Recently, Hermiston area farmer-inventor Ivan Cook signed with the John Deere Company.

"On Dec. 8, we signed with John Deere," Cook announced, "as an allied supplier of our Circle C Equipment's Crusher conditioner rolls. It is exciting to see this happen, and it will be a big boost to our sales."

Cook's agreement with John Deere calls for his Hermiston-based Circle C Equipment Company to continue manufacturing its Crusher conditioner rolls. However, the Crusher rolls now will become one of three options for conditioning rolls available on all new John Deere swathers.

"John Deere dealers will call and place orders for our Crusher conditioning rolls," explained Cook. "The rolls then will be shipped and installed at the dealer level. Installation time takes approximately six to eight hours."

With plans to keep Circle C Equipment based in Hermiston, Cook said, "We have a lot of capacity here to build our products and are set up with plenty of capacity to meet the needs of John Deere.

"The business John Deere is bringing to us is John Deere," Cook explained, but noted, "the Crusher is not exclusively John Deere's, and we will continue to manufacture it to fit all makes and models of swathers."

Currently the Crusher is available to fit 30 swather models, said Cook, and plans call for continuing to develop units to fit most swathers on the market. "Our business is selling the Crusher to everyone," says Cook. "It is an especially big step to sell it to John Deere, because they are the largest farm equipment manufacturer in the world."

Unbeknown to Cook, the John Deere Company had been studying the Crusher for about a year-and-a-half. "They definitely wanted this and approached us," says Cook. "The Crusher's conditioning rolls result in clearly faster hay drying time than anything else in the world and John Deere definitely wanted this."

Circle C Equipment began development of their Crusher conditioner rolls in 1995. "Over the years, as a hay grower, we experienced first-hand the problems associated with rain-damaged hay," related Cook. "We had a need to create something to dry hay faster."

Innovative, yet practical, Cook set out to reduce hay losses by improving his equipment to reduce drying time in the field. In 1998, following several years of development, Cook's Circle C Equipment introduced its Crusher super conditioner rolls to the hay equipment market.

The Crusher conditioning rolls consist of specially designed rubber, bonded onto steel rolls. When pressure is applied to the rolls, by an adjustable-pressure air bag system, the rolls crush forage stems as the crop feeds through the conditioning system. Cracks are created throughout the entire length of the stem, which stops respiration in the plant and allows the moisture to quickly escape for fast drying of hay.

"The Crusher offers a significant improvement in hay dry down, decreasing drying time in the field by up to 50%," explained Cook. "In addition, the hay is softer, sweeter and greener.

"I don't plan to ever stop trying to build and improve equipment to do something better for farmers," says Cook. "We understand what is needed, because we experience it everyday."

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