Two factors encouraged Citifarm, farm manager, Dave Bartlett to run Fendt tractors on Citifarm’s Murwillumbah sugar cane property, reliability and economy.
Despite being known as a premium brand, Mr Bartlett said after conducting a business case, Agco brand Fendt came up ahead on both counts.
“We tried many brands of tractors for sugar cane haul out but could not find a tractor that would withstand the demands of this heavy work,” he said.
“Transmissions were being replaced after 5,000 hours and it was not sustainable for the business.
“In the NSW industry there are many older 900 series Fendt tractors which have 14,000 plus hours and they were still running as cane haul out tractors on the original Vario transmission.
“We did the business case and found that even with the Fendt tractor being a premium tractor and having a higher initial purchase price, if reliability and fuel economy are accounted for, they are the most economical tractor to run.”
Mr Bartlett said he now had four 822 S4 Fendt tractors and one 512S4 on farm.
Fendt, product manager, Donny Cloney said the Fendt tractors run the Vario transmission which has its own dedicated transmission oil, mitigating contamination risk from the implements connected into the hydraulic remotes on the tractor.
Mr Cloney said this feature enhances the longevity of the transmission and reduces servicing costs by stretching hydraulic and transmission oil changes out to 2,000 hours.
The tractors also feature Fendt’s unique automatic active load control.
“In order to get the best performance from the engine in transport work, the engine needs to lug down to produce high torque,” Mr Cloney said.
“With the automatic load control, he tractor is always working to ensure the operator is just setting the target speed.
“The transmission and the engine then work together to produce maximum efficiency, power and lively response which is perfect for haul out work.”
Mr Bartlett said the Fendt 822 S4 tractors on Citifarm are used to pull 12 tonne capacity bins, though they are equipped to handle up to 23t of gross weight.
“I also like that Fendt tractors have no boost system, he said.
“Maximum power is available at all times without the PTO being switched on or the tractor doing high speed transport work.
“The headland management and terminal functionality mean that drivers can keep the same level of work consistent from hour one to hour twelve.”
Mr Bartlett said he had monitored fuel consumption since switching to Fendt and had seen a 20 per cent decrease in fuel consumption on the haul out tractors.
“Between the four 822 haul out tractors, they have done 9,000 hours combined and I have only had one issue with a faulty hydraulic oil tank level sensor on two machines,” he said.
“I have been very impressed with the low running cost and the fact I can count on the Fendt to deliver in tight windows during harvest and planting.”