by the time you add all the
features that Fendt includes as
As a bonded livestock order buyer and owner of Holmes Livestock LTD, in Nanton, Alberta, Canada, Bill Holmes certainly knows about cattle. In fact, he can usually tell at a glance which animals have the potential to gain weight quickly and grade well at the slaughterhouse. He also operates a ranch and beef backgrounding business that adds weight to a number of those same cattle.
“