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Polar stars steal the limelight at SIMA

The MF 5610 tractor which captured the imagination of millions worldwide on its epic journey to the South Pole is  one of the star exhibits on the Massey Ferguson stand at this week’s SIMA Show in Paris. Joining the famous tractor on day one of the exhibition was Antarctica2 expedition Lead Driver, Manon Ossevoort, who spearheaded the 5000 km return trip to the Pole in December 2014.

In completing the mission, the MF 5610 claimed its place in history and became the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.  For 38-year-old Manon, the ice challenge proved that, with belief and determination, dreams really do come true.

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“I was impressed with the MF tractor’s performance,” she says. “It just kept going and going and going – like a tenacious little animal ploughing through the icy conditions. And it turned out to be the best place to be on the expedition – spacious, warm and comfortable. A safe haven. We had 24-hour daylight but I loved doing what we called the ‘night’ drive when the rest of the team was sleeping back at camp. It was just me and the tractor, breaking trail in this beautiful landscape. Driving across the solid ‘sastrugi’ ice waves was like climbing over rocks. It became an extreme sport for us, navigating them fast and safely!  I am really proud of the tractor. It became the most solid and dependable friend to me.”

Visitors are able to see the MF 5610 as it returned battle-scarred from the ice complete with especially-developed Trelleborg tyres, crevasse bar, electric winch, polycarbonate windscreen, rear-mounted generator and extra 410 litre fuel tank.

Commenting, Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development said: “We are thrilled to feature the tractor on our stand at SIMA and delighted to welcome Manon as our guest. Her experiences on the ice with the team filled us with awe. We were overwhelmed by the response from the global audience who followed the Antarctica2 adventure. It was an inspiring feat, and so many people have taken the tractor to their hearts. The MF 5610 received a hero’s welcome when it returned to its birthplace at our manufacturing plant in Beauvais, France. We are all so proud of its achievement.”

Also making an appearance at the MF SIMA stand are the expedition’s Lead Mechanic, Nicolas Bachelet and Cameraman, Simon Foster.

Challenger RoGator 600C Capable of Spraying at 30km/hr

High-speed spraying is becoming increasing popular in Europe and especially in France where operators are looking to spray at speeds of up to 30km/hr. Building on the history and success of the SpraCoupe, the 2015 version of Challenger’s RoGator 600C is easily capable of meeting these speed requirements.

On display for the first time at the 2015 French SIMA Show, the 30km/hr maximum field speed of the RoGator 600C is 43% faster than the previous 21km/hr. To achieve this extra speed the trio of 600C models are fitted with heavier duty and more powerful wheel motors with increased torque. Depending on model this results in a 10-15% better pulling power over 2014 models.

RG600C_HighSpeedThe centre frame has been redesigned with less parts and pivot points for improved boom stability, while the remainder of the pivot points have been reinforced and bolts have been replaced with hinge pins to improve the reliability.

The bottom of the machine is now of a smoother design to reduce crop damage at these faster speeds, which will be particularly useful in OSR. Travelling at faster speeds requires greater nozzle opening to allow higher volumes of liquid to travel through the sprayer to ensure the same application rate e.g. 150l/ha at 30km/hr to 150l/ha at 20km/hr requires the pumping of an extra 43% more liquid.

Dual Nozzle Shut Off is the name of a new technique designed to do just this. The system utilises two small nozzles, which combined have the same output as one large one. The system provides the possibility to engage both nozzles when the operator wants to drive at speeds that are outside the normal range of the first nozzle.

Designed, built and tested in Europe for European conditions, the 600C features new plumbing for the clean water tank connection to reduce the loading time of the clean water tank by as much as 50%. Resulting in quicker filling times and decreased cycle times for more productivity. Read the rest of this entry »

Farmer of the Year: Coming Out On Top

James won the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for 2013. Among the prizes was use for a year of a Massey Ferguson® tractor.

James won the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for 2013. Among the prizes was use for a year of a Massey Ferguson® tractor.

While disking one fall day, James Cooley had been contemplating a means of marking his irrigation heads. Finally, an ingenious solution for row markers came to him: American flags.

From there, the idea grew. Today, his 1,200-acre, Chesnee, SC farm and farmers’ market, Strawberry Hill USA, features 400 flags sprouting all over the property. James even adorns his large open-air produce sheds with them, replacing the stars and stripes three times a year. Solving a practical problem with patriotic flair is typical of this innovative farmer’s flexibility.

