Busy Central Otago contractor David O’Neill has a fleet of eight Massey Ferguson and seven Fendt tractors, but tractors are not the only AGCO machinery his business runs. He also has four Massey Ferguson square balers and a Massey Ferguson telehandler.
David O’Neill Contracting Ltd is based at Omarama and offers a range of services from baling, to spreading to cultivation and direct drilling.
His newest big square baler is a Massey Ferguson 2250 TPC bought last season. It’s his fourth MF baler, and it makes 875mm x 880mm bales.
The TPC stands for tandem (axle) and packer cutter. This is the first baler David’s had with a packer cutter. Instead of a rotor feeding the crop into the chamber it has a packer.
David says a rotor works fine for round balers because they need a continuous flow of crop, but a square baler packs in the grass, compresses it, and then picks up more crops. Therefore it works better without a continuous flow.
“A rotor does a beautiful job when conditions are perfect, but not so good when you are outside the window. A packer copes better with variations in a crop.”
David likes the simplicity of his MF balers. “It’s a nice simple baler. If anything goes wrong, it’s easy to fix. Some of the European balers have fancy drive shafts and clutches and are more complicated with more things to go wrong. We like to keep things simple up here.”
For 90 percent of its life the MF 2250 TPC makes baleage from grass or lucerne. It does a tiny bit of straw and hay and all up makes about 10,000 bales per season.
The operator sets the bale density from the cab, but other than that the baler sorts itself out. It beeps when it has tied the bale and beeps as it is ejected.
Square balers aren’t renowned for their stability, but the tandem axle makes a big difference. “The tandem is really good. It sticks to the side of the hill better. We pull the MF 2250 with a Fendt 818.”
David also has an older model MF 2150T baler. It is packer baler with no cutter.
“It’s a good simple baler and easy to operate. This last year it was on straw duty and made about 3000 bales.”
Another recent piece of kit is the Massey Ferguson telehandler that David bought in autumn 2015. He already had two telehandlers, which he used to load the wrapper and fert trucks, but the workshop boys also wanted one.
A salesman from JJs in Timaru dropped off the MF 9407S telehandler for them to try and it never left. Its main job now is loading the bale wrapper during the season, while one of the older telehandlers is busy unloading trucks at the workshop and any other lifting job required in a busy workplace.
The MF 9407S is 130hp with a max lift of 3.5 tonnes up to 7.0m. It has hydrostatic transmission with two speed ranges – paddock and road.
There are three ways to steer it: two wheel, four-wheel steer and crab. Most of the time David and his crew have it in four-wheel steer for easy manoeuvring, but occasionally in tight spots it’s in crab to go sideways.
It has plenty of safety features with a roll over cab roof and protection from falling items. It has a series of lights on the dash indicating safe position for the load. If a load is approaching a dangerous position, the lights approach the red, and the driver has time to change their mind.
David has bought all his AGCO equipment from JJs Timaru. He says it is actually hard to judge the quality of the back-up service JJs provides as nothing seems to go wrong with their products.
“They rarely come out here as we don’t seem to need it. But when we bought something completely different, like the telehandler, then they came out to show us all the things on it.”
David and Prue O’Neill have 16 tractors and 10 trucks driving their Central Otago business, David O’Neill Contracting Ltd. They include eight Massey Ferguson and seven Fendt tractors, all from JJs Timaru.
David O’Neill Contracting is based at Omarama and with their fleet of tractors they provide a full range of services including cultivation, baling, silage, direct drilling and mulching. At the height of the season they employ up to 22 staff.
David grew up on a farm in the North Island and his father always had Massey Ferguson, so naturally that was the first tractor he bought.
“I started contracting when I was 16. I had two tractors when I was still at school.”
Since then he’s owned more than 20 ‘Fergies’.
His oldest is a 2002 MF 8240. It’s 180hp and has worked 13,000 hours. “I keep it because it is a good old, simple tractor. I don’t use it much now, but it can do anything, and it’s a back up.”
Another Massey Ferguson they use as a back-up tractor is a 2008 MF 7495. It used to run the triple mowers, but now it tows a heavy roller and does some discing.
The newest is a 2015 MF 7618 with a Dyna-6 transmission. It spends most of its life pulling a four-rotor rake.
The three latest – the MF 7618 and two MF 7622 feature the latest SCR technology to cut exhaust emissions and improve fuel economy, and David says they are as fuel efficient as his Fendts.
