This is the story of a long-distance love affair, involving not one, not two, but three men infatuated with one “old girl.” Longtime readers of FarmLife magazine may recall an article from the fall 2008 issue about two British brothers, Steven and Kevin Clarke, who became fascinated with the American wheat harvest after watching a 1976 BBC documentary on the topic. The 50-minute special featured a certain combine—the Massey Ferguson® 760, which, for the boys, became a focal point, an embodiment of much of the “wonder and curiosity” the documentary had instilled in them.
Raised on a farm, the Clarkes themselves grew up to farm and custom harvest with their own fleet of Massey Ferguson combines in North Norfolk, England, about a three-hour drive northeast of London. One of their favorite things to do with their time off is visit their friend Delbert Joyner near Enid, Okla., and help with his wheat harvest.
For six years now, the Clarkes have kept their own MF760 at Joyner’s farm and recently added another very special model—the “old girl” referred to earlier, which just happened to be the first MF760 to come off the production line in 1971.
Found several years ago in the corner of a Kansas wheat field, it had been parked there for 33 years before the Clarkes and Marvin Helland, another American friend and custom harvester from North Dakota, convinced the owner to sell it.
Thought to quite possibly be a terminal case because of how long it sat in the elements unused, the original MF760 is now running again, thanks to its hardy construction and the efforts of its three enthusiastic new owners. Amazingly, “number one” helped complete the harvest at the Joyner farm this year, and all involved hope she’ll continue working for many years to come.
Downtime is costly for any producer, but it’s even worse for commercial operators who depend on quality hay for their livelihood. That’s one reason Larry Krepline goes through his two Hesston big square balers and Hesston windrower every fall with the help of Gruett’s Inc., his Massey Ferguson dealer in Potter, Wisc. That is, after he totally cleans each machine at the end of the season with compressed air and/or a power washer.
“One of their technicians actually comes out here to the farm and we go through the full checklist on each machine,” Krepline says. “After that, my crew and I will make most of the repairs ourselves based on the recommendations. At the very least, we’ll change all the fluids, including the oil in the cutterbed, and replace all the disc header knives, along with the bolts and bushings. I don’t need any of them breaking during the season.”
With three windrowers, two big square balers and ten 3-twine balers, Mark Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Hay Company in Dixon, Calif., has a big maintenance project each winter, too. However, by the time he and his crew finish, Atkinson says every machine they own has been restored to like-new condition.
“In fact, our dealer usually has somebody waiting for a machine when we trade it,” he adds. “We literally take every machine apart and rebuild it, replacing any part that we have doubts about. If there’s any question about whether it will make it through the next hay season, we replace it,” he adds, noting that replacement parts include everything from knotter bill hooks to bale chamber side plates. “Downtime is too expensive to risk it.”
Another tip, this one from Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products: “Months down the road it can be hard to remember that noise you wanted to check out before next season. By writing it down, when you notice what might be a problem, you have a big head start on maintenance that will leave your equipment in top condition, ready for another productive season.”
For detailed checklists for hay equipment maintenance, including a video from our own Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston® by Massey Ferguson hay products, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/hay-equipment-maintenance-checklists/.
In most instances, compromise is a good thing. That’s not necessarily true, however, when you are talking about agricultural engines. According to Matt Rushing, AGCO director of product management for global engines and global electronics, nearly every company but AGCO shares most of their engines with other applications. Consequently, trade-offs on performance and price are generally the result.
“That’s not the case with the AGCO POWER engines Massey Ferguson® uses to power the majority of its tractors and harvest equipment,” says Rushing. “We purposely build our engines for particular agricultural products.”
In contrast, Rushing says many of Massey Ferguson’s competitors are forced to build a line of engines for multiple applications—from excavators and marine usage to trucks and forestry machines. “They really have to design their engine families with those things in mind. When you do that, you’re going to have to compromise somewhere.”
As a result, he continues, “one group of customers is often penalized in terms of cost, size or performance, because the engine has to be built a certain way for another specific group of customers … whether that involves using a certain type of cooler, a certain SCR dosing system or even special internal components.” However, because AGCO POWER engines are designed and built for agricultural applications, the machines can often be built smaller to allow for greater ease of handling or provide greater visibility than if an off-the-shelf engine were fitted under the hood.
As one example, Rushing points to the AGCO POWER 9.8-liter, 7-cylinder in-line diesel engine used in the Massey Ferguson 9500 Series combines. “It’s basically one cylinder longer than the 8.4-liter engine we use in the 8600 Series tractors, so that gives us and our customers a lot more parts commonality for lower maintenance costs. Yet, the in-line design gives us as much torque and power as we had with the [12.5-litre] Cat, while leaving space for all the turbos, after-treatment components and in-line cooling systems that are required to meet current emissions standards.”