Presentation remains important to him. So does innovative thinking.

Adapting to Change

James and family raise 850 acres of peach trees and 120 acres in strawberries. The rest includes acreage for cantaloupe, blackberries, pumpkins, pickle cucumbers and squash. He also grows a 10-acre corn maze and 100 acres of wheat and soybeans, used in rotation with the peach trees.

The farm was established in 1946 by James’ father and uncle. Yet, outdated equipment forced a decision in 1989: upgrade the operation’s packing shed or change direction. “We elected to go fresh market,” James says.

These days, Strawberry Hill USA is recognized as the largest strawberry producer in the state. “We don’t compare [to states such as Florida],” James says. “They can grow nice big strawberries for three and four months. We [have] a six-week, hopefully eight-week [growing] period. But it works.”

The Cooleys also made another change recently—growing fall strawberries in tunnel greenhouses. “These fall strawberries, we pick almost to Christmastime,” James says.

Farmer of the Year

“Whatever it takes to make it work, that’s what we’ve got to do,” he says of farming.

That adaptive attitude helped James win the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for 2013. Among the prizes was use for a year of a Massey Ferguson® tractor.

It is not, however, his first Massey Ferguson. “We love Masseys,” says James. “We’ve got 17 of the old 135s,” used for bringing out peaches and light work. For parts, he calls on Nance Tractor and Implements in McConnells.

Adds Cooley, the vintage workhorse “’was Massey’s special tractor,’ Daddy always said. The 135 is a tractor that everybody can drive. It’s easy to maintain, regarding its parts and availability of them.”

As for his new MF8670, which Cooley calls the “Cadillac of tractors,” he plans to put it to work preparing peach and strawberry land. “The view is remarkable,” says Cooley. “It’s a smooth ride and the turning radius is remarkable. And, of course, it [has] unmatched power.”

Welcome home! Police escort through city streets for returning South Pole tractor hero

The MF 5610 tractor which spearheaded the gruelling Antarctica2 expedition to the South Pole in December received a rapturous hero’s welcome on its return home to the French City of Beauvais on 13 February.

Crowds turned out to honour the tractor at special homecoming ceremonies held at the AGCO manufacturing plant, where it was designed and built, and at the Town Hall where Madame Caroline Cayeux, Mayor of Beauvais welcomed it back on behalf of the City.

Left to right: Antarctica2 MF 5610 at the Beauvais 2 Training Centre. Simon Foster - Expedition Creative Director, Manon Ossevoort - Expedition Ambassador, Nicolas Bachelet - Expedition Mechanic

Left to right: Antarctica2 MF 5610 at the Beauvais 2 Training Centre. Simon Foster – Expedition Creative Director, Manon Ossevoort – Expedition Ambassador, Nicolas Bachelet – Expedition Mechanic.

Special guests at the ceremonies were the Antarctica2 Expedition’s Ambassador and Lead Driver, Manon Ossevoort, Lead Mechanic, Nicolas Bachelet and Cameraman, Simon Foster. In taking Manon safely to the South Pole, the MF 5610 not only helped her realise her 12-year dream to drive a tractor ‘to the end of the world.’ but also became the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.

At the Beauvais plant, Manon officially handed back the tractor’s keys to Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director Massey Ferguson Europe, Africa and Middle-East, who had previously presented them to her on 29 July, 2014. “We are all so proud of our tractor and the incredible achievement of Manon and her Antarctica2 team,” said Richard. “Our warmest congratulations on their courage and their determination as well as, of course, their belief in the Massey Ferguson brand. Employees here at Massey Ferguson along with a global audience of millions followed the team’s battle across the ice as news of their exploits unfolded like an adventure story each day. It was exciting and inspiring to see one of the tractors designed and built in this factory making both history and headlines around the world.”

Thanking Massey Ferguson for believing in her dream and supporting the expedition with the supply of the MF 5610, Manon said: “It’s feels good to deliver the tractor safely back to its home. We drove it hard for 28 days across 5000 km and, overall, clocked up 760 hours engine running time – that’s more than many farms would do in two years of normal work. Throughout, it was strong, steady and sure – a tribute to the MF staff who design and build the machines here at Beauvais. Thank you for letting me borrow your brilliant tractor!”

