Ask Gavin MacDonald why he and his father, Donnie, purchased their Massey Ferguson® 6490 and he counts the reasons, literally.
Specifically, the number of times he would have to shift gears while driving to the field farthest from the barn in a comparably priced “green” tractor.
“Twenty-one shifts there and 21 back,” he says. “We figured that was a lot of shifting to do with a lot of clutch work when you’re spreading manure or something like that.” Because the MacDonalds’ MF6490 has a Dyna-6 transmission, “you set it and it shifts on itself,” Gavin continues.
“You basically drive it like an automatic [transmission] car,” adds Donnie. “It’ll go through its ranges … and gear down when it can. That’s great on fuel economy.”
The first Massey Ferguson tractor Donnie bought was almost 27 years ago and from Brock Proudfoot at Proudfoot Motors in nearby New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. “Since then,” says Donnie, who now owns five Massey Ferguson tractors and one combine, “we’ve been pretty well with him for everything that he can supply. We get great service … right through to the parts and service, and all the guys at the shop. We don’t have a lot of breakdowns, but we get good service when we do have them.”
Donnie and Gavin do, however, comparison shop. “You just don’t buy something because the color,” says Donnie. “Massey’s always been competitive.
“They’re also very durable,” he continues. “Like I say, some of the tractors have been here for quite a while.”
In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control. But, that’s not a given.
“It’s still a bit of the wild, wild west right now,” says Joe Russo, who helped pioneer what would become precision farming 28 years ago as an agricultural meteorologist at Penn State University. “The sharing of information can be good or bad, but those responsible for generating the data—the farmers—their permission should be required for any use.
“Your data is your most important source of information,” says Russo. “It defines you, and represents your economic position and intellectual property. There is no doubt in my mind who owns it.”
Ownership notwithstanding, who can use that data is often subject to less-than-transparent practices. Consider that many companies, including some agricultural equipment manufacturers, bury an “opt out” clause in the fine print of documents concerning a purchase or service agreement. In such cases, the onus is on the customers, who must search for and find such a clause, then purposefully decline in order to maintain their privacy. If not, the company providing the equipment or service can use or even share a farm’s data with third parties.
The inverse of that practice, one employed by all AGCO brands, is to ask the customer to opt in to share data. “We don’t allow ourselves to have access to the customer’s information without approval,” says Jason O’Flanagan, senior marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS).
“We’ve isolated ourselves so the farmer trusts in the fact AGCO is there as an assistant along the way,” says O’Flanagan, noting that if the customer gives AGCO permission to use the data, the dealer and company can monitor the operation of their machinery, helping with maintenance and warning of possible problems. He adds that the collection of such data, by sharing it with AGCO engineers, also helps develop innovations faster.
Knowing up front who has access to your data is imperative, says O’Flanagan. “Would you give just anyone your W-2 or your tax return?” he asks. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people would say ‘No.’ When someone else takes your yield and application maps, and planning maps, you are giving them a complete view of how your farm works. You need to know who has that information, and you need to trust them to use that data carefully.”
To learn more about AGCO’s on and off board technologies and the Fuse Technologies strategy, visit http://www.agcotechnologies.com/.
Recently, residents watched with interest as a big red AGCO sign was erected off Highway 401 in Woodstock, Ontario. The AGCO name outside the new 67,000-square-foot, full-stocking Parts Distribution Center (PDC) is just one sign of the big changes in store for area dealers and farmers.
Now with the new Woodstock PDC, parts deliveries across Eastern Canada will be delivered in 50 to 65% less time, some in as little as four hours or less.
The convenient location cuts transit time, but as a full-service facility, the Woodstock PDC also offers 40% more parts. It’s the fourth AGCO Parts facility to be upgraded since 2010. For dealers like Dey’s Equipment Centre Inc., the full-service PDC is a sign of AGCO’s commitment to meeting the needs of its customers.
Dey, owner of Dey’s Equipment Centre in nearby Tillsonburg, helped lead the charge to bring the new parts center to Eastern Canada. He’s pleased that the state-of-the-art facility includes a service training center for AGCO technicians and sales personnel, saving more time and money by eliminating the need to travel to the U.S. for training.
“The new PDC has more parts available, a convenient location and close-to-home training facilities,” Dey says. “It’s the best thing AGCO’s ever done for us and for our customers.”
To read more, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/more-agco-parts-half-the-time/. For more information on genuine AGCO Parts, see AGCOParts.com.
These four crops are generating additional revenue for farmers. AGCO brands are helping make that happen.
What’s not to love about switchgrass? The perennial develops a strong root system that holds highly erodible land in place. Plus, those farmers who’ve already planted switchgrass know about its long-lasting stands—at least 10 years—and that it makes great wildlife habitat. Now there is better news: more biofuel markets in the future.
Since ample supplies of stover are a given, using corn stover for biofuel seems like the perfect plan. For 2013, corn acres in the U.S. were estimated at 97 million and Canadian acres at 3.6 million, with 2.5 million of those in Ontario. There isn’t much of a learning curve either. If you can grow corn, you automatically know how to grow stover.
Miscanthus, a perennial, is another up-and-comer for the biomass market. However, says Iowa State University Professor Emily Heaton, “I spend a lot of time managing grower expectations about the crop. If you want to plant a half-acre or an acre to play with, that’s fine. But let’s [watch what happens] with the corn stover market first.”
Sweet sorghum is tailor made for biofuel production. “It is easier to make ethanol out of it than [with] corn,” says University of Missouri extension agronomist Gene Stevens. “It is already in sugar form. Just add yeast to start the fermentation.” And as an annual, producers do not have to make a long-term commitment.
The lights come up in the shop next to two of Bartlett Farms’ potato storage facilities on Spud Road, in the tiny town of Littleton. Row after row of antique tractors stand ready for their stories to be told. Bob Bartlett knows them all. There’s the Massey Harris 333, “the first one I bought,” he says. “That 44-6, the man I bought it from came to look over our place to make sure it was gonna have a good home. And when my wife, Jane, and I went to get it, his wife was out taking pictures with tears running down her cheeks ‘cause it was leaving the yard.”
It’s a large Massey collection of more than 40 pieces, most of them fully restored. Meanwhile, some 14 Massey Ferguson tractors make up the working fleet at Bartlett Farms. Among them is a Massey Ferguson 1100, bought new in 1969, that has 8,000 hours on it and “has never had a wrench in the motor,” says Bob. “That just tells you something about the longevity of these things.”
The potato harvester runs on an MF2745, “my pride and joy,” says Bob. Why? “Well, these tractors, they’re just like individuals,” he says. “That tractor just suits me. I just ‘sit good’ in it.”
When grandson John does need to work on a tractor, they use Genuine AGCO Parts and work with their dealership, Crown Equipment, in Caribou, Maine. “We just have a Massey heritage,” says John’s father, David.
Bob agrees, but it’s a little more personal for him. “I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. So my tractors … it’s the only hobby I got.”