Southland, NZ farmer Mark Dillon’s new Massey Ferguson 9560 combine harvester has sped up his harvesting operation considerably and cut down on the amount of labour he needs.
Mark and his wife Sonia took possession of the MF 9560 in February to use on their Riversdale cropping farm and their contracting business, MJ and SE Dillon.
The Dillons looked at several other brands of harvester before settling on the Massey Ferguson and they have not looked back since.
“We started harvesting on 10th of February and have done close to 600 hectares of barley, wheat and oats with it,” Mark says.
“It’s been really good. We had extra grain this year and we needed extra capacity. We wouldn’t have got the harvest finished without it.”
Mark had previously been harvesting with his MF 865, which was used together with his brother James’ MF 750.
The MF 9560 features a 12,333 litre (9.75 tonne) grain tank, which Mark says can be fully unloaded in less than one-and-a-half minutes. His old MF 865 could only unload 4.5 tonnes in three to four minutes.
“The new 9560 has really sped up the harvesting. One day we did 30 hectares, which was 350 tonnes in an afternoon. We could’ve done that before but we would’ve used both headers and had more staff and tractors and trailers and it would’ve been a big day.”
Mark says the 9560 has done a great job on his wheat, barley and oat crops.
“They have been big wheat crops that we are putting through that have gone flat but it’s handling the straw well,” he says.
“Some of the wheat was 23 percent moisture plus, and it went through the harvester alright. Some people were sceptical about how a rotary would go down in Southland because of the wet but it is handling the conditions no problems. We’ve headed in the rain for 10-15 minutes and it still handled it.”
The MF 9560 is also doing a good job on flat barley crops. Mark says autumn barley crops have been 9-10 tonnes per hectare, which is no trouble for the harvester.
“We’re down to 480 revs with the barley and it’s still threshing the grain out and leaving the crop in reasonable condition for baling,” he says.
“For oats I went through the factory settings and modified it to suit and the sample is good.”
Mark is a particular fan of the MF 9560’s Flex front, which follows the contours of the ground well.
“Some of our country is quite undulating. The harvester follows the ground contours pretty well. That was my concern going from a 16-foot front to 30-foot, but it’s following the rolling ground pretty well,” he says.
“The front lifts up four foot high for moving paddocks so you don’t have to take it off, which also saves time.”
The MF 9560 is built strong. It has minimal moving parts so it is simple to operate, and it is easily adaptable to multiple crops. It features auto lube and V-Cool, which keeps the engine and radiator clean, making it easy to service.
Mark says his new combine is reliable, has plenty of power for big jobs and has good fuel efficiency, with a simple efficient rotor drive.
“It does everything you need from a modern combine but it’s not too complicated. It only has nine belts and three chains on the whole machine and it’s built with plenty of steel,” he says.
The MF 9560 has also been designed with comfort in mind. The quiet, airconditioned cab is well laid out and easy to navigate, with operator foot rests for long days in the cab.
Access to all functions are carried out through a touch screen, with frequent adjustments having an additional dedicated out-of-screen adjustment source. Guidance runs on the same screen.
It’s just one of those talks that you have while you’re milking the cows,” says Todd Schnarr. “You know, ‘What do you want to do next?’” he recalls asking his dad and business partner. “‘Where do you think we’re going?’
“We were just way too overcrowded,” says Todd’s father, Murray. “We had to get these cattle moved into an area where they had a lot more freedom, a lot more space and a lot more cow comfort.”
The Schnarrs, who live and work near Alma, Ontario, found what they hoped would be a solution, consisting of two main parts, each working hand in hand with the other. One was a compost-pack barn that would give the cows the freedom to move about inside, which, in turn, would allow them to essentially milk themselves at the second part of this equation: a robotic milking system.
Pioneered in Europe some 20 years ago, significant numbers of dairies in Canada, and more recently the U.S., have begun installing robotics, also referred to as automatic milking systems (AMS). The robotic system the Schnarrs purchased cost them about $400,000. Even with a total cost of $1.7 million, including construction of the new compost pack barn, Murray and Todd hope the system will pay for itself—mainly in the form of increased yields and lower labor costs—in six to seven years from time of completion.
In addition to operating a dairy, Murray and Todd Schnarr run a custom hay cutting, raking and baling business. Farming a total of 550 acres, some of which is planted in cash crops, Todd says he and his dad don’t farm enough land for many new equipment purchases “to make financial sense. So we do custom work.”
That way, he says, he and his dad can spread the cost over multiple uses and “we can get top-quality equipment for our farm. I like helping neighbors, and this way it’s a win-win for us and for them.”
The “top-quality equipment” to which Todd refers is AGCO, including a Massey Ferguson® 8660 tractor, and a 2150 large square baler and 9770 windrower, both of which are Hesston® by Massey Ferguson. Todd says the fuel economy is excellent on the 9770 and MF8660, and the CVT transmission on the tractor makes “the equipment more efficient to run. You can get that exact mile per hour that you’re looking for. Half a mile an hour might not seem like much, but through a whole day or a week, you know you can get a lot of extra work done with that.”
In 2007, Ron and Diana Mellon erected a handsome cherry-red barn perched on a swath of neatly manicured land. The plan was to use the structure for machinery on their farm, where they run anywhere from 180 to 200 head of Angus-cross cattle, chop silage, rake hay, and raise corn and beans on their rolling 300 acres.
Those plans changed, however, when a couple approached Ron and Diana and asked if they could get married in the beautifully rustic structure. The Mellons’ “Yes” sparked a new venture on the couple’s Lawson, Mo., farm: a booming barn wedding business.
After management and production, land payments, equipment purchases and employing seasonal help, producers and their families often decide to seek out additional revenue streams. Sometimes, it may be agritourism or hunting leases, or even niche markets. The Mellons entrance into the weddings business was a wise one.
Overall, weddings are a whopping $54-billion-a-year industry in the U.S. alone, and $5 billion in Canada. Then, consider that the Bridal Association of America reports 47% of all 2012 weddings were held outside of a church, 35% of which were outdoors. Barns can offer the warm, rustic charm and back-to-basics feel many [wedding] couples crave.
Mellon’s Banquet Hall officially opened for business in 2008. Diana’s already busy days on the farm became even busier. That new barn is now used for weddings, as well as birthday dinners, reunions and corporate retreats.
“We’ve had more than 200 weddings here, not including corporate dinners, birthdays and reunions,” says Diana, who works every event herself. She also hires seasonal employees to help, but laments, “It’s hard to find good help.”
Diana does have terrific help, however, coming from her granddaughters, who pitch in to help, while the Mellons’ grandsons assist Grandpa Ron on the farming side of things.
“The wedding business has become our income,” Ron says, adding that they have a big cattle sale coming up. Farming still remains the bedrock of family life, and, it should be noted, Massey Ferguson equipment helps the Mellons meet their typically tight schedule.
Most Saturdays, Diana can be found checking in with staff, directing photographers and guests, and soothing the jangled nerves of soon-to-be brides.
“Remember, you are working with brides, and trying to keep their stress level down is sometimes impossible,” she says. “When a bride asks, I always smile and never tell them something can’t be done. I just say, ‘Anything is possible; however, there may be a small upcharge.”
Massey Ferguson is launching a tractor for the Kenya market which will provide emerging farmers and new-start agricultural contractors with the important first step in farm mechanisation.
“Straightforward, dependable and affordable, the 36hp MF 35 is truly the ‘People’s Tractor’,” says Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director Massey Ferguson Europe/Africa/Middle East. “This well-proven model offers exactly the right specification and technical features for Kenya’s emerging farm enterprises. It brings mechanisation to a new generation of farmers, farm workers and entrepreneurs. It is the ideal, multi-purpose machine particularly for first-time tractor owners and operators who are ambitious to develop their businesses and transform their families’ livelihoods. Our message is clear – for those who thought that a tractor straight from the showroom was out of reach, then think again because the MF 35 could be the perfect solution.”
Sales, parts, training and service support are being handled by Massey Ferguson’s highly-experienced National Distributor, FMD which has a nationwide network of outlets and mobile service teams. A special package of implements to complement the MF 35 tractor is also under development to include a choice of cultivation, planting and transport equipment.
With strong Massey Ferguson heritage, this latest MF 35 is based on the renowned machine, with the same model number, which cemented its reputation in Africa and around the world over many years. Key features include a rugged 36hp engine, 6-forward/2-reverse speed mechanical gearbox and hard-wearing robust construction. Easy-to-use and maintain, the MF 35 is highly flexible. It is equally at home in cultivation, planting, transport or yard duties, working across a wide range of farm sectors including arable, livestock and horticulture, flower, tea and coffee production – making Kenya the ideal market. The tractor’s compact size means it is exceptionally manoeuvrable on smaller plots of land, while its rear three-point hitch boasts maximum lift capacity of 1100 kg enabling use of a wide variety of implements – ranging from transport boxes and mowers to ploughs and cultivators.
The launch of the MF 35 is part of Massey Ferguson’s parent company AGCO’s commitment under the Grow Africa initiatives of the World Economic Forum. AGCO is a business champion for Grow Africa which is focused on accelerating private sector investment for sustainable growth in African agriculture.
White haze filters the bright light around Freedom Hall in Louisville on the first night of the National Farm Machinery Show. Thousands of fans shout approval as 12,000-HP monsters drag a weight-transfer sled down a 245-foot dirt track on the arena floor. The sled weighs 15 tons when the tractor driver hooks up to it. By the end of the run, it weighs triple that. The modified tractors pulling that sled are burning more than 20 gallons of alcohol fuel in the eight-second trip.
“Call it the Super Bowl, the World Series, whatever,” says the event’s announcer, Dave Bennett, a former puller who was also the parts department manager at Livingston Machinery, the AGCO dealership in Chickasha, Okla., for 25 years. “It’s the only pull of its kind.” Eight classes of tractors compete over the four-day event, with preliminaries on the weeknights during NFMS and the finals on Saturday night.
“Run what you brung,” says four-time Louisville Grand Champion Joe Eder, “and hope you brung enough.”
Besides his own pulling prowess, Eder, now 43, is a renowned chassis builder (his customers count among them 21 Grand National championships) and he runs a two successful ag businesses—a custom harvesting enterprise and a mulch operation. And, when he’s in the field or atop a mountain of mulch, what brand of tractor does the power-hungry tractor-pull champ use? Massey Ferguson.
In fact, Eder has just taken delivery on two brand-new Massey Ferguson 8727s. In the mulch business, the MF8727 pushes material, and he uses it for mowing, merging and fieldwork in the custom harvesting business. “Going up the steep slopes of this mulch [mound] requires an immense amount of traction and power to ground,” Eder says. “And other ‘colors’ that don’t have this transmission, they’re not putting the horsepower to the ground, meaning there’s slippage.
“The CVT transmission and the horsepower in these big-frame tractors is the ultimate combination,” says Eder, who knows something about horsepower and chassis design. “It’s the same idea as 12,000 HP in the chassis design we produce” with Eder Motorsports, he says, which has built 92 pulling tractors for teams around the world. “I don’t care if one is 225 horse and another is 12,000 horse; you have to get it to the ground,” Eder says. “That’s where this transmission and motor combination is paying off.”