After the factory ceremony, the tractor made its way under police escort to the Beauvais Town Hall plaza to be greeted by Caroline Cayeux, Mayor of Beauvais

“I know I speak for all our citizens in Beauvais when I say that we are brimming with pride to see a tractor produced here reach the South Pole. What an accomplishment!” the Mayor remarked. “Massey Ferguson is an industrial icon in our City and the Antarctica2 achievement is a true testimony to the skills and knowhow of the employees at AGCO Massey Ferguson in Beauvais. Bravo and congratulations from us all.”

The MF 5610 will be one of the star exhibits on the Massey Ferguson stand at the SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February.

The Fuse Strategy: Partnership focus and openness through industry organizations

By Ben Craker

It is hard to read through any farming magazines without seeing an article about new technology or how big data is driving the next revolution in agriculture. The period we are in now is often described as a hinge point where the market will fundamentally shift as the result of new disruptive technology. The information age of farming is upon us with new players in the ag sector from places like Silicon Valley. The machines farmers use to grow the food and fiber to feed the world are advancing at a pace like never before with new technologies seeming to be announced almost daily. This change in the industry is what led AGCO to develop FuseTM Technologies, our next generation approach to precision agriculture.

A key focus of the Fuse strategy is partnering with industry leading companies. AGCO has a history of working with leading technology companies to integrate advanced technology components and features into our equipment. Examples include Raven rate and section control products on RoGators and TerraGators, Beeline for the original Auto-Guide system, Topcon in more recent years for machine guidance, terminals, and telematics. The Fuse strategy formalizes the partnering process and provides direction for how AGCO will partner with tech companies. This allows AGCO to focus on the development of the machine and a few core features, while still integrating best in class technology from innovators and leaders in the industry.

One of the most exciting developments in the partnering strategy has been the recent formation of the Intelligent Agricultural Solutions (IAS) joint venture with Appareo. This unique to the industry partnership will provide AGCO direct access to a leading technology company to help in the development of advanced sensors and communications while helping to fuel future research and development. The capabilities of the IAS team and their passion for creating new technologies that will fundamentally change the precision farming industry are very exciting and work has already begun on some truly innovative ideas.

AGCO is also participating in Farm2050 with companies like Google, DuPont and Flextronics to help AgTech startups get access to capital, design, manufacturing, distribution and general industry knowledge to bring new technologies to the market to help meet the world’s growing demand for food and fiber. The mission of the group is to enable new startups to quickly get to market and really accelerate technology in the ag industry. Farm2050 is a little different than the traditional venture capital group in that the participants are providing something other than just funding to the startups – companies like AGCO are providing agriculture industry expertise. AGCO’s participation in this group is a great example of how we are looking for the next generation of technology to integrate into our machines as part of the Fuse strategy.

Participation in industry organizations is also a good example of how the Fuse open approach and partnering strategy is benefiting the industry. Through groups like the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) and AgGateway, AGCO is playing an active role in making farmers’ lives easier. AGCO employees have worked alongside employees from some of our fiercest competitors to standardize machine to machine communication through the ISO11783 standard. Since the original roll out of the standard and introduction of ISOBUS equipment the group has continued to improve on the standard and will be launching additional tools at the SIMA show in France at the end of the month, delivering independent verification of functionalities within the ISO11783 standard.

Similar work is going on within the AgGateway group where people from a wide variety of companies involved in the ag industry, from seed and chemical companies to software providers and ag retailers, have come together to help advance eBusiness in agriculture. A key part of that is making sure everyone is speaking the same language. The AgGateway Precision Ag Council, of which AGCO is an active member, is building on the ISO11783 standard to help make it easier for famers to manage all the data they log on their machines or create in a Farm Information Management System (FMIS). Today almost any grower can tell you about the difficulties of getting one brand to talk to another or trying to coordinate information between different FMIS platforms. Later this year AgGateway plans to roll out a tool to help streamline this process and enable growers to really start creating meaningful information they can use to drive fact based decisions in their precision farming operations.

So whether is it is leveraging long standing partnerships with precision farming companies, looking for new innovative technologies to integrate into AGCO machines or participating with groups working to standardize the data flow in the precision agriculture world, it is an exciting time to be involved in precision agriculture. By focusing on partnerships and openness, in addition to its own technological advancements, AGCO is positioned to be a leader in the greatest advancement in agriculture since the introduction of the internal combustion engine.

To learn more about the Fuse strategy, and read our latest news and announcements, visit agcotechnologies.com.

 

Ben Craker is a Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Global Partnerships and Standards for Fuse Technologies. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.

 

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