MF7615 Series surpasses New Zealand Dairy farmer and contractor’s expectations for hedge mulching business.
Contractor and dairy farmer Robert Klaus has great partnerships.
The first is with his wife Sharon who loves her cows and runs the dairy farm. The second is with Massey Ferguson, and their MF7615 tractor, the backbone of Robert’s hedge-cutting business.
Robert and Sharon bought their first dairy farm near Matamata. They’d been share milking for seven years, working up to managing a 500-cow herd. Now they have their own property where they milk 150 cows on 52 effective hectares.
It’s a small farm and dairy payouts are looking questionable for this coming season, so it is good Robert has his contracting sideline. Besides he loves machinery.
“I’d been working for a mate who owns a contracting business for the last eight years and I wanted to do something myself. Sharon enjoys milking, and I could see a gap in the market mulching barberry hedges.”
Robert looked at second-hand cutters but couldn’t find anything good enough so he had the local engineers design and build one for him. It’s like a giant mower tilted on its side with two big blades, and a shroud around it. It mulches the hedges and leaves everything tidy.
Robert got the Massey Ferguson 7615 in December from Matamata tractors.
“I needed a six-cylinder machine with a long wheel base because the hedge-cutter is mid-mounted. I got the Dyna-VT variable transmission as it goes down to 0.3 kph. I use it in foot mode. I just take my foot off and it stops. I hardly ever use the brake or clutch. It’s like driving a big forklift.”
The hedge cutter runs off the tractor’s hydraulics and all the operations for the rams on the cutter are controlled from the factory joystick in the cab.
“I saved a lot of money, as I didn’t have to fit an after-market joystick,” Robert says.
The joystick also has a forward/reverse button so he doesn’t have to move his hand during operations. He can constantly look at where he’s going and what the mulcher is doing.
The cutter is mounted on the left side of the tractor, and Robert says it is “a piece of cake getting in and out the right door. In some other brands it was just about impossible to get out.”
There are dual wheels on the cutter side to help balance the weight of the machine.
“I’ve got a bigger footprint on the left side, which makes it more stable. Otherwise, if I hit a hole the cutter would drop when I’m trying to keep the hedge straight.”
He doesn’t fit duals on the right side, as it would make the tractor too wide to get through gateways.
The MF 7615 produces 150hp from a Tier 4a AGCO Power SCR engine, which uses AdBlue to minimise toxic emissions.
“It’s no problem. I fill AdBlue every third tank of diesel. It’s got a gauge telling me when its low, and I always keep a bit on hand.”
He says anyone can jump in and drive the tractor. “It’s what I like about them. “They’ve got all the technology but it’s user-friendly. Everything is simply laid out.”
The cab also meets with his approval.
“It’s awesome – comfortable and really quiet. That stood out when I first drove it. People ring me and ask what I’m doing because they can’t even hear the hedge-cutter working.”
Robert says the serviceability is also good. “You don’t have to pop the bonnet to check the oil. And if you need to blow out the radiator, it’s right there and easy to get at.”
The MF 7615 is available in three different specifications: Essential, Efficient and Exclusive. Robert got the Efficient.
He’s had great service from Matamata Tractors.
“When we were building the hedge-cutter they helped the engineer to shift the diesel, hydraulic and AdBlue tanks, and nothing was ever a problem.”
This isn’t Robert and Sharon’s first dealing with Massey Ferguson tractors. They also run a MF5460.
They’ve had the MF 5460 for four years. It’s 120hp with a Dyna-4 transmission.
“I always liked Fergies and Matamata Tractors did a good deal I couldn’t pass up. I just like the tractor. It’s got everything we need but is still basic to operate,” Robert says.
“It’s really reliable and nothing has gone wrong with it. On the big farm it pulled the silage wagon. Now it has an auger bucket for feeding out on a pad. It also does the mowing and all the farm work.
He says both the Fergies are very quiet tractors, with everything well laid out, at your fingertips.
As innovation in precision farming becomes increasingly important to Australian and New Zealand farming practices, the latest innovations in guidance technology are vital in any young graduate’s university curriculum.
With Fuse Technologies at the forefront of this innovation, AGCO Australia recently played host to a group of Bachelor of Business (Agribusiness) students from Geelong’s Marcus Oldham College.
Students were taken through a detailed information session by Advanced Technologies Product Manager Jeremy Duniam, followed by a question and answer session and a chance to take a closer look at some of the other exciting AGCO products.
Accompanying the students, Senior Lecturer Des Umbers said that it was vital graduates are exposed to advancements in on and off farm technologies to prepare them for best practice farming methods.
“Agribusiness courses can’t afford to have students graduate without an understanding of the latest technologies and innovations. It will help them in the future if they intend to work at large corporate farms or their own operations as well as help the older generation of farmers adapt,” says Des Umbers
Attending the visit was Marcus Oldham student Alex Baum already has a strong interest in precision farming. His family operates an 18,000 acre property in Western Australia and applies no-till “tram lining” to help reduce input costs and make fertiliser application more efficient.
“I am passionate about precision farming, it is really important on the farm as we try to save on inputs where we can. We need to add significant amounts of fertilizer – reducing those costs with efficient application is really important,” says Alex Baum.
AGCO Broad Acre manager Fergal Meehan was impressed by the quality of the student group and their positive attitude, seeing a bright future for the next generation of farm managers, contractors and consultants.
“It is great to see such an enthusiastic group embarking on a career in agriculture keen to learn about exciting advancements in precision farming. It was also a great opportunity for AGCO to showcase our industry leading technology to the next generation of agriculture leaders,” says Fergal Meehan.
