Plowing Ahead

Kuhn Krause celebrates 100 years

Published online: Jun 30, 2016 Potato Equipment
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This article appears in the July 2016 issue of Potato Grower.

Agriculture, since the very beginning, has been an industry dependent on innovation. Across the millennia, the guy who took the initiative to experiment and take chances in his quest for better equipment, better irrigation and better soil was the guy ultimately rewarded with better crops. Though steeped in tradition, agriculture nevertheless remains the industry perhaps most dependent on constantly changing the status quo.

That ancient, entrepreneurial spirit of non-conformity inspired Henry Krause in 1916 to construct his first one-way disc plow in the small shop on his western Kansas farm. A century later, Kuhn Krause Inc. continues to provide growers with some of the best tillage equipment on the market. 


Building on the Original

Henry Krause created his one-way disc plow with the intention of reducing wind erosion by leaving more residue on the soil surface than the plows that were then available. (The company contends that Henry’s plow was the first-ever soil conservation tillage tool.) The experiment was a success on his farm, and before long Henry was building plows for the neighbors’ operations and hearing reports of 100-acre-a-day efficiency.

Drought hit the area from 1917 to 1919, and with his plow business steadily growing, Henry Krause had phased himself out of the farming game completely by 1924. Over the next quarter-century, the Krause business and reputation steadily grew, and by 1947 Krause was annually manufacturing around 15,000 one-way plows. That growth continued over the ensuing decades, to the point that in 1988 Fortune named Krause tillage equipment among its list of 100 best American-made products. 


Into the 21st Century

Henry Krause’s family and descendants were intimately involved in the business for 95 years. In 2011, the Kuhn Group acquired the Krause Corporation, and the company has strived to maintain the standard of quality and innovation for which Henry Krause’s equipment has been known from the beginning. Though still most heavily concentrated in the Corn Belt, the Kuhn Krause dealer network has expanded from one end of North America to the other.

The people at Kuhn Krause firmly believe the company’s success is predominantly due to two factors: employee’s dedication the agriculture industry as a whole, and the relationships it has worked tirelessly cultivate with growers.

“We’re able to manufacture products that perform and provide value to farming operations,” says Kuhn Krause director of marketing Curt Davis, “because we have people—agronomists, machinists, engineers—who know the agricultural business and have a passion for the industry. We listen to growers and implement their ideas about solutions for equipment to help their operations.”

With a century of progress and prosperity—derived from that grower-focused philosophy—in the rearview, it’s safe to say Kuhn Krause foundation is more than solid enough to support another hundred years of tillage equipment innovation.   

Over the past 100 years, the Krause name has been attached to many quality products, but some stand out as landmarks in the company’s history.

  • One-Way Disc Plow (1916)

          The original Krause product, increased Plains growers’ ability to till many acres per day

  • Flex-Wing Tandem Disc Harrow (1965)

          First folding disc that contoured the ground and allowed more horsepower to be utilized

  • Landsman Soil Finisher (1982)

          Incorporated discs in front of field cultivator shanks and seed bed harrows to produce ideal seeding conditions

  • No-Till Drill (1984)

          Integrated no-till coulter design with precision residue opener that provided increased seeding depth accuracy

  • Dominator Primary Tillage System (2003)

          During fall primary tillage, can handle increased amounts of heavy residue, ripping compaction and leveling

          fields for seedbed preparation

  • Gladiator Strip-Till System (2009)

          Provides excellent strip and accurate nutrient placement

  • Excelerator Vertical Tillage System (2010)

          Delivers residue sizing, soil incorporation, residue anchoring and seedbed leveling