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Tractor of the Week #25

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  • Tractor of the Week #25

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    ERTL's Ag-Chem Equipement's TerraGator 8103 is the tractor for this week.

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    Ag Chem was started in 1963 in Jackson, Minnesota by Al Mcquin.

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    Originally posted by
    After receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri in 1954, Al McQuinn, the founder of Ag-Chem Equipment Co., served in the Army until 1957. Upon his departure from the armed forces, he went to work for Federal Chemical Company which sold row crop sprayers.[1] These sprayers and others like it didn't do a very good job of applying product. The solubles in the product would often settle in the solution which led to inconsistent, watered-down applications and unhappy customers.

    In 1963, McQuinn set out to find a "solution for his solution". He developed a sparger agitator, a device which recirculates liquid product to keep the solubles suspended in their solution until they are applied, in a garage in Jackson, Minnesota.[2] Ag-Chem Equipment Co., Inc. was born.

    Advancements in fertilizer and farm chemical technology in the 1970s paved the way for more intense production agriculture in the United States. New fertility management practices, more acres in production, and the need for less soil compaction drove Ag-Chem's application equipment to larger capacity and higher flotation machines.[3] In 1974, the company made its first acquisition by purchasing Ag-Tec, Inc. AgTec, Inc., a former subsidiary of Stokely-Van Camp, manufactured spray application equipment used in orchards, gardens, groves, and vineyards.[4]

    In 1980, Ag-Chem first appeared in "The Corporate Report 100", an annual ranking of Minnesota's largest publicly traded companies. In the same year the first international equipment sale was completed. Newly developed pneumatic dry spreaders required greater horsepower and efficiency and brought about the development of the 1800 and 1900 series TerraGators. The United States farm economy was severely depressed from 1981 to 1986. Major U.S. manufacturers were faced with consolidations, takeovers by foreign companies, and the elimination of established product lines. Ag-Chem continued to dominate its markets in 1981 is spite of deteriorating economic conditions. Rickel Manufacturing Co., a company founded by Ed Rickel and known for their "Terra Tires" and Big A® product line, was acquired by Ag-Chem™ in 1983 and one year later Ag-Chem™'s first four-wheel flotation unit for agricultural use, the TerraGator 1664, was introduced

    Ag-Chem lost money in 1985 and 1986. Its locally traded over-the-counter stock sold for pennies a share. In 1987, the company closed its Salina, Kansas, plant and consolidated production in Jackson: total company assets were reduced from $21.9 million to $11.6 million. According to the company, its cost-cutting programs and the loyalty of employees and suppliers helped Ag-Chem survive the period.[4]

    In 1991, Ag-Chem purchased Benson, Minnesota-based LorAl Products, Inc. and a 60% of Soil Teq, Inc.'s holdings. Soil Teq, Inc. developed the patented SOILECTION® process which was a pioneer in the variable-rate application of fertilizers and pesticides. The acquisition of both assets furthered the company's earnest site-specific efforts to refine the concept of variable-rate application into a practical set of high-tech tools.[3]

    Conservation tillage in the 1990s required adaptation of new chemical and fertilizer application technologies for post-emergent weed control. Ag-Chem responded by bringing the RoGator® 664 to market in 1993. Agriculture professionals recognized the potential of site-specific resource management from an agronomic perspective as well as the economic and environmental benefits. In 1995, Ag-Chem purchased the remaining 40% interest in Soil Teq, Inc. and continued to develop a comprehensive "total package". Expanded offerings included continually updated mapping software, variable-rate product controllers, and variable-rate application systems.

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    The 8103 was offered both with a tank for liquid applications as well as a dry box for crushed material. Model years ranged from 1998 through at least 2006 from information I found for listings on and Wikipedia confirmed those same years. According to Wikipedia the 8103 was featured a John Deere inline 6 cylinder 8.1 liter diesel good for 300 hp.

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    ERTL released this 1/64 model in 1999 through 2000 originally. A dry spread box version was also offered. Within the past few years ERTL re-released the same castings after SpecCast issued an updated high detail versions of newer models. AG-Chem was sold to ACGO in 2001. The same basic three wheeled design lives on in the current TG9300C.

    For size comparison sake here's the Terra Gator and Greenlight's 1984 GMC 2500 High Sierra.

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    National Farm Toy Museum 1/64 Farm Toy Guide and Check List. 2nd Edition.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    This is a nice model. I remember it coming out about the time I was starting to cut way back on modern farm equipment in my collection. These are still commonly seen in these parts.


    • #3
      I keep eyeing some Terra Gators on a couple of the online shops, but just haven't committed to one yet. I think I will soon though! Thanks for sharing this version with us.
      Michael "Toyotageek"
      Japanese Minicar Garage


      • #4
        I'm pretty sure that this was one of the models that S Helper Service offered as a load on versions of their modern railroad flat car. Wish I'd gotten one of those when SHS was still in business. MTH still sells the flat, but not with this load.
        Bert sez...
        "Wanna sell more?
        MAKE IT 1/64!!!"


        • #5
          I still see these being used here
          irl that thing is HUGE