Information & Communication Technology in Agriculture

Information & Communication Technology in Agriculture.

In previous entries, we have discussed the concept of Precision Agriculture and how technology is being integrated more and more organically into agricultural operations. Devices today allow farmers to deal with most, if not all, aspects of the farming process, and the intricacy of the new instrumentation provides accurate readings with minimal margins of error. However, no matter how advanced the tool may be, it would be useless if the information is not easily accessible, comprehensive, and, above all, available for everyone.

What is Information and Communication Technology?
Information and Communication Technology, commonly referred to as ICT, is a broader term to describe all sources of telecommunication that are available for people to exchange, access, and transmit information digitally in various forms. Additionally, it refers to technology convergence through common transmission lines, all with the aim of facilitating communication. Some examples of ICT are the internet, software, apps, cellphones, and operating systems designed to receive digital input and manipulate data to enable the required service.
Using ICT has made the world the “global village” it is today, where people can access data through basic communication systems and instantly connect with someone on the other side of the globe. This new sharing reality has blurred geographical barriers and opened new avenues of knowledge and innovation. This has become part of the fabric of our current society, and quite a fundamental part during the pandemic. The agricultural industry has benefited from this information too, and farmers today can access a wide range of data as soon as they need it.
The Internet of Things
The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is deeply intertwined with ICT. While ICT refers to the how, IoT is related to the what. IoT is the means and tools to collect, store, distribute, and share data. Devices such as GPS, sensors— like VISCOSITY Oil’s Everlub FLUID-I*—, weather stations, and various actuators can provide a wide range of information. This data can directly impact how farmers can manage efficiency, costs, and internal processes by relying on metrics and readings that can aid in decision-making to reduce waste and loss of resources. Having a complete IoT ecosystem results in an organized network that enhances connectivity and knowledge. Adding a farmer’s personal experience and insights gained through years of work in the field further improves the chances of optimization and utilization.
The Puzzle Pieces of Information
Communication technology is made of the many pieces of information that an IoT can gather. The impact of this “bigger picture” has been so normalized in our everyday life that we don’t really acknowledge the complexity of the process itself, nor the feat of intelligence and design that allowed us to incorporate it into our routines. Using smart agriculture, we can get a full spectrum of data, all just from readings taken from our own fields and geographical areas.
Local and internal readings, however, are not always enough. Sometimes, a broader spectrum of information is required, usually from external sources. Some of these data are restricted and regulated, and access involves payment, subscription, or program usage to get the full range of what is available in the hub. Information of this nature usually comes from reputable and verified sources specifically dedicated to collecting the greatest and most specific readings, usually through complex high-tech IoT devices, satellite imagery, and national-level forecasting of various trends.
Open data is also available to collect new insights. The concept of open data stems from the idea that information should be freely available for everyone to use, distribute, and reuse without copyright or patent restrictions. Organizations and governments have open data initiatives that are legally and technically available for users to access, primarily through the internet. The USDA, for instance, holds an extensive catalog of datasets that are accessible by all who wish to review them, especially around reports, research papers, budgetary releases, and other topics of interest. 
All this flow of material is collected and used by farmers to monitor all the conditions that may impact their daily, monthly, and yearly operations, including estimates and predictions that can aid in future budgeting and operational decisions. As a result, farmers today can maximize revenue and reduce expenditures by allocating resources in accordance with soil composition parameters, plant health, heat and humidity, among others. They can also keep track of weather patterns, pest control, irrigation schedules, and even locate equipment on the field and keep track of payrolls and suppliers. It makes for a controlled process, in which the farmer can stay on top of every detail, big or small, to handle operations better. A system of this nature also aids in the fight against climate change by optimizing the use of resources, saving water, regulating pesticides usage, limiting the required amount of energy consumption, and reducing mechanical and human efforts.  
Information is power. And this power in the capable, dedicated hands of the hundreds of farmers in our country will ensure our land continues growing and providing the resources we all need. With optimization, connection, and a focus on sustainability, Information and Communication Technology, in conjunction with the Internet of Things, have become the tools of tomorrow for making the changes we need today.  
If you want to learn about our digital solutions and Everlub FLUID-I* sensor, send your query to our contact us section. Check our other blog entries for more interesting topics and continue working in fluid motion with all the quality products VISCOSITY Oil has for you!   

*Everlub FLUID-I is powered by Contelligent.   

