The Toro Company has a long history of working with farmers, first on tractors and then with irrigation. So it was only fitting that Toro officials decided to have an observance of the company’s upcoming 100th anniversary at World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.
Mike Drazan, vice president, Worldwide Micro-Irrigation, for Toro, welcomed visitors to the company’s exhibit area and talked about Toro’s beginnings and its subsequent history. His comments came during a media event at World Ag Expo.
“Toro got its start in the agricultural industry building tractor engines for The Bull Tractor Company in 1914,” said Drazan. “In 1919, the company introduced its first Toro-branded piece of equipment, the revolutionary ‘two-row,’ spelled to-ro, utility tractor that could be converted from a standard farm tractor to a two-row power cultivator.”
Unfortunately, the 1920s farm depression devastated the tractor market, and Toro left the agricultural equipment business and focused on turf maintenance for several decades.
“We came back to our roots in agriculture in 1996 when Toro acquired the irrigation business from James Hardie,” said Drazan. “Specifically, we were interested in offering drip irrigation technology. Since then, we have built on that acquisition and now offer a full range of irrigation solutions.
“Now, as we enter our second century, Toro is proud to build on the foundations that brought us here and strive to meet our goal of being the most trusted partner for micro-irrigation solutions for growers and dealers.”
Drazan said the market for Toro’s product has been changing from being more of a tool for specialty crops in the West to greater use in corn and cotton in other parts of the country.
“For the most part, we’ve always focused with our tape products on row crops,” he noted. “Most recently, we’ve been doing more subsurface drip in things like corn and cotton, which will drive more product to the crop market.”
Asked about use on the High Plains, Drazan said, “We are seeing increased use in those areas. As you know they’ve had severe drought as well as has California so they’ve started looking more aggressively at subsurface drip, for example. And we have a manufacturing facility in Texas to support them.”
California growers continue to deal with one of the most severe droughts on record, a development which is placing even more of a premium on precision irrigation. “We believe that our products help us better utilize water for our growers,” he said. “It allows us to get more yield per acre and make better use of the water we have.”
Drazan used the occasion to announce three new products for Toro:
n Its new Thinwall dripline is extremely durable and highly plug-resistant and ideal for subsurface applications and semi-permanent crops. “With Thinwall, installation and retrieval is easy, and it is built to last.”
n Its new pressure-compensating Micro Sprinkler 7 PC provides uniform flows and diameters and offers a wider throw than previous models.
n Toro is extending the product range available for its Aqua-Traxx PC, pressure-compensated drip tape. “In addition to new flow rates, we have developed technology to reduce the cost, allowing growers to adopt PC technology without a large price premium.”
For more information about the Toro Company, go to http://www.thetorocompany.com/.