Posts Tagged ‘Farming’
MF: Would you say that 2014 was a year of maintaining the momentum of CEJA’s work?
MB: 2014 has been a crucial year for CEJA. Following the achievements made in 2013 with the inclusion of a mandatory measure for young farmers in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it was essential that we ensured the implementation of this historic political agreement in an effective and concrete manner. In a similar vein, it was also important that we made use of the momentum that the CAP reform negotiations had given CEJA the previous year, and that we maintained an increasing amount of visibility and awareness of the age crisis in European farming. This was despite the retreat that agriculture, due to the end of CAP discussions, made from the central position it had been occupying in EU current affairs for the last two years. Progress has been made on the policy front even beyond the remits of the CAP, including putting the need to strengthen EU policy for young farmers at centre stage within the agricultural priorities of the Italian Presidency.
MF: What else was notable in 2014?
MB: 2014 witnessed the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. Among several joint events, we held a CEJA working group at the MF tractor plant in Beauvais, France. The event also included a tour of the tractor production facilities for a number of leading young farmers from across the EU. 2014 saw the end of an era as the previous European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş, was replaced by Irishman Phil Hogan. In addition, we saw an array of newly-elected MEPs take their seats on the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament. As well as this, CEJA welcomed a new Secretary General a year ago to assist what was then the newly-elected Board, with me at the helm as the new President. Despite all these changes, CEJA accomplished a number of achievements over the last 12 months and I am proud to say that the issue of young farmers was still high on the political agenda right through to the end of 2014.
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Massey Ferguson helped provide a taste of British farming and food production to more than 250 leading journalists attending the International Federation of Agricultural Journalist’s Congress in North East Scotland.
‘Innovations from a Small Island’, the congress provided a packed programme of seminars, visits and events showcasing the UK’s world-leading farming, food and drink producers. As a principal sponsor of the event, Massey Ferguson ensured these influential writers and photographers from around the world not only learned about the UK advanced food and farming industry, but passed it on to their global farming audience.
Massey Ferguson sponsored the ‘Market Makers’ farm tours that demonstrated how its equipment is being employed by producers of diverse range of crops and livestock north-east Scotland. These farms are renowned for the highest quality potatoes, fruit, berries and vegetables as well as cereals and beef and lamb.
“We are honoured to help showcase the work of some of not just Scotland’s, but Europe’s leading farmers,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson’s Director, Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development. “It was a pleasure to see how these leading journalists were eager to see these progressive, professional businesses and learn more about their knowledge of agriculture and see examples of the finest crop and animal husbandry.”
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.
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.
Herefordshire (UK), turkey farmer, Clive Thomas, is aiming to make his farm totally energy-independent over the next five years . . . and he is using Massey Ferguson tractors to help him achieve his goal.
Growing around 80ha of wheat and grass with son, Kelvyn, within the E and GM Thomas & Son family partnership, Clive’s principal enterprise for the past 25 years has been turkey-rearing, an operation that sees 90,000 birds reared each year under contract to Cranberry Foods. All of the wheat harvested on the farm is fed to the turkeys with the straw being used as bedding litter for birds that grow from 2kg to 19kg over 12 weeks.
Fan ventilation of the seven turkey-rearing sheds is an essential part of the operation and had been costing the business around £5,000 a month in electricity bills. This figure has been steadily reducing since the installation of an 800-panel solar photovoltaic array in fields close to the farm buildings.
Capable of producing up to 200kW/hr in full midday summer sunlight, the investment is expected to pay for itself within seven years. “Any surplus electricity produced is being fed back into the grid,” explained Clive. “Although the money we receive per unit is falling, the cost savings being made plus the income we are generating should see our investment repaid before the end of the decade.”
An important requirement of solar panels is the control of surrounding vegetation to prevent shading of the photovoltaic cells while permitting easy inspection and cleaning of the installation, when necessary. Mowing of the solar avenues and of paddocks around the farmstead, as well as the movement of smaller loads and materials around the farm, has been entrusted to a 46hp MF 1547 compact tractor supplied, in common with Clive Thomas’s other Massey Ferguson equipment, by MF dealer, JJ Farm Services Ltd, based near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
“I asked dealer sales representative, Ben Johnson, if MF offered a small, manoeuvrable tractor capable of powering a flail mower and a rotary cultivator,” said Clive. “He proposed the MF 1547 with a 12 x 12 synchro-shuttle manual transmission. The tractor has proved a revelation, having ample power for cutting back quite lengthy grass between the solar panels and for cultivating areas of uneven or rutted ground prior to levelling and restoration.”