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Powering Agricultural Operations: A road to Renewable Energy

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Powering Agricultural Operations: A road to Renewable Energy.
Technological advances have evolved hand in hand with the means to power them. Early innovations around agriculture relied mainly on human and animal traction; later improvements made way for steam and gasoline-powered equipment, replacing animals with more modern and efficient machines that allowed farmers to increase yield and productivity.
Electricity and Generators
Electricity slowly entered the market as experiments and ideas flourished in the late 19th to early 20th century. Electrical distribution was eventually established in cities and urban settings; however, rural areas were not considered during this initial expansion. Electrical Cooperatives at the time were purchasing energy in bulk and distributing it through their lines and began pushing for a complete transmission system that could reach farms, ranches, and other isolated sectors of the country. Finally, in 1936, the Rural Electrification Act was passed under President Roosevelt’s government, which granted loans to expand power lines, initially used for lighting and smaller fixtures. The Rural Electrification Administration was established to monitor these initiatives, and, by 1953, over 90% of farms in the US had electricity. Since then, electric generation remains the most significant source of energy for farmers. It powers conditioning and storage systems, machinery and equipment, refrigeration, ventilation, milking, and technological devices such as computers, sensors, automated irrigators, and electric vehicles.
Energy interruption can result in serious consequences, including loss of product and equipment malfunction. Backup generators serve as a secondary source of energy, ensuring operations can move forward even during outages, and can be powered by natural gas, diesel, or propane. Some are portable, for ease of transportation to any part of the farm where they are needed and can cover for a lack of power lines reaching the respective area. Others are standby, which are more expensive, but have greater capacity and can be turned on automatically upon an outage. Sizes and generation power vary depending on the needs of the farm, so it’s vital that a conscious and effective assessment is made before purchasing.
Despite technological advances, natural energy generation such as wind and water, has always been present in the industry, and its usage is making a return in a modern innovative setting.
The New Energy  

Biomass and Biogas

Farms are in a privileged position to incorporate energies like biogas and biomass into their operations. Biomass is produced by burning solid crops and organic waste, transforming them into a source of heat, steam, electricity, and fuels such as biofuel and biodiesel, depending on the base material. On the other hand, biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion, a process in which the same organic waste that makes up biomass can be fermented in an oxygen-free digestor to release carbon dioxide and methane. These gases are later processed to create energy, becoming a renewable alternative to natural gas and coal. The leftover solid material can be used as a soil enhancer.

There’s some debate around bioenergy being considered “green”, as the chemicals released during biomass and biogas processes are harmful. An uncontrolled or inappropriate operation can release toxic gases into the atmosphere, defeating the purpose of environmental protection. Other concerns revolve around the overproduction of waste in favor of bioenergy production. However, it remains a cost-effective and renewable way to reuse and recycle byproducts in a controlled, favorable manner, pushing rural economy, innovation, and incentives to improve and refine processes to reduce emissions.

✓ Wind Energy

The agricultural industry has been using wind as an energy source through windmills for centuries to pump water and process grain. The modern wind power energy industry continues to grow steadily, and wind turbines are an option for farmers that want to modernize their operations with a clean, sustainable alternative. Investment options are open to establish wind farms alongside regular crops, or to lease part of fields to wind developers. Even though wind energy is a great alternative, it is still capital-demanding and heavily relies on geographical location to produce the expected results. 

✓ Solar and Agrivoltaics

  Solar panels are becoming increasingly accessible, and demand is rising for its usage in domestic and industrial settings. Farms are no different, and solar installation is now finding a niche not only for powering a farmer’s land but also for investing, leasing, and establishing associations that can provide bigger revenue inflows. The co-location of solar farms in agricultural areas, known as agrivoltaics, is a way to combine space requirements from solar companies with farmers’ need of diversifying revenue streams. Although agrivoltaics is still a work in progress that has many challenges and requires further studies and adaptation, it is an open opportunity to create new jobs and innovations while providing a secondary source of income.    

Photovoltaics at smaller scale is a solution for energy availability in remote areas, allowing farmers to power their equipment and devices. It is a great way to reduce carbon emissions and provide clean and sustainable energy that is easy to install and does not depend on power lines 

Solar also has governmental support. The United States Department of Agriculture as well as the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) from the Department of Energy are now focusing on providing guidance, information, and support to adopt solar photovoltaics, aiming to increase investment and projects that can account for energy demand and fossil fuel emissions. Solutions of this nature are pushed firmly to reach neutrality goals and to help farmers and rural communities improve their livelihoods, production, and market opportunities.  

Making the shift to renewable energy is not always easy, and it usually requires significant investmentHowever, the policies and innovations of today are expected to become the new normal of tomorrow. Early adoption, development, and learning will allow everyone across the value chain to grow steadily into a more sustainable energy production that benefits all sectors. VISCOSITY Oil will continue supporting these efforts and providing a service that will go hand in hand with your operations, regardless of how and when you make this transition, keeping work in fluid motion with you with the best protection always! 

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Climate and Weather Forecasting in Agriculture

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Climate and Weather Forecasting in Agriculture

While the concepts of climate and weather are related, they are not synonymous. They both refer
to atmospheric variables around temperature, wind, precipitation, and other factors; however, they cover
different periods of time. Climate observes of weather variations at specific locations over a long time,
usually about 30 years on average. On the other hand, weather deals with variations within a short-term
period, and observation is more frequent, as variations can occur even on a minute-to-minute basis.

In simple words, climate will determine the need to purchase an umbrella ahead of the winter
season, and weather will let you know if you need to take it when you go out on a given day.

Why are climate and weather forecasting so important for farmers?

Understanding climate conditions in our region can influence from the clothes we use to the best
place to install wind turbines. This knowledge, coupled with everyday forecasting, allows us to have
control over our lives and make decisions based on what to expect and how to prepare ourselves to deal
with these possibilities.

