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AGCO Equipment Helps This Family Farm Get More Work Done with Less Labor

Jim Fontaine says he’s not interested in getting bigger as a business; he and his family have found an economic sweet spot in their dairy operation (see more about it here). But that doesn’t mean he and brother Steve aren’t growing their equipment inventory. In fact, their do-it-themselves approach to efficiency means the equipment needs to work harder, cost less to run and go easier on the operator.

The Fontaine family

The Fontaine family

That’s why they converted from another brand to a shop full of AGCO solutions, including equipment from Challenger,® Massey Ferguson,® Hesston,® Sunflower® and White Planters.™

“For the two bigger Challengers, we traded in two Case Magnums,” says Jim. “You feel like you got banged around in that [Case]. When you’re on the bunk and you’re shifting, you have to go through all those gears to shift, and it’s just a lot of jerking.”

Their Massey Ferguson and Challenger tractors share the CVT transmission, and with that, “the front-end suspension and the cab suspension, it’s just a good package because it’s all working together,” says Jim.

Adds Steve: “You get out of the tractor and you can stand up straight,” he laughs. “Nothing hurts on your body.”

The tractors work perfectly with their Sunflower 6630 tillage tool, yet another AGCO piece in their arsenal. “With another brand of tractor, when we would drop the implement in the ground, it would stall,” says Jim. Not so with the Challengers.

The experts at Java Farm Supply, the Fontaines’ dealership, also believed Jim and Steve would benefit from a larger hay baler; when the brothers were last looking for a baler, they decided on the Hesston 2170XD. “It makes a nice bale, it doesn’t fall apart, and it weighs 1,200 pounds versus the small ones that weigh 900. There are less bales to store and haul,” says Steve. And it’s better for bunk too. “You carry two bales out, and you have more hay on the bunk for the TMR mixer,” he says.

Jim and Steve don’t see themselves going back to “the other brand.” “The more you hop into the Challenger or the Massey Ferguson, the more comfortable you feel,” Jim says. “I told the dealership: ‘You should put one of these tractors on every farm.’”

For the full story on the Fontaine Farms, including a video about the family’s business philosophy, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/a-family-farm-in-the-economic-sweet-spot/.

In AGCO Equipment, Comfort Comes Standard

Barry Schmitt puts a premium on having comfortable equipment. “During harvest, we spend long hours in the cab, and we move around a lot, going up and down the roads,” says the owner of Barr-Ag, one of Canada’s largest hay exporters. “I want my guys to be safe.”

They are easy to learn to use and the visibility from the cab is very good, says Schmitt.

They are easy to learn to use and the visibility from the cab is very good, says Schmitt.

They are, says Schmitt, because of good training and the use of his AGCO equipment. “We run Massey 4610 tractors on our rakes … and we use Fendt® to pull balers and air drills.” According to Schmitt, the tractors—including Fendt 700, 800 and 900 Series models—as as well as Hesston by Massey Ferguson® windrowers, handle well and are fuel efficient. “They are easy to learn to use and the visibility from the cab is very good.

“They are also exceptionally comfortable,” says Schmitt, “which helps minimize operator fatigue. You get done, a 12-hour day or a 15-hour day in one of these tractors, you can get out and you can still walk. I’m not all stiff from bouncing around. These [tractors] are very smooth, very comfortable. The noise level is small and they’re just very reliable and we enjoy running them.” [I added to get more in about comfort—we had to cut from print due to length.]

Schmitt uses nine large square balers, as well as seven 9870 and 9770 windrowers. “Like our tractors, they are reliable. We need that dependability with the hours we put on them each year. The balers give us a nice square bale, with consistent length … and on the [windrowers],” adds Schmitt, “the double conditioning rolls are second to none.
“These cutters do short crops, tall crops, heavy crops, light crops. You can cut it fast; you can cut it slow. Whatever we’re cutting, it lays well, dries good.”

Schmitt says his AGCO equipment is excellent, but the machines “are only as good as your dealer, and we have a fantastic dealer in Hanlon Ag Centre. They follow our work as we go across with our harvest. Mechanics are available basically 24/7 and they have good rapport with our guys for solving problems over the phone when we need them.

“What really makes it work,” continues Schmitt, “is the combination of good equipment, good dealership, good access to parts and people willing to go the extra mile. That’s what makes our harvest flow, and Hanlon is as big a part of our harvest as the weather and our neighbors.”

See the full story on Schmitt’s operation at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/exporting-forage-barr-ag-is-in-its-hay-day.

The AGCO-Branded UAV

The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle technology, the new Solo AGCO Edition comes with everything customers need to set up and hit the ground running, or, in this case, take to the skies. With both an RGB and near-infrared camera, the Solo makes crop monitoring and optimization amazingly easy and efficient by providing outputs capable of producing variable-rate maps that allow farmers to take immediate action to improve yields.

The AGCO-Branded UAV

The AGCO-Branded UAV

Customer value and ease of use are what set the Solo apart from the competition, according to Jeff Punter, AGCO Parts purchasing manager: “The Solo AGCO Edition is ready for use straight out the box and includes helpful features, such as in-app training videos and user-defined operational settings to help customers transition from beginner to expert.”

Punter also notes, “The kit includes two cameras, customized for aerial imaging, to provide results that are immediately actionable and help optimize inputs and increase profitability. There is,” he concludes, “no other product on the market providing this level of capability at this price point.”

The Solo is currently available through the AGCO dealer network in both the U.S. and Canada. Please follow FAA regulations when operating any UAV.

For the latest on how AGCO customers are using AGCO technology, check out the customer stories at http://myFarmLife.com/category/features.

