AGCO used this summer’s U.S. Farm Progress Show in Illinois as the venue to finally debut the 107- to 137-PTO horsepower Fendt 500 Vario Series tractors in North America. The models were first introduced in September of 2012 in Germany for the European market, but at that time brand executives explained it would take a while to develop versions of the tractors that met North American engineering standards. European machines still differ slightly from ours in a variety of ways.
The 500s offer a compact chassis design with a little more horsepower than you’d expect for a machine of that size. They fit into that relatively new compact, mid-range tractor category that packs bigger horsepower into smaller packages. The idea is to create a more versatile machine that is as capable with a front-end loader as it is in the field. Although topping out at 137 PTO horsepower, field jobs for 500s on the prairie will be limited.
Inside the cab, these tractors, like their larger brothers, come with 7.0- or 10.4-inch screens that use the brand’s own Varioterminal for control of all tractor and implement functions in a single monitor. And Varioterminals are fully ISOBUS compatible, so in most cases there shouldn’t be any need for a second dedicated implement monitor.
In the press release announcing the arrival of the 500 Varios, the company describes the tractors’ digital capability this way: “The Fendt 500 is among AGCO’s top-of-the-line, high-end technology machines, powered by AGCO’s Fuse precision agriculture products and services.”
Looking out of the cab through the 65 square feet of glass, operators get a 320-degree panoramic view to make it easier when working at close-quarter jobs, such as in livestock pens. The curved windshield also extends up into the cab roof to improve visibility when doing front-end loader work.
The 500s come with standard pneumatic self-levelling cab suspension to improve ride comfort. The cab gets supported on four points with integrated self-levelling bearings at the front and air springs at the rear. The self-levelling front axle suspension can improve the tractors’ overall ride quality even further.
The 500s are fast, too, claiming a top road speed of 31 m.p.h.
These tractors can be ordered with the brand’s CargoProfi front-end loader that offers its own high-end features, like pre-set positions, bucket tilt sensors and load weighing capability. All of these are controlled through the Varioterminal.
All in all, the Fendt brand offers the highest-end features AGCO builds into a tractor. Of course, those options boost the price tags for these pale green machines. But company executives say they believe that along with the higher cost comes increased benefits, so the extra investment makes sense.
“Ultimately, all this technology will give the operator the ability to use the machine for optimum performance and the ability to turn his or her attention to other management decisions, away from the setting and adjustments of the machines,” says Josh Keeney, AGCO Fendt tactical marketing manager.