The same happens in agriculture. Hundreds of farmers across the country rely on climate
predictability to make decisions around their crops and have a general idea of the path they will be
following ahead of the changing seasons, depending on their location. Most importantly, they can
determine what, when, and where to plant, ensuring revenue streams and production estimations based
on their region’s general conditions.

Forecasting allows farmers to plan and have control over their work by providing short-term
information that can predict the overall state of the area and have clarity over important operational
aspects such as plant growth, humidity and irrigation, average temperature, and pesticide spraying
periods. Having this information can aid in decision-making to maintain a cost-effective operation,
allocating resources and efforts to small seasonal and daily actions, and staying ahead of potential
disturbances that may negatively affect production.

One very clear example is setting irrigation schedules. Suppose the weather forecast informs
there will be rain during the week. In that case, the farmer can rely on this information to readjust their
planning and take advantage of the natural water instead of running their irrigators, saving money and
maintaining crop integrity.

The impact of climate change

Agriculture is particularly vulnerable to changes; a delicate balance is needed to yield good crops
that even slight alterations can destroy. This new reality makes it harder to predict and decide the best
course of action to take during an unexpected event, exposing crops to abnormal climatic events for which
they are neither accustomed nor resistant. The proliferation of pests, production decline, water scarcity,
destructive wildfires, alteration of temperature and precipitation patterns, and other such consequences
become a risk, not only for crop owners’ livelihood but to us all, as these occurrences directly impact food
supply and availability.

The severity of these phenomena has forced the industry to look for ways to become more
sustainable and to find tools and resources that can provide accurate and faster readings to help farmers
plan better.

Climate-Smart Agriculture

In the US, the agricultural industry accounts for about 9-10% of greenhouse emissions, primarily
methane and nitrous oxide, with anthropogenic impact usually related to soil degradation, deforestation,
and loss of biodiversity. This contribution can be reduced by following regenerative and sustainable
practices that ensure production with less impact to the environment.

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is now emerging as a viable alternative to tackle these changes.
Its three main pillars are Productivity, to ensure income and development for farmers; Adaptability, to
help farmers deal with current challenges and develop agricultural resilience; and Mitigation, to reduce
the impact of industry-related greenhouse emissions, erosion, and deforestation. These pillars help
manage solutions and processes at different levels within the industry, adapting policies and resources
depending on the country and the particular situation within the region while considering its ecosystem
and natural resources. Government and institutional participation, technology implementation, along
with the appropriate policies and investment efforts, can make a significant difference in the lives of
hundreds of farmers and protect our resources efficiently without disrupting economic and industrial
growth, food availability, and, most importantly, our planet.

Precision Agriculture tools, such as on-site weather stations, can provide accurate and complete
area readings directly to the farmer, allowing them to decide on aspects such as nutrient and fertilizer
spraying, irrigation, plague control, soil quality, among others. Digital tools such as apps and integrated
software can provide information directly from sources like the National Weather Service, sending alerts
and reporting on specific meteorological conditions and anomalies with reliable and updated data that
can be customized for the user depending on their location. Costs vary depending on complexity, but
there are some free and cheaper options, especially for apps, that ensure fast access to information.
Having these tools can help producers plan their strategies better, reducing the risk of loss and damage.

The way to the future

In our country, the USDA has recently announced a set of comprehensive agricultural
investments, along with the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership. Through this initiative,
they expect to encourage, support, and finance climate-smart pilot projects that create new revenue
streams and market opportunities.

As the climate impacts the entirety of the value chain, companies are now taking the new reality
into account to shape their policies and develop more sustainable economies and markets. Many,
including VISCOSITY Oil, have committed to follow strict Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE)
guidelines to ensure compliance with new industry standards, to reduce emissions, and align with national
and international efforts to move forward with decarbonization and environmental protection. This
collective effort will be crucial to maintain productivity, growth, and development for all involved,
ensuring food availability and resources for a cleaner, and greener, future.

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Power Take-Off: Keeping Operations Moving Means Keeping Everyone Safe

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Power Take-Off: Keeping Operations Moving Means Keeping Everyone Safe

Adding implements to agricultural machinery is an affordable way of utilizing existing assets
rather than purchasing a new one for a single purpose. Tractors are fitted with various tools, such as
loaders, blades, balers, and box rakers, among the many choices available. However, some add-ins do not
have an engine to function. So, how can they be powered?

Power take-offs, also known as PTOs, are necessary to transfer mechanical power from the engine
to the implement. PTO shafts can be directly connected to the transmission and require releasing the
tractor clutch to begin functioning. They can also work using a two stage-clutch, by pressing halfway to
disengage the transmission and fully to disengage both the transmission and the PTO, or independently
through a separate clutch. Its main components are usually an internal and external yoke, a universal
joint, a safety chain, and a safety shield. Measurements vary, so purchasing the right one for your
equipment is crucial to optimal performance and proper attachment.

Speed and dimensions are standard for PTOs based on ISO regulations. PTOs rotate per the
tractor’s engine speed, moving between 540 and 1000 rpm; some newer models move at an even higher
rate, in tune with the equipment’s horsepower. This increased rotation speed can ensure proper
functioning, but it can also become a dangerous hazard risk for the user.

