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AGCO Equipment Helps This Family Farm Get More Work Done with Less Labor

Jim Fontaine says he’s not interested in getting bigger as a business; he and his family have found an economic sweet spot in their dairy operation (see more about it here). But that doesn’t mean he and brother Steve aren’t growing their equipment inventory. In fact, their do-it-themselves approach to efficiency means the equipment needs to work harder, cost less to run and go easier on the operator.

The Fontaine family

The Fontaine family

That’s why they converted from another brand to a shop full of AGCO solutions, including equipment from Challenger,® Massey Ferguson,® Hesston,® Sunflower® and White Planters.™

“For the two bigger Challengers, we traded in two Case Magnums,” says Jim. “You feel like you got banged around in that [Case]. When you’re on the bunk and you’re shifting, you have to go through all those gears to shift, and it’s just a lot of jerking.”

Their Massey Ferguson and Challenger tractors share the CVT transmission, and with that, “the front-end suspension and the cab suspension, it’s just a good package because it’s all working together,” says Jim.

Adds Steve: “You get out of the tractor and you can stand up straight,” he laughs. “Nothing hurts on your body.”

The tractors work perfectly with their Sunflower 6630 tillage tool, yet another AGCO piece in their arsenal. “With another brand of tractor, when we would drop the implement in the ground, it would stall,” says Jim. Not so with the Challengers.

The experts at Java Farm Supply, the Fontaines’ dealership, also believed Jim and Steve would benefit from a larger hay baler; when the brothers were last looking for a baler, they decided on the Hesston 2170XD. “It makes a nice bale, it doesn’t fall apart, and it weighs 1,200 pounds versus the small ones that weigh 900. There are less bales to store and haul,” says Steve. And it’s better for bunk too. “You carry two bales out, and you have more hay on the bunk for the TMR mixer,” he says.

Jim and Steve don’t see themselves going back to “the other brand.” “The more you hop into the Challenger or the Massey Ferguson, the more comfortable you feel,” Jim says. “I told the dealership: ‘You should put one of these tractors on every farm.’”

For the full story on the Fontaine Farms, including a video about the family’s business philosophy, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/a-family-farm-in-the-economic-sweet-spot/.

In AGCO Equipment, Comfort Comes Standard

Barry Schmitt puts a premium on having comfortable equipment. “During harvest, we spend long hours in the cab, and we move around a lot, going up and down the roads,” says the owner of Barr-Ag, one of Canada’s largest hay exporters. “I want my guys to be safe.”

They are easy to learn to use and the visibility from the cab is very good, says Schmitt.

They are easy to learn to use and the visibility from the cab is very good, says Schmitt.

They are, says Schmitt, because of good training and the use of his AGCO equipment. “We run Massey 4610 tractors on our rakes … and we use Fendt® to pull balers and air drills.” According to Schmitt, the tractors—including Fendt 700, 800 and 900 Series models—as as well as Hesston by Massey Ferguson® windrowers, handle well and are fuel efficient. “They are easy to learn to use and the visibility from the cab is very good.

“They are also exceptionally comfortable,” says Schmitt, “which helps minimize operator fatigue. You get done, a 12-hour day or a 15-hour day in one of these tractors, you can get out and you can still walk. I’m not all stiff from bouncing around. These [tractors] are very smooth, very comfortable. The noise level is small and they’re just very reliable and we enjoy running them.” [I added to get more in about comfort—we had to cut from print due to length.]

Schmitt uses nine large square balers, as well as seven 9870 and 9770 windrowers. “Like our tractors, they are reliable. We need that dependability with the hours we put on them each year. The balers give us a nice square bale, with consistent length … and on the [windrowers],” adds Schmitt, “the double conditioning rolls are second to none.
“These cutters do short crops, tall crops, heavy crops, light crops. You can cut it fast; you can cut it slow. Whatever we’re cutting, it lays well, dries good.”

Schmitt says his AGCO equipment is excellent, but the machines “are only as good as your dealer, and we have a fantastic dealer in Hanlon Ag Centre. They follow our work as we go across with our harvest. Mechanics are available basically 24/7 and they have good rapport with our guys for solving problems over the phone when we need them.

“What really makes it work,” continues Schmitt, “is the combination of good equipment, good dealership, good access to parts and people willing to go the extra mile. That’s what makes our harvest flow, and Hanlon is as big a part of our harvest as the weather and our neighbors.”

See the full story on Schmitt’s operation at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/exporting-forage-barr-ag-is-in-its-hay-day.

New ProCut™ option launched for 2200 Series Large Square Balers

The new ProCut rotary cutter system introduces a range of new features to deliver a huge increase in capacity, a more uniform & consistent cut length, and exceptional service access. This new option is offered in 2250, 2270, and 2270XD models.

With a 10% speed increase, the new re-designed Hesston manufactured rotor promotes aggressive & even crop flow to bale edges. Combine this with the new Quad-Auger pick-up system to promote smooth feeding with a reduced potential for plugging and you will see your baling & cutting capacity greatly increase. Also, a unique feature for the ProCut option that will increase capacity is that the packer of a “non-cutter” baler remains behind the rotor – maximizing baling feeding capacity.

