Healthy prices for corn, wheat, cotton and soybeans, combined with the promise of additional contracts for tobacco, contributed to a brisk sales season for agricultural machinery as southern farm shows progressed through the winter.

A recent farm show in Raleigh, N.C., enjoyed three of the strongest days in its history in terms of farmer interest.

“Most of our exhibitors said they did really well, especially those who had the bigger equipment on the floor,” said Southern Farm Show Manager David Zimmerman. “Farmers seemed to come in prepared to spend money.”

Ben Coston of GFE of Greensboro, N.C., said he was pleased with the traffic at the show. “It was steady all three days,” he said.

GFE’s most popular product was the Speedy Spread, a stainless steel all-hydraulic truck spreader. “We build that ourselves,” Coston said. “We took some orders for it at the show.”

There was also considerable interest in the Spra-Coupe sprayers GFE had on display. “A lot of that was because of the increase in cotton acreage,” he said.

Several farmers took a moment to speak to Southeast Farm Press:

• Charles Jones of Cherryville, N.C., took a hard look at a ‘V’rake at the BEFCO exhibit. It isa pull-type rake that BEFCO says is easy to transport on roads and is easy to store. Its single-action, push-up hydraulic system allows the rakes to float when in operation. “It cuts down on your time in the field,” said Jones. “We could use it.”

• Jones’ friend Chris Lewis of Gastonia, N.C., was very interested in some of the precision agriculture machinery he saw. He told Southeast Farm Press that some add-ons to planter equipment had really caught his attention and may find their way onto his operation soon.

• Ben Ketchie of Cleveland, N.C., got a demonstration of Case IH North America’s new Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology for reducing emissions. In its literature, Case describes SCR, which is based on a special Diesel Exhaust Fluid, as “the best answer for farmers to be ready for government-mandated emissions standards now and in the future.”

“This show has been real good for us,” said Ronnie Holland of Clinton (N.C.) Trucks and Tractor, who helped man the Case exhibit. “I think it is one of the better shows on the East Coast. There were some ‘tire kickers,’ of course. But many farmers were looking at specific pieces of machinery, and some were considering purchases down the road a bit.”

There probably would have been even more sales onsite, but a lot of purchases had been made at the end of 2010, he said.

The opportunity to increase acreage of either cotton, corn, soybeans or tobacco will make for some tough decisions for farmers in North Carolina in coming weeks.