The Dangers of Entanglement

PTOs are an effective tool that allows the equipment to perform multiple functions with minimal
intervention. However, they can also become a dangerous safety hazard if not handled properly, causing
severe injuries, amputations, and fatalities. Improper, ineffective, or absent shielding or protection
around the PTO significantly increases the risk of entanglement, exposing users to a piece of equipment
that can be engaged and rotating at a dangerously high speed.

Most hazard cases are attributed to hair, clothing, and limbs being caught by the spinning
mechanism. As a result, one of the main safety precautions any farmer or operator must take is to avoid
loose hair or clothing when working around equipment with a PTO attached, even when the tractor has
been turned off. The speed at which the PTO rotates leaves almost no reaction time, so making sure the
mechanism has been fully disengaged is vital to avoid accidents.

Accidents can also occur when shafts become disconnected from the tractor while the PTO is
engaged and rotating. This situation can occur when the shaft has not been securely hitched, or some
parts become uncoupled or break. The result is a piece of heavy metal being swung and breaking apart
from the connecting base, ejected at high velocity. The loose part can either impact the equipment
operator directly or anyone in the vicinity.

The importance of PTO maintenance

PTOs are often overlooked during maintenance and are usually considered after internal and
engine components. This is a grave mistake, one that, as we have noted before, can cause irreparable
damage to the equipment and to operators. Thus, following the manufacturer’s recommendations is
essential to establish a correct PTO maintenance schedule according to horsepower, usage, and model
dimensions

A regular visual check can make a difference, especially when the PTO has just been fitted. The
device must be securely installed and adequately bolted, with the correct backlash between transmission
and PTO. Making sure there are no leaks or signs of wear, alongside a physical revision after certain usage
hours, can significantly impact risk prevention and performance assessment based on power
requirements.

Premature bearing wear is one of the leading causes for short functionality periods for PTOs,
generally associated with improper lubrication and excessive belt tension. Therefore, operators and
workers must know and work around the most appropriate tension depending on the equipment model
and conduct regular greasing, considering its daily strain and use to adjust if necessary. Additionally, a
more thorough, long-term maintenance plan is crucial to ensure its performance and safety. Maintenance
intervals for PTOs can be determined following the respective OEM recommendations and conducted
along with regular engine and transmission schedules for a more comprehensive and complete
assessment.

Aside from the proper maintenance, quality products can positively impact vehicle performance,
allowing you to work safely, with strong and reliable solutions formulated to protect your equipment. Our
Tutela® line of greases has been specially designed to withstand high temperatures and provide thermal
stability, protecting the PTOs against friction, overheating, and wear. These features will help increase
performance and, most importantly, reduce the risk of downtime and accidents due to material
exhaustion, ensuring production stream and a safe working environment for everyone involved.

You can learn more about Tutela ® Greases and our extensive line of specialized solutions by
visiting your products section, or you can ask your local dealer for our portfolio. Contact us and keep
moving forward with the expert formulations we have designed for you! Work safe and get the best
protection with VISCOSITY Oil.

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Spindles: a cotton-picking essential

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Spindles: a cotton-picking essential

The cotton-picking industry is one of the most important economic activities in the
US today, with the country being the third-largest exporter of cotton after India and China.
It is a tricky crop to harvest; production heavily relies on climate, water, and pest control,
with a maturity period of around 160 days on average, depending on location.

Nowadays, there are two basic options for harvesting equipment: cotton pickers
and cotton strippers. Both are designed to fulfill the same function, but the operation
method and picking results differ. Cotton strippers are primarily used in areas where
repetitive picking is nearly impossible, allowing only a single harvest, primarily due to
weather conditions. The stripper pulls the entire boll out or cuts it close to the ground,
taking the cotton, the stalk, and any debris, even if it’s still closed and not ready for
harvest. Later, a different machine will separate the cotton from the other materials.

Pickers are the most common, allowing for multiple harvests as the bolls begin to
mature. The equipment will enable farmers to harvest only the opened bolls through
moisturized prongs or barbed spindles rotating at high speed; later, the cotton is removed
by a counter-rotating doffer and then blown into a basket that collects it for baling. This
method is softer and less invasive, picking up between 95% and 98% of the total field
production.

The Picker Spindle Road

The cotton industry had its initial expansion in early 1800, becoming the most
prominent export. This growth happened partially due to slave labor, which has
unfortunately become synonymous with the activity even to this day.

Due to the American Civil War, significant technological advances for cotton
equipment arrived late. With the help of his brother Mack, John Rust is credited with
developing the first models of a mechanized cotton picker in the early 1930s. Even though
Rust machines did fulfill their purpose, they were expensive and deficient. Adding to the
already tough market, industry developments were delayed due to World War II, which
shuffled manufacturing processes towards war efforts.

After the War ended, companies began to center their attention on the fields again,
developing better, mechanized picking systems often based on the Rust’s models.
Improvements aimed to pick the fibers better and reduce clogging, although the number
of cotton rows to pick often amounted to one at the time. As positive as this development
may sound, the mechanization of agricultural operations is often cited as one of the
causes of the Second Great Migration, which forced hundreds of workers to move to
urban areas to seek employment and better conditions.

