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Spectacular pageant of 70 tractors marks 70th anniversary of the Coventry produced Ferguson TE20

Massey Ferguson reports that enthusiastic crowds turned out to see the historic ’70 Tractors for 70 Years’ parade through the streets of the City of Coventry on 30 July.

 

The cavalcade and display of machines old and new was staged by Culture Coventry to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the start of production of the iconic Ferguson TE20 tractor. In July 1946, the first Ferguson TE20 tractor, affectionately known as the ‘Little Grey Fergie’, rolled off the assembly line at its former Banner Lane manufacturing plant in Coventry in the UK. The tractor was the brainchild of engineer and inventor, Harry Ferguson, a founder of the present-day Massey Ferguson, one of the world’s foremost   producers of farm machinery for global markets.

’70 Tractors for 70 Years’ parade through the streets of the City of Coventry on 30 July.

’70 Tractors for 70 Years’ parade through the streets of the City of Coventry on 30 July.

The tractors for the event were brought together by the Friends of Ferguson Heritage Club. Led by a 20.3hp 1947 Ferguson TE20, equipped with a 2-furrow plough, and the mighty 400hp MF 8737 – the most powerful tractor in the current Massey Ferguson line-up – the procession wound its way through Coventry finishing at Millennium Place outside the Transport Museum. Unusually, it was not the familiar Massey Ferguson red livery for the MF 8737. Instead, it had been especially prepared by Massey Ferguson with striking black paintwork – paying homage to the prototype Ferguson Black tractor of 1933 which was the first to incorporate Harry Ferguson’s pioneering ideas for a three-point linkage system to connect tractor and implement.  In a tribute to the manufacturing legacy of the Banner Lane plant, Massey Ferguson named the black MF 8737 the ‘City of Coventry’. Seated in the cab for the duration of the parade was the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Lindsley Harvard.

Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Lindsley Harvard, seated in the black ‘City of Coventry’ MF 8737.

Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Lindsley Harvard, seated in the black ‘City of Coventry’ MF 8737.

“It was a marvellous event and wonderful to see this pageant celebrating the brilliant engineering of the Ferguson TE20 which changed the world of farm mechanisation.” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Marketing Services (who himself drove a 1949 TEA20 tractor in the blue livery of Brighton Corporation).  “We are so proud of this superb legacy of practical and innovative technology which continues to inspire our design engineers and is at the heart of Massey Ferguson’s 21st century mission to produce straightforward, dependable equipment to increase the efficiency and productivity of farmers all over the world. Today, more than 200,000 tractors bearing our famous Massey Ferguson ‘Triple Triangle’ brand are built every year for global markets.”

Tractors taking part in the pageant showcased a wide range of Ferguson, Massey-Harris and Massey Ferguson machines produced since 1946. The tractor coming from furthest afield for the event was a 1949 Ferguson TEA20 fitted with half-track equipment which travelled nearly 200 miles from Exeter in Devon. From much closer to home was a 2015 MF 5610 Dyna-4 on turf tyres based in Finham, Coventry. A beautifully-restored, prize-winning MF 65 industrial tractor painted in the requisite yellow from Skipton, Yorkshire represented the non-agricultural ranges.

’70 Tractors for 70 Years’ parade through the streets of the City of Coventry on 30 July.

’70 Tractors for 70 Years’ parade through the streets of the City of Coventry on 30 July.

Over half a million Ferguson TE20 tractors (Tractor England) were built at the Banner Lane plant between 6 July 1946 and 13 July 1956.  Key to the global success of the tractor was its unique three-point linkage implement attachment system controlled by the tractor’s hydraulics. Designated the ‘Ferguson System,’ this effectively turned the tractor and implement into a single working unit, replacing the previous cumbersome trailed method of implement operation.

Massey Ferguson is a leading global farm machinery brand producing a full-line range of tractors, harvesting equipment and agricultural implements. Its well-known red-liveried equipment is distributed in 140 countries.

Established in 1994, The Friends of Ferguson Heritage Club has over 5000 members worldwide who are dedicated to all things Ferguson, Massey Ferguson and Massey Harris.

The Ferguson TE20’s 70th anniversary inspired Culture Coventry’s current ‘Tractors – From Factory to Field’ exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum (runs until 19 September) and the public display of the Daniel Massey Bronze Sculpture at the city’s Herbert Museum and Art Gallery. Culture Coventry manages three of Coventry’s major visitor attractions including Coventry Transport Museum, Herbert Museum and Art Gallery and the Lunt Roman Fort.

Celebrations for a Production Milestone

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.