ProCut Field

For a more uniform & consistent cut length, the bolt-on rotor teeth have been designed wider with two hydraulically selectable knife banks in the magazine to allow operators the ability to quickly engage or disengage the knives and change cut lengths. No gaps in the knife bank provide uniform cut length across the entire bale width. These selectable knife configurations can be easily selected through the ISOBUS compatible C1000 or C2100 monitor. All models are equipped with minimum 1.5” cut length increments supported by a new serrated knife design for longer life and reduced wear. These knives can be removed to desired cut length easily, with no tools required.

ProCut Knife DrawerWith the need for improved service access, the new ProCut design is equipped with a hydraulic drop down & slide out knife bed drawer. This gives the operator easy access to all knives with no tools required.  Another feature for reduced maintenance costs & time is the unique bolt-on rotor teeth, which allow for easy replacement, in the case that a foreign object is met.

 

To see the new ProCut features in action, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9VgvQP5wgU  within the NEW Hesston Hay Youtube page.

ProCut Rotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Site for Used Ag Equipment with Certified Second Life

AGCO Corporation  was one of the first leading manufacturers to stand behind its tractors, combine harvesters and other agricultural field equipment with a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. Now, AGCO has launched a website that allows customers to shop for equipment they need among the growing list of CPO equipment that participating dealers are selling on-site and posting to the new website.CPO

“It is important that farmers know that an ever-increasing quantity of AGCO-certified used equipment is now available from most AGCO-affiliated dealerships, and it’s also important for them to know that searching for what they need is fast and easy on the new AGCO CPO website,” said Eric Lescourret, AGCO director of Commercial Strategic Initiatives. “The AGCO CPO program provides cover for a wide range of equipment. It gives our customers more choices for premium used equipment with the latest technology and best features at the right price point.”

With the release of the new website for finding CPO machines, AGCO has rolled out the full Certified Pre-Owned program. The program has been in development for more than a year.  Starting in 2013, the AGCO CPO program was pilot-tested by 16 dealers and then rolled out to qualifying dealers in 2015. To qualify as CPO, equipment must be thoroughly inspected and reconditioned at 100 to 200 points, depending on the type of equipment.

All AGCO-certified equipment includes an AGCO Protection package. This means any piece of CPO equipment purchased will come with at least one year of comprehensive extended-service coverage that relieves CPO customers of risk from costly repairs. AGCO confidently stands behind these units because of the thorough inspection each unit must undergo. Once it has been inspected, certified, AGCO-trained dealership technicians recondition each piece of equipment as needed.

AGCO equipment available includes models from each of the following brands and product categories:

  • Challenger®, Massey Ferguson® and Fendt® high-horsepower tractors
  • Gleaner®, Massey Ferguson and Challenger combines
  • Hesston® by Massey Ferguson and Challenger self-propelled windrowers
  • Hesston® by Massey Ferguson and Challenger large square balers
  • RoGator® sprayers

With the AGCO Certified Pre-Owned program now in full operation, CPO machines have already been sold to customers. Participating dealers are replenishing the equipment offerings on www.agcocorp.com/CPO with multiple new posts every week. Potential buyers are encouraged to check back regularly.

AGCO Protection is for a minimum of 12 months or a predetermined number of hours from the date of purchase if out of base warranty on date of purchase or from the date the base warranty ends if under base warranty on date of purchase, whichever occurs first. Deductible of $250 will be applied per incident. Coverage is limited. Restrictions apply. Please see a participating dealer for restrictions and a full listing of the components covered by AGCO Protection.

AGCO’s Certified Pre-Owned program is only available in North America.

Hay Equipment Maintenance Checklists

Downtime is costly for any producer, but it’s even worse for commercial operators who depend on quality hay for their livelihood. That’s one reason Larry Krepline goes through his two Hesston big square balers and Hesston windrower every fall with the help of Gruett’s Inc., his Massey Ferguson dealer in Potter, Wisc. That is, after he totally cleans each machine at the end of the season with compressed air and/or a power washer.

“One of their technicians actually comes out here to the farm and we go through the full checklist on each machine,” Krepline says. “After that, my crew and I will make most of the repairs ourselves based on the recommendations. At the very least, we’ll change all the fluids, including the oil in the cutterbed, and replace all the disc header knives, along with the bolts and bushings. I don’t need any of them breaking during the season.”

With three windrowers, two big square balers and ten 3-twine balers, Mark Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Hay Company in Dixon, Calif., has a big maintenance project each winter, too. However, by the time he and his crew finish, Atkinson says every machine they own has been restored to like-new condition.

“In fact, our dealer usually has somebody waiting for a machine when we trade it,” he adds. “We literally take every machine apart and rebuild it, replacing any part that we have doubts about. If there’s any question about whether it will make it through the next hay season, we replace it,” he adds, noting that replacement parts include everything from knotter bill hooks to bale chamber side plates. “Downtime is too expensive to risk it.”

Another tip, this one from Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products: “Months down the road it can be hard to remember that noise you wanted to check out before next season. By writing it down, when you notice what might be a problem, you have a big head start on maintenance that will leave your equipment in top condition, ready for another productive season.”

For detailed checklists for hay equipment maintenance, including a video from our own Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston® by Massey Ferguson hay products, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/hay-equipment-maintenance-checklists/.

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