He started buying Fendt tractors about 10 years ago. “They are supposed to be the best, so we trialled one and kept it for six years. Then we got another.”
For several years in a row he added one or two more to his fleet.
David says he likes the reliability and the comfort of his Fendt tractors, as well as the 50 kph road speed. His drivers travel up to 110 km to get to clients, so that road speed matters. And the Vario transmissions in the Fendt tractors make every job easier.
“Drivers generally stay with the same tractor, and adjust it to suit themselves. They also save the settings for particular implements.”
David O’Neill Contracting’s clients are mostly sheep and beef farmers with paddocks on the flats. The paddocks are usually quite large, which means David has wide implements such as a 5.0m direct drill. The heavy work is done with the four large Fendt tractors, which are 240hp-270 hp.
The oldest one is a 2010 Fendt 818.
“It does a bit of mulching, and we might chuck it on the square balers or the triple mowers. It runs the cultivator drill and it weighs 6.5 tonnes empty.”
Recent additions include a Fendt 824 and Fendt 927. The 927 runs the 5.0m direct drill for most of the year, putting in up to 3000 ha. During winter it switches to the 4.5m cultivator.
Hydraulic oil flow is 120 litres/min, which is more than enough for anything David needs.
“Three of our drills are air seeders and all have hydraulic fans. The fans can be going 14 to 16 hours a day and the Fendts handle all that hydraulic power as good as gold.”
Another plus is the comfort of Fendt cabs, which makes life easier for all drivers.
“Fendts have the most comfortable cabs out of all the tractors I have ever owned or driven. The 900 Series models are far superior with its independent front suspension. It is so good that you want to keep going,” David says.
“The cab is so quiet that when I ring the guys on the phone, it seems to be too quiet for them to be working.”
Three of the Fendt have SCR systems to reduce exhaust emissions and gain corresponding savings in fuel. “Our drill man goes three days on a tank.”
All of the Fendt tractors have front linkages, which are used to run the triple mowers, push-off stacker or for carrying front weights.
“You can drive a Fendt and not worry about the computer stuff and settings. You just drive it like a manual car. It’s easy to get a driver started on them, and then teach them the fancy stuff later.
“They don’t need to know it at the beginning. You don’t need to be an astronaut to drive a Fendt. I am still learning about them and guys driving them three years or more are still discovering new things they can do,” David concludes.
Massey Ferguson is proudly supporting another great adventure! The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust’s #ExpeditionSouth, is an initiative to raise $1 million dollars for the conservation of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Hut on Antarctica’s Ross Island.
Hillary’s Hut A was the first building constructed at Scott Base and is where Sir Ed began his historic expedition to the South Pole in 1958 with the assistance of three TE20 Ferguson tractors.
Nearly 60 years on, Hillary’s hut is in a state of disrepair and a comprehensive conservation plan has been developed in order to save a valuable slice of New Zealand’s history – but they need your help to make it happen!
In a tribute to Hillary’s 2012 kilometres journey, a team of drivers will raise awareness of the campaign as they embark on a journey traversing New Zealand on three tractors – two of them the same Ferguson TE-20 tractor models used by Hillary’s team, the other – a modern MF5600 Antarctica2, based on the MF5610 series used by “Tractor Girl” Manon Ossevort’s 2014/15 Antarctic2 tractor expedition.
#ExpeditionSouth will harness that intrepid spirit of the original journey, travelling the highways and back roads of New Zealand, visiting Hillary “hotspots” throughout NZ as well as local schools. Along the journey, local NZ Massey Ferguson dealers will make sure the team and their tractors are well looked after as they raise awareness of the Heritage Trust’s important conservation goals.
Antarctic Heritage Trust Director Nigel Watson says Sir Ed’s original decision to go to the South Pole was a bold move.
“No-one had been overland since Captain Scott in 1912. Sir Ed was on the Ice supporting the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and his decision to push on to the Pole with three Ferguson tractors was controversial. But of course they made it – the first trip overland to the South Pole by motor vehicle.”
Piha Beach (one of Sir Ed’s favourite places) marks the starting point of the team’s journey that will finish just below Hillary Ridge at Aoraki on Mt Cook. While not having to face the icy conditions of Antarctica, the team will face a four week journey through a variety of changeable conditions across New Zealand’s north and south island that will test both the drivers and their machines.
