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Fighting Compaction: Tread Lightly

When Al Sheahan purchased a 12-row corn head last year to replace the six-row head on his combine, he had more than increased capacity in mind. He was also taking one more step toward implementing a controlled traffic farming (CTF) program and reducing compaction on the 2,800 acres he farms in partnership with neighbor Todd Myren near Nelson, Wis.

The front-axle suspension system on Massey Ferguson and other AGCO tractor brands ensures better tractive ability, reducing slip, which in turn reduces compaction.

The front-axle suspension system on Massey Ferguson and other AGCO tractor brands ensures better tractive ability, reducing slip, which in turn reduces compaction.

CTF systems, which have been more prevalent in Canada, Europe and Australia, are now gaining additional converts in the U.S., and for good reason. Research in tilled soils shows approximately 75 to 80% of the increase in soil density and 90% of wheel sinkage—both of which can ultimately limit plant growth—are caused during the first pass. However, CTF can limit the compacted area to less than 15% of a given field, compared to more than 50% from some uncontrolled traffic systems.

The benefit is to a farmer’s bottom line. Australian research over 20 years has shown CTF can improve grain quality and has the potential to increase grain yields by 2 to 16%.

There are other benefits, including improving fuel and other input efficiencies. Yet, CTF often requires an investment of time and money on the front end. For instance, Sheahan and Myren have purchased a variety of equipment that allows them to confine their footprint to the fewest traffic lanes. “Because all of our machines are set up for GPS-guided autosteering on an RTK system, we can use the same wheel tracks for just about every pass,” says Sheahan.

“A lot of our equipment already fits a 30-foot pattern, so the combine was just the next step,” Sheahan says of the Massey Ferguson® 8780 he bought used. “We try to plant no-till as much as we can and limit any other tillage to vertical tillage or a field cultivator. Still, our tillage equipment is 30 feet wide; our 12-row planter covers 30 feet; the sprayer covers 60 feet; and our RoGator,® which we use to apply liquid nitrogen, spans 90 feet.

“We have everything set up for 30-inch rows, with four rows between the tires on just about every machine,” he explains. “We realize, of course, that there will be more compaction on those wheel-track rows, but at least it will be limited to those rows.”

For more advice on how to limit compaction, including how to set tire pressure and the benefits of the front-axle suspension system on Massey Ferguson and other AGCO equipment, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/fighting-compaction-tread-lightly/.

Stylish and functional updates for MF 3600

Massey Ferguson is to update the MF 3600 range in both its Standard and Specialised formats. This will bring the range in line with the current Massey Ferguson styling, and also incorporate a number of new features which have been developed in order to meet the needs of the market.

The tractors from 69-102hp have proved extremely popular on livestock and mixed farms, and in their specialised format, for vineyards, fruit farms and growers of vegetables, salads and other specialist crops.

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Rear linkage lift capacity has been increased to maximum of 3 tonnes, allowing a wider range of implements to be operated.

Steering angle has been increased as a result of redesigning the front support on the Specialised models, and is now up to 40.5 deg on the MF 3600GE version, offering easier turning in polytunnels and tight vineyard and orchard layouts.

Tractors in the MF 3600 V/S/F/GE ranges will benefit from revised styling to bring their appearance in line with the rest of the Massey Ferguson range and provide the same attractive look.

Updates include a new roof and grey side panels bringing the sleek family styling to these specialised machines. Appearance and functionality is enhanced with new oval bar lights, work and turning lights.

Models in the MF 3600 Standard Range also get the new roof, plus new oval turning and position lights and new mid-working lights.

Inside the cab, new colours and trim have been incorporated to correspond to other Massey Ferguson models.

A new indicator lever improves the control and comfort of operation as it activates seven lighting and alert functions and a battery switch is now specified.

Optional equipment includes a radio with LCD screen, MP3 compatibility via an SD card or USB link and the facility to store favourite stations. Memory back-up protects stored settings in the event of the battery being disconnected.

Production will begin on the new tractors in September 2015 and the updates will be previewed at SIMA.

Campbell Scott, Director, Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development said: “Updating the MF 3600 gives this very popular tractor the true Massey Ferguson family style plus a number of improvements that will make its operation even more user-friendly and efficient.”

New neat and nimble compact tractors from Massey Ferguson

Two new models in the Massey Ferguson MF 1700 Series make their debut at the SIMA Show in Paris, France. Strengthening the company’s position in the compact tractor sector, the 46hp, MF 1747 and 38hp, MF 1740 are available with either a hydrostatic transmission with cab, or in platform versions with a manual transmission.

