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Fendt Technology Transforms Farming System

Fendt Technology Transforms Farming System

A Shropshire farm has ceased pig production to concentrate on using regenerative techniques to improve soil health and grow more broad acre crops. To achieve this, significant investments into machinery and technology are being rolled out. At the heart of these investments is a Fendt Gen 6 724 Profi Plus with the new FendtONE on-board, off-board operating system, bought from TR Machinery.

Farm manager, Harry Heath is keen to stress that the 200 hectares of Whitley Manor Farm are in a new era where data and precision agriculture will drive significant farm improvements. “There is so much data available in farming, but so little is used to its full potential. We have been collating data to use our machines more efficiently and effectively and that is where Fendt has excelled,” he explains.

With 5 screens in the farm office, it is evident that Mr Heath has transitioned to a different style of farm management. “Embracing the new Fendt operating system has improved operations in the field and in the office. I initially resisted using the manufacturer software for more than just operating the tractor, but I have since realised that much like using iOS with an Apple phone it is designed to work better when fully integrated,” he says.

He suggests that GPS is critical to making the whole system work and with Fendt’s VarioGuide Contour Assistant and Variotronic TI headland management he has mapped and programmed the 724 to work almost autonomously. “We have awkward shaped fields, but once the tractor has mapped them, every subsequent visit is easy. It’s like any software, you have to set it up, but once it’s working it makes life so much easier.”

The new onboard, or cab, of the Fendt looks similar to the previous S4 version. However, the new touchscreen is a departure from the previous button operated version. The tiled system of menus has been designed to be more intuitive and to enable operators to reach and store more functions with fewer clicks. “I don’t need any other displays in the cab, and I can pretty much run anything off the Fendt terminal. The screen takes a day or two to get used to, but because everything can be programmed and positioned it makes all future tasks much easier.”

To help operators take full advantage of the in-cab technology Fendt has also provided what it calls an ‘offboard’ system to complement the tractor. This element of FendtONE is still in its infancy in the UK, but Mr Heath has already started to experiment with it. “I can see the advantage for anyone with a large fleet who wants to send jobs to the tractor and receive data back. I have sent spraying tasks to the 724 and the software does exactly what I expected. The tractor receives the field map, task, and settings such that the operator can simply press a button and start work. Once the job is complete, the tractor sends an operational report back to the office that can be exported and saved or sent to others.”

Technology aside, the Fendt performs beyond what would be expected of a mid-horsepower machine. Mr Heath suggests the power to weight ratio is much better than other tractors in the bracket and that the relatively light 724 is also better for the soil. “We are looking to reduce compaction and lighter machines certainly help with this.

To make full use of the machinery investment, Mr Heath is expanding the contracting arm of the business. He argues that with the price of machinery rising, that machines need to cover more land to be viable. “We bought a Fendt 820 in 2009 and this latest 724 was bought in 2021, both from TR Machinery. I don’t begrudge the investment, but to realise the best return it makes sense to take on more work.”

By using the tractor to its full potential and not having a machine that is too powerful, he has seen a significant reduction in fuel consumption. “It’s well known that Fendts are fuel efficient, but this latest Gen 6 is the best we have had.”

His ultimate goal is to regenerate the farm’s soil. A blend of more efficient machinery, soil sample data, farm management software, FendtONE, and the move to min-till is showing encouraging results and has brought him greater flexibility. “We can react to extremes in climate more easily and I feel more in control with the data that I can see from the tractor and the agronomic work we have invested in. It is great to see worm counts increasing and I feel that we have turned a corner that will see the farm be both more productive and more sustainable in the future,” he concludes. 

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