Custom farmer Jeff Hoekstrahas never really been a gamblingman. On the contrary, he insists he wouldn’t be where he is but by the grace of God. However, he has been known to bet any customer who goes for a test drive in one of his Fendt tractors up to $100 thatthey can’t honestly say it isn’t the best tractor they’ve ever driven.He also has so much confidence in his equipment, his work and that of his seven-man crew that he provides a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee to his customers. If they’re not completely satisfied withthe work, there’s no fee
That’s part of the reason Hoekstra is totally sold on Fendttractors. When there is hay to be cut at the right stage of maturity,or crops to be baled at the ideal moisture level, he wants tractorshe can rely on day in and day out. Each year, Hoekstra and his crewcover between 50,000 and 70,000 acres around his home base near Waupun, Wisconsin. That includes multiple trips for cutting hay and merging it into windrows, baling hay, straw and corn stalks, tillage,spraying crops, hauling manure and planting everything from alfalfa, wheat and corn to peas and lima beans.
“I used to use John Deere® tractors that were traded every two years so they were always under warranty” he says, noting that he began custom farming approximately 17 years ago.“ Well, I had traded for a second Deere with their new IV Ttransmission,” he continues. “However, during the day, after the tractor heated up, it wouldn’t move very well. I told the dealer the reason I buy new equipment is so I can always be available to get the job done when the customer needs me.”
Hoekstra says it finally got to the point that he told the dealer they had the weekend to figure out what they were going to do, or he was going to try a Fendt®.“I don’t think they believed me,” he grins. “From the first timeI drove one, I was so sold on Fendt that I’ve never bought anything but Fendt tractors since.” While Hoekstra is too humble to admit it, the staff at McFarlanes’, Hoekstra’s Fendt dealer in Sauk City, Wisconsin, often credit him for influencing the sale of at least 30 new Fendt tractors since then.
Hoekstra relates that his present inventory includes a Fendt930, a 924 and two 824 tractors, as well as a full line of equipment, including triple mowers that fit the front and rear 3-point hitchsystems on his tractors, and two Hesston by Massey Ferguson®Model 2270XD large square balers.
“The majority of our work is within 30 miles,” says Hoekstra,who also owns a small dairy, and farms around 800 acres of hisown land. “However we have gone as far as 80 miles … which isanother reason I like the Fendt tractors. In the time it takes to loadequipment on a truck, tie it down, make the trip and unload it, aFendt tractor can be there and ready to go. They’re so fast andsmooth on the road, you can cover 30 miles in about an hour.”
Still, Hoekstra says his greatest benefits from owning Fendttractors are the fuel efficiency and the reduced amount of fatigue.While his customers are responsible for the fuel expenses, theycan’t help but appreciate the reduction in their total bill.
“I would say what we’re saving in diesel over Deere averagesabout five gallons per hour,” he continues. “Shortly after I boughtmy first Fendt, one of my employees was using a John Deere 7820to pull a vertical tillage machine and averaging 12.4 gallons perhour. When we hooked the Fendt 818 onto it, we not only pulledit better than the Deere, but the fuel consumption dropped to 6.9gallons per hour.
“One of the biggest things we’ve found with the Fendt,though, is the fatigue is just not there,” Hoekstra continues. “Thereare a lot of times that we put in 14 to 16 hours in a day, and whatwe’ve noticed is that everything from the seat to the controls to theride, lets us go a lot longer in the field.
“If it weren’t for our Fendt tractors, I don’t think we would bedoing near as much business as we are now,” Hoekstra concludes.“I just replaced one of them a month ago and have two morereplacements on order for December.
Of course, the service I getfrom McFarlane’s has been outstanding, as well,” he adds.“If something doesn’t perform the way I expect it to, I’m notafraid to trade it,” he admits. “I’ve traded off machines with lessthan 200 hours on them.”
So the fact that Hoekstra has owned 13 different Fendt tractorsin the last eight years says a great deal by itself. These days, hewouldn’t have anything else.