Kirk Venvertloh and his father certainly have a lot in common and share a bond when it comes to the family farm. However, when it involves tractors, you might say Kirk is going in a different direction than his dad.
While his father Willie Venvertloh has been a lifelong John Deere customer, Kirk recently purchased a new Massey Ferguson® Model 7615, equipped with the optional Dyna-VT™ CVT transmission and a Massey Ferguson Model 961 loader. In effect, it replaced two older tractors, while improving both efficiency and versatility.
“I mainly use it for feeding cattle and haying,” relates Kirk, who says he purchased the MF7615 in large part due to the efficiency and ease of operation provided by the CVT. Yet, as much as he appreciates that continuously variable transmission for both fieldwork and loader chores, Kirk says he has since learned that the tractor does so much more than he even imagined.
“I love the Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) system and the foot pedal mode, and the way they work together when I’m using the loader,” he says. “I just move the shuttle lever to change direction, and use the pedal to start and stop, and to control the speed.” Kirk says it is equally valuable on PTO-powered equipment, like their Hesston® by Massey Ferguson Model 2745 round baler.
“It’s great for going down the road too,” he continues. “We’re spread out quite a bit. We have one farm that’s 10 miles north of our main farmstead, and my house is actually 15 miles east; so the ability to travel between fields at around 32 mph is very helpful.
“At the same time, it’s been amazing on fuel economy,” he adds, pointing out how the engine automatically throttles down when power isn’t needed. “During one of the first hay cuttings this spring, I drove 17 miles to the field, cut about 13 acres of hay with the mower conditioner at about 6 mph and used a total of seven gallons of fuel. With any of the other tractors, we would have used at least 25 to 30% more fuel.”
Established in 2005, Darmac Ag Sales & Service is located in the fertile and richly soiled hills of Silvan, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley region, have recently become AGCO Australia’s newest Fendt dealer.
Expanding steadily into a highly professional and skilled operation, the Darmac Ag team offers a range of products and services to local Farmers as well small property owners and municipal councils beyond their immediate region.
Darmac Ag’s successful business expansion and dedication to professional service has resulted in their recent appointment as the Yarra Valley region’s new Fendt dealer.
Fendt technology, comfort and innovation has been coupled with a dedicated sales and service team at the fully equipped facilities of Darmac Ag. The highly experienced staff and dealer principal, Darren McIntyre, are excited at the opportunity of offering Fendt’s industry leading products and technology.
Already making inroads with municipal councils beyond the Yarra Valley, Darmac Ag attracted the attention of Boroondara council, previous Fendt owners, who became Darmac Ag’s first Fendt Sale.
Encouraged by Fendt’s low maintenance, favourable operating lease and Darmac Ag’s solid service and support, Boroondara purchased two Fendt 312 Series Varios.
“They will be utilised maintaining parks and gardens. The 312’s are really ideal for these sorts of applications as any operator can get into them. The Vario transmission makes switching between tasks and on road travel really straight forward,” Darren says.
According to Darren, other models in the Fendt range are also ideally matched to Darmac’s local farming conditions and give Darmac Ag a machinery solution for most local operators.
“The 90 HP Fendt 200 Series Vario are ideal for the local orchard, vineyard and strawberry farmers, with high levels of comfort and fuel efficiency matched with the advanced Vario transmissions,” says Darren.
Local Area Sales Manager for AGCO Australia Chris Dalton was pleased to be a part of the appointment and sees a lot of opportunities for the Fendt range with local customers.
“There are a lot of good operators in the area and there is demand for quality, reliable machines that are well supported with parts and service. Fendt innovation and technology together with Darmac Ag’s proven track record of professional service are a great combination,” says Chris.
MF: Would you say that 2014 was a year of maintaining the momentum of CEJA’s work?
MB: 2014 has been a crucial year for CEJA. Following the achievements made in 2013 with the inclusion of a mandatory measure for young farmers in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it was essential that we ensured the implementation of this historic political agreement in an effective and concrete manner. In a similar vein, it was also important that we made use of the momentum that the CAP reform negotiations had given CEJA the previous year, and that we maintained an increasing amount of visibility and awareness of the age crisis in European farming. This was despite the retreat that agriculture, due to the end of CAP discussions, made from the central position it had been occupying in EU current affairs for the last two years. Progress has been made on the policy front even beyond the remits of the CAP, including putting the need to strengthen EU policy for young farmers at centre stage within the agricultural priorities of the Italian Presidency.
MF: What else was notable in 2014?
