Dan Baum was one of the first farmers in the U.S. to own and operate a Massey Ferguson® 9545 combine. The machine is outfitted with an AGCO 9250 DynaFlex® draper header, which helps him maintain the high level of efficiency he needs during the busy harvest season, an important part of his operational equation.
“We’ve had Massey Ferguson equipment on our farm for at least four generations,” says Baum, whose farm base is 24 miles from Moline, Ill. “When I was a kid, we traveled 15 miles, not 120 miles,” like he does today. “Back then, that was a big distance.”
“We’ve got one fleet, and it does it all. We typically start planting down south and work our way north,” he says. “We couldn’t do all of this without our machinery technology. We’re not always on the leading edge of technology unless it helps us gain efficiency.”
This approach puts a premium on performance, and that’s a big reason Baum chose a Massey Ferguson combine: “We’re looking at fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance and simplicity of design.
“We’re pretty handy, and our team does a lot of our own repairs if we have time. These machines are designed to be user-friendly, and easy to repair and maintain. It was obvious that the folks at Massey Ferguson had repair and maintenance in mind when they designed them.”
Operation is also straightforward. “It’s easy for me to train an employee in that machine. That’s of value to me,” he adds. “When we’re running multiple machines and operators, I don’t have to train them to be rocket scientists. It’s not overwhelming for my operators.”
Baum purchases his Massey Ferguson and other AGCO equipment from A.C. McCartney, operator of four dealerships in west-central Illinois. He has a strong relationship with the dealership, and the trust underpinning that relationship is something he calls a huge value to a young farmer in his position.
“We work hard on building relationships and trust in the industry. Young farmers like us need to be willing to work hard and work differently,” Baum says. A solid, trustworthy dealership, he says, helps him stand out.
Like his grandfather, Cody Waters buys Massey Ferguson tractors and serves in the military. These days, Waters, who farms both near his current home in Missouri and also where he was raised in Southern Illinois, owns an MF235, an MF275 and an MF285, in addition to two Gleaner F2 combines and an N6 combine.
“They’re standardized. They’re tough and they’re easy to work on,” he says of his AGCO equipment. “They’re nimble, easy to handle and easy on fuel.”
Waters acknowledges that his older equipment does not come without headaches. Breakdowns can be all the more troublesome for someone who works a full-time job, serves in the National Guard, farms in two states and has a young family. Yet his dealership, Lauf Equipment Co. Inc. in Jefferson City, Missouri, has been a port in the storm when repairs are needed, he says, with high praise for the dealer’s ability to respond quickly to his requests.
He buys parts and gets advice from Lauf’s knowledgeable staff. “They usually have the part on hand, and they have a good service department,” he says.
Waters, who’s been deployed overseas twice in his 15-year career with the Army National Guard, helped Afghan farmers improve their farming operations when he served as part of an Agribusiness Development Team. While in that war-torn country, he witnessed an ingenuity similar to farmers back home. He also saw much of the durability and versatility in Massey Ferguson tractors while there.
USAID donated 40-plus-HP tractors, including MF240 models, to help the Afghan farmers. According to Waters, they were a good fit for the Afghan operations because of their “small size, simplicity [and] power.” The Massey Ferguson machines also got points for durability and fuel efficiency in a country where fuel is expensive and trained mechanics are almost impossible to find.
67,000th combine harvester to be manufactured at AGCO Breganze plant in Italy is a Massey Ferguson BETA 7370.
Massey Ferguson is celebrating production of the 67,000th combine harvester at AGCO’s Breganze Manufacturing Facility in northern Italy.
The 67,000th machine to roll off the assembly line is a 360hp MF BETA 7370 combine destined for work in Sweden.
The 25ha Breganze site is AGCO’s Harvesting Centre of Excellence and produces a full range of MF combine harvesters suitable for small farmers through to the high-capacity models required by large-scale agribusiness customers. Along with the MF BETA combine, these include the MF ACTIVA, MF ACTIVA S, MF CENTORA and MF DELTA.
The MF BETA 7370 taking the title of 67,000th combine is bound for Massey Ferguson Dealer GH:s Traktorcity in Östergötland, Sweden.