To complement the generation of solar power, Clive is now planning the installation of a twin bio-digester unit fuelled by a combination of turkey manure, grass silage and green-cut wheat. The methane gas produced by the bio-digester will power engine-driven generators capable of supplying the farm’s entire electricity demand, including the farmhouse, enabling all of the electricity produced by the solar panels to be fed back into the grid.
Clive plans also to utilise all of the waste material from the bio-digester, either spreading it onto land as fertiliser or compressing it into briquettes for sale as fuel. Coolant water heated by the engines will not be wasted either, being used to provide hot water for the workshop and other farm buildings.
“Both my grandfather and father used Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors successfully, starting way back in the early 1950s,” explained Clive. “I have maintained this long association, currently employing two MF 6480s and an MF 6290 for all primary and secondary field operations ranging from cultivations to fertiliser spreading and spraying to haulage. We also run an MF 7256 Cerea combine.”
The farm’s latest number one tractor is a 255hp MF 7626 with Dyna-6 transmission delivered by JJ Farm Services in February this year to replace a 215hp MF 6499. Bought primarily to operate a 3m combination drill and, eventually, the forage harvester supplying green matter to feed the bio-digester, the tractor was selected foremost with power in mind.
“When fully operational, our energy generation systems will demand a consistent and reliable supply of material to maintain maximum output,” explained Clive. “Having used Massey Ferguson tractors on the farm for almost 60 years, we have every confidence in their ability to deliver the necessary performance, backed by first-class and dependable dealer support.”
Most days, from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can find Galen Hammann working what might be called his first shift. He’s an assistant engineer at the Truman Hotel in his hometown of Jefferson City, Mo.
By mid-afternoon, he’s working closer to home on his 185-acre farm, where he raises about 80 head of cattle a year, as well as oats, wheat and hay—a mixture of fescue, orchardgrass, brome and clover—to use as feed for his cow/calf operation. No matter what he’s up to, the work usually doesn’t stop until dark, if not later.
That’s much the same story for Ken Thalman. Living and working about a three-hour drive east from Hammann, Thalman is a full-time postal employee in Centralia, Ill., who, in addition to his day job, grows grass hay on 18 acres of his 40-acre spread.
Thalman and Hammann are among the growing ranks of the do-it-yourself hay producers. One of the main drivers of the trend is that less hay is being produced, leading to higher prices.
Also, significant advances in equipment have made it more cost-effective for many farmers to grow their own as opposed to buying feed or hiring custom harvesters. Even growing hay on plots of land once considered too small to be worth the effort has become an increasingly popular solution for producers looking to squeeze the value out of every dollar, hour and acre.
To be sure, the rising cost of hay and the demand on custom harvesters have made the DIY option more cost-effective for greater numbers of small-acreage farmers. In addition, not only can they now grow hay themselves, small-acreage producers can also grow the quality their operations demand.
Both Hammann and Thalman battle hills and sharp corners that make operating with large mowers and balers difficult. That’s a big reason why they use small, nimble equipment that’s more suited for rolling land often carved into small parcels.
“The smaller length of the cutterbar on Ken’s Massey Ferguson® 1326 disc mower allows it to cover rough terrain,” says dealer Jeff Suchomski, of Suchomski Equipment. “And Ken’s Hesston® 1734 [round] baler, with the smaller overall size, can handle the terrain better too.”
Thalman can also pull his new equipment with relatively low-horsepower tractors. Considering many small-acreage farmers aren’t likely to own anything much larger, that’s a valuable feature.
“I don’t need a big tractor [for] farming,” says Thalman. “I’ve got my own tractor, and Jeff can match me up with equipment that will work with what I’ve got. It’s a win-win situation.”
Both Thalman and Hammann also have to travel over the road with their equipment to reach smaller patches of land they clear for neighbors. When he needs to be mobile, Hammann runs a Hesston 4550 square baler he purchased from Tom Lauf, of Lauf Equipment. “The square baler is built very compact compared to how it used to be built. It’s narrower and still makes a better bale than the old balers did,” Lauf says.
Thalman also likes the way his equipment handles in tight spots. “When I show you some of the places that I take hay off of, you’d think there’s no way you could get your equipment in,” he says. “I’ve got places up and down the road here with 4, 5 and 6 acres that I mow. And my equipment is small enough, I can just run right down the road.”