It is bound to be a hit exhibit at the Indiana State Fair, this year and every year, and you will find it inside Indiana Soybean Alliance’s Glass Barn. The new combine simulator is designed to be as close to the real thing that farmers operate in their fields, and young and old can experience it.
“You sit on the seat, you start the combine up and the seat actually rumbles just like the engine of a combine would give you that feel,” says Matt Keller from ISA who is running the Glass Barn operations at the fair. “Then you look out the front windshield and you see a soybean field and you start harvesting the field. You get some prompts telling you what you should do, letting them know there are GPS steering mechanisms on here to keep things in a straight line, and then you unload on the go while you’re in there. So, you’ve got a grain cart that comes alongside of you. The view turns sideways, you see the cart come along, and you see the soybeans start off load into the grain cart.”
If you can’t climb the stairs to the cab, there is also a smaller ground-level experience that even allows wheelchair accessibility.
The combine itself is a combination of real and fabricated parts.
“The process started by trying to source combine parts that we could re-use,” Keller explained. “So, we went to a combine scrap yard so to speak, a farm implements scrap yard, and we found panels from a combine that we could use. We found wheels and tires from a real combine that we use. Both cabs are off of real combines, and then a company out of Cincinnati called ADEX fabricated the rest of it out of MDF wood, out of steel, out of plastic, and just molded this thing to perfection really.”
After building and adjusting the combine from the assorted parts, it was disassembled and brought to the fairgrounds where parts were moved into the Glass Barn on the north side of the fairgrounds where it was rebuilt, complete with the technology used on Indiana farms.
The exhibit also includes a multi-century timeline of agriculture technology and more details about today’s farm implement technology. The Glass Barn is also again connecting visitors with featured farmers directly from their farms. Stop in and enjoy, and it’s all free.