Posts Tagged ‘MF’
The European Commission launched its new Milk Market Observatory in April. In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), we asked President, Matteo Bartolini to outline what can be expected from this new body.
MF: What is the purpose of the Milk Market Observatory (MMO) and what is the background?
MB: It is designed to publicly provide data transparency, complemented by market analysis, short-term outlook reports and regular meetings of an economic board. This will strengthen the Commission’s capacity to monitor the dairy market and help the sector adapt to the new environment once the dairy quota system which has been in place for 30 years is abolished on 31 March 2015.
The Commissioner first initiated the idea for such an observatory at the Milk Conference in September 2013 which featured a number of CEJA young farmers. The conference brought together all stakeholders in the dairy supply chain – from dairy farmers to milk processors and retailers – to discuss the post-quota future of the sector.
MF: How important is the dairy sector in the EU?
MB: Milk is produced in every single EU Member State and, as a single product sector, it is valued at approximately 15% of all EU agricultural output. The EU is a major player in the world dairy market as the leading exporter of many dairy products, in particular, cheeses. For some Member States, it forms a crucial part of the agricultural economy. Total EU milk production was estimated at around 152 million tonnes in 2011 but this is expected to grow as global demand escalates and EU quotas are phased out. It is no secret that dairy quotas can be a contentious issue in Europe and so the only widely supported concrete suggestion of the Dairy Conference was that of the establishment of the Milk Market Observatory.
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.”
What might the European parliamentary elections mean for farming? In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), Massey Ferguson speaks to President, Matteo Bartolini about the possible outcomes and finds out more about CEJA’s latest campaign to target the new parliament.
MF: The European elections are just around the corner (22-25 May). Can you tell us a little more about them and why they are important?
MB: If you are a citizen of the European Union, then you are eligible to vote for one of your MEP candidates. 751 MEPs will then be elected to represent you and your region in the European Parliament for the next five years. They will have the power to amend, approve or reject a majority of EU legislation. The number of MEPs is in fact decreasing this year from the current number of 766 to 751 (750 MEPs and a President). Although you may still think 750 is a high number, it is not a lot to represent over 500 million citizens! We are yet to get a clear idea of the anticipated results of the elections but it seems there may be a move to the right this time. Although this should not pose much of a risk to agricultural support, it may mean a more conservative approach to a number of upcoming free trade agreement negotiations between the EU and other regions which could have an impact on European farmers.
MF: The European Parliament is made up of a number of different Committees, which is the most relevant for CEJA?
MB: This is the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI). COMAGRI’s current members have had a significant impact on the shape of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and, therefore, can influence EU policy and decision-making which have a direct and important impact on European farmers. This is particularly the case since the structural changes to the EU decision-making processes made in 2009 which strengthened the Parliament’s powers, notably in agriculture.
More than 7,250 farmers, contractors and guests from as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland travelled to the Discover AGCO show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham, on 26th and 27th February to view the extensive range of equipment from Massey Ferguson.
The largest individual manufacturer event ever held in the UK, Discover AGCO showcased $18 million worth of equipment, bringing together a complete line-up of machinery from AGCO’s leading brands including the world famous Massey Ferguson brand, along with support services provided by AGCO Parts and AGCO Finance.
Held in 15,000m² space in two halls at the NEC, Discover AGCO treated guests to a machinery show experience more akin to that found at large European exhibitions. Indeed, the event provided the opportunity for customers to see the entire Massey Ferguson lineup, from Power Generators and lawn equipment, right up to our 400 horsepower MF 8700 series and our top of the range harvesting collection. Visitors were welcomed onto the stand to talk to senior staff, Area Sales Managers and Sales Support staff. Colleagues from the Beauvais factory in France also joined us to promote the forthcoming Vision of the Future event and give support to our UK team.
The event employed more than $1 million worth of audiovisual equipment to put on a wide range of presentations, including a video tracing the company’s development and achievements from its foundation to the present day. There were also presentations by Campbell Scott, Director of Brand Development for Massey Ferguson, as well as a commentary in the centrally-positioned ‘Ultimate Dealership’. A full seminar programme, addressing farm management, agronomy and livestock issues, was fully booked by visitors before the event.
David Sleath, Director Sales UK and Ireland told us, “The indoor facilities at the NEC provided the opportunity to show our massive range of equipment to our customers in a professional space, in a business-like manner and without any distractions. As well as being able to look closely at specific machines, customers could also talk to senior executives, staff and specialists in comfort, in great detail about their specific needs and, in many cases, with their dealers at the same event,” adds Mr Sleath.
One customer, Chris Gardner, from Mill Farm Ashorne, in Warwickshire, who runs a specialist grassland and agricultural contracting business, praised the show for the choice of venue and its professional approach. “The NEC is an excellent venue – warm and dry! We found the show was well laid out and I really appreciated the way we were able to take a long, detailed look, at the equipment, without feeling we were being hassled by salesmen, there was no ‘hard sell’. But as soon as we did want extra information somebody was always available to provide what we wanted.”
Sam Mercer, Sales Director of the Reekie Group, travelled to Birmingham with two coach loads of customers from its depots at Perth, Stirling and Cupar. “It was a long way to come from Central Scotland, more than six hours travelling, but it was well worth it. It was good for our customers to see not only what Massey Ferguson has to offer but the other services and products available.”
“Our customers said the show put over a very professional image. The feedback on the way home was all positive – they found it interesting and informative and, despite the long journey, well worth the visit,” Sam told us.
AGCO has released several key updates to its industry-leading farm fleet management tool, AgCommand as available for use with Massey Ferguson machines.
The updates will streamline wireless data capabilities for customers and improve dealers’ customer service opportunities, resulting in customer and dealer time savings, and greater visibility into farm operations.
A key component of AGCO’s new global technology strategy, FuseTM Technologies, AgCommand is AGCO’s global telematics and asset management tool. It offers complete fleet management with machine performance reports, wireless communication, theft recovery and a web-based application for easy access to data, along with iPad® and iPhone® mobile apps. AgCommand helps connect mixed fleets for any size of operation.
Key updates include:
- Machine and Account Management functionality improvements that allow customers to ‘hide’ parked machines, and allow large operators to make their operation visible to multiple dealers. Dealers can now easily reflect transferred ownership of machines sold aftermarket.
- New mobile app features – including more detailed historical reports, improved map view and navigation, weather radar and improved dealer access to AgCommand’s at-a-glance dashboard which will provide dealers with the ability to receive turn-by-turn directions to a customer’s machine.
- Report enhancements and additions – including a new report to see machine hours by date and improved search capabilities within reports
For more information about AgCommand and Fuse Technologies, AGCO’s connected precision farming strategy, visit http://agcotechnologies.com.