MB: 2014 witnessed the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. Among several joint events, we held a CEJA working group at the MF tractor plant in Beauvais, France. The event also included a tour of the tractor production facilities for a number of leading young farmers from across the EU. 2014 saw the end of an era as the previous European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş, was replaced by Irishman Phil Hogan. In addition, we saw an array of newly-elected MEPs take their seats on the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament. As well as this, CEJA welcomed a new Secretary General a year ago to assist what was then the newly-elected Board, with me at the helm as the new President. Despite all these changes, CEJA accomplished a number of achievements over the last 12 months and I am proud to say that the issue of young farmers was still high on the political agenda right through to the end of 2014.
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Staff at Massey Ferguson in the UK gave a warm welcome to Manon Ossevoort who drove an MF 5610 tractor on the adventurous Antarctica2 mission to the South Pole.
The 38-year-old Dutch-born Expedition Ambassador and Lead Driver, better known as ‘Tractor Girl’, visited Massey Ferguson’s offices at Abbey Park Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on 23 January. Manon captured the imagination of millions worldwide as she and her team battled across the vast icescape with the MF tractor on a gruelling 28-day, 5000 km round-trip from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole. On reaching its destination, the MF 5610 made history to become the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.
Throughout the expedition, a Massey Ferguson team at Abbey Park was responsible for coordinating the expedition communications and relaying news and pictures of the epic journey to a global audience.
“It was a great pleasure to welcome Manon to the UK and hear yet more details of this extraordinary story,” said Declan Hayden, Vice President, Global Sales & Operations Planning. “It is truly an awe-inspiring feat, highlighting the strength and endurance of the MF tractor, as well demonstrating the fortitude and resilience of the crew.”
Manon commented: “By supplying the MF 5610 to Antarctica2, Massey Ferguson showed its belief in this incredibly ambitious mission and took up my challenge to take a tractor to the South Pole. I am thrilled to be here and back with the MF team who worked with me on planning the expedition over a period of three years. They never stopped believing that we could achieve our goal. I know the team at Abbey Park was eager to hear more of my story but I was equally fascinated to find out how they supported the expedition communications day-to-day.”
Manon was joined at Abbey Park by fellow team member, Antarctica2 cameraman Simon Foster. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “Taking pictures and video in the extreme cold was exceptionally challenging. We were able to take some great shots of the tractor on its voyage which were used widely by the world’s press and across social media.”
Paul Lay, Massey Ferguson Manager, Public Relations and Communications who led the Abbey Park-based communications team adds: “Antarctica2 was an amazing project for the team to manage. The technical challenges of conveying communications and developing news from Antarctica quickly to a global audience were immense. There are no geosynchronous communications satellites at the Earth’s Poles so digital communications are very slow and unreliable. We overcame those and were delighted when, together with other world media, the BBC ran a four minute live news broadcast with Manon when her MF 5610 tractor reached the South Pole – a first.”
The Antarctica2 MF 5610 expedition tractor will be a highlight of Massey Ferguson’s stand at the upcoming SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February 2015.
In January 2012, when Ismaël and Sébastien Villeneuve moved to their new farm in Northeastern Quebec, the brothers were on their own. The 600 kilometers between the siblings’ new property and their family’s pig farm in Lanoraie, Quebec, made the remoteness even more pronounced.
So did their youth, or more accurately, that others perceived them to be inexperienced. Yet, Ismaël, 27, and Sébastien, 24, spent most of their childhood working around their family’s farm and those of their neighbors. They knew the ropes.
So, perhaps it was providence or just great luck that the brothers stumbled upon what has become their farm equipment dealer, as well as something of a welcome committee. Ismaël had been shopping for another brand of tractor at a dealership close to his farm. “I asked for prices and had to make a lot of phone calls,” says Ismaël. “It took way too long. They didn’t take us seriously because we were young and new to the region.”
Then, destiny intervened. On the way home from the other dealership, Ismaël got lost and ended up at Machinerie J.N.G. Thériault, the Massey Ferguson dealer in Amqui, Quebec. And while the visit was happenstance, it was time well spent.
The very next day, the brothers received pricing for an MF5450. Two days later, a representative from the dealership dropped off the tractor and demonstrated its use. Such a speedy response, says Ismaël, “really took me by surprise.”
The MF5450 has since been their go-to for numerous and far-ranging tasks around the farm. From spreading herbicides and fertilizer on the fields to pressing and moving hay bales, its maneuverability and exceptional visibility from the cab make it indispensable for farm work, says Ismaël.
“The versatility is the biggest advantage of the 5450. For its size, it is very strong and very powerful.” In addition, says Ismaël about Machinerie J.N.G. Thériault, “The service with these guys is five star.”
With such a positive experience, the brothers have since purchased an MF7616. “For the work we have to do at this specific farm, it’s perfect,” says Ismaël of the 150- engine HP tractor, which he and Sébastien use for sowing seeds, spreading manure and snowplowing. “Compared to other [tractors], the price is affordable and the fuel efficiency is better.”