In 2005, at an international theater festival in the Netherlands, Dutch storyteller and actor Manon Ossevoort performed her live narrative, “DO.” It’s a story about a girl on a tractor taking the dreams of many to the end of the world. So, when the story ended, Ossevoort drove out of the theater on a tractor and began a journey.
Ossevoort’s odyssey led her through Europe, the Balkans and down through the continent of Africa. Along the way, she performed her story and collected, on little slips of paper, the dreams and hopes of the people she met.
After four years and more than 23,000 miles, Ossevoort reached the Cape of Good Hope. “I literally missed my boat,” she says. The ship she had planned to take to Antarctica—the symbolic end of the world—had canceled its trip. “I had no sponsors, nothing,” says Ossevoort. “But I had thousands of dreams in the back of my tractor that I had promised to bring to the South Pole, a continent where there’s never been war.”
Cue Massey Ferguson. The company has a unique connection to Antarctica. Sir Edmund Hillary and his team drove three Ferguson TE20 tractors to the pole in 1958. That same year also marked the introduction of the Massey Ferguson brand. Sponsoring another trek to the South Pole on Massey Ferguson tractors seemed like a perfect way to celebrate both milestones.
Ossevoort and a Massey Ferguson assembled team of specialists have begun polar training in Iceland and northern Canada with a new Massey Ferguson 5600 Series tractor that has been modified to create “the ultimate polar-expedition tractor,” she says. The expedition plans to sail to Antarctica in December 2014, where it will follow the same path as Hillary’s expedition.
Ossevoort explains what she’ll do with the stories she’s collected on her journey: “I’ll symbolically finish my epic story at the geographical South Pole by building a snowman with the ‘dreams of the world’ in its belly.”
The RG700 self-propelled sprayer and Gleaner Super Series combines have been chosen as Agri Marketing magazine’s 2013 New Product of the Year and 2013 Product of the Year, respectively. AGCO is the first company in the 15-year history of the Agri Marketing product awards to take home both honors in a given year.
“Our panel of independent agriculture industry professionals chose these two innovative machines based on the value they provide to today’s farmers and the unique marketing approaches that have helped contribute to their success in our industry,” says Lynn Henderson, publisher of Agri Marketing. “The RG700 and Gleaner Super Series join a distinguished group of winners, all of which contribute to making growers more successful in producing feed, food and fiber for a growing world population.”
Agri Marketing’s 2013 New Product of the Year, the RG700 self-propelled sprayer, debuted this fall, proving the axiom that good things can come in small packages. The RG700 is a compact, 700-gallon tank machine that brings growers the benefits found in larger, professional-grade RoGator® sprayers.
The Tier 4 interim-compliant RG700 has an industry-leading AWD Smart Drive System™, even weight distribution and Parallel C-channel flex frame, providing consistent field speed without shifting, plus excellent traction with all four wheels remaining in constant contact with the ground. The result is a smooth ride and more precise product application, even under varying field conditions. Other key benefits include a powerful, yet fuel-efficient high-torque engine, adjustable track widths, and outstanding cab comfort and safety.
The Gleaner Super Series combine, Agri Marketing’s 2013 Product of the Year, was first introduced in 2010 with the S7 Super Series transverse rotary combine. Built to solve the challenges of greater yields, more residue, more acres and rising fuel costs, the S7 Super Series represented a large leap forward in harvesting capacity and efficiency, while reinforcing Gleaner’s reputation for durability, simplicity, low grain loss and very clean grain sample.
The new S8 Super Series, introduced in August 2013, takes harvesting technology even further — and includes the world’s first Class 8 transverse rotary combine. Built on the Optimum Harvesting Performance platform, the S8 Super Series is designed for ultimate efficiency and reduced parasitics. This drives horsepower to the rotor to process and thresh the crop, so growers can get more done while burning less fuel. The S8 Series features the lightest Class 6 through 8 combines on the market, and provides growers with unmatched grain quality and great throughput.
“We are incredibly honored that these products have been recognized for their innovation and value to agricultural producers,” says Bob Crain, senior vice president and general manager for AGCO North America. “In 2007, AGCO began an era of significant investment in new-product research and development, driven by listening to the needs of our customers in the United States and Canada. The innovations these products deliver are a result of that investment, plus a lot of hard work. We’re proud these products provide producers with the solutions they need.”
Full details about the products and the marketing case studies behind them are available in the November/December issue of Agri Marketing magazine. For more information on the RG700, visit www.applylikeapro.com/RG700. For more information about Gleaner combines or to find a dealer near you, visit www.GleanerCombines.com.