Updates to FendtONE, new forage equipment, and a partnership with Deutz were all headline announcements at Fendt’s recent International Press Conference. CPM joined from the UK.

There’s huge potential for greater profitability and efficiency.

By Charlotte Cunningham

The summer months are often a time for manufacturers to announce what’s in store for the year ahead.

And most recently, machinery enthusiasts from across the globe were given a glimpse of what they can expect to see from Fendt in 2022 during its International Press Conference.

The conference was the first opportunity for the new AGCO president and CEO, Eric Hansotia, to discuss the improved strategy and direction of the firm.

AGCO is a fairly young company, founded just 31 years ago in 1990, but Eric believes it has had three main chapters so far. “The first was with our founder, who was really focused on building the company from scratch. It involved a lot of acquisitions to put the company together and build the portfolio.

“The second chapter was led by Martin Rickenhagen – from 2004 until 2020 – which saw AGCO transfer from a holding company, made up of lots of different pieces, to an operating firm – a business that drove common products and processes as well as strong dealership relationships and organisations.”

From this year onwards, Eric says that direction of travel has changed once again, with the focus now very much on accelerating performance. “I have the good fortune of leading the company through its third chapter, and really taking our strengths and extracting our full potential by focusing on farmers, precision agriculture and ultimately a ‘farmer-first’ strategy going forward.”

Like many firms across the globe, Fendt faced great challenge during the pandemic. However, Eric says they have used this as an opportunity to redesign its strategies. “This meant redefining our purpose and vision.”

He says the long-term focus is to provide farmer-focused solutions to sustainably feed the world, while the vision is to be a trusted partner for smart farming solutions.

And as such, the firm believes that its FendtONE technology is the answer to overcoming key challenges.

“FendtONE is our answer to the latest farming challenges”, says Christoph Gröblinghoff, vice president and managing director of Fendt. “It provides an exact knowledge and overview of the operating figures on the one hand, and a simple introduction to reporting on the other.”

In a series of new updates, the firm announced that FendtONE is now being rolled out to the three new generations of the Fendt 500, 900 and 1000 Vario series. “In addition to Smart Farming features, other technical innovations have been added to these series, including an optional self-cleaning air filter for the large tractors and improvements for front-loader use on the Fendt 500 Vario,” explains Christoph.

“With the FendtONE offboard digital platform, Fendt offers a system for farmers to manage their machine and agronomic data, so they can keep an eye on them at all times.

“It’s a better way to plan, organise and log staff and machine use as well as job orders, while saving valuable working hours out in the field. With field boundaries and waylines already recorded in a clear format on the vehicle, you can make full use of your machinery’s capacity from the word go. “

Power+ and Profi+ machines include the basic lane guidance package as standard, which means they are Fendt Guide-ready. However, users can opt for more lane guidance functions for precision field work, including Fendt Contour Assistant, Fendt TI Auto and (from November) Fendt TI Headland.

Fendt TI Headland is an advanced headland management bundle and includes Fendt TI Auto and Fendt TI Turn Assistant, explains Christoph. “Fendt TI Auto triggers the sequence of work steps automatically when you pass the headland line.

“There’s no need to manually activate the process by joystick. With Fendt TI Turn Assistant, the tractor and attachment turn automatically according to the pre-calculated turning processes. The land is processed efficiently and precisely and any unnecessary overlaps are avoided. It reduces the consumption of fuel and resources like seeds and fertilisers, and it’s gentle on the soil.”

The full Fendt TI (Teach In) feature package is available to order from November 2021. Customers with the FendtONE driver’s workstation who have already ordered Fendt TI Auto will be able to upgrade to Fendt TI Headland for free in 2022.

Looking at the new tractor series themselves, the 900 and 1000 Vario are most likely to be of interest to large-scale farmers and producers.

One of the most notable innovations on board the series is a self-cleaning air filter system.

Christoph says this was designed initially for use in regions particularly prone to dust formation, such as South America and Australia, and also claimed that Fendt is the first manufacturer to offer an optional self-cleaning air filter on delivery.

The filter system combines continuous dust extraction with active filter cleaning in a 30-second cycle. The filter is blown out on the move to avoid any downtimes usually associated with manual filter cleaning.

During the cleaning cycle, the filter is blown out twice, each with a 10-second pre-run and post-run.

The dust filter has its own 12-bar compressed air tank and the compressed air flow is controlled by a solenoid or pulse valve.

Just before blowing out, the speed of the fan is raised and continues running like that for a short while afterwards.

Christoph says this improves the results. “The driver is notified about the cleaning process via a pop-up window on the terminal, so they can choose to activate it manually or fully automatically. The filter has a service life of about two years.”

For those looking for a more compact option, the Fendt 500 Vario could be for you.

New features mean loading is fast, powerful and easy, with operators now able to use the 3L joystick and Fendt front loader together with a third valve to control three functions at once for the first time.

“Thanks to the new reversing button on the 3L joystick, you can work quickly and fatigue-free even with frequent changes of direction. No need for repositioning,” he explains.

New generation forage equipment

Fendt also announced updates to its forage offerings, with a new generation of mowers and tedders introduced.

Fendt’s Slicer disc mower and the Former tedder were first introduced in 2017, with the offerings expanding annually.

“The Fendt Slicer disc mowers series includes the Fendt Slicer 310 F, 310 F KC front mower with tine conditioner, and the 310 F RC with roller conditioner,” explains Christoph. “The 310 stands for a working width of 3.10m.