After the 1950s and into the 1980s, the commercialization of mechanized pickers
started to gain greater traction, with models that incorporated better shapes and more
functional tools, adding steel frames and more efficient row systems. Later improvements
and better technology have turned the equipment into the practical piece of machinery
that is today

Keeping the Spindle Rolling

As the cleanest and most efficient method, picker spindles are essential pieces of
equipment that must be kept in optimal condition to perform well. They are complex and
require training and skill to be properly operated and maintained. Spindles are prone to
wear and rust, and they can lose sharpness with use, impacting other parts of the system.
They must be sharp, clean, and correctly assembled for optimal operations and to reduce
the risk of damage. It is crucial to inspect the equipment thoroughly, verifying the row unit
tilt, and adjust if necessary. Doffers and moistening systems must be adjusted and
checked for wear and debris, and plant lifters should be operating at the right level for
guidance. Follow the manufacturer’s manual and professional expert advice to perform
preventative maintenance and repairs to the equipment.

VISCOSITY Oil has been developing optimal formulations for over 125 years,
adapting to the industry as mechanical and technological advances keep changing the
agricultural industry dynamic. We have designed a specialized product to help cotton-picking operations, adding protection, and keeping parts clean for optimal performance.
TUTELA® Spindle Cleaner keeps your picker safe against wear, debris, residues, and
contaminants that may hinder its functionality, reducing wrapping, and staining. Avoid
rust, corrosion and keep your equipment clean for the best operation during the cotton
harvest season. Browse our line of products and continue working in fluid motion with
VISCOSITY Oil, formulated for ALL.

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Hydraulics: The Science that Keeps Equipment in Motion

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Hydraulics: The Science that Keeps Equipment in Motion

Innovation and technology are often thought of as modern ideas associated with
concepts such as robotics, genetics, and information technology, to name a few.
However, innovative ideas and advancements have been occurring since the beginning
of human civilization. We have assimilated the great inventions of old into our daily lives
and routines without even noticing, and this is also the case with hydraulics.

Derived from the Greek hydraulikos (water organ), hydraulics has played a
significant role in the technological advances that have allowed us to do more with much
less effort. Irrigation, aqueducts, and turbines were all built following the principles of fluid
mechanics. In practice, hydraulic motion aligns with Pascal’s Law, which states that when
applying pressure to an incompressible fluid within a confined space, said pressure would
distribute evenly in all directions. In mechanical equipment, this pressure can be applied
by a piston exerting compression over oil contained within a cylinder; this force will
multiply and affect a receiving object, like a secondary piston, even if it is heavier or larger
in size.

How does hydraulics work?

Equipment in the days of the Industrial Revolution was mostly powered by steam,
which had its highest peak around the construction and operation of the railroad. Hybrid
solutions began to emerge soon after, integrating cable hydraulics to steam engines to
enhance efficiency. Innovators such as William Armstrong with the hydraulic accumulator
and Harry Franklin Vickers with the first hydraulic steering system, pushed the advances
that shaped the industry, allowing operators to perform more precise and heavy
workloads with minimal effort in lesser timeframes.

The mathematical equation to explain the force resulting from a hydraulic process
follows the aforementioned Pascal’s Law, in which force equals pressure PSI (pounds
per square inch) times the area. Using this formula, advancements in electronics and
horsepower management have increased the level of precision for heavy equipment.
However, the primary operating mechanism follows a relatively standard chain of motions,
allowing the equipment to receive constant power flow and, as a result, perform the
functional end for which it was built.

The main components of any hydraulic system are the reservoir, where the fluid is
contained; pumps (piston, gear, or vane pumps), electric motor, actuators (such as
hydraulic cylinders or motors), filters, valves, and hoses. An electric motor powers a small
master pump during the process, which pushes a minimal amount of fluid within a
reservoir and compresses it. This applied pressure moves the liquid through a control
valve with sufficient speed to affect a secondary larger pump within an actuator. This
allows for a resulting amplified force capable of moving, lifting, and carrying heavier loads.

One very easy way of exemplifying how hydraulics work is to take two syringes,
one of which is filled with water, connected by the end through a small hose. When
pushing the plunger of the one containing liquid, water will flow at a high speed through
the hose into the second empty syringe, filling it with enough force to push its plunger out.
Once this second syringe has been filled with water, pushing the plunger again will
pressure water back into the first syringe with the same effect.

Why is it essential for the Construction and Agricultural Industries?

Today hydraulics continue to power heavy-duty equipment in increasingly
sophisticated ways, from a simple break mechanism to powerlifting, and play a
fundamental role in many industrial processes at varying degrees of complexity and
strength. Their impact on agriculture and construction has been significant in reducing
manual power requirements, injuries, costs, and downtime, increasing effectiveness for
better results. Hydraulic equipment is reliable and can be controlled by an operator
through a joystick for ease of use. As such, excavator, trenchers, dozers, cranes, loaders,
tractors, sprayers, irrigation systems, balers, and many others still operate under these
mechanisms, which require proper maintenance to ensure their integrity and avoid
malfunctions that could impact production and safety. We have mentioned before about
the importance of maintenance for agriculture operations, and the same applies to
construction equipment that is exposed to extreme working conditions. Hydraulic systems
must be clean, unobstructed, and properly maintained so the work requirements are
fulfilled.

