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AGCO Joins National Technician Accreditation Scheme

AGCO is pleased to announce that technicians employed by dealerships handling one or more of its four principal machinery brands within the United Kingdom and Ireland will be able to register on a nationally-recognised technician accreditation scheme developed and backed by the AEA and IAgrE, with support from BAGMA.

AGCO Training Centre

AGCO Training Centre

Known as the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme (LTA), the programme has become available to all AGCO dealer technicians following independent assessment and accreditation of the training and facilities provided by AGCO to technicians supporting its Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra farm machinery brands.

The move to have AGCO’s training programmes recognised at a national level, accredited to the same standards of other leading farm machinery manufacturers and suppliers, was spearheaded by Freddie Pullan, Manager, Technical Training UK and Ireland for AGCO Ltd.

“The LTA Scheme provides a clear and accepted means of benchmarking, monitoring and assessing the competence of technicians employed nationwide within the landbased sector,” commented Mr Pullan. “AGCO was keen to ensure that the training it provides to technicians employed by Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra dealers matched this standard, providing a clear and documented career path for AGCO apprentices and technicians wishing to progress within the agricultural engineering industry.”

In consultation with scheme administrator, IAgrE, AGCO’s training programmes were scrutinised and fine-tuned to ensure that they satisfied the accreditation criteria laid down by the LTA scheme. Independent assessment was carried out on behalf of IAgrE by consultant, David Kershner, with accreditation centre approval being granted to AGCO, taking effect in September 2014.

Agricultural engineers employed by AGCO dealers are now able to follow a nationally-recognised four-tier progression from apprentice (LTA1) through to master technician (LTA4), passing through technician (LTA2) and advanced technician (LTA3) tiers as they progress.

Upward movement from one tier to the next involves satisfactory completion of a range of general and product-specific training courses across a number of different categories, as laid down by the LTA scheme. All technicians attaining LTA3 standard become eligible for IAgrE membership and Engineering Technician (Eng Tech) registration, on payment of an annual fee.

“AGCO is committed to supporting an initiative which provides encouragement and recognition for dealers and technicians who voluntarily commit to continual professional development.” commented Mr Pullan. “We believe that the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme will bring sustained improved efficiencies within dealers’ service departments and further boost customers’ perceptions and confidence in technicians working on their tractors and other farm machines,”

“We are delighted that AGCO has joined the LTA scheme,” commented Alastair Taylor, chief executive of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE). “The move will give service engineering technicians employed across the AGCO network the opportunity to gain professional recognition nationwide for their important work.

“We very much look forward to welcoming AGCO’s first LTA3 technicians as members of IAgrE as well as handling their registration as Engineering Technicians with the Engineering Council. It is only right and proper that skilled technicians performing such important work are recognised as professionals. We believe that AGCO customers will reap the benefit of having their farm machinery serviced by technicians who are at the top of their game.”

Going It Alone

Larry Flom

Larry Flom

With 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans under a no-till and conventional-tillage program, Larry Flom, by many measures, is a typical Minnesota farmer. However, the fact that he farms all of it by himself, even during the busy planting and harvest seasons, puts Flom in an “above average” category that seems to be growing.

Flom wasn’t always alone in his endeavors, though. Up until about 13 years ago, he shared the family farm with his brother Steven. Steven was killed in a car accident in 2000, and shortly after that tragic event Larry trimmed the farm size by 500 acres and continued the work by himself.

Farms the size of Flom’s are disappearing at a rapid pace from the North American landscape. The number of midsize farms in the U.S. shrank by as much as 25% in some states from 1997 to 2007. The decrease in Canada was even larger, with mid-sized farms (those between 400 and 2,240 acres) dwindling by a whopping 38%.

The midsize farm frequently has the need but not the income to keep someone on the payroll.

“There have been times I could have used an extra person, and John Isaacson has helped on occasion,” says Flom about his friend and Massey Ferguson and AGCO dealer. “But most of the time, it’s just easier to do it myself than to find and train someone.”

