Archive for May, 2014
In most instances, compromise is a good thing. That’s not necessarily true, however, when you are talking about agricultural engines. According to Matt Rushing, AGCO director of product management for global engines and global electronics, nearly every company but AGCO shares most of their engines with other applications. Consequently, trade-offs on performance and price are generally the result.
“That’s not the case with the AGCO POWER engines Massey Ferguson® uses to power the majority of its tractors and harvest equipment,” says Rushing. “We purposely build our engines for particular agricultural products.”
In contrast, Rushing says many of Massey Ferguson’s competitors are forced to build a line of engines for multiple applications—from excavators and marine usage to trucks and forestry machines. “They really have to design their engine families with those things in mind. When you do that, you’re going to have to compromise somewhere.”
As a result, he continues, “one group of customers is often penalized in terms of cost, size or performance, because the engine has to be built a certain way for another specific group of customers … whether that involves using a certain type of cooler, a certain SCR dosing system or even special internal components.” However, because AGCO POWER engines are designed and built for agricultural applications, the machines can often be built smaller to allow for greater ease of handling or provide greater visibility than if an off-the-shelf engine were fitted under the hood.
As one example, Rushing points to the AGCO POWER 9.8-liter, 7-cylinder in-line diesel engine used in the Massey Ferguson 9500 Series combines. “It’s basically one cylinder longer than the 8.4-liter engine we use in the 8600 Series tractors, so that gives us and our customers a lot more parts commonality for lower maintenance costs. Yet, the in-line design gives us as much torque and power as we had with the [12.5-litre] Cat, while leaving space for all the turbos, after-treatment components and in-line cooling systems that are required to meet current emissions standards.”
Most days, from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can find Galen Hammann working what might be called his first shift. He’s an assistant engineer at the Truman Hotel in his hometown of Jefferson City, Mo.
By mid-afternoon, he’s working closer to home on his 185-acre farm, where he raises about 80 head of cattle a year, as well as oats, wheat and hay—a mixture of fescue, orchardgrass, brome and clover—to use as feed for his cow/calf operation. No matter what he’s up to, the work usually doesn’t stop until dark, if not later.
That’s much the same story for Ken Thalman. Living and working about a three-hour drive east from Hammann, Thalman is a full-time postal employee in Centralia, Ill., who, in addition to his day job, grows grass hay on 18 acres of his 40-acre spread.
Thalman and Hammann are among the growing ranks of the do-it-yourself hay producers. One of the main drivers of the trend is that less hay is being produced, leading to higher prices.
Also, significant advances in equipment have made it more cost-effective for many farmers to grow their own as opposed to buying feed or hiring custom harvesters. Even growing hay on plots of land once considered too small to be worth the effort has become an increasingly popular solution for producers looking to squeeze the value out of every dollar, hour and acre.
To be sure, the rising cost of hay and the demand on custom harvesters have made the DIY option more cost-effective for greater numbers of small-acreage farmers. In addition, not only can they now grow hay themselves, small-acreage producers can also grow the quality their operations demand.
Both Hammann and Thalman battle hills and sharp corners that make operating with large mowers and balers difficult. That’s a big reason why they use small, nimble equipment that’s more suited for rolling land often carved into small parcels.
“The smaller length of the cutterbar on Ken’s Massey Ferguson® 1326 disc mower allows it to cover rough terrain,” says dealer Jeff Suchomski, of Suchomski Equipment. “And Ken’s Hesston® 1734 [round] baler, with the smaller overall size, can handle the terrain better too.”
Thalman can also pull his new equipment with relatively low-horsepower tractors. Considering many small-acreage farmers aren’t likely to own anything much larger, that’s a valuable feature.
“I don’t need a big tractor [for] farming,” says Thalman. “I’ve got my own tractor, and Jeff can match me up with equipment that will work with what I’ve got. It’s a win-win situation.”
Both Thalman and Hammann also have to travel over the road with their equipment to reach smaller patches of land they clear for neighbors. When he needs to be mobile, Hammann runs a Hesston 4550 square baler he purchased from Tom Lauf, of Lauf Equipment. “The square baler is built very compact compared to how it used to be built. It’s narrower and still makes a better bale than the old balers did,” Lauf says.
