From the June 21, 2012 edition of the Alberta Farm Express.

A two-day demonstration event brought roughly 300 producers to a farm near here to see the latest line of tractors from German manufacturer Fendt. The Ontario events are the second in a series of field demonstrations being organized across various parts of the continent.

Admittedly, organizers with Fendt have chosen specific sites for their concentrations of old-world familiarity with the brand name. In the case of St. Clements, its choice as one of the field demonstration locations makes sense, given the Kitchener-Waterloo region's high German-language population, and that includes agriculture.

At the same time, Fendt is generating a fair bit of excitement among growers who use competitive brands.

"At the second day of our event, we've invited a lot of people who own competitive tractor brands to come here and experience Fendt, and that's a very challenging thing to do," says Reid Hamre, manager of brand marketing for AGCO, the U.S. company that owns the Fendt, Challenger, Massey Ferguson and Valtra brands.

"We're providing an opportunity for our dealers, and our customers and AGCO personnel that are involved in helping the dealers, to come together for an opportunity to experience the newest product from Fendt. And for many people, this is the first opportunity to see and drive and experience the new 700 series tractors, for example."

Fendt has become well-known for its continuously variable transmission (CVT) technology, along with other modifications and enhancements that make for a better overall experience. The new windscreens on the 700-series tractors provide a better and higher field of vision, while a reversing driver station option on the 800- and 900-series models shifts the entire console, dash and driver station 180 degrees.

Another hallmark for Fendt has been its focus on the word efficiency and how that can have a different meaning for different producers. In Germany — and across most of Europe — efficiency is tied to fuel consumption and the potential for decreasing costs while maximizing production.

In North America, efficiency can address the trend toward owning and operating larger farms, and even the number of employees or hired hands using a piece of machinery. Are they efficient when it comes to using the tractor or the combine or the sprayer?

To the organizers of the demonstration days, meanwhile, Fendt provides an ease of operation and simplicity that can go a long way to increasing on-farm efficiency.

"Efficiency is the watchword and what we're trying to speak to there is that if all of those operations strive for the very best in what they're accomplishing in their farm business or their custom operation business, Fendt can add more," explains Hamre.

"The tractor is a means to an end; it pulls planters and tillage units, and you want that implement to be as efficient as possible. You want the tractor to pull it with the least amount of fuel, but you also want that variable cost of having labour to get your work done as efficient as possible, and have the best possible return on investment."

Additional Fendt field days are planned later this month in Quebec and in July in Western Canada (there are also some demonstrations planned for Wisconsin). Local Fendt dealers can provide more information on specific dates and times.

Ralph Pearce is a field editor with Country Guide at St. Marys, Ont.