Since 2011, Mautby Farms has gradually switched its tractor fleet to an all-Fendt affair, as it sought greater fuel efficiency to help save the farm money. “I remember seeing the 700 series when it was launched and thought the technology and fuel efficiency could really help our business,” explains Richard Gay, who runs the 404ha family farm at Mautby near Great Yarmouth with his parents, Carolyn and George.
“I’d had a few Fendts on demo over the years, but the range was never pushed very hard and it was always far too expensive a tractor," he says. “But in recent years, the 700 series has changed that perception.”
Mr Gay’s first step towards replacing his all red tractor fleet for three Fendt models started in 2011 with the purchase of a new 722 in Pro Plus specification.
“At the time, I did price up a comparable 220hp high specification tractor and the 722 worked out a few thousand cheaper,” he says. “It has proved a step-change in tractor ownership, particularly as we ran the Fendt alongside existing tractors and had something to compare.” “We had a tractor with a continuously variable gearbox and this steered us towards the Fendt Vario,” he says. “With trailers and draft work, the Vario lets the engine run at the most appropriate speed for the power required – and this is saving us a considerable sum each year when it comes to diesel. It is also very smooth and user-friendly.” “You can ne-tune almost every aspect of engine, transmission and hydraulic performance, so you can get the most efficiency out of every task,” he says.
His latest acquisitions are an 828 and 516 supplied by TNS. Both joined the fleet in 2013 and like the 722, are auto-steer ready. “The 828 is our frontline tractor for ploughing and it uses 160 litres of diesel for a day’s ploughing compared to 300 litres for the tractor it replaced,” he says. “All three Fendts are light on their toes, and not big, numb brutes,” he says. “And with front linkages and wheel weights, I can just add ballast when I need more traction.” The switch to Fendt has also encouraged Mr. Gay to explore the convenience of ISOBUS. He recently bought a 4m Pottinger Terrasem drill, which is ISOBUS ready. “I just plug into the 722 and load the settings onto the 10.4in Vario terminal,” he says. “It is so straightforward. And this convenience saves me time and money.”
“I’m now looking at an ISOBUS fertiliser spreader too, and will probably opt for an ISOBUS-spec trailed sprayer when our self-propelled sprayer is due for replacement.”
Of the three tractors, it is the four-cylinder 516 that impresses the most.
“I wasn’t going to change two tractors in one year, but I’m glad I did,” he says. “The 516 punches way above its weight and is a compact, very light yet very powerful package. If I could farm with a fleet of three 516’s, I would do.”