URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — John Deere’s gift of a 660S combine to the U. of I. Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department was exciting for school employees.
“Very excited was an understatement,” says Tim Lecher, facilities manager for the Ag Engineering Department.
“So it was the best birthday, Christmas, anything a guy could ask for. It’s huge for our department, being a small department. We currently have, or previous to this machine, we had an older walker machine, so to step up 20-plus years in technology and let our students experience that is huge.”
Lecher says it will be primarily used at the Ag Engineering farm.
“We have, pretty much of our entire farm is dedicated to research in some form or fashion, so it will be used to harvest corn and soybeans here,” he says. “We do labs. We bring the students out, COVID-permitting. They’ll ride in the machine. They will watch the machine.
“We’ll take covers off and we’ll show them how it really works inside and out. It will be used here. We also do, we collaborate with other departments here at the University as well, so it will cross over a lot.”
Lecher says if repair help is needed, it is available.
“Absolutely, we can call AHW,” he says. “They are here.
“I try and do a lot of it myself in an effort to keep costs down, but whatever support, parts, etc., we need, those guys are here to help us.”
Check back tomorrow for the last installment on this series, with a visit with the head of the department about the gift from John Deere.