AGCO was one of several manufacturers to use AG Connect Expo, held in Atlanta, Georgia, in early January, to debut new products. The centrepiece of its display at the show this year was the all-new 800 Series tractors in the Fendt line. The new features packed into the 2011 models build on the already impressive, high-end features the brand is known for.
“We’ve made a heavier, bigger tractor and changed the horsepower range,” says Alexis Max, product marketing specialist for Fendt. “Now they start at 165 PTO horsepower and go up to 245 across five models, which is more than before.” AGCO will not bring over the 820 Greentec version, which is available in Europe and is capable of running on raw vegetable oil.
The new models feature the much larger X5 cab, for improved operator comfort. Inside the 828 Vario model parked on the show floor in Atlanta, there was absolutely no claustrophobic feeling when sitting in the driver’s seat; the cab offers a lot of elbow room. The windows are tinted, and there is a heated seat for those cold Prairie winters, along with automatic air conditioning for the summer. As with most tractors, the control array is on the right side console. “We’ve added the control arm out of the 900 (Series),” says Max. “And we’ve upgraded it with the new 10.4-inch, touch-screen Vario terminal.”
The tractors’ Variotronic electronic control system ties all functions together in an ISOBUScompatible, single display terminal. The operator can direct all tractor and implement controls, camera views, operation documentation and automatic steering through it. It displays multiple applications simultaneously. “You can see up to four different tractor functions on it at the same time,” adds Max. This is certainly not the same electronic control system you’ll find in AGCO’s other tractor brands. As a lower-end option, buyers can get a seven-inch terminal with the same touch-screen technology.
AGCO’s official press release says the armrest controls “are designed to minimize hand movement, improve performance and reduce operator fatigue.” Farmers Weekly, a British farm publication, recently put together a panel of journalists and farmers to evaluate just how ergonomic different cab control setups on the market today are, and they included an 828 Fendt in the testing. The panel’s conclusions seem to agree with AGCO’s assertion — they really liked the layout.
This quote sums up their evaluations: “With its new armrest and monitor, Fendt has managed to group everything in one place and is to a large extent leading the way in terms of ergonomics But, after 20 years of complex cabs (from Fendt), you’d probably expect that.” (For a look at the full evaluation visit www.fwi.co.uk.)
The only dislikes the judges had worth noting were that if you have no previous experience with Fendts getting used to the electronic system takes a little time, and that “maybe” there were too many possible monitor settings. In all the different categories evaluated, the 828 rated highest in nearly every one. Among the tractors it beat out in the comparison group was one of its own AGCO cousins, a Massey Ferguson 8690.
A headland management system is standard on these tractors (that allows for automated turns at the edge of a field). And the documentation feature allows producers to save information and transfer it wirelessly from the tractor to farm office or vice versa.
The new 800s also include a redesigned rear drive train and front axle suspension. “You have a solid front axle, but with the swing arms and dampeners it’s going to act like independent suspension,” notes Max. “Because of that we’ve also added Fendt stability control to the 800 series. That’s going to give you a lot better maneuverability when you’re roading the tractor.” With a 50 km/h top speed, added stability is an important safety feature.
When its time to hook up an implement, the 800 Series offers more than the usual number of connection points. Factoryinstalled front and rear three-point hitches along with front and rear PTOs allow the tractors to push or pull. And three-point hitch lift capacities are a respectable 18,300 pounds at the back and 11,300 at the front.
Up to six rear and two front hydraulic circuits are available. The hydraulic system is rated at up to 50 gallons per minute (190 LPM).
Perhaps the 800s’ most unique feature is the optional reversible operator’s station inside the cab. So the operator can face both directions, similar to New Holland’s bidirectional model. A rear-mount loader that allows the 800 Series tractors to further mimic the bidirectional is available in Europe. “We’re looking at bringing it over,” says Max. But as yet, it’s not here.
UNDER THE HOOD
The 800 Fendts use a Deutz 6.06-litre, six-cylinder, IT4 diesel engine, which consumes diesel exhaust fluid at a rate of about five per cent (of fuel consumption). It’s coupled to AGCO’s Vario, continuously variable transmission for any number of RPM-ground speed combinations.
Granted, these tractors have never grabbed a significant slice of the market in Western Canada, but for those who need exceptional capability and versatility, the 800s may be worthy of a close inspection. “They’re an important part of our tractor line,” says Steve Koep, AGCO’s vice president of sales for North America. With their premium features, they fill a niche demand.
“We’re going to target professional producers and custom guys (as potential buyers),” adds Max. “They (the 800s) are very popular on big hay and dairy operations.”
Because Fendts are relatively scarce on the ground in Western Canada, you likely won’t be able to just ask a neighbour what he thinks of his if you’re in the market for a high-spec tractor. So keep an eye out for a long-term test evaluation on an older 800 model in an upcoming issue ofGrainews.It was done by our European friends at Profi, and it takes a look at what one farmer thinks of the 800 Series tractors that have come and gone on his farm.
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