“It’s not unusual for one person to farm 1,500 acres or for a father/son team to farm a few thousand acres,” says Kent Olson, professor of applied economics and Extension economist–farm management at Minnesota State University. “If they’re highly mechanized and have adopted labor-saving technology, such as Roundup Ready crops, it is possible in this day and age to handle that kind of acreage.”

For instance, Flom uses Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Both are planted in 30-inch rows following preplant incorporation of a residual herbicide. Hence, the most that’s ever needed is a post application of Roundup.

Flom also credits the technology and capacity available in today’s farm equipment. His new Class 7 combine not only has the capacity to handle a 35-foot draper header, but it has a grain bin capacity of 330 bushels and an unloading time of only 83 seconds, so he can spend more time harvesting.

Other time-saving machines include a 16-row Model 8516 White planter, 54-foot Sunflower® Model 5055 field cultivator, and MF8670 tractor, which offers a 32-mph transport speed. “The farm stretches out over a 20-mile area,” Flom notes. “So the road speed certainly helps me get more done.”

By alleviating pressure on the bottom line, the fuel efficiency of today’s equipment is a huge help to farmers like Flom. As he says about his MF8670, “I just love the fuel economy. Most of the AGCO brand tractors have been pretty good, but between the CVT [transmission] and the e3 SCR system, this one’s even better, especially for the size. It just idles along when I’m planting, so I’ve been able to go for days without having to worry about fueling it up.”

Added together, the number and scope of these advancements from Massey Ferguson and other AGCO brands help Flom maintain the farm, all the while saving time and money. “Like a lot of farmers, I probably have more equipment than I actually need,” he confesses. “But when it’s just me doing everything, I want to be ready to go when I need to go.”

Read the full story at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/going-it-alone/.

How do you improve efficiency on your farm?

Challenger Tillage Tools on Show at Wadenbrunn Field Day

Challenger, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), showcased two models from the CH1700 Series Offset Disc Harrow range at the Fendt-Saaten Union Field Day in Wadenbrunn, Germany (27 August 2014). The demonstration of this primary cultivation tool at the event was part of a new focus by AGCO on the Seeding & Tillage sector.

Challenger 1710 offset disc harrow

Challenger 1710 offset disc harrow

A sister brand of Fendt, Challenger supplies tracked tractor, application equipment and Seeding & Tillage implements. The CH1700 offset disc harrows with folding frame feature one of the heaviest disc weights in the industry and are designed for primary tillage, residue/chemical incorporation and land reclamation. Suitable for tractors from 260-455hp and with working widths ranging from 6.50-7.60m, these heavy-duty, rugged implements will penetrate even the toughest ground.

AGCO’s Seeding & Tillage range covers a wide range of products from disc harrows and field cultivators to air drills and row-crop planters.

“AGCO has been involved in the seeding and tillage sector since the company’s inception in 1990,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Manager Europe/Africa/Middle East. “Since then, key acquisitions and a joint venture with Amity Technology, one of the leading names in the sector, have significantly increased our seeding and tillage product portfolio.”

“A key aim of AGCO’s Seeding & Tillage initiative is to develop products using appropriate technology – from smaller implements matched to the needs of emerging markets to sophisticated broad-acre solutions,” he says. “Our major markets to date have been North and South America, Eastern Europe and Africa. The next step is to extend and look for new opportunities in Western and Central Europe and we are delighted to be able to start our promotional campaign at the prestigious Fendt-Saaten Union Field Day.”

CEJA Partners Massey Ferguson in Vision of the Future Event

Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO) is pleased to announce the full partnership of the European Council of Young Farmers at its Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France, 19-29 August 2014.

The farm machinery manufacturer is already a key sponsor of CEJA, which represents around two million European young farmers, and is working closely with the group in support of a range of projects at international, regional and local level.

CEJA conference at Vision of the Future 2014

CEJA conference at Vision of the Future 2014

Joining CEJA President, Matteo Bartolini in speaking at Vision of the Future were CEJA Vice-Presidents, Paola del Castillo, Matthias Daun, Alan Jagoe, and Laurent Poirier who made presentations in their native languages to the variety of international audiences attending over the ten days of the event.

