Ask Gavin MacDonald why he and his father, Donnie, purchased their Massey Ferguson® 6490 and he counts the reasons, literally.
Specifically, the number of times he would have to shift gears while driving to the field farthest from the barn in a comparably priced “green” tractor.
“Twenty-one shifts there and 21 back,” he says. “We figured that was a lot of shifting to do with a lot of clutch work when you’re spreading manure or something like that.” Because the MacDonalds’ MF6490 has a Dyna-6 transmission, “you set it and it shifts on itself,” Gavin continues.
“You basically drive it like an automatic [transmission] car,” adds Donnie. “It’ll go through its ranges … and gear down when it can. That’s great on fuel economy.”
The first Massey Ferguson tractor Donnie bought was almost 27 years ago and from Brock Proudfoot at Proudfoot Motors in nearby New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. “Since then,” says Donnie, who now owns five Massey Ferguson tractors and one combine, “we’ve been pretty well with him for everything that he can supply. We get great service … right through to the parts and service, and all the guys at the shop. We don’t have a lot of breakdowns, but we get good service when we do have them.”
Donnie and Gavin do, however, comparison shop. “You just don’t buy something because the color,” says Donnie. “Massey’s always been competitive.
“They’re also very durable,” he continues. “Like I say, some of the tractors have been here for quite a while.”
Farmers and contractors in the Wimmera region of Western Victoria, Australia have a new partner supporting their businesses.
Traction AG has been appointed as the AGCO Dealer for the export focussed broad acre district that produces cereal, pulse and oilseed crops as well as some livestock.
New Dealer Principals Kym Grosser, Frank Delahunty and Peter Blair combine a vast range of expertise with backgrounds in engineering, machinery sales, business and farming. The Traction AG team have over 150 years of experience and are passionate about machinery that delivers performance, efficiency and productivity.
Celebrating the opening of the Horsham premises, 160 local farmers and contractors were invited to enjoy a social evening and meet with the Traction AG staff and AGCO representatives.
The event was a great opportunity for attendees to see the exciting AGCO range of products and speak with Traction AG staff and AGCO representatives about innovations and technology that can help them drive efficiencies in their farming operations.
AGCO Area Sales Manager West Victoria, Chris Browne was impressed with the increasing interest in efficient farming practices.
“It was great to see some new and familiar faces at the event and hear a lot of positive views on the increasing importance of technology and improved efficiencies in farming practices in the Wimmera region. There is a lot of enthusiasm for products that tick all the boxes in broad acre farming which is increasingly about economies of scale”, said Chris Browne,
Traction AG Business Manager Will de Fégely was keen to catch up with guests and also spoke of the increasing significance local farmers are giving to efficient farming systems
“It was a good opportunity for farmers to meet our staff and get a look at our new premises as well as the range of AGCO products. The region has increasing demand for technology that will drive down costs in broad acre farming. With our Horsham and Nhill branches, we are looking forward to meeting this demand for a complete product range that exceeds the expectations of customers and is backed up by reliable service support and a global parts network”, Will said.
Traction AG is set to open their Nhill branch in October during the Nhill Show. The team is looking forward to a bright future supporting the Wimmera farming community with products and service support that meet the demands of modern operators in the region.
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), is focused on developing straightforward, intelligent farm machinery with broad appeal in the quest to increase crop yields and produce higher quality food with less assets.
Giving details on the brand’s outlook to 6,000 visitors at the company’s Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France, Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing, Massey Ferguson Europe/Africa/Middle East remarked: “To produce more from less, bio- and agri-technology will need to work together to achieve the necessary increases in food production to feed the world’s growing population. At the same time, farmers will need to strike a balance between a profitable business and a sustainable environment. Farm machinery must deliver a good return on their investment.”
He explained that in order to boost production, the three key challenges for farmers were the soil; environment and sustainability; and information and integration. A further major issue was the pressing need to encourage young people into agriculture.
“Soil is a key asset. It has to sustain crop growth, support larger loads to enable mechanisation, and permit infiltration and storage of water. In order to preserve soil and tackle the problems of compaction, erosion, water and nutrient management, a farmer will need to be more of an agronomist than ever before,” said Thierry.
“On the subject of environment and sustainability, the important areas are selection of the correct seed varieties, detailed land surveying and the optimum use of fertiliser which must come from the right source and be applied at the right rate, at the right time in the right place,” he continued.
“The entire food chain – from production to distribution – will benefit from increased information and integration. Collection and analysis of data from the field, for example, are crucial to develop optimum crop strategies and make the most of available land.”
“The entry of young people into farming is essential for agricultural security and must be encouraged,” Thierry emphasised. “The percentage of farms operated by under 35- year-olds in the EU is just 6%. Research has shown that farmers under 35 are one third more productive than their older counterparts.”
He then went on to give an insight into farm equipment developments of the future. “While power will continue to increase, ever-bigger monster machines are not the only solution,” he remarked. “Tractors below 100hp still account for 90% of the market in Africa and Middle East, 75% in Russia and just over half in Europe. The new farmer generation will continue to rely on these machines as all-round workhorses.”
“At Massey Ferguson, our aim is to produce dependable machines with broad appeal across all farm types. While they are straightforward, these machines are also smart – employing the most appropriate mechanisation and technology to suit a huge diversity of needs,” he said.
