By the time Oklahoma became the 46th state to join the Union in 1907, Wheeler Farms was already well established near Chickasha, Oklahoma,and was cultivating a thriving herd of cattle. A few years later, in 1910, thefamily developed one of the area’s first herds of purebred horned Hereford cattle. Since that time, Wheeler Farms has continually improved the herd through selection and retention of their best genetics and by seeking out some of the best herd sires available. At the same time, they began selling registered herd bulls and replacement females to other breeders and ranchers.
“In our efforts to meet today’s growing demands for crossbreeding and efficiency, we have also added a select group of pure bred Angus cows from top programs across the country,” says Will Wheeler, who represents the fourth generation to manage Wheeler Farms. “Our goal is to not only provide both bulls and females to purebred breeders looking for enhanced genetics, butto a growing number of commercial customers who are seeing record numbers by using genetically enhanced bulls to use on the commercial herds.”
Needless to say, nearly 1,000 head of Hereford and Anguscows, replacement heifers and bulls require a lot of hay to sustain them through the winter. Hence, Wheeler Farms has approximately 585 acres of alfalfa, in addition to around 900 acres of wheat thatis often grazed during the winter, and approximately 3,500 acres of rangeland and pasture. Both crops had already led them to Livingston Machinery Company for their equipment needs, which includes a Hesston by Massey Ferguson® WR9770 windrower, Hesston by Massey Ferguson 2190 large square baler with anac cumulator and a complete inventory of Sunflower® tillage tools and seeding equipment.
However, during one of their trips to the nearby dealership— where Wheeler says they purchase approximately 95 percent of their equipment — they discovered the Fendt® tractor line, which was added to Livingston’s product line just a few years ago. Wheeler says their first Fendt purchase was a Fendt Model 712 tractor, equipped with a loader, which is used to handle hay bales and to pull the hay rake. “It took a little time to get used to it, but the Vario CVT transmission is unbelievable,” he says, noting that he purchased the 712 approximately three years ago. “We can load and stack bales faster than we ever could before. It doesn’t hurt, either, being able to run almost 35 miles per hour down the road when you’re moving hay or going to the field.”
Fact is, Wheeler was so impressed with the tractor that he purchased a Fendt 930 Vario just a year later. The larger model, he explains, is used for operating the large square baler, pulling the Sunflower drill and for most of the tillage.
“The best thing about the Fendt is the fuel savings,” Wheel errelates, noting that the cab suspension and air brakes on the 930 also caught his eye. “They’ve cut our fuel costs nearly in half. I’veeasily planted 900 acres of wheat with the 930 on just two tanks offuel, which is about 300 gallons. With the old tractor, it would take between 450 and 500 gallons of diesel to cover the same area.”
Wheeler says even his old loader tractor would have to run atrated speed just to power the loader and hydraulics or to maintain maximum transport speed. In contrast, the Vario CVT transmissionsin his Fendt tractors allow the engines to idle down when power and torque aren’t required.
“I’ve been really pleased with both tractors,” he said. “But evenmore, we’ve been pleased with Livingston Machinery Company asa dealer. If we need service on a machine, they’re here that sameday, or the next day at the latest,” he concludes. “Sometimes, they just show up when we don’t need anything, just to make sure everything is working the way it should.”