It’s been a prairie farmer’s ritual that happens every June, heading to Evraz Place to take in Canada’s Farm Progress Show. And for us farm equipment writers, it’s more than that. It’s where we go to see what the Canadian short-line manufacturers have been up to in their R&D shops, so we can fill up the pages in our magazines.
The pace of new product updates and introductions in farm equipment tends to be cyclical. Some years there is more to report on than we have pages in the magazine, other years not so much. This year is certainly starting off on the right foot, if the Regina show is any indication. While the overall machinery displays are noticeably smaller than in previous years, which seems to be the new reality for this event, there was ample to talk about.
The major brand manufacturers don’t often make major introductions here, but last year John Deere chose to show a new drill here for the first time, and this year AGCO chose Regina for the North American debut of the IDEAL combine.
AGCO’s media liaison person told me there would be a surprise reveal. Given that I already had an up-close look at the combine during Agritechnica in Germany, I just responded with a polite “OK”. Nevertheless, I was at the AGCO display site a day ahead of the official show opening for the North American reveal of that combine, hardly expecting to see anything new, other than the fact the combine was now on the west side of the Atlantic.
But when the ceremonial reveal of the combine occurred, with staff pulling a giant tarp off of it, there really was a surprise. It was proudly wearing a Fendt nametag, making it the first Fendt combine to ever hit the Canadian and U.S. market.
Back in Germany we were told the combine would only appear as a Fendt in Europe. Here at home, it would be part of the AGCO’s Massey Ferguson and Challenge brands. But obviously, plans changed between last November and this week.
AGCO will continue to produce the transverse-rotary Gleaners and the MF and Challenger axial rotaries. The IDEAL, however, represents a much higher level of technology and it will stand alone as a Fendt. According to marketing staff, it will cater to the typical Fendt buyer who is looking for very high-end, cutting edge machines.
AGCO’s prairie dealers were going to get a look at the IDEAL an hour or two after we in the farm media were given a sneak peak. So I didn’t get to see the reaction from MF and Challenger dealers who were about to find out they were not going to get to add the IDEAL to their product offerings, unless, of course, they upgraded their status and qualified to become Fendt brand dealers as well.
Fendt remains the one brand AGCO isn’t willing to include in its overall dealer product line unless they meet the additional standards and requirements in service and support necessary to handle the line.
There have been several dealerships asking AGCO to include them as Fendt dealers, according to brand executives. Keeping the IDEAL as a Fendt-only product might accelerate that.