How do you get a tractor into the middle of Australia’s third largest city? Drive it down a river of course!
The long awaited Challenger E series made a dramatic entrance to the Australian and New Zealand region, surprising a gathering of Challenger Dealers on the banks of the Brisbane River.
Built upon three decades of Challenger’s tracked tractor leadership, the industry leading E Series demanded an unveiling that would leave a lasting impression with the dealership team and kick off the launch of this exciting new range with a bang.
Local challenger dealers were invited to a social evening at a restaurant overlooking the Brisbane River in Brisbane’s business district. As guest presenters introduced the new ground breaking E Series with informative presentations and videos, Challenger dealers would have been excused for assuming the evening was following a familiar schedule.
Drifting down the river under the cover of darkness, on a barge set up as a stage, the Challenger E series was poised to disrupt that familiarity.
Arriving at its destination with precision timing, the floating E series nudged closer towards the dealer group now congregating on the restaurant’s balcony and was revealed in a coordinated show of lights, smoke and the beat of ACDC’s thunderstruck.
And thunderstruck the crowd was. The unique unveiling was captured by a contingent of photographers as well as the dealership group and onlookers, with hands quickly diving into pockets in search of iphones to capture the sight.
Speaking after the event, key organiser of the E series launch and Challenger Product Manager Jeremy Duniam said that the evening went as planned.
“There were a couple of dealers that had a suspicion of what was going to happen, but most were stunned when the tractor was lit up and floating only metres from the river bank.”
“It was an exciting way to introduce the exciting new Challenger E Series,” Jeremy said.
A behind the scenes video of the spectacular unveiling will be available soon on AGCO Blog and www.facebook.com/ChallengerAg
Established in 2005, Darmac Ag Sales & Service is located in the fertile and richly soiled hills of Silvan, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley region, have recently become AGCO Australia’s newest Fendt dealer.
Expanding steadily into a highly professional and skilled operation, the Darmac Ag team offers a range of products and services to local Farmers as well small property owners and municipal councils beyond their immediate region.
Darmac Ag’s successful business expansion and dedication to professional service has resulted in their recent appointment as the Yarra Valley region’s new Fendt dealer.
Fendt technology, comfort and innovation has been coupled with a dedicated sales and service team at the fully equipped facilities of Darmac Ag. The highly experienced staff and dealer principal, Darren McIntyre, are excited at the opportunity of offering Fendt’s industry leading products and technology.
Already making inroads with municipal councils beyond the Yarra Valley, Darmac Ag attracted the attention of Boroondara council, previous Fendt owners, who became Darmac Ag’s first Fendt Sale.
Encouraged by Fendt’s low maintenance, favourable operating lease and Darmac Ag’s solid service and support, Boroondara purchased two Fendt 312 Series Varios.
“They will be utilised maintaining parks and gardens. The 312’s are really ideal for these sorts of applications as any operator can get into them. The Vario transmission makes switching between tasks and on road travel really straight forward,” Darren says.
According to Darren, other models in the Fendt range are also ideally matched to Darmac’s local farming conditions and give Darmac Ag a machinery solution for most local operators.
“The 90 HP Fendt 200 Series Vario are ideal for the local orchard, vineyard and strawberry farmers, with high levels of comfort and fuel efficiency matched with the advanced Vario transmissions,” says Darren.
Local Area Sales Manager for AGCO Australia Chris Dalton was pleased to be a part of the appointment and sees a lot of opportunities for the Fendt range with local customers.
“There are a lot of good operators in the area and there is demand for quality, reliable machines that are well supported with parts and service. Fendt innovation and technology together with Darmac Ag’s proven track record of professional service are a great combination,” says Chris.
A Delegation of Chinese agricultural and engineering representatives recently toured AGCO Australia’s Sunshine distribution and corporate offices.
The study tour focused on the promotion of shared innovation and farming practices as China moves towards modernising its agriculture sector while balancing environmental and population challenges.
A vital industry in China, agriculture employs a staggering 300,000 million farmers – roughly 21% of its population, with a history stretching well into China’s ancient past. Rice has been cultivated in China for 7,700 years making it one of the oldest agrarian civilisations.
More contemporarily, China ranks highly in worldwide production of rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oil seed, pork and fish. Accounting for 10 percent of arable land worldwide, China produces food for 20 percent of the world’s population – that’s 1.4 billion people.
Having also visited Europe and North America, the group were interested in analysing case studies of AGCO products that illustrate the real world benefits new technologies have had on farming operations in Australia and the adoption rate amongst local farmers.
China’s agricultural sector is large but also one of the least efficient in the world. The study group’s main focus was on farming methods that will help drive change in traditional methods.
The representatives came from a variety of regions in China, keen on gathering strong evidence of the benefits of different farming practices and their potential to transform traditional techniques, helping China forge ahead with modernisation while mitigating the worst effects of air and water pollution.
Emission reduction technologies and fuel efficient machinery were of particular interest to the delegation as China increases mechanisation of agriculture.
The contrast with Australia’s agricultural sector could not be starker. As a country with a small population, agriculture in Australia employs 307,000 people – that’s 1% of its population. The majority of farm output is destined for offshore markets with Australia ranking 5th in global wheat exporters.
The potential for improvements in Chinese farming practices is enormous and could have huge benefits for not only for China but also the world, as future food scarcity looms as a potential threat to the global population.
It is hoped that these experiences will help Chinese agricultural specialists and policy makers compare global agricultural practices and adapt new technologies to Chinese farming conditions.