Scott Schnettler and Steve Zimmerman. His father, Elmer, who is retired, helps out too by running for parts and transporting Miritz’s employees from field to field.
With a dozen employees and thousands of acres to harvest, Miritz knew he wanted a quality machine out in the field that he could trust.
“A very close friend of mine bought a KUHN Merge Maxx® MM 300 hay merger. He knew we were not quite satisfied with the competitor models we were running,” explained Miritz, “He showed me their merger and after seeing it, I purchased one for myself.”
The MM 300 is a merger that provides operators with high performance and simple operation at an economical price. Miritz was thrilled with the machine, but it seemed there was one small problem.
“We were so happy with it (the KUHN MM 300), except we needed bigger capacity. At the time, the KUHN Merge Maxx® MM 700 hay merger was not in full production, but through our local dealer they were able to get us down to one of the preseries units in our area. We got a chance to look it over and talk to the farm’s operators. The operators were very impressed with it. After that, I signed a purchase order and took delivery of the machine the following spring,” explained Miritz.
In the spring of 2016, the KUHN MM 700 hay merger arrived at Miritz Custom Chopping and they have loved it ever since!
“It’s easy to use and especially easy to teach new drivers and operators how to run. It’s simple in its construction and operation. It folds up and goes down the road narrow, trails nice in the field and it’s compact so we can get into small corners of fields and contour strips. Overall, it’s just a handy tool,” explained Miritz.
The MM 700 is unique in the industry and unmatched in its simplicity of operation, durability and merging capabilities. It is designed for operators, like Miritz, who demand additional features to maximize productivity in varying field shapes and sizes, as well as a multitude of crop volumes. The smooth folding design allows quick transition from the field to the road. Road transport is a narrow 10’ wide. The balanced tongue weight during transport and in the field helps you maintain control at all times. Another major component of the machine is its floating windguards.
“The floating windguard for the hay pickup does a fantastic job holding the crop to the pickup. This is better to help make a uniform windrow. That’s one thing none of the competitors had,” said Miritz.
When merging different crops or cuttings, the floating windguard eliminates the need to make adjustments on the merger. The simple geometry of the floating linkage means the windguard is automatically optimized for differing volumes of crop. The long, curved fingers provide excellent crop guidance onto the belt for fluffy, even windrow creation. Miritz has reaped other benefits from the MM 700 too.
“The merger holds the crop close to the pickup. This helps to improve and create a better merged and uniform windrow. We had a custom operator competitor of ours that we hired to help us when we got behind and they ran a competitor model. By using a different competitor machine and it not creating a uniform windrow, we lost 1.5 miles per hour in that windrow,” explained Miritz.
With KUHN’s MM 700, the high-capacity pickups treat crop gently yet are designed for extreme use. Chrome-moly tine bars greatly improve the strength and wearing characteristics on the machine. The dual-cam design with heavy duty sealed cam followers provides long life even in the toughest conditions. On top of these great features, the pickup on the MM 700 is enhanced even further without the multiple delivery options the machine allows users to have.
“The multiple delivery options give us more choices in a heavier crop. We can spilt windrows and directions. We can also make two smaller windrows for certain crops like rye and triticale. This makes it easy to use and more versatile. The ability to raise one wing up and merge one single row when you get into a tight spot or wedge row makes it the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of all hay mergers,” stated Miritz enthusiastically.
On all MM 700 models, operators can merge to the left, right, spilt, or if needed with either wing in the raised position. Having the ability to raise the wings independently is particularly useful for opening up fields or cleaning up point rows in irregularly shaped fields. By working with his dealer, Miritz was able to continue to learn more about the KUHN MM 700 hay merger in order to get these great benefits.
Miritz Custom Chopping purchased their MM 700 hay merger from Mid-State Equipment in Jackson, Wisconsin.
“We have a fantastic working relationship with Mid-State. They have been unbeatable in both their service and sales departments when it comes to the KUHN line,” said Miritz.
With all these benefits and such a strong dealer relationship, Miritz would recommend this hay merger to his fellow producers and custom operators for many reasons.
“The efficiency of the machine, the simplicity of the design, the price point and the options are all amazing. I feel it is going to be very difficult to beat the product and the quality of the job it does."
“Less field time, less fuel and less labor are all huge benefits to our operation,” stated Miritz. Although, Miritz was not the only one who noticed the benefits of his KUHN MM 700 he was working in the fields with.
“Two of our neighbors bought the KUHN MM 700 too,” explained Miritz, “It wasn’t hard for them to make the decision after seeing the benefits we were getting from our machine.”
And there was one more individual who took notice too…
“One of my part-time employees who farms with his parents just down the road always jokes about stealing and taking the merger home with him.”