DT Farming Trust in Winterton receives the first black MF 7720 S – first of its kind in South Africa
Dieter Schroder, owner of DT Farming Trust in Winterton, along with son-in-law Ross Braithwaite, were looking for something a little more special when they were in the market for a new tractor for their newly acquired 3t fertiliser spreader. Hence, they turned to their long-term equipment supplier Drakensberg Agricultural Services (DAS) for expert advice and guidance.
DAS, a long-time MF dealer in the Bergville and Winterton area, assisted Dieter and Ross with their expert experience as an equipment supplier and farmer itself. DAS Co-Director Sven Rohrs, along with his father Leon Rohrs, used AGCO’s unique ASK system (AGCO Sales Configurator) to help their customer find that “something special” they were looking for in their quest for a new high horsepower tractor.
Dieter established the farm Noodhulp in Winterton in 1989. “Back then I was leasing the land mainly for grazing for beef farming and a bit of cropping. Our needs were growing and thus our need for mechanisation grew to a healthy size. A few years ago, the ongoing drought had forced me to look at irrigation farming and thus our needs changed and so our equipment needs changed along with it. The land that we cultivate now currently under irrigation is about 1100ha a year,” comments Dieter.
Ross explains that DT Farming Trust, which has always had competitor machines in its fleet, recently had an urgent need for another tractor. When their regular dealer was unable to meet their unique requirements and quick acquisition of a machine, and at the same time supply a tractor that suited their pocket, specifications, low cost of ownership and with very economical fuel consumption, they turned to DAS instead. DAS uses the AGCO ASK system to design tractors that meet specifications including hydraulics, PTO, and dual crop row tyres, among other things.
While researching the new MF 7720 S series on the comprehensive Massey Ferguson website and YouTube videos, Ross recalls how chuffed his seven-year-old son Carter was when he told him he was about to purchase a new brand of tractor for the farm. Carter, who also wanted to throw his own spin into the mix, when asked what colour the tractor should be, he chose black! AGCO’s ASK dealer tool is an easy-to-use configurator to customise a tractor according to specific needs, even down to the level of the colour of the tractor as requested by Carter.
After a special consultation between dealer and customer to spec their new high horsepower tractor, the order button was clicked to automatically book a build slot at the Beauvais factory in France. The customer and dealer subsequently received weekly updates on the build process. The result was that the striking black MF 7720 S arrived in Durban harbour a mere 12 weeks later. Upon arrival on the farm, Carter nicknamed the tractor the ‘Black Beast’.
DEALER AND OEM
Sven ascribes the flexibility of DAS as a MF dealer in being able to meet specific requirements like those for DT Farming Trust to specialised tools like the AGCO ASK system, which places the farmer’s needs first and foremost. It also demonstrates AGCO Africa’s ability to better serve dealers and customers.
AGCO changed from a three-tier distribution model to a direct to dealer distribution model for South Africa in late 2020. “There are less middle-men and a direct interface with AGCO Africa and our own customers. When a customer is prepared to invest a good amount of money for a new piece of equipment, it is critical to specify it from the outset in terms of the application and the customer’s preferences. This new business model has allowed us to get closer to the customer and OEM,” says Sven.
DT Farming Trust is no stranger to the MF brand and DAS, having bought implements like slashers, spreaders, and planters from DAS in the past. For Noordhulp, this is the farm’s first MF tractor. What tipped the scales in the dealer’s favour was the unique customisation, feedback, and superlative aftermarket support it has always offered DT Farming Trust.
“I can phone them any time of the night or day,” adds Ross. Recently when planting season began in anticipation of rain, a problem developed at the local dam where water is sourced by means of a feeder side pump. Leon came out on a Sunday and had the water pump operational again within 20 minutes, meaning the irrigation system was up and running again in no time. “DAS goes out of its way to assist with anything from tractors to implements and even water pumps,” says Ross.
CONFIGURING THE BLACK MF 7720 S WITH AGCO’S ASK SYSTEM
Sven highlights that the AGCO ASK system used to specify the high horsepower, high-spec MF 7700 S series enables a dealer like DAS to be fully responsive to specific customer requirements, from tyre sizing to hydraulic oil flow and different guidance options for precision farming. The specific model acquired by DT Farming Trust features the trusty AGCO Power 6.6 litre six-cylinder engine, which has come a long way since the MF 6400 series with a Sisu engine, and in particular the single row shutoff used on both maize and soya planters.
“More and more farmers are moving to precision farming,” notes Sven. For example, Noordhulp has single-row shutoff on its soya crop. DT Farming Trust’s major requirement when approaching DAS was for a six-cylinder tractor powerful enough to pull its 3t spreader. Another differentiator for MF is its high hydraulic flow and pick-up capacity on the rear linkage, which makes for smooth handling over any contours.
MF has made major changes to the guidance and precision farming systems of the S series, one of the most technologically advanced tractor ranges on the market today. It features a Fieldstar 5 terminal with a Trimble 382 receiver and full RTK unlock for an accuracy of 3.2 to 3.8 cm. Full guidance ISOBUS allows for intuitive section and rate control. “The spreader was plug-and-play installable within minutes and worked like a dream,” says Sven.
The cab layout features a terminal for precision-control functions on one side and the tractor itself on another to assist the driver in distinguishing between the two operational aspects. Another novel feature is the multi-pad, multifunctional joystick. The multipad lever controls the rear linkage, PTO, headland management, spool valves and cruise control, as well as operating the transmission. All operations are easily at hand for greater comfort.
“While the black colour no doubt stands out most, what makes this tractor unique and speaks to the power of the AGCO ASK system is that every little detail can be changed and modified for the customer’s specific needs. We can sit with a client like DT Farming Trust and literally build a tractor from the ground up and customise it to their level of functionality and comfort,” says Leon.
MASSEY FERGUSON REDUCES OWNERSHIP COSTS AND SAVES MONEY
Apart from the technology that goes into the S series, Dieter says the biggest benefit for him is the total cost of ownership due to the highly competitive price and class-beating performance. While the tractor has barely clocked three hundred hours, it has already been put through its paces on Noordhulp, with everyone eager to drive the ‘Black Beast’.
This year Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE:AGCO), is excited to announce a fresh look for its iconic Triple Triangle logo and its new ‘Born to Farm’ brand identity in celebration of its 175th anniversary. MF has offered farmers around the world straightforward and dependable machines since its inception. Few global brands can claim such a lasting impact in the agricultural industry.