Thalman also likes the way his equipment handles in tight spots. “When I show you some of the places that I take hay off of, you’d think there’s no way you could get your equipment in,” he says. “I’ve got places up and down the road here with 4, 5 and 6 acres that I mow. And my equipment is small enough, I can just run right down the road.”
What might the European parliamentary elections mean for farming? In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), Massey Ferguson speaks to President, Matteo Bartolini about the possible outcomes and finds out more about CEJA’s latest campaign to target the new parliament.
MF: The European elections are just around the corner (22-25 May). Can you tell us a little more about them and why they are important?
MB: If you are a citizen of the European Union, then you are eligible to vote for one of your MEP candidates. 751 MEPs will then be elected to represent you and your region in the European Parliament for the next five years. They will have the power to amend, approve or reject a majority of EU legislation. The number of MEPs is in fact decreasing this year from the current number of 766 to 751 (750 MEPs and a President). Although you may still think 750 is a high number, it is not a lot to represent over 500 million citizens! We are yet to get a clear idea of the anticipated results of the elections but it seems there may be a move to the right this time. Although this should not pose much of a risk to agricultural support, it may mean a more conservative approach to a number of upcoming free trade agreement negotiations between the EU and other regions which could have an impact on European farmers.
MF: The European Parliament is made up of a number of different Committees, which is the most relevant for CEJA?
MB: This is the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI). COMAGRI’s current members have had a significant impact on the shape of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and, therefore, can influence EU policy and decision-making which have a direct and important impact on European farmers. This is particularly the case since the structural changes to the EU decision-making processes made in 2009 which strengthened the Parliament’s powers, notably in agriculture.
Since the launch of the Fuse Technologies platform in 2013, a key goal of the Fuse connected strategy has been to increase and enhance industry partnerships. By taking an open approach to development and partnerships, growers can work with service providers of their choosing. This gives growers more control of how they manage their operations, helping them to make better decisions.
DuPont Pioneer and AGCO recently announced a global collaboration to bring wireless data transfer technology solutions to farmers in leading agricultural markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil and key European countries. The agreement will allow seamless interface of data and farm management information between AGCO equipment and EncircaSM services, the new whole-farm decision solutions offering from Pioneer that is designed to help growers improve their productivity and profitability.
Growers can choose to have data collected through AGCO’s VarioDoc, TaskDoc™ and AgCommand® systems wirelessly transferred to Pioneer EncircaSM services. AGCO’s VarioDoc and TaskDoc are task file management systems that allow growers to conveniently and securely transfer task files between their farm machines and office without the need for a data card, portable memory drive or the physical transfer of devices.
For more information about Fuse Technologies and AGCO’s new connected strategy, visit www.agcotechnologies.com.
To learn more about how AGCO is collaborating with DuPont Pioneer to bring this technology to market, see the full press release here.
One of the best arrays of AGCO products in New Zealand was on display at the recent Central New Zealand Customer evening held in Manfield and attended by a large gathering of 325 customers and dealer staff.
The event was an initiative of four local dealers – TFM Tractors, TRC Tractors Fielding and FieldTorque – presenting the audience with the Iseki brand and the surprise unveiling of the new MF6600 Series 120-140hp and Fendt 500 Vario 125hp-165hp tractors.
Also in attendance was AGCO staff, who offered a detailed overview of the new Fendt and Massey Ferguson tractors.
But it wasn’t all serious business – the audience was also entertained with a video of a “Top Gear” inspired hot lap that saw the Iseki, MF6600 and Fendt 500 go head to head at the nearby Manfield race track, followed later in the evening by a uniquely local comedic performance.
While it was a great opportunity to introduce exciting new product ranges, the evening was just as much a celebration for customers and a chance for dealers to show their appreciation of their support.
AGCO Australia staff invited to present and enjoy the evening were impressed by the great atmosphere and overwhelming support shown buy the large number of attendees.
“This has probably been one of the best dealer events I have attended. It was great to see the professionalism and dedication of the New Zealand dealers that organised the evening and the large number of customers that came along and had a great time”, said Paul Darcy, Director of Sales AGCO Australia.
Special mention was reserved for TRC, who were elevated to four star dealer status as part of AGCO’s program of dealer development.
AGCO Australia would like to thank TFM Tractors, TRC Tractors Fielding and FieldTorque for the great event and all New Zealand customers that participated.