Our TUTELA® Hydraulic Fluids are some of the many solutions VISCOSITY Oil has to
offer. Tutela provides the necessary protection against temperature, varnish, wear, and
sludge, allowing the pieces of the hydraulic system to operate at optimal conditions.
The TUTELA® PREMIUM 46HVXtra Duty and the ISO 3246 & 68 formulations have been
designed to enhance durability and prevent corrosion and cavitation, with industry-level
sheer stability. Learn more about our Tutela Hydraulic Fluids and all our solutions in our
product page and continue working in fluid motion with VISCOSITY Oil, experts in heavy-duty
equipment protection for over 125 years. 

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Family Farms: The Core of the American Economy

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Family Farms: The Core of the American Economy

There are over 2 million farms in the US and about 96% of them have one key thing in common:
they are owned by families.

According to the 2017 Census on Agriculture released by the National Agricultural Statistics
Service of the US Department of Agriculture, 88% of these family farms are small, and their gross cash
farm income (GCFI) is under $350,000. Most small farms are in the South and New England states, while
mid and large-scale family farms can be found in the Midwest and the Northern Plain states. In most cases,
farming is these families’ primary occupation, meaning it is also their main source of income; however,
many require off-field salaries to sustain their business

After the Homestead Act of 1862 was signed by President Lincoln, lands were provided for new
settlers to exploit and work. Even though speculation and misuse of these lands soon became an issue,
the Act, although no longer in effect, set the basis for the rise of small family-owned farms. They
eventually grew in size and importance as agriculture became increasingly industrialized during the 20th
century. Today’s new technological advancements have altered the way family farm owners invest and
manage their lands, allowing them to optimize their processes and deliver better products to the general
population.

Stepping up to the challenges

American farms remain at the heart of the country’s economy. They are a vital market that,
although challenged by massive competitors, remains an important cornerstone to what the nation
represents. Many values are synonyms to farm labor – hard work, patience, persistence –, but one must
never make the mistake of glamorizing the daily struggles that farm owners experience. The reality is,
family farms are constantly tested due to events at the local, national and global level. Influencing factors
range from the climate to international crises, all unintentionally cascading into an immediate or long-term
concern, creating complex situations that stall production, influence markets and highlight the
delicate state some small farms are in.

However, one thing is for certain: family farms continue fighting. They have adapted to the
challenges over the last century, which have been rapid and sudden in many cases. Things people were
accustomed to fifty years ago are quite different from today’s reality, not just regarding societal issues,
but especially around areas such as sustainability and technology. Climate change and global policies have
shifted the perspective on how we can exploit and utilize our natural resources, serving as an impetus to
develop better solutions and innovations that, although aimed to improve quality of life, can sometimes
be expensive or downright alien to many who have kept working in a more traditional form. This, however,
should not be a detriment to anyone; these new tools are there to benefit the many family businesses
that continue moving forward.

A healthier choice in every regard

Numbers can show a lot, but they cannot portray what goes on behind the scenes. At the end of
the day, statistics and data show us just a minimal part of what running a small business means, and fail
to demonstrate the nuances, struggles, and success stories that occur in the fields across the US. Family
farms are a true example of hard work and remind us of that rewarding feeling you get from a job well
done and the importance of community. They are the centerpiece of our economy; a stable agricultural
industry makes for a stable nationwide economy. However, small and mid-size family farms still require
better markets to become competitive not only at the local level but also at a regional and state levels,
depending on their production size. This growth is beneficial for all, as it pushes local exchange and
movement at a larger scale, creating revenue for the business itself and the community, while also
becoming a source of new jobs.

Increasing the quality of our food systems is also something that family farms do, an aspect that
is sometimes overlooked and directly impacts the way we purchase our produce, dairy, and meats. Large-scale
industrial production has taken over the food market, relegating family farms as a secondary source.
This issue is not only associated with the economics of supply and demand but most importantly with our
health; the chemical intervention to many products, although meant to improve their quality and
durability, still makes for a non-natural source of nutrients. Conversely, the minimal to no alterations to
food grown within a small or medium-size farm becomes a healthier choice based on organic production
and sustainable practices.

There is much to do around policies, budgeting, and resources allocation. However, the best thing
we can do as consumers to support these businesses to continue to provide the products we put on our
tables is through our own purchasing power. Choosing local produce, visiting fairs, recommending,
sharing, all create the visibility they need.

The VISCOSITY Road to the Future

Our commitment as VISCOSITY Oil will continue to be the development of better, more efficient
solutions that will impact production for the best. Our industry carries its challenges, but for over 125
years we have been able to continue working and adapting to keep providing our customers with the best
solutions for their agricultural equipment, regardless of model and external conditions. We have become
a trusted option, one that has found its niche in a field that requires a high degree of specialization,
dedication, and reliability. The partnerships we have developed through the years are just as important
as our products’ design, and this collaboration is key to achieve a deeper understanding of what our
consumers need and demand from us as we keep working in fluid motion together.

