Farmers all have their own reasons for choosing a particular tractor brand. For David Tschetter of Sandy Lane Colony near Grande Prairie, Alberta, fuel efficiency topped the priority list. And that, he says, was why he opted for a Versatile.
“I’d started to monitor fuel consumption,” he says. Before switching to Versatile, David wasn’t happy with the rate at which the colony’s tractors burned expensive diesel fuel. Pulling 64′ Maxim II air seeders with 8425 carts, they were consuming 11 gallons per hour. “We tried everything, but couldn’t get it below 11,” he says.
High fuel costs and too-frequent electrical malfunctions led David to check out other tractors in the hope he could reduce operating costs. That prompted a closer look at Versatilebrand tractors. After getting its first 2425 and evaluating its performance, the colony put it to a fuel-consumption test. They were pleasantly surprised.
“It was doing 6.5 to seven gallons per hour on a fresh oil change,” says David. That meant the 2425 was using only about 60 to 65 per cent of the fuel the other tractors burned when operating under the same conditions and pulling the same load. “It totally blew our minds how much less fuel was consumed,” he says.
Powered by an N14 Cummins, the colony’s 2425 was not only miserly when it came to fuel consumption; its reliability was impressive, too. “We really like the N14,” says David. “We just like the common sense that is put into building the thing.”
Reliability and ease of service made an impression on David and others who operated the 2425. “It was a lot less to worry about. It really worked out for us; the operators really like it,” he says.
When he compared the Versatile design to that of the other tractors already at the colony, David was impressed. “Simpler is always better,” he says. And simple, straightforward design was what he saw on the 2425.
After buying the first 2425, the colony never looked back. Now, it’s completely replaced its original fleet of field tractors with five Versatiles. And the colony has just ordered its sixth: a 435.
David’s not sorry he made the switch, although some of his neighbours questioned the decision. Other tractor brands dominated in the area, and many people were surprised the colony switched brands. But after measuring the Versatile’s performance and spending time in the driver’s seat, he and other colony members weren’t about to be swayed. “We asked them, “Do you realize there is a tractor out there that is straightforward and down to earth,” he says.
He’s quick to endorse the simplicity, efficiency and reliability of their fleet. “We wanted component tractors,” he says. And the popular components used by Versatile provide one other important advantage over the colony’s previous machines. “If a Versatile tractor breaks down, we can go to about 50 different places within 200 miles to buy parts. Try doing that with another brand,” he says.
As a final comment David says, “They’re made in Canada.” And he likes that.
Michael and Gerry Demare of Somerset, Manitoba, are also impressed with their Versatile tractors. The family has owned more than a few. In fact, the first ones arrived on their farms 32 years ago. “We got our first 800 back in 1976,” Gerry says. And ever since then, the farms’ tractor stable has been made up of an unbroken line of models from the same Winnipeg assembly plant. “They speak for themselves,” he adds. “They’re good reliable tractors.”
Today, the Demares’ three Versatile tractors provide the muscle for all field work. And that means they see a full season of activity, because conventional tillage is still the method of choice in their region of the province. “We use the 535 for our heavy tillage passes,” says Gerry. Keeping up with tillage on 4,300 acres means logging a lot of engine hours, so when it was time to upgrade their tractor again last fall, the Demares traded their 535 for a new 2009 model.
But before that deal was finalized, they were offered a chance to try another brand. “A dealer with another colour called to see if we’d consider switching,” says Gerry. After taking a good look at the other tractor and the deal offered, they weren’t tempted. “We’re comfortable getting the most tractor for our buck,” he says. And once again, that meant going with Versatile.
That doesn’t mean they gave up comfort, either. “We operate them ourselves and find them very comfortable,” adds Gerry. By going with Versatile tractors, the Demares are confident they are getting efficient power, comfort and value. Wrapping all three of those features into one tractor is something Versatile has always been known for.
At trade-in time, says Gerry, he’s been able to get excellent value for the farm’s tractors. Couple that with competitive cost-per-acre operation, and the Demares’ tradition of Winnipeg-built tractors isn’t likely to end any time soon.