“Vision of the Future is a wonderful opportunity for CEJA to meet farmers and promote a greater understanding of our work in Europe,” said Matteo Bartolini. “We are dedicated to the future of farming and the role of young people in its development. This event is a melting pot of new and innovative ideas, something which we relish as an organisation.”

Commenting, Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development said: “We are delighted that CEJA is partnering us at our showcase event. The young generation is the engine of innovation and fully comprehends the value of change. This is the inspiration behind MF’s partnership with CEJA – a relationship we hope to consolidate further into the future.”

In his keynote speech on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Matteo Bartolini said: “The reformed CAP 2014-2020 promises to be ‘fairer’, ‘greener’ and ‘younger’, and, for the first time in the history of the CAP, we had the introduction of a mandatory measure for all Member States targeted only at young farmers under the direct payments Pillar,” he remarked.

“But our job is not done! We need to continue to find ways to assist young people to progress in agriculture. Young farmer numbers are still very low despite their increased productivity in comparison to older counterparts. Only 7.5% of European farmers are under the age of 35, and one third are over 65! We need to help young farmers to overcome the barriers of access to land, capital and credit and give wings to the ambitions of our young European entrepreneurs.”

“Generational renewal has to be at the heart of public policies, as this is the only way to ensure sustainable food production and respond to increasing food demand in the future,” said Matteo. “With its work, CEJA makes sure that the voice of young farmers is heard by all Brussels-based policy-makers and that young farmers are at the centre of discussions on future farming policy developments.”

CEJA co-ordinates seminars, conferences, public debates and written reports, and directs the concerns of young farmers towards the European institutions.

A regular column from CEJA is published every month on the Massey Ferguson web site: www.masseyferguson.com

Countdown Begins for Tractor Expedition to South Pole

The MF 5610 tractor set to journey to the South Pole in five weeks’ time has successfully completed stringent tests in Iceland.

Known as Antarctica2, the adventurous mission to drive a tractor to the Geographical South Pole is the dream of Manon Ossevoort, aka ‘Tractor Girl’, who will pilot the specially-prepared MF 5610 on the 2350km expedition across treacherous snow and ice. In doing so, she and her expert back-up team will echo the achievement of Sir Edmund Hillary who trekked to the South Pole using three Ferguson tractors in 1958.

MF5610_AntarcticaTrial_is_Sept14-2835_87677 (1)The Antarctica2 expedition is being organised to highlight the need for sustainable food security through the provision of accessible technologies and innovative services to allow future farmers to meet the world’s growing requirement for food.

Modified by the engineering team at AGCO’s Beauvais tractor plant, the MF 5610 completed its final testing over a two-week period in Iceland. “The tractor performed extremely well in our trials,” says Massey Ferguson Engineering Project Manager, Olivier Hembert. “It will have to endure temperatures down to minus 40 degrees centigrade, altitude of 3400 metres and tackle deep, soft snow. This kind of environment calls for straightforward, dependable engineering for which Massey Ferguson is renowned. Previous tests in Iceland and France were made to check its performance in  polar ground conditions and at very low temperatures.”

Throughout the journey, the tractor’s AgCommandTM telematics system will relay performance information back to a 24-hour support team in Beauvais. “The clock is now ticking for this long-planned project to become reality,” adds Olivier. “We are very excited about monitoring our tractor’s progress across the challenging icescape and ensuring its technical and mechanical stamina to accomplish the mission.”

Livestreaming and regular updates via a dedicated website will keep the rest of the world in touch with the adventure’s progress. The tractor and team depart Novo Base in East Antarctica around 24 November and are scheduled to arrive at the South Pole around 15 December.

Support for Antarctica2 is being provided by partners including Massey Ferguson, Trelleborg, AGCO Finance, Castrol, AGCO Parts, Fuse Technologies and Mechatrac.

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