On the topic of down-season equipment care, Doug Vahrenberg, co-owner of Vahrenberg Implement in Higginsville, Mo., says, “Farmers work long days, so they want to sit back and relax when they’re done. I say relax for a day and then get the tractor ready for spring. You can do it in a day, which might save you multiple days or even a week of downtime in the spring.”
The Checklist: Clean After Harvest
Whether you store your tractor during the winter or other times of year, a little cleaning can save you money and prevent downtime. Vahrenberg offers the following advice:
- Clean tractor exterior and interior. Start with an air compressor to blow away dirt and crop debris inside and out. This helps remove unwanted seeds that can transfer to other fields where they don’t belong. Also, debris attracts rodents that can damage electrical components. Follow up with a pressure wash to remove stubborn dirt and grime. Then wax to restore paint shine and provide protection from UV rays and chemical residues.
- Touch up scratches and bare spots with AGCO Parts Paint Products. They’re designed to precision match and protect against UV rays and harsh chemicals.
- Clean the radiator, condensers and coolers with compressed air and water. Always blow the opposite direction of air travel to remove dirt and debris. Vahrenberg says, “As little as 1/8 inch of grime on a cast-iron exterior can act like 2 inches of insulation, which interferes with the cooling ability and performance of the engine, as well as transmission and hydraulic systems.
- Increase comfort and reduce fatigue by replacing or repairing worn seats. Also repair or replace damaged upholstery panels in the cab to insulate and reduce noise.
- Check weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure a snug fit. These help improve climate control and help prevent dust and chemical vapors from entering the cab.
For additional down-season maintenance tips, check with your local Massey Ferguson dealer.
The Vossebelts have tried a variety of tractor colors on their Southern Alberta farm. There was the green of John Deere and the blue of New Holland. Then, a neighboring farmer and Massey Ferguson customer suggested they give AGCO equipment and local dealer Hanlon Ag a try.
“We wanted the latest and greatest … and Challenger and Massey were the fit for us,” says Delbert Vossebelt, who lists multiple track Challengers and an MF7620 in the family fleet. “By having those track machines, we can straddle four rows, and that eliminates us compacting the dirt between the potato rows as we’re harvesting. It’s really advantageous for us.”
The MF7620 is the family’s first Massey Ferguson, but has proved to be a valuable part of the operation. “We shred most of the potato vines before we harvest, and it’s perfect, that Massey, on the vine shredder,” Delbert says. “Size-wise, it’s got enough horsepower to be able to pull the shredder without being too large and wasting diesel fuel. It’s a very good tractor.”
The AGCO CVT, or continuously variable transmission, that’s used in both Massey Ferguson and Challenger equipment was a major selling point for the Vossebelts. “It’s very fuel-efficient,” says Dwayne, Delbert’s brother. “We really like the CVT transmission too, because you’ve got such a wide range of speeds.”
“That’s important,” adds Delbert, “because when we’re harvesting potatoes, conditions change constantly. So you always are changing the speed of your equipment. And with the CVT transmission, you can pinpoint exactly what speed you need to be. The CVT transmission is a real asset on this farm.”
The switch to AGCO also brought another advantage to the Vossebelt operation. “Hanlon’s service is amazing,” says Delbert. “I could phone the service department, and those guys are there within an hour or so. I can’t stress enough how important that is, and [Hanlon] is always helping us out.”
Concludes Delbert: “We made a good decision by switching. In the future, we’ll definitely purchase more AGCO products.”
With the addition of three new, large-frame models, the Massey Ferguson 5600 Series tractors now tackle an even wider array of jobs for a variety of operations. Ranging from 80 to 100 PTO HP, these new models, which include the 5611, 5612 and 5613, round out the MF5600 Series with features and capabilities never before found in the mid-range tractor market.
“Among the industry firsts in this power range is a new front axle suspension. Available as an option on 4-wheel-drive versions of the large-frame models, the new suspension maximizes traction and ride comfort,” says Taylor Grout, AGCO product marketing specialist for mid-range tractors.
The new models also come in a choice of Classic and Deluxe configurations, packaged with the needs of the customer in mind. The Classic models combine the power, performance and versatility customers expect of Massey Ferguson machines, and include ergonomic features such as a mechanical multi-function loader joystick. The Deluxe package offers premium features that enable the operator to work faster and to a higher standard with more accuracy, including an electronic multi-function loader joystick—another first for this size tractor.
With options that meet the needs of a wide range of operations, Massey Ferguson also offers choices in hydraulic systems: two open-center options, a standard (15 gpm) or Twin-Flow (26 gpm) configuration, or a closed-center hydraulic system, which delivers 29 gpm. The class-leading closed-center system offers improved efficiency by only pumping the amount of oil required when it is needed to meet the strenuous demands of larger implements and attachments.
Al Kuehnert’s initial reasons for purchasing the Massey Ferguson® 4609 were pretty practical. “I’m really good friends with the dealer,” he says, recounting his longtime relationship with Harmony Outdoors owner Don Harter. But despite that friendship, Al had never purchased a Massey Ferguson tractor before the MF4609. “The price was right and the size of the tractor was right, so we bought it,” Al says simply.
However, after using the tractor for the better part of a year now, the co-owner of Kuehnert Dairy Farm near Fort Wayne, Ind., has a long list of reasons the tractor was a terrific purchase for the farm.
For starters, Al says he appreciates the fact that the MF4609 has both power and maneuverability. In fact, its 3-cylinder diesel AGCO POWER™ engine has more power than many equivalent 4-cylinder engines, allowing it to pull heavy equipment like a 12-ton sand wagon. Yet, even with all that muscle, it’s still small enough to maneuver easily inside the close quarters of the barn.
“The turning radius for a 90-HP tractor is great,” Al adds. “It turns really sharp, and I like the new-style clutch.” The MF4609 has 12 forward and 12 reverse speeds that don’t require use of the foot clutch for shifting from forward to reverse and back again.
His son Nathan agrees. “We appreciate the flexibility of it and the diversity of different things we can do with it,” he remarks. “It’s compact but can handle some of the bigger jobs we do. We use it to bed the stalls. We use it a lot on our manure pumps. We use it to haul silage wagons. Plus, it’s easy to get on and off of. We’d be inclined to buy a larger one down the road.”
In a recent story in FarmLife, the exclusive magazine for Massey Ferguson customers, Murray State University alumni panelist Kelly Brannon broached the topic of the hotly contested 2012 Yahoo! article that listed agriculture as the most useless college major. She and her fellow panelists had all seen the report when it came out. And they all shrugged it off as subjective, maybe even wrong.
The article was based on a study released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which surveyed some 1,000 employers on future hiring plans. The result? An agriculture major ranked No. 1 in terms of “most useless.” To add further insult, rounding out the top five were animal science and horticulture as No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
The article cited university programs being cut and fewer farm jobs due to consolidation. The article also quoted a U.S. Department of Labor projection that there will be “64,000 fewer jobs in this field over the next seven years.”
However, several other media outlets and ag-related organizations, such as Huffington Post and FFA, chose to challenge the article, pointing out why the report was inaccurate. Interestingly, later that same year, Yahoo! posted a “Best and Worst Degrees for Employment,” and agriculture was voted as the No. 3 lowest unemployment area of study. Clumsy wording notwithstanding, that meant ag was suddenly near the top for most USEFUL of those degrees studied.
Read the rest of the article to see what others had to say about the original Yahoo! Article at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/ag-school-degrees-useless-think-again/. You can also see the entire special report on the recent boom in ag school enrollment and its implications at http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/major-changes-the-new-boom-in-ag-education/.