“Worldwide, the major trends are for modular and versatile machines, more comfort, ease-of-use and low cost of ownership. For emerging markets, the key issues are ease-of-use and repair, automation and connectivity, fuel efficiency and the requirement for engines to be less sensitive to fuel quality.” Looking further ahead, Thierry revealed some exciting ideas that could develop into the tractors of the future such as modular units with ‘add-on’ power units which could be used elsewhere on the farm for electricity supply. He also showed examples of tool carriers, master/slave concepts, hybrid/hydrogen engines, four-wheel-steer and an immersive cab.
“At Massey Ferguson, we don’t believe in technology simply for technology’s sake. Machinery is a big outlay and any engineering developments must provide farmers with a good return on their investment and help boost efficiency,” he said. “We will continue to stay close to our customers, listen to their ideas and ensure that our solutions are consistent with their expectations for farming in the real world.”
In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control. But, that’s not a given.
“It’s still a bit of the wild, wild west right now,” says Joe Russo, who helped pioneer what would become precision farming 28 years ago as an agricultural meteorologist at Penn State University. “The sharing of information can be good or bad, but those responsible for generating the data—the farmers—their permission should be required for any use.
“Your data is your most important source of information,” says Russo. “It defines you, and represents your economic position and intellectual property. There is no doubt in my mind who owns it.”
Ownership notwithstanding, who can use that data is often subject to less-than-transparent practices. Consider that many companies, including some agricultural equipment manufacturers, bury an “opt out” clause in the fine print of documents concerning a purchase or service agreement. In such cases, the onus is on the customers, who must search for and find such a clause, then purposefully decline in order to maintain their privacy. If not, the company providing the equipment or service can use or even share a farm’s data with third parties.
The inverse of that practice, one employed by all AGCO brands, is to ask the customer to opt in to share data. “We don’t allow ourselves to have access to the customer’s information without approval,” says Jason O’Flanagan, senior marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS).
“We’ve isolated ourselves so the farmer trusts in the fact AGCO is there as an assistant along the way,” says O’Flanagan, noting that if the customer gives AGCO permission to use the data, the dealer and company can monitor the operation of their machinery, helping with maintenance and warning of possible problems. He adds that the collection of such data, by sharing it with AGCO engineers, also helps develop innovations faster.
Knowing up front who has access to your data is imperative, says O’Flanagan. “Would you give just anyone your W-2 or your tax return?” he asks. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people would say ‘No.’ When someone else takes your yield and application maps, and planning maps, you are giving them a complete view of how your farm works. You need to know who has that information, and you need to trust them to use that data carefully.”
To learn more about AGCO’s on and off board technologies and the Fuse Technologies strategy, visit http://www.agcotechnologies.com/.
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), is unveiling the groundbreaking new MF Global Series tractors at its exciting Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France.
Backed by an investment of over $350 million from its parent company AGCO, and the result of more than six years of research and development, the Massey Ferguson Global Series is a brand-new product line of 60-130hp tractors which will ultimately be assembled at multiple manufacturing sites and sold globally.
“With its forward-looking perspective, our Vision of the Future event is the perfect platform for the world public debut of these new machines,” comments Richard Markwell, Massey Ferguson Vice President and Managing Director Europe/Africa/Middle East (EAME). “This is the largest manufacturing and new product development project in the history of AGCO and is an extremely significant evolution for the Massey Ferguson brand. It signals the biggest extension to our tractor line-up for many years. Massey Ferguson boasts impeccable credentials to spearhead the ambitious Global Series project with unrivalled experience and understanding of designing, manufacturing and selling tractors in international markets.”
“As modern agriculture becomes ever more challenging and hungry for efficient and appropriate mechanisation, these tractors represent a new source of power for world agriculture. Designed from the outset for global distribution, they will offer an array of specification, options and features to suit customers no matter where in the world they farm,” Mr Markwell continued.
Multi-national engineering teams worked on a clean-sheet design. Their brief was to take the concept of the utility tractor and re-engineer it from the ground up whilst incorporating the classic Massey Ferguson design tenets of straightforward, dependable operation. Around 90% of the components are completely new. More than 36,000 hours of lab and field testing have seen prototype models show their paces in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
In a concept unique in the farm machinery industry, the thrust of the manufacturing strategy is to create a highly flexible network of plants where major units and complete tractors can be produced and assembled at multiple locations throughout the world. Plants in the network include Canoas in Brazil, Chennai in India, Manisa in Turkey and Changzhou in China. At Changzhou, a brand-new state-of-the-art factory has been built to act as an anchor facility for both tractor manufacturing and for the supply of major components. Wholly owned and operated by AGCO, the plant is equipped with all the very latest machine tools, assembly processes and systems as distributed extensively in AGCO factories worldwide.
The Massey Ferguson Global Series will be introduced on a phased approach basis over the next five years. Rugged, dependable, easy-to-operate and maintain, they will be available as footstep, semi-platform, platform and cab versions. The first model – the 82hp MF 4708 – is already in production for African markets and the next model up, the MF 4709 will be launched in other EAME markets later this year.
“The Global Series is designed by our experienced engineering teams, built by using cutting-edge manufacturing and quality techniques and fully backed and supported in the field,” adds Mr Markwell. “These tractors are set to become the machines of choice for the new generation of farmers all over the world.”