“We’re very pleased to have Massey Ferguson on board with us and supporting such a valuable and worthwhile cause. The brand has a very strong connection with Sir Ed that stems back to his original expedition to the South Pole,” says Nigel.
Victoria farmer/contractor Brad Mayfield has a new high-density Massey Ferguson 2270XD large square baler that will allow him to produce the top-quality bales his customers expect.
Brad and his wife Carla run Oakleigh Hay Contracting & Sales and each year they grow 300 hectares of crops on their farm in Victoria’s Western District to make hay for their clients in the dairy and beef industry.
“I have run a Massey Ferguson 2170 RotoCut baler for two seasons,” Brad says. “I’ve been very happy with it. It’s very reliable.”
“I sell the hay that I produce and am chasing the extra 20 percent weight gain in my bales, plus the extra speed when baling. Because the window for baling in the Western District is very short, speed is a definite advantage. That’s a big reason I have purchased the new MF 2270XD baler, which is also RotoCut.”
Brad says the RotoCut version of the new baler suits him very well for two reasons.
Australian contractor Wayne Marshall loves his Massey Ferguson tractors for their engines, their economy and the uniformity of their cabs.
Wayne has a fleet of nine Massey Fergusons, including three 15-year-old tractors that he just can’t bear to part with.
Wayne and his wife Judy operate Bundy Ag from their home in Maffra, Victoria, Australia. They offer a range of services including bulk silage, hay cutting and baling, full cultivation and transport.
Silage is the primary focus of the business, which was formed 15 years ago when Wayne left the family business to start out on his own.
His most recent Massey Ferguson purchases include an MF 6614, an MF 7622 and an MF 8680.
“We’ve had Masseys for 15 years and what I like about them is their accessibility of service, their economy, and I’m happy with the AGCOPower engine,” says Wayne.
The Marshalls bought their MF 6614 last September for hay and silage production and for operating their round baler.
“It pulls the baler beautifully and it also does drilling. It’s fitted with a loader and does a variety of loader work and earthworks,” Wayne says.
“It’s the first time I’ve gone back to a four-cylinder engine for a long time. The economy was a big part of that decision and it’s very cheap to run. It’s also very manoeuvrable and has a good turning circle. It’s just a good basic tractor that’s cheap to run.”
Wayne bought the 215hp MF 7622 about 18 months ago and uses it to pull his loader wagon during the silage season. He particularly likes it for the Dyna-VT variable transmission.
“It’s very good and it’s also economical. We use it for a lot of cultivation work, mainly discing and ripping. With both those tractors we are using AdBlue because it’s going to be law soon with our diesel rebates. That was a big consideration,” he says.
“The other thing is the whole range of Massey Ferguson tractors have the same cabin layouts. It’s very easy with staff as they’re familiar with the controls and can go from one tractor to another.”
The third new tractor in the Marshalls’ fleet is the six-cylinder 320hp MF 8680, which was purchased six months ago. It is mainly used for loader wagon silage and earthmoving.
“It also runs on a laser bucket for irrigation layouts and it is very good. I am very happy with it. It has high horsepower and very quick road speed. We are running it with a Topcon GPS guidance system.”
Their full fleet of tractors includes two MF 7495s, which are also used on the loader wagons, an MF 6475, which is used on a round baler and for loader work, two old MF 4270s, which are Wayne’s original tractors and have 12,000 hours on the clock each, and an MF 6255, which is also 15 years old and is used for ripping and discing.
“I can’t get rid of them,” Wayne says about the older machines. “They have sentimental value. I’ve also got a Valtra 202 with a butterfly mower conditioner, which is four years old. It’s running the AGCOPower engine as well and is from the same stable as Massey Ferguson, but I chose that tractor for its long wheel base.”
Wayne is impressed with the advances in technology Massey Ferguson has made in recent years.
“The tractors have come a long way. I’ve seen big changes in the last six or seven years with what we can do with them and the time and fuel savings,” he says.
“They’re a pleasure to drive and the operators can hop out of them at the end of the day and still feel ok.
Wayne and Judy buy their Massey Fergusons through Donalda Motor Service in Maffra. He says a big consideration for sticking with Massey Ferguson is the fantastic support they get from them and from AGCO.
“They’re very good with their backup. They go beyond the call of duty. They’ve been very good to me since I started off in business.
“AGCO is based in Melbourne and we’re very happy with their technical support. If we have any problems they never put a foot wrong. That’s the reason I’ve stuck with them.”