Massey Ferguson® and Woods® Equipment Are a Terrific Team

As the owner of Bristow Landscaping in Wake Forest, N.C., Logan Bristow relies on his Massey Ferguson tractors and Woods Equipment Company landscape implements virtually every day of the year. While the most often used machines are a MF1540 compact tractor and a Woods counter-rotating tiller, he also owns several other pieces of Massey Ferguson and Woods equipment. All of the machines, he relates, were purchased from Louisburg Tractor & Truck Company in Louisburg, N.C.

0216implement1“Part of the reason I have so much equipment from both brands is the good relationship I have with the dealer,” he says. “But I also like the durability and versatility of the equipment. We’ve never once had a problem with Woods implements, and the MF1540, in particular, is small enough to get in tight areas, yet powerful enough to run the tiller in tough conditions.”

While Massey Ferguson dealers and Woods have had a long-running affiliation, that relationship has expanded at the company level, says Alistair McLelland, AGCO vice president of marketing, North America. In an effort to provide Massey Ferguson customers with the highest quality implements available anywhere, AGCO Corporation and Woods have joined together to market a full line of Woods rotary cutters, finishing mowers, flail shredders, rear-mounted snow blowers and landscape equipment through participating Massey Ferguson dealerships.

For more on this topic, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/massey-ferguson-and-woods-equipment-are-a-terrific-team/.

Beauvais tractor manufacturing facility wins France’s Factory of the Year Award 2016

AGCO’s Massey Ferguson Manufacturing Facility at Beauvais, France, has been presented with France’s prestigious Factory of the Year 2016 award.

The Beauvais site in Picardy beat ten other shortlisted factories from a wide range of industries in France to win the title.

Moundir Rachidi, Member of the Jury, Eric Odièvre, HR Director AGCO France, Spain, Portugal, Africa and Middle East, Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing Massey Ferguson EAME, Olivier Dussart, Manager Manufacturing Engineering & APS AGCO Beauvais, Philippe Kerbat, Manager Quality Beauvais Site, Xavier Arruego, Communication Officer Beauvais Site, Boussad Bouaouli, Vice President Manufacturing AGCO Beauvais, Laurence Barbaray, Member of the Jury ( ©Pascal Guittet )

Moundir Rachidi, Member of the Jury, Eric Odièvre, HR Director AGCO France, Spain, Portugal, Africa and Middle East, Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing Massey Ferguson EAME, Olivier Dussart, Manager Manufacturing Engineering & APS AGCO Beauvais, Philippe Kerbat, Manager Quality Beauvais Site, Xavier Arruego, Communication Officer Beauvais Site, Boussad Bouaouli, Vice President Manufacturing AGCO Beauvais, Laurence Barbaray, Member of the Jury ( ©Pascal Guittet )

The Factory of the Year Awards are organised by “L’Usine Nouvelle”, the leading industrial magazine in France. In selecting the overall Factory of the Year Award winner, the Jury looked for a facility that has demonstrated an in-depth transformation initiative and delivered significant performance gains including increases in productivity, quality, competitiveness and market share. Key partner of the awards event and a member of the judging panel is Boston Consulting Group, a leading global management and business strategy specialist.

Operated by Massey Ferguson’s parent company, AGCO, which is headquartered in Duluth in the United States, the AGCO Beauvais site designs and manufactures Massey Ferguson tractors from 75-400 hp. It is France’s largest producer and exporter of farm machinery. Some 14,500 tractors leave the assembly lines each year, 85% of which are shipped to markets all over the world. In the last 12 months, four new MF tractor ranges built at the plant have been unveiled for global markets.

The Factory of the Year award recognises the AGCO Beauvais facility’s successful and wide-ranging reorganisation project known as MF Fast Forward. The plant has seen significant productivity gains through the implementation of Lean Manufacturing processes, 5S good housekeeping techniques and the Hoshin Kanri Continuous Improvement Strategy.

factoryIn addition, the Jury highlighted the site’s Quality Transformation Initiative and the clear commitment of Beauvais employees to the transformation process. Latest in-house figures from the plant show a rise in manufacturing quality levels, while Massey Ferguson’s Customer Satisfaction Index reveals improvements in perceived quality by end-users. For example, non-conformances in the production process have been reduced by more than 40% during the last two years from what was already a very good base. Massey Ferguson’s comprehensive Customer Satisfaction survey reveals that in respect of tractor product quality at the point of delivery, the ‘positive answers’ ratio from end-users has moved up to 94% in less than five years.

“It is a privilege and honour to win this coveted award,” says Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director, Massey Ferguson, Europe, Africa, Middle East. “It is a tribute to our 2500-strong workforce at Beauvais who have been the architects of the factory’s major transformation over the last five years. This latest accolade is yet another milestone in our relentless pursuit of continuous improvement to ensure our customers get the very best products for their farm businesses.”

“The award comes in addition the prize won by the Beauvais site earlier this year as France’s Best Foreign Exporter,” he continues. “High-quality manufacturing is at the heart of the renowned reliability and dependability of Massey Ferguson equipment. This, coupled with our leading design and engineering, is ensuring that our famous ‘Triple Triangle’ brand continues to move ahead. Massey Ferguson’s market share increased again across the Europe, Africa, Middle East region last year – the 6th consecutive year we have increased this figure.”

Commenting, Boussad Bouaouli, Vice-President Manufacturing Beauvais says: “The Beauvais Quality Transformation Initiative is part of AGCO’s global objective to be N°1 in Perceived Quality and was considered an outstanding achievement by the Factory of the Year Award Jury members. It illustrates every single employee’s dedication to deliver ‘best in class quality’ for each individual tractor on the production the line. We are thrilled to receive the title of Factory of the Year and congratulate all our employees in Beauvais. This award is truly the result of their commitment and hard work.”

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