JP Mason & Sons farm 1200ha of mainly arable land near Malton, North Yorkshire and have recently invested in a 390 hp Fendt 939 Vario, the flagship in the 900 series. The Mason family have relied on Fendt since 1998, when they purchased a 716 Vario soon after it was launched.
The 939 replaced a 936, and the business, which grows mainly winter crops on whole farm contracts and rented land, also has another 936 and has now added a 724 Vario from the new 700 series.
Stephen Mason, who operates the 939, comments: “We have looked at other brands of tractor, but while some have good points for specific tasks, they just don’t compare as all-rounders. There’s nothing to beat the Vario gearbox, well laid out cab and the ease with which a Fendt performs every job.”
Stephen Mason, who operates the 939, comments: “We have looked at other brands of tractor, but while some have good points for specific tasks, they just don’t compare as all-rounders. There’s nothing to beat the Vario gearbox, well laid out cab and the ease with which a Fendt performs every job.” Rather than selecting the 939 to handle a bigger workload or heftier implements, the extra power and six cylinder turbo charged SCR engine make for greater fuel efficiency on the stronger land and steeper slopes, reckons Stephen. “It’s been hard to make a straight comparison with the 936 as the conditions were better in autumn 2011 so the drill took less pulling, but we are using as little as 6.6 litres of fuel per hectare,” he comments. He adds that the transition to using AdBlue has been seamless: “We refuel and top up with AdBlue every other day, and it is very straightforward. I set the diesel pump running and then put the AdBlue nozzle in. By the time the diesel tank is full, the AdBlue is in too –there’s no hassle.” Operation of the tractor is equally straightforward, thanks to the Fendt Vario’s Tractor Management System (TMS). “All operations except to work are controlled using TMS – I just set it up on the Varioterminial and then use the joystick to drive,” explains Stephen. “The headland management function really comes into its own when we use the power harrow with a press up front. It controls the timing of the press coming out of the ground at the end of the run and drops it back in at exactly the same place on the next run, leaving me to concentrate on the turn and the power harrow.” Each implement’s settings are stored on the Varioterminal saving time when swapping between plough, power harrow and drill. TMS also ensures that the engine and transmission work in harmony when the going gets tough – even when the 939 is pulling a seven furrow fully-mounted Kverneland plough in difficult conditions. The output of the 939 means that it covers the current workload in 800-900 hours a year and Stephen comments: “We’re always on the lookout for more work and the Fendt will give us the capacity to do that.” The 724 Vario was selected mainly to pull a Chafer Sentry 4000 litre sprayer, but will also corn cart once all the rape has been desiccated. It has replaced an 820 Vario and Stephen reports: “It has that bit more power which is useful on our hilly land with a full sprayer tank and offers plenty of traction. We would also expect it to handle our 6 m power harrow well, and plan to do more with it in the autumn.”
The compact frame and relatively low weight also means that he can get on the land earlier, giving a flying start in the spring, he adds. When the 724 Vario is required for cultivations, the ‘one touch’ headland turn offered by the Variotronic system is much appreciated. It will put in at least 1000 hours a year, with the family finding an ever expanding range of uses for it. Even the powerful 939 rarely stands idle - with up to 900 head of cattle in for fattening, it is kept busy hauling straw, muck and feed over the winter.