MF Beta 7370, the 67,000th combine harvester to be manufactured at the Breganze plant in Italy

MF Beta 7370, the 67,000th combine harvester to be manufactured at the Breganze plant in 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

Shepherd’s Grain: Bridges Built, Alliances Forged

Started in 2002 by two Washington state producers, Shepherd’s Grain now includes about 60 wheat growers, mainly in the Northwestern U.S., with a few growers located as far away as Southern California and the Canadian Prairie. Although they’ve begun offering some of the milled grain at the retail level, the vast majority of what the group sells is to bakeries in Portland and Seattle. In 2015, the Shepherd’s Grain farmers produced a total of 673,000 bushels of wheat, a growth of about 720% since 2005.

“It really started,” says Mike Moran, the Shepherd’s Grain general manager, “when a lot of growers in our region realized that the way that the land had been farmed over the last few decades was not sustainable long term. In fact, because of wind and water erosion, particularly in the hilly areas of the Palouse, they were losing topsoil at a rate that meant that their families wouldn’t be able to continue to farm there if they kept doing what they were doing.”

To combat the losses, as well as improve soil health, Shepherd’s Grain farmers often work together, sharing information on what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. As a result, many have minimized, if not eliminated, tillage. For instance, Garry Esser and his son John use rotational and cover crops, and say they only till the ground every three to six years, unlike their previous practice of churning up the ground almost annually.

In addition to farming methods, Shepherd’s Grain also promotes a business model that is sustainable. Selling to bakeries via longer-term contracts, the group of farmers not only forge business relationships, but build bridges between different groups of people who often do not have much contact with each other.

“It’s really about … connecting farmers with consumers … and without that,” continues Moran, “we wouldn’t have that information flow from the consumer back to the farmer, and on the other side, really helping the consumer understand all of the complexity of farming.”

“The end users who have bought into Shepherd’s Grain have done so for a variety of reasons,” says John Esser, a Challenger customer who recently became a partner with his dad. “But I’d say at the top of the list is they’ve loved the relationship that they have with the growers.

“You know, for so many people, you go to the store, you buy bread, you go home, you eat it. Nobody really connects the farmer to the bread,” continues the younger Esser. “Shepherd’s Grain offers an opportunity for people to know the information behind where their food comes from.”

For more about how AGCO customers are involved with Shepherd’s Grain from our exclusive customer magazine, FarmLife, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/shepherds-grain-bridges-built-alliances-forged/.

It’s All About Relationships for this Young Farmer

“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.

Dan Baum

Dan Baum

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.”

For more about the Baum operation, their communication tactics and focus on efficiency, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/its-all-about-relationships-for-this-young-farmer/.

A Veteran Farmer Comes Home

On Cody Waters’ first day of basic training, sirens sounded the lockdown of Fort Benning, Ga. “We’re going to war, boys,” a fellow soldier solemnly said.

Cody Waters

Cody Waters

It was Sept. 11, 2001. Waters, then an 18-year-old farm kid from Illinois, had followed family tradition by enlisting. Both of his parents served in the Vietnam War, while generations before them had enlisted as well. A desire to protect and serve the homeland was ingrained long before he was issued his dog tags.

What was not known at the time was that Waters would become part of a generation of soldiers who has never known peacetime service. He’s now also part of an armed force that has served more tours of duty than soldiers of any other era.

Back on 9/11, confusion, and then ire, set in for Waters as details emerged of the attack on U.S. soil. “It made me angry,” he says. “It made me feel more justified in being there. I wasn’t just serving my country. There was a need to serve.”

Waters, who’s been deployed overseas two times in his 15-year career with the Army National Guard, has helped Afghan farmers improve their farming operations when he served as part of an Agribusiness Development Team. While in that war-torn country, where he witnessed an ingenuity similar to farmers back home, Waters helped teach Afghans to improve farming methods, including use of more modern machinery. Previously, many used water buffalo or older tractors, often borrowed and in scarce supply, to pull plows.

These days, the company commander of the Forward Support Company of the 1140th Engineer Battalion of Missouri Army National Guard, Waters spends one weekend a month on Guard duty and two weeks in summer training camp. He walks a tightrope of working full time by day, farming small acreages in two states, Guard duty, education and family—he and his wife have two young sons. “We try to be good stewards of our time,” he says. “We don’t waste any.”

Nationally, 2.4 million veterans returned to civilian life in the United States in the past 13 years. Another 1 million post-9/11 veterans are expected to return in the next five years, and more than 40,000 to Canada.

Only 17% of the U.S. population lives in rural America, but 44% of the military comes from the countryside, according to U.S. Census data. In rural Missouri alone, where Waters now lives and farms, some 300,000 vets are expected to come home in the next decade. Many expect to return to their rural roots where a rooster’s crow—not mortars exploding—wakens them.

For more, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/veteran-farmers-coming-home/.

To all service personnel, those currently serving and veterans, and to all our customers and readers, we wish you a happy Independence Day and Canada Day.

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