“Then we have the Fendt Slicer 860 and 960 rear mowers with a working width of 8.6m and 9.6m in configurations without conditioner. There are two bolts to position the rear mowers further inside or outside to achieve the perfect overlap with the front mower. The rear mower can be combined with different front mowers with a working width of between 3m and 3.5m.”

So what’s new?

Both the new generation of front disc mowers and the rear disc mowers have been completely redeveloped, he says. “Thanks to the lightweight design, the Fendt Slicer 310 F saves up to 60kg in weight compared with the predecessor model.

“In the case of the rear mower combination, the new design can save up to 350kg in weight compared with the predecessor model.”

Christoph adds that the low weight reduces power requirements, while also lowering ground pressure and saving fuel.

The 310 F front mower is specifically suited to more challenging terrain and work on slopes, thanks to its swing hitch and low centre of gravity, he explains. “The swing hitch has a range of +/- 7.5° to adapt perfectly to the ground.

“Hydraulic load relief is available as an option for the Fendt Slicer 310 F KC and the Fendt Slicer 310 F RC. This regulates the contact pressure for the entire mower unit and means less dirt can get into the mechanism in wet harvest conditions.”

Looking to Fendt’s Former tedder, the latest generation (12545 and 12545 Pro) now features a hydraulically lowering chassis. This gives the Former a transport height of less than 4m even in transport mode, as well as users not having to remove the tines before setting out on the road, concludes Christoph.

‘Strategic partnership’

The briefing also saw AGCO announce a new long-term partnership between the firm and Deutz – which AGCO says will help establish security, predictability and reliability for customers.

Looking into what this means practically, the collaboration includes a supply agreement for updated 6.1 litre and 4.1 litre engines to be used in selected Fendt tractors.

The partnership also includes development co-operation on future technologies. In addition, AGCO and Deutz say they will explore closer collaboration on engines or engine installation components below 150ph.

“The pandemic and its related impact on world commodity flows and global supply chains has reinforced the importance of strong, co-operative relationships with suppliers,” says Eric. “Deutz has been a trusted partner for years and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship.”

In May this year, AGCO also announced a collaboration with xarvio in a bid to deliver targeted spraying technology solutions.

Earlier this year, the firm said it has entered into a proof of concept (PoC) collaboration agreement with Robert Bosch , BASF Digital Farming and Raven Industries

To support the reduction in herbicide application, the targeted spraying PoC will focus on real-time sensing technology to make crop protection decisions. By detecting weeds in growing crops as well as on fallow ground, day or night, this technology aims to execute precise targeted product placement down to  individual plant level.

In addition to the environmental benefits, targeted spraying will help enhance farmer profitability by only spraying the herbicide where needed. This makes the use of more efficient herbicides affordable allowing for much better weed control. Where optimal herbicides are already used, the smart sprayer provides a volume and cost reduction, says the firm.

The initial concept is being evaluated on a Fendt Rogator sprayer in Europe with plans to extend to North America in 2022.

“Farmers have long been searching for innovative ways to minimise chemical usage and reduce passes through the field to achieve their crop protection goals,” says Seth Crawford, senior vice president and general manager, precision ag and digital for AGCO. “Combined with the potential for further regulatory pressure, we believe this collaborative spraying effort advances our farmer-first focus.

“This effort is aimed at validating targeted spraying solutions, delivering a reduction in product use to achieve the same results as broadcast spraying in both pre- and post-emergence with the flexibility of spraying day or night.”

e100 Vario headlines in new research project

Fendt’s e100 Vario – a battery powered compact tractor – is set to play a key role in a new research project on agrivoltaics.

Spurred on by climate change, there’s a call to develop new strategies to be able to continue to farm agricultural products in Germany in the future. In light of this, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) has launched a new project: “APV in Fruit Cultivation – agrivoltaics as a resilience concept to adapt to climate change in fruit cultivation”.

Fruit growing in Germany is already suffering the consequences of climate change and to counteract losses in quality and yield, hail protection nets and membrane sheets are quite common sights.

As part of the project, the aim over the next four years is to investigate the extent to which agrivoltaics can assume this protective role in apple growing, which system design suits this kind of crop and to what extent the PV system influences crop yields.

The research project also aims to determine how the power generated can be used upstream and downstream on the farm, including through the use of electrified machinery or storing the apple harvest in an electrically operated cold store. And this is where the e100 Vario comes in, with Fendt providing the tractor for the entire research period.

The small tractor is used on the Nachtwey organic fruit farm as a farm tractor for all the usual tasks, including mulching the weeds between the fruit trees, transporting the harvest to the warehouse and loading fruit crates. The Fendt e100 Vario with front loader and work basket attached was already put to task in spring 2021, to help build the PV modules.

The apple orchard’s self-generated electricity is used to charge the e100 Vario. Generating and also using the electricity completes the energy cycle, making full use of the potential of the internally sustainable system.

The ecological footprint of the tractor can be massively reduced by saving CO2 and using green electricity. With this, the power recycling system meets society’s demands for more sustainable agriculture, says Fendt.

Due to be completed by 2025, the researchers will publish a guideline for fruit growers and, along with local decision-makers, will examine the options of integrating agricultural PV solutions into the existing climate protection plan. Watch this space for more information, and an insight into how UK producer could make use of the findings…

A new Ideal…

Details of the 2022 Ideal combine model were announced during the conference, with new features including a lane guidance system and improved performance as a result of upgrades to the cleaning system.

Look out for the full details in next month’s combine special…