“Massey Ferguson combines have had a highly successful year in Sweden seeing a doubling in the number of units sold,” explains Adam Sherriff, Market Development Manager, Massey Ferguson Harvesting. “The MF BETA 7370 is our best-selling combine model in the country and features the acclaimed Skyline cab which provides excellent visibility, ergonomically-positioned controls and superb comfort to make the operator’s job easier and more productive.”
Multi-million dollar investments in recent years have transformed the AGCO Breganze plant into a world-class site. Certified to ISO standards, some of the most recent developments at the 65,000 m2 factory have seen a complete reorganisation of the supply chain and production process, the installation of new rolling and panelling machines, robot welding automated systems, a state-of-the art paint-shop and the opening of the magnificent AgriDome Visitors Centre.
Massey Ferguson combines have been in production at Breganze site since 2004. In June 2007, this partnership was further strengthened when AGCO acquired a 50% stake in Breganze-based Laverda S.p.A from the Italian Argo Group. AGCO fully acquired the plant in 2010 bringing over 50 years of combine manufacturing experience in Italy into the AGCO family. The current site was opened in 1979.
Find out more about AGCO’s Breganze Manufacturing Facility
“We’ve been farming here since the 1840s. It’s definitely part of who I am,” says Dan Baum. Yet, the Illinois producer continues, “Realistically, I am not in the business just to say I am farming. I am making a living.”
Making that living, however, is a whole different scenario than it was even in his father’s generation, as the need for good communication and efficient machinery has become paramount for today’s farmer.
In west-central Illinois, farmland is typically held closely, especially the highest value land. With area land values having more than doubled since 2004, it’s attracted a lot of investor interest and, as a result, increased competition for farm properties. That’s one reason why the Baums’ acreage base extends almost 120 miles from their home farm near Geneseo, Ill.
For the Baum family, such a sprawling operation has spawned the need for new farm management ideas. “It does cause some of our operational costs to be higher for things like fuel, but we try to think about all of that when planning for those farms” Baum says. This approach puts a premium on performance, and that’s a big reason the Baums chose the Massey Ferguson 9545 combine to get the job done.
“We’re looking at fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance and simplicity of design,” he says. His AGCO-made equipment fits that bill.
Another challenge Baum and other farmers face today is that newer generations of landowners have less direct ties to the land. As a result, producers can find themselves hammering out farmland lease and ownership deals in a much different way than in decades past. As a result, Baum takes care to devote more attention to education and information-sharing with his landowners.
“We are working on a land deal right now that is only happening because of our focus on communication,” says Baum. “It’s a lot of time and energy. And, it can be tough at times of the year when you really need to be out planting corn.
“We’ve had land opportunities we wouldn’t have had otherwise because of our communication levels,” he continues. “We’re aware that we need to continue this work to keep those opportunities growing in the future.”
Former news anchor Tom Brokaw dubbed them “the greatest generation,” World War II heroes who came home to parades, the G.I. Bill and a grateful nation. In 2016, the 75th anniversary of the start of U.S. involvement in WWII is commemorated.
Ben Grant, who died in 2014, epitomized that heroism and can-do attitude. An Oklahoma native who farmed in Pasco, Wash., Grant was commissioned in the Second Infantry Division in 1941. Soon after, Pearl Harbor was attacked. He flew 56 combat missions in North Africa and Italy, the last six of which he took on after he’d received papers to go home.
Grant with wife Alma set out to farm in 1946, ending up where the Grand Cooley Dam had made desert land arable with irrigation. He became one of the largest custom cutter operators in the Pacific Northwest. The Massey Ferguson combine engineers were on a first-name basis with Grant, frequently testing in his fields. All together, Grant held 14 patents, 7 in the U.S. and 7 in Canada.
Bughi praises his friend’s generosity—he gave more than $1 million to Oklahoma State University—and Grant’s accomplishments. “Besides being a World War II hero, you’d have to go a long way to find someone who had more to do with Massey combines,” Bughi says.
To see the whole story and a photo of Grant’s Massey Ferguson 750 prototype combine, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/farmstead/soldier-farmer-innovator/.