Support your local family farms and businesses and keep building the strong communities that are
the pillars of our country. Browse our products section to find the best choice for your equipment, and
remember to ask our team about our Everlub SOLUTIONS so you can continue running your operations in
fluid motion with the best quality formulations and tools. Ask your local dealer for our portfolio or contact
us directly to keep moving fast, fluid, and forward with us.

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1.-Blog-Front

Unfolding Synthetic and Conventional Lubricants

Blog-Internal

Farming equipment undergoes various field conditions, from driving through dusty and rocky roads to performing in wet and extremely hot or cold temperatures. It is also frequently exposed to fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals; if the proper protection is not guaranteed, this exposure can harm the farming equipment components and eventually cause breakage. Considering the potential damage and associated costs this entails, lubrication plays a fundamental role in protecting and guarding your machinery against various failures linked to corrosion, wear, oxidation, and deposit control, among others.

Experience has taught us that there is a lot to unfold when determining the type of oil best suited for your engine. Your first intuition might have been that any oil of a certain weight would do, or perhaps you are someone who believes that price equals quality, so you play it safe and get the most expensive one on the shelf. The truth is, choosing the best oil for your engine can be tricky if you don’t have all the information. We have decided to give you a run-down on the difference between conventional and synthetic lubricants to help you avoid downtime and expensive repairs linked to lubricant misuse.

Conventional and Synthetic: what’s the difference?
Conventional Lubricants

Conventional lubricants are made with what is commonly referred to as mineral base oils, which come directly from a natural source, namely crude petroleum. Producing mineral oil is more straightforward than the process required to create synthetic, thus making the end product cheaper and more accessible than its synthetic counterparts. This process mainly consists of removing natural contaminants and impurities from the vacuum gas oil feed, which are harmful to the lubricant’s performance.

Overall, these oils perform effectively under normal conditions — those which are not too extreme in terms of temperature or field quality — and are compatible with all vehicles. For optimal performance, it is crucial to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations and make timely changes to the conventional lubricant you use on your equipment.

Synthetic Lubricants

Synthetic oils are highly refined petroleum-based lubricants that have been specially synthesized to balance their molecular composition. With a more stable chemical structure than the more diverse one found in mineral oils, these synthetic base oils provide improved performance under extremely low or high temperatures while flowing more freely than mineral oils.

Some of the benefits of using these lubricants include maximizing and improving engine efficiency — resulting in fuel savings — and extending the overall durability of the engine and providing enhanced protection against deposits. However great the benefits may be, they come with a price tag. To tackle the cost, you can choose between fully synthetic, which tends to be pricier, and semi-synthetic, which mixes mineral and synthetic oils to reduce costs while still offering some of the benefits of using fully synthetic

The VISCOSITY Oil Solution

With over 125 years of experience developing products for all manufacturer brands and exceeding industry standards, VISCOSITY Oil offers top quality engine oils to ensure your off-road farming equipment delivers the performance and production you need.

Its UNITEK line offers a series of conventional, semi-synthetic, and synthetic oils purposefully designed and rigorously tested in the field. All products are formulated with highly refined based oils and high shear stability viscosity modifiers. Here, we present three products for each need:

High-performance conventional oil formulated to provide enhanced thermal and oxidation stability, offering outstanding protection for low-emission engines. It also neutralizes corrosive acids, offers film resistance, and good dispersion of soot and deposit control.

High-performance, low-emission, semi-synthetic oil formulated to provide enhanced fuel economy with low-temperature viscosity and protection under extreme mechanical stress. This engine oil also fights against high concentration of soot build-up, providing excellent wear protection for new and older engines.

High-performance, low emissions, semi-synthetic diesel oil, designed and formulated to provide optimal soot dispersion and deposit control. It also provides outstanding thermal and oxidation stability under extreme conditions and temperatures for extended protection and durability, neutralizing corrosive acids.

High-performance, low-emission, synthetic oil formulated to offer longer oil life and durability, providing excellent wear protection under extreme conditions of cold weather, and outstanding oxidation control, dispersion of soot, and deposit control.

In the end, choosing between a conventional, semi-synthetic, or synthetic oil will depend on your budget and the field conditions in which you are operating. Before deciding on your purchase, however, you should always check and follow the recommendations of your equipment’s manufacturer to assess oil change frequency and lubricant requirements.

Browse our product section to find more details on and other premium quality solutions for your equipment! Contact us and see the many options we have so you can continue keeping work in fluid motion.

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Blog-Aug_24

What determines your purchase?

Blog-Aug_24---Internal

VISCOSITY aims not only to provide the best solutions in lubricants and oils but also the best
customer service. For us, it is important that both our dealers and end consumers have access to every
tool and piece of information available so that they can make a purchase that will impact their equipment
positively, choosing quality products that are compatible with all their needs.

