As the first person to own a Fendt tractor in Australia, John Holtkamp’s inspirational story reflects the true spirit of the many settlers who paved the way for a new life in the Wimmera region of Victoria.
John Holtkamp arrived in Australia in January 1951 to start a new chapter of his life. Originally from Brieg, Silesia (today Poland) and growing up in Memmingen, Southern Germany, John took the plunge to follow the call of the Wimmera Lutheran Mission and settle into a life of farming.
John soon became a successful farmer on a property located North-East of Murtoa in the Wimmera region. With his first wife of 25 years he raised 4 children and later expanded his enterprise by taking over the farm of his older brother which was adjacent to his land.
It wasn’t until the late ‘70’s that John decided that he needed a new tractor. At the time he was having a discussion with his brother Joerg who was in Germany and working for Fendt at the Marktoberdorf plant. Joerg’s advice for John was – “why don’t you buy the best tractor available, a Fendt Favorit?”
Fendt tractors were not available in Australia at the time, so John embarked on a mission to source the tractor that he believed featured the most advanced technology that would not only suit his farming requirements but also create some interest with other Australian farmers.
In late 1980 John finally placed an order direct on the factory for an 115hp Fendt Favorit 611 LSA and in June 1981 via ship
and rail, the first Fendt tractor arrived on Australian shores.
The new Fendt was an instant hit in the area with John showcasing the state-of-the-art technology and high performance and reliability to local farmers. John was also very proactive in advertising the impressive debut of the new Fendt by placing advertisements on the benefits of the new tractor in the local press.
Realising the potential for the Australian market and how farmers could benefit from one of the world’s most advanced tractors;
Fendt teamed up with a Melbourne based importing business to distribute Fendt tractors on a larger scale. This venture was soon followed by the creation of the Fendt Australia Company who began to build a strong following of customers for the Fendt brand, which in 1994 shifted to a new level with the acquisition by AGCO Corporation.
Impressed with the performance of the Fendt Favorit 611 model, John purchased his second Fendt tractor, a 155hp GT255 Tool-Carrier which was fitted with a grader blade and front end loader and featured a host of hydraulic options.
Now in his mid 70’s, John shows no signs of slowing down and is still actively working as a share farmer and incidentally still uses Fendt tractors on the property. John also operates Wimmera Health Grain which involves organising a group of growers to produce Spelt, an ancient form of wheat which is marketed as a specialty food grain.
After 30 years, the first Fendt tractor in Australia still takes pride of place on the Holtkamp property and still starts
with one crank of the key.
How long have you used Fendt on your farm?
The following post is brought to you by Progressive Ag Foundation in support of National Farm Safety and Health Week:
The 2011 harvest will soon be under way, and with National Farm Safety and Health Week occurring Sept. 18–24 here in the US, now is a good time to remind children everywhere how dangerous grain can be during harvest and throughout the year as it is transported and stored on the farm. Grain safety is often a high-priority topic during Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, which teaches children 8 to 13 years of age things they need to know to remain safe and healthy on a farm or ranch.
Though grain may not seem to be an obvious risk on a farm or ranch, the dangers of grain during harvest, transport and storage may be deadly. Adults and children alike die every year from grain incidents that are highly preventable. 2010 was a record year for grain-related deaths. Fifty-one grain accidents occurred and 25 people died — five being children under the age of 16. The most common occurrences include suffocation when grain bridges collapse, or being trapped by flowing grain or by an avalanche of a vertical grain wall.
Grain safety is a high-priority topic.
“In a matter of 10 seconds, one can lose their life in flowing grain,” says Bernard Geschke, program specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation® (PAF). “Across agriculture, grain-related deaths occur far too often, and we believe it is critical to have this often unrecognized danger be a part of our education program.”
What can parents teach their children to help them avoid a grain-related injury or death?
1. Always stay out of and away from grain bins and grain wagons even if grain isn’t flowing. Bridged grain can unexpectedly collapse and submerge humans. It only takes three or four seconds for a human to become completely helpless in flowing grain.
2. Never try to save someone who is being entrapped by going into the grain yourself. Attempting to rescue someone without proper equipment and assistance may result in you being entrapped as well.
3. Always use a harness or rope and have a spotter when walking or working around grain. This way, your spotter can help pull you to safety or stop the flow of grain.
Safety tips such as these are examples of the things children learn when they attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, which are held each year in more than 400 local communities throughout North America. Check out the video below to learn more about the dangers of grain entrapment.
In 1979, Cliff Surle decided to become a farmer in Burley, Idaho. Little did he know today he would be farming around 5,000 acres along with his four brothers on their farm known as Moo Valley Cow Palace. With the help of his Massey Ferguson 8680, Cliff raises many different crops such as potatoes, sugar beets, oats, wheat, barley, alfalfa, corn silage and grain corn. When he is not tending to his crops, he and his family also raise 500 dairy cows. Watch this video to see how Cliff’s Massey Ferguson 8680 helps out on the farm.
Build and price your own Massey Ferguson 8680. How long have you used Massey Ferguson on your farm?
In the spirit of National Farm Safety and Health Week here in the United States, AGCO would like to share a message with everyone from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. Make sure to visit our Safety tab to learn more about keeping your farm safe.
The shorter days of fall puts farmers and ranchers in a race against the clock during harvest. Factor in weather conditions and working hours always seem to be at a premium. With time and money on the line, a farm accident would grind harvest to stand still.
In addition manufacturers, like AGCO, have taken great strides to build safety features into equipment; however some potential hazards simply can’t be eliminated. Use guards and shields when possible and make sure everything is in working order.
The pressure of harvest often leads to fatigue, another major factor in farm accidents. Take your time and think safety. You can’t afford not to.
A few more things that will help make your harvest season a safe one for the entire family:
• Carry out preseason maintenance and repair several weeks before harvest.
• Clear plugged equipment only after the engine is turned off.
• All guards and shields should be secured before equipment is started.
• Wear comfortable, close-fitting clothing, including sturdy, protective shoes.
• Teach kids not to approach machinery while the engine is running and not to play on equipment.
• Always let someone else know where you’re working. Check in regularly.
• Avoid sleep deprivation and extreme physical exhaustion.
• Drugs or alcohol can impede safety.
Cheers to a save and abundant harvest!
Massey Ferguson will be present in the history of the Pereira couple forever. The brand participated in the union of Roger and Letícia Pereira in an unusual way. The wedding cake had an unique detail by the side of the traditional miniature bride and groom: a small sized replica of the MF 4275 tractor. The wedding was performed back on the 16th of July, in the State of Paraná (Brazil) and the wedding cake was baked by Sônia Ladeia.
The couple’s life is linked to the land since Roger is a farmer. The groom’s estate in Moreira Sales (Paraná) employs Massey Ferguson machines, so the couple used the miniature as a way to represent their passion for crops. This is an important event in the 50 years of manufacturing tractors in the Country and we toast to the new life of the couple.
It is not the first time the brand has had its tractor flanking the newlyweds on a wedding cake. On September 2010, Murilo Antonio de Souza Rinaldo and Milena Braga Pereira Braz Rinaldo also surprised their guests with a miniature on their cake. The Monte Mor (São Paulo) couple is a faithful Massey Ferguson customer and uses these machines in their daily lives at the fields on the State of São Paulo.
We heard from many of you before about your special additions to your weddings. Did you include a tractor or combine in your special day?