Improved fuel efficiency and operator comfort are key features in Fendt tractors in all horsepower ranges
For a custom-farming operator to be using 10 tractors of the same make for 10 years, it has to be some indicator of his confidence in the quality and performance of the equipment.
That’s been Alberta farmer Ludze Holtrop’s story with Fendt tractors over the past decade. Holtrop, who began custom farming in 2002, actually runs 15 tractors in his custom farming business, based near Lacombe, Alta. There is John Deere, Case IH, Klaas and Massey equipment in his machinery lineup. But the bulk of the field work, that includes dry and liquid manure spreading, air seeding, corn planting, silaging, mowing, raking, swathing, baling, packing and even dirt moving is performed by a fleet of 10 Fendt tractors (Find more information about the Holtrop farm at www.holtrop-enterprises.com).
“Back in the day, when I first bought Fendt I was interested in their road speed and their fuel economy,” says Holstrop, who in mid-October was just finishing the last of his custom baling for the year, but still had tons of manure and compost to spread. “ But after owning one for a while I realized there were plenty of other features too.”
Road speed and fuel economy are still important features for Holstrop as he has equipment traveling from field to field over a large area of central Alberta. But, Holstrop says he appreciates the package of technology, as a well as the comfort features of Fendt. He has all 800 and 900 series tractors with horsepower ranging from 200 to 333 hp.
“It is a make that is so well suited to custom farming,” says Holstrop. “We put in long days and there no where near the driver fatigue when operating a Fendt compared to other makes. And that is a big feature. They are comfortable and easy to use. They also come with technology such as GPS and other features which are all necessary in farming today.”
From a performance and fuel economy standpoint, he likes Fendt’s continuously variable transmission (CVT). “The CVT is a standard design feature and you can switch from one job to another, or different field conditions and the tractor is in the right gear no matter what the job,” says Holstrop.
For road travel, he says Fendts can comfortably run at 50 kilometres per hour (30 miles per hour) compared to other makes which top out at 20 to 25 m.p.h. “And at 25 m.p.h they are completely revved up and at high fuel consumption,” he says. “Whereas with the Fendt at 30 m.p.h. it is running at 1,700 r.p.m. with better fuel economy.”
Holstrop says he also appreciates the good dealer support like he receives from Pentagon Farm Equipment in Lacombe. “Some people may think Fendt are more expensive than other tractors, but you have to consider all the features that come as standard equipment,” says Holstrop. “With other makes those features are all extra. And when you add in the improved fuel economy, in my view Fendts are less expensive than other tractors on the market.”
New 700 Series
Holstrop was one of hundreds of farmers participating in events during Fendt field days held at Lacombe in central Alberta in mid-July 2012. The German-based company (part of the AGCO group) holds a major field day in Germany every two years. Now in the North American market for the past 10 years they are holding similar field days to showcase equipment here. The Lacombe event was the first field day in Western Canada and it was also an event to launch Fendt’s new 700 series tractor.
The 700 series fills the 100 to 195 PTO horsepower gap in the Fendt lineup of tractors, says Carlton Self, product marketing specialist. All the features of operator comfort, performance technology, and fuel efficiency are included in the 700 series, which is compliant with current Tier 4 engine emission standards.
“We had Tier 2 standards in 1980s, then Tier 3 in 2000 and now our engines starting in 2011 are Tier 4 compliant,” says Self. “Power is important, but perhaps more important are engines with improved fuel efficiency, that are also cleaner burning. Fortunately this technology goes hand in hand to offer farmers a more fuel-efficient tractor that puts more money in their pocket, but cleaner burning fuel also adds to the longevity of the tractor’s engine life. It is a nice combination.”
The 700 series, powered by a Deutz 6.06 litre, six-cylinder turbocharged engine, is intended as a good chore tractor for hauling manure, baling hay, or hauling silage, and comes with a wide range of design and performance features. With the CVT design and Fendt’s Tractor Management System, engines are able to operate on an average 5.3 gallons of fuel per hour, providing a savings of up to five gallons per 10-hour day.
The 700 series features the half-frame design, which means a much tighter turning radius, says Self. The front axle can carry up to 12.5 tons and turn at a 52-degree angle. Along with the tighter turning radius, the tractor also features Fendt’s VarioActive steering system. The design means fewer revolutions of the steering wheel to make a turn — not only faster, but one of the items that reduces operator fatigue. One turn of the steering wheel equals 43.3 degrees of wheel turn, versus 26.6 degrees without the VarioActive system.
The tractor has a very comfortable full suspension cab, complete with buddy seat. It is a climate-controlled, five-post cab design with vertically panoramic front windshield, a full-length right-hand window, and 77 degrees of upward visibility, which is very handy when using the front-end loader.
For higher speeds and road travel, Fendt provides a stability control feature that kicks in at speeds over 12.5 m.p.h. The stability control locks the differential and dampens side-to-side movement to ensure maximum stability at higher speeds. The feature automatically disengages at lower speeds.
The well-built 700 series tractor weighing 17,416 pounds, can handle up to 39,600 pounds of gross weight, which translates into a power-to-weight ratio of 72 lbs./hp. And there is no excuse for not hooking up to implements as the 700 series offers 22 equipment connections including six rear and two front double-acting hydraulic valves, factory installed front and rear three-point hitches and full ISOBUS connection.
Inside the cab, the Fendt Variotronic control allows the operator to direct all tractor and implement controls, camera functions, operation documentation and the automatic steering system using the 10.4-inch touch-screen terminal. It can display up to four applications, including video camera inputs, simultaneously.
“Fendt engineers put in thousands of hours to ensure these tractors are properly designed to be reliable and versatile,” says Self. “The engines are fuel efficient, but the tractors have many other efficiencies as well. You look at the design of the cabs and the controls and a lot of thought has been put into ergonomics. It is not just a comfortable seat. Every effort has been made to reduce arm and hand movement so at the end of a long day, there is less operator fatigue.” †