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The new MF 1700 tractors replace the MF 1540 and MF 1547 models, which have gained an enviable reputation for performance and reliability in a range of agricultural and amenity work. With new features and improvements, the MF 1740 and MF 1747 will further enhance their strong standing for reliability and ease of use.

“These neat and nimble tractors are purpose built for the sector and are packed with useful features that combine productivity and high performance with ease of use,” says Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering & Brand Development.

New features include latest design, 2.2 litre, four cylinder engines, a choice of hydrostatic of mechanical transmission as well as high hydraulic capacity to operate modern implements with ease. A two-speed – 540/540E – Independent PTO (IPTO) is equipped with a soft-start function for gentle take-up of the drive.

MF 9305 Xtra extends telehandler choices

Massey Ferguson is to extend its MF 9000 series telehandler range with the introduction of the new MF 9305 Xtra.

The MF 9305 Xtra uses proven technology to offer farmers the ideal mid-size machine with a more compact option for buildings with restricted access.

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With lift capacity of 3000kg and maximum lift height to 5.8m this is a machine that can be used for a wide range of loading tasks. Yet its compact chassis, at just 2.1m wide, and 2.1m tall on 20in wheels and in its low cab format, means that it can easily access traditional buildings for feeding or mucking out duties.

Where height is not an issue, the higher cab and 24in tyres offer maximum ground clearance and visibility.

Powered by a Deutz 3,6l Tier 4i engine delivering 100hp, the MF 9305 has plenty of muscle for demanding tasks such as muck loading, with a two-range hydrostatic transmission giving a top speed of 40kph for efficient transport.

Open centre auxiliary hydraulics offer a punchy 100 l/min, while four electro-hydraulic load sensing spool valves allow the operator to simultaneously use three functions with high precision. Optional boom suspension provides outstanding comfort for all transport applications.

Three semi-automatic selectable steering modes ensure optimum manoeuvrability, and together with the MF 9305’s compact dimensions, boost productivity where space is limited.

The new cab gives a modern look in line with the Massey Ferguson family style: straightforward design that is always focused on the operator. Cab layout features superb ergonomics; controls and instruments are simple to use.

A new multifunction joystick is close to hand and incorporates all the main controls needed for operating the boom and attachments. A digital display screen located on the dashboard shows essential vehicle and loading information.

Smart Handling System (SHS) is a brand new feature that uses the display menu to allow the operator to set the maximum available hydraulic flow for smoother, more accurate loading.

Another innovation is the new ECO mode, operated via a switch in the cab to manage oil flow and engine RPM to reduce fuel consumption.

As an option, front/neutral/reverse controls can be fitted on the left hand side of the steering wheel as well as on the multifunction joystick to the right.

With low operating costs, excellent fuel economy and simple servicing, the MF 9305 Xtra represents a sound investment for progressive mid-size farms, helping to ease a busy workload and increase productivity.

Campbell Scott, Director, Sales Engineering and Massey Ferguson Brand Development said: “This all-new model fits perfectly into the successful MF 9000 range between the MF 9205 and MF 9306 Xtra and gives farmers a highly versatile materials handling solution in the sub-6m bracket, while offering the high levels of specification, equipment and options usually found on larger machines. We expect it to be very popular in the traditional telehandler markets in Europe but believe it will also be of interest in some of our wider Global markets.”

Massey Ferguson supports combines with AGCO Harvest Promise

Massey Ferguson is supporting operators of current production MF combines with AGCO’s innovative Harvest Promise compensation scheme.

“In addition to our high spare-parts fill rate of 99%, AGCO provides a unique uptime guarantee to customers,” says Falk Seidenfaden, AGCO Director Global Harvesting Parts. “We know how vital machine uptime is especially during harvest season, and we continue to improve our industry-leading Harvest Promise with the addition of more models and services.”

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In the event of eligible MF combines being immobilised due to non-delivery of critical parts within 24 hours, the scheme compensates the customer should a contractor or replacement machine need to be hired to continue the harvest. Under the scheme, a refund of 35 Euros/ha will be made to the customer up to a maximum total of 3500 Euros.

Offered from 1 June to 15 November, the Harvest Promise scheme is available in Germany, France, UK, Italy and Denmark and covers Massey Ferguson combines in current production – specifically the MF ACTIVA, MF ACTIVA S, MF BETA, MF CENTORA and MF DELTA ranges. To be eligible for the scheme, the machine’s serial number must be registered pre-season with MF’s parent company, AGCO, via a Massey Ferguson Dealer who uses genuine AGCO Parts. Full terms and conditions are available from MF dealers.

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