Fourth generation farmers E Falkingham & Sons of Rudston, Yorkshire look to Fendt for efficient, reliable tractor power and have recently added the Fendt 724 Vario to the fleet...
With cropping comprising wheat, barley and rape, of which a small proportion is spring barley, the family farming company establishes 500ha each year as well as running 100 suckler cows and followers on 40ha of pasture, some of which is included in the arable rotation.
“The 724 Vario replaced an 818 and is mainly used with our 4 m Vaderstad drill,” explains Andrew Falkingham, who takes on most of the tractor driving duties with brother Ian and one full time employee. “But it is also required to be an all-rounder, as it is light enough for rolling when fitted with terra tyres and has even done duty with a high capacity fertiliser bowser normally pulled by our Fendt 933 Vario.”
With the acreage split across four parishes and requiring a 40-mile round trip, road performance and economy is of the utmost importance.
Fendt’s responsive braking system with integral multi-disc brakes for the rear wheels and a disc clutch on the cardan shaft for the front wheels, matched to air brakes on the trailer, coupled to improved visibility from the large glass areas of the new VisioPlus cab make for optimum safety on today’s busy roads.
Getting tyre pressures right for safe driving on the road is also important and an airline has been fitted to the Falkinghams’ 724 Vario to allow adjustment when swapping from duals to singles.
Andrew appreciates the extra power offered by the Fendt 724 Vario’s 240 hp, which works alongside the Vario transmission via the Tractor Management System (TMS) to always deliver the optimum horsepower to the pto, making light work of drilling on the steep banks in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
With such a busy operation, automated functions such as those offered by the new Variotronic headland management system mean that any one of the family can jump on the tractor – Andrew and Ian’s sons are drafted in to help at harvest – but Ian also appreciates the option to set up headland manoeuvres manually.
The family has used Fendt tractors since 1982, when a two-wheel drive 308 was purchased.
“It cost £300 more than the equivalent Ford at the time,” recalls Andrew, “But the lower whole life costs justify the added investment. We have never had a major problem with any of the tractors, and you get your money back with the high resale value.”
There are currently four Fendts in the fleet – a 307 with almost 8000 hours on it which Andrew says has ‘cost next to nothing to run’; a 412 used mainly for rolling and fertiliser spinning; the 724 Vario and a 933 Vario which ploughs the entire 400ha.