With that in mind, we conducted a brief local study to determine which aspects our clients deem
fundamental when buying lubricants and oils. Our findings revealed interesting insights that we would
like to share with you. Which ones do you consider the most important?

Price

First and foremost, our end consumers look at the price tag since, as we mentioned in a previous
entry, a cost-effective operation is fundamental to maintaining steady revenue and making the most out
of all the resources available. A little over 50% of our respondents consider price as the most important
piece of information that should be available when purchasing, 38% noted that they compare prices online
before going directly to the website to make their purchase, and 32% go to the store to buy again after
the first purchase. In general, online shopping is the most popular way of acquiring products, with nearly
71% of consumers preferring this option, especially when it includes benefits such as free delivery and
special discounts.

Product Benefits

The second most important aspect for our end consumers is the benefits the product provides,
with around 45% of respondents agreeing that it’s a vital point. Considering the previous view on value,
consumers must have a competitive and convenient price versus quality ratio to decide on what they’d
prefer. The information on the benefits doesn’t only come from the manufacturer’s descriptions, but
mostly from opinions and reviews in social media, with 38% of respondents confirming that they
sometimes take blog entries, forums, or social media posts as influencing aspects, while 24% of
respondents agree that it is likely they´ll take this external information into account before deciding on a
product. These numbers also reflect the means through which most consumers have the initial contact
for the merchandise they seek since social media is the number one source of advertisement for both
manufacturers and dealers alike, followed by online ads.

Specifications

Last but not least, product specifications are the third most vital piece of information that our end
consumers consider when purchasing. With around 40% of respondents confirming technical information
is critical before finally adding the product to a cart, aspects such as data and proof of performance
become fundamental to allow consumers to make an informed and effective purchase. Technical aspects
for the products offered are better appreciated when this information is available directly on the official
website for either the manufacturer or the dealer, making it easier and far more trustworthy for the
consumer to access. Audiovisual material concerning usage and demos, and content aimed at providing
information and best practices are a significant way to expand and improve customer knowledge and
communication between manufacturers and end consumers, while providing useful tips that better
impact business for the person or entity who purchases the product.

Striving towards continuous success

Progress and innovation are not limited to the formulations and research, but all aspects of our
company. Since 1892 we have developed quality solutions and OEM premium products in our labs,
rigorously tested to account for all the needs of the agricultural and construction industry to keep your
equipment working in fluid motion. That legacy has positioned us as a reliable and trustworthy supplier,
and we will continue working to provide the best service to all those who choose the VISCOSITY route.
Our digital presence, although recent, is no exception; we will keep on developing a closer relationship
with our customers so that the partnerships we have built through the years, and all the new ones that
come, continue to move forward with the VISCOSITY seal of excellence.

Browse our website and learn more about the state-of-the-art technology behind our products
and solutions for your heavy-duty equipment. Ask your local dealer for our portfolio and join our newsletter
and our Facebook and Instagram communities; we invite you to comment and share your thoughts and
ideas with us!

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Blog-Aug_12

Building a better future

Blog-Aug_12---Internal
Building a better future

Development and innovation are concepts that we understand very well at VISCOSITY. Leading the lubricants and oil industry would not have happened without the great minds behind the ideas that have kept us moving forward, not only in our labs but in every single part of our company.

Education, training, and preparation for the challenges that arise every day allow us to increase our opportunities to succeed and improve the quality of life for our customers and communities. We mirror that spirit in everything we do, and that is also why we believe educational institutions are fundamental to bringing about these changes. Among all, the National FFA Organization is one we keep very close to our hearts.

The National FFA Organization

The National FFA Organization is a student organization for young people aiming to become part of the agricultural business and take on leadership positions in various fields. Initially founded by a group of young farmers in 1928, its primary goal is to help develop the minds and careers of future leaders and professionals who are rising to the challenges that society faces today. With chapters nationwide, they not only focus on academic achievements, but also community outreach, advocacy, and engagement. Their scholarships, grants, and various events aim to provide students with a comprehensive view of the world while developing the necessary skills to become a professional within the agricultural industry and in any career path.

The National FFA Organization works with the Agricultural Education Model around three main pillars:

  • Contextual Learning: inquiry-based education within an interactive classroom or laboratory.
  • Experiential Learning: work-based and hands-on activities outside the classroom, such as SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) programs.
  • Leadership Learning: through personal growth and engagement within organizations such as the National FFA Organization and others associated with the field.
The VISCOSITY role

As supporters of this academic organization, VISCOSITY aims to help develop a professional profile that includes knowledge and preparation on the importance of fluids within the agricultural and construction equipment scope. Training and learning on this aspect of the business will place the future leader in an advantageous position, where they understand the importance of every part of operations conducted in and out of the fields.

Moreover, presenting this line of development to the new generations opens an opportunity to bring in new ideas and solutions to the lubricant and oils industry, creating spaces of investigation and research powered by curiosity and creativity. On-site activities and field training will provide students with direct contact with the materials, qualifications, skills, and fundamentals to get involved in an area around agriculture.

Browse our website to view all the innovative premium products we have developed for you! For more information on the National FFA Organization, you can visit their website https://www.ffa.org/.

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