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What is the EU doing to support farmers – Q & A With CEJA

In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), President, Matteo Bartolini explains what the EU is doing to support farmers following the import ban by Russia on EU food products.

cejacolumn11MF: Can you provide some background on the Russian ban on EU food products?

MB: On 6 August 2014, the Kremlin published a decree announcing a Russian embargo on a number of agricultural imports in response to EU punitive sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine. American, Norwegian, Canadian and Australian imports are faced with the same fate. Russia is the largest importer of EU agricultural produce with just under 10% of EU agri imports destined for the country. These imports were worth around €11 billion last year, half of which has now been banned by the Russians. The ban, which has been set for a year, will hit individual European farmers in particular, especially those who rely on export markets and who grow a small variety of produce. The ban will also hit Russian consumers with price hikes for certain products. The European Commission has been quick to try to support EU farmers with emergency measures. However, it is clear that funds available are simply not enough.

MF: What do these emergency measures include?

MB: The first measures outlined were to assist peach and nectarine producers and consisted of decreasing the volumes of fruit available on the market in an attempt to avoid plummeting prices.Extra funds are also being provided for promotion. Peach growers have been hit particularly hard. Indeed, such measures were already under discussion before the announcement of the Russian ban. The weather this year has contributed to an increase in supply but also a rapid advancement in maturity. This led to a much greater intensity of supply at the start of the season rather than a more even spread over the following weeks. Cooler and more humid conditions in June and July also slowed down consumption during this time. The budget for these measures is €29.7 million for withdrawals and €3 million for promotion, allocated to Italy, Spain, Greece and France on the basis of annual production.

For the full article, please click here
If you would like to get in touch with Mr. Bartolini or CEJA, email allusers@ceja.eu.

Shift Work: The Massey Ferguson Dyna-6 Transmission on the Farm

Ask Gavin MacDonald why he and his father, Donnie, purchased their Massey Ferguson® 6490 and he counts the reasons, literally.

Gavin MacDonald and his father, Donnie

Gavin MacDonald and his father, Donnie

Specifically, the number of times he would have to shift gears while driving to the field farthest from the barn in a comparably priced “green” tractor.

“Twenty-one shifts there and 21 back,” he says. “We figured that was a lot of shifting to do with a lot of clutch work when you’re spreading manure or something like that.” Because the MacDonalds’ MF6490 has a Dyna-6 transmission, “you set it and it shifts on itself,” Gavin continues.

“You basically drive it like an automatic [transmission] car,” adds Donnie. “It’ll go through its ranges … and gear down when it can. That’s great on fuel economy.”

The first Massey Ferguson tractor Donnie bought was almost 27 years ago and from Brock Proudfoot at Proudfoot Motors in nearby New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. “Since then,” says Donnie, who now owns five Massey Ferguson tractors and one combine, “we’ve been pretty well with him for everything that he can supply. We get great service … right through to the parts and service, and all the guys at the shop. We don’t have a lot of breakdowns, but we get good service when we do have them.”

Donnie and Gavin do, however, comparison shop. “You just don’t buy something because the color,” says Donnie. “Massey’s always been competitive.

“They’re also very durable,” he continues. “Like I say, some of the tractors have been here for quite a while.”

See the full story about the MacDonald operation, “Budding Trend: Young People on the Farm.”

New AGCO Dealer Dedicated to Supporting Innovation in Local Farming

Traction AG Horsham

Traction AG Horsham

Farmers and contractors in the Wimmera region of Western Victoria, Australia have a new partner supporting their businesses.

Traction AG has been appointed as the AGCO Dealer for the export focussed broad acre district that produces cereal, pulse and oilseed crops as well as some livestock.

New Dealer Principals Kym Grosser, Frank Delahunty and Peter Blair combine a vast range of expertise with backgrounds in engineering, machinery sales, business and farming. The Traction AG team have over 150 years of experience and are passionate about machinery that delivers performance, efficiency and productivity.

Celebrating the opening of the Horsham premises, 160 local farmers and contractors were invited to enjoy a social evening and meet with the Traction AG staff and AGCO representatives.

The event was a great opportunity for attendees to see the exciting AGCO range of products and speak with Traction AG staff and AGCO representatives about innovations and technology that can help them drive efficiencies in their farming operations.

TractionAg_1

Will de Fégely – Business Manager , Kym Grosser – Director and Head of Sales & Heath Miller – Farm Machinery Sales Manager

AGCO Area Sales Manager West Victoria, Chris Browne was impressed with the increasing interest in efficient farming practices.

“It was great to see some new and familiar faces at the event and hear a lot of positive views on the increasing importance of technology and improved efficiencies in farming practices in the Wimmera region. There is a lot of enthusiasm for products that tick all the boxes in broad acre farming which is increasingly about economies of scale”, said Chris Browne,

Traction AG Business Manager Will de Fégely was keen to catch up with guests and also spoke of the increasing significance local farmers are giving to efficient farming systems

“It was a good opportunity for farmers to meet our staff and get a look at our new premises as well as the range of AGCO products. The region has increasing demand for technology that will drive down costs in broad acre farming. With our Horsham and Nhill branches, we are looking forward to meeting this demand for a complete product range that exceeds the expectations of customers and is backed up by reliable service support and a global parts network”, Will said.

Traction AG is set to open their Nhill branch in October during the Nhill Show. The team is looking forward to a bright future supporting the Wimmera farming community with products and service support that meet the demands of modern operators in the region.

Future Farm Machinery Developments Must Deliver a Good Return on Investment

Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), is focused on developing straightforward, intelligent farm machinery with broad appeal in the quest to increase crop yields and produce higher quality food with less assets.

Giving details on the brand’s outlook to 6,000 visitors at the company’s Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France, Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing, Massey Ferguson Europe/Africa/Middle East remarked: “To produce more from less, bio- and agri-technology will need to work together to achieve the necessary increases in food production to feed the world’s growing population. At the same time, farmers will need to strike a balance between a profitable business and a sustainable environment. Farm machinery must deliver a good return on their investment.”

Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing, Massey Ferguson Europe/Africa/Middle Eas

Thierry Lhotte, Vice President Marketing, Massey Ferguson Europe/Africa/Middle East

He explained that in order to boost production, the three key challenges for farmers were the soil; environment and sustainability; and information and integration. A further major issue was the pressing need to encourage young people into agriculture.

“Soil is a key asset. It has to sustain crop growth, support larger loads to enable mechanisation, and permit infiltration and storage of water. In order to preserve soil and tackle the problems of compaction, erosion, water and nutrient management, a farmer will need to be more of an agronomist than ever before,” said Thierry.

“On the subject of environment and sustainability, the important areas are selection of the correct seed varieties, detailed land surveying and the optimum use of fertiliser which must come from the right source and be applied at the right rate, at the right time in the right place,” he continued.

“The entire food chain – from production to distribution – will benefit from increased information and integration. Collection and analysis of data from the field, for example, are crucial to develop optimum crop strategies and make the most of available land.”

“The entry of young people into farming is essential for agricultural security and must be encouraged,” Thierry emphasised. “The percentage of farms operated by under 35- year-olds in the EU is just 6%. Research has shown that farmers under 35 are one third more productive than their older counterparts.”

He then went on to give an insight into farm equipment developments of the future. “While power will continue to increase, ever-bigger monster machines are not the only solution,” he remarked. “Tractors below 100hp still account for 90% of the market in Africa and Middle East, 75% in Russia and just over half in Europe. The new farmer generation will continue to rely on these machines as all-round workhorses.”

“At Massey Ferguson, our aim is to produce dependable machines with broad appeal across all farm types. While they are straightforward, these machines are also smart – employing the most appropriate mechanisation and technology to suit a huge diversity of needs,” he said.

“Worldwide, the major trends are for modular and versatile machines, more comfort, ease-of-use and low cost of ownership. For emerging markets, the key issues are ease-of-use and repair, automation and connectivity, fuel efficiency and the requirement for engines to be less sensitive to fuel quality.” Looking further ahead, Thierry revealed some exciting ideas that could develop into the tractors of the future such as modular units with ‘add-on’ power units which could be used elsewhere on the farm for electricity supply. He also showed examples of tool carriers, master/slave concepts, hybrid/hydrogen engines, four-wheel-steer and an immersive cab.

“At Massey Ferguson, we don’t believe in technology simply for technology’s sake. Machinery is a big outlay and any engineering developments must provide farmers with a good return on their investment and help boost efficiency,” he said. “We will continue to stay close to our customers, listen to their ideas and ensure that our solutions are consistent with their expectations for farming in the real world.”

On-Farm Data Security

In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control. But, that’s not a given.

In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control.

In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control.

“It’s still a bit of the wild, wild west right now,” says Joe Russo, who helped pioneer what would become precision farming 28 years ago as an agricultural meteorologist at Penn State University. “The sharing of information can be good or bad, but those responsible for generating the data—the farmers—their permission should be required for any use.

“Your data is your most important source of information,” says Russo. “It defines you, and represents your economic position and intellectual property. There is no doubt in my mind who owns it.”

Ownership notwithstanding, who can use that data is often subject to less-than-transparent practices. Consider that many companies, including some agricultural equipment manufacturers, bury an “opt out” clause in the fine print of documents concerning a purchase or service agreement. In such cases, the onus is on the customers, who must search for and find such a clause, then purposefully decline in order to maintain their privacy. If not, the company providing the equipment or service can use or even share a farm’s data with third parties.

The inverse of that practice, one employed by all AGCO brands, is to ask the customer to opt in to share data. “We don’t allow ourselves to have access to the customer’s information without approval,” says Jason O’Flanagan, senior marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS).

“We’ve isolated ourselves so the farmer trusts in the fact AGCO is there as an assistant along the way,” says O’Flanagan, noting that if the customer gives AGCO permission to use the data, the dealer and company can monitor the operation of their machinery, helping with maintenance and warning of possible problems. He adds that the collection of such data, by sharing it with AGCO engineers, also helps develop innovations faster.

Knowing up front who has access to your data is imperative, says O’Flanagan. “Would you give just anyone your W-2 or your tax return?” he asks. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people would say ‘No.’ When someone else takes your yield and application maps, and planning maps, you are giving them a complete view of how your farm works. You need to know who has that information, and you need to trust them to use that data carefully.”

For more, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/data-security-on-the-farm/.

To learn more about AGCO’s on and off board technologies and the Fuse Technologies strategy, visit http://www.agcotechnologies.com/.

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