Craig Holm is always looking for some new practice or technology that can help on his farm, but only those that offer a solid return. One such leg up has been his Massey Ferguson® and other AGCO equipment.
“They’re second to nothing, that’s for sure,” says Holm, who runs a Massey Ferguson combine and three tractors. He also owns Sunflower, White Planters™ and a RoGator® from AGCO.
“The fuel efficiencies are amazing on these new machines,” he says, but without compromising on power and capacity. “These new engines are set up to use the power that they need, but the computers back them down,” says Holm.
Speaking of his MF9560 combine, Holm says, “For that combine to do a 300-acre day is really not even a hard day.”
His two agronomy consultants, both of whom rode with him, as well as farmers who run other brands, declared it the best of the lot. “They said the other brands out there don’t compare.”
Holm is a willing but cautious adaptor of innovative machinery and other solutions. “One of the biggest payback pieces of technology I could see is autosteer. Everything I have has it,” he says of AGCO’s Auto-Guide™ 3000.
The technology on his 1194H RoGator has provided exceptional payback. Often spraying fields three times during the growing season, compaction and crop damage are a concern. Yet the RoGator has four-wheel steering, which keeps all the tires in just two tracks, lessening plant damage.
Holm has a terrific relationship with his dealer, Judson Implement and other AGCO-related dealers, and he appreciates AGCO’s stance on making their technological solutions compatible with other brands. “Some of these companies are trying to tie you with their technology,” says Holm. “I don’t like getting tied up with a single company, that’s why I hire our agronomy service.
“We do it together as a team and we pick and choose who we go to.” AGCO, he says, gives him that choice.
Elroy Panbecker’s “bring it on” attitude toward the newest and best farming technology belies his 69 years. That’s why this veteran farmer has been using AGCO equipment for decades. Today’s horsepower stable includes a Gleaner® R65 combine, a Sunflower® 4412 disc ripper, a well-preserved AGCO-brand RT120-A tractor, a Massey Ferguson® 3645 and the young stud, a Massey Ferguson 8680 tractor.
“I think it is probably the leading technology out here, as far as fuel efficiency is concerned,” says Elroy of the 8680. It, like all 8600 series tractors, is equipped with the 8.4-liter AGCO SISU POWER engine that, when coupled with the tractor’s CVT (continuously variable transmission), provides some of the best—if not the best—fuel efficiency in the market. “The nice part,” adds Elroy’s son Terry, “is that the smooth transmission and fuel efficiency don’t sacrifice overall power or low-end torque to get whatever job is on our plate.”
Terry also appreciates AGCO’s efforts, through Fuse Technologies, at making its equipment compatible with a broad array of technologies and tools from other companies. For instance, the Panbeckers use third-party displays and controllers they are familiar with to run equipment such as their planter. “I think this will be the future with new implements and tractors,” he says.
PacificAg operates the largest agricultural residue and forage harvesting business in the U.S., and also maintains the country’s largest fleet of biomass harvesting equipment. That equipment includes one of the largest collections of Hesston large square balers in North America.
“The Hesston baler has been a staple of our program for 16 years,” says PacificAg CEO Bill Levy. That’s in large part due to comparisons with other brands that found the Hesston large square baler’s performance to be superior. “It runs more consistently with fewer breakdowns than any other large square baler,” he adds.
Charles Lalonde, with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, agrees. “AGCO has upgraded the baler to improve efficiency and dramatically reduce downtime,” he says. “You don’t have to stop to replace parts. It runs continuously.”
Another critical upgrade, says Lalonde: “Four years ago, the baler could handle bales weighing 800 to 900 pounds; today, we have balers handling 1,300 pounds. The Hesston 2270XD large square baler … achieves the greatest amount of density per cubic foot.”
That density, says Glenn Farris, AGCO’s manager of segment strategy for biomass/industrials, has its definite advantages, resulting in lower transportation costs and fewer bales being shipped, no matter the material being handled.
“What has been important has been AGCO’s understanding of this emerging market,” Levy says of the biomass industry. ”They’re much more accessible than other manufacturers and offer more attention to customer service.”
This year the Massey Ferguson® DX100 series turns 50. Yet the real story is not so much the birthday. Instead, the kicker is that so many of these tractors are not just running after a half-century, but remain a critical component of many farm operations.
“We love Massey Fergusons,” says James Cooley, a fruit and vegetable farmer in Chesnee, S.C., “and 135s are our specialty. We’ve got 17 of those.” He and his employees use the easy-to-operate, durable tractor to transport peaches and perform other tasks.
“That 135 is the most balanced tractor,” says Robert Dasher of Glennville, Ga. “I use one in my onion planting beds, where it costs about $6,000 an acre in seed cost, so you have to do precision work. I wouldn’t give mine up for anything. I can’t part with them,” he says.
The DX100 series was the Massey Ferguson company’s first original design. It not only featured the 30 HP MF135, but five other models, including the venerable MF165 and MF175 tractors, which also remain extremely popular today.
Meeting increasingly stringent EPA standards can be difficult enough, without adding frequent maintenance. Fortunately, Massey Ferguson’s emissions system maintenance is practically trouble-free on all midsize and high-horsepower tractors, reducing downtime and expense, especially compared to competitive designs.
“First of all, the 4600, 5600 and 6600 series tractors don’t have a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that needs to be cleaned through a regeneration process or replaced at certain intervals,” says Brandon Montgomery, AGCO product manager for Massey Ferguson GC1700-6600 series tractors. Regeneration generates excessive heat, which can be a hazard, but new filters can cost up to $2,000 to replace and even $1,500 to clean.
“Instead, Massey Ferguson 4600 Series tractors are equipped with only an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, high pressure common rail (HPCR) and a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) designed to last for the life of the tractor. The same goes for the MF5609 and MF5610 models, which use the same emission technology.
“Even the larger Massey Ferguson series, like the 6600 and the 5600 large-frame models, require nothing more than filling the DEF tank,” Montgomery adds, noting that these models incorporate a diesel oxidation catalyst in combination with a second-generation selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system. “Even then, Massey Ferguson’s variable DEF [diesel exhaust fluid] injection and real-time exhaust monitoring system allow our engines to consume less DEF over time, saving money and refueling downtime.”
The fact that Massey Ferguson doesn’t use a DPF on its midsize tractors is particularly appealing to producers who use smaller tractors in poultry houses, or to pull wagons or sprayers in fruit and vegetable operations.
“Most of those applications are performed at low speeds,” he explains. “However, low engine speeds generate exhaust particulates even faster.”
“The fact that all but the very smallest Massey Ferguson tractors don’t use a DPF is huge,” Montgomery continues. “In most cases, the emissions system requires absolutely no maintenance. That not only saves time and fuel, but reduces the intense heat that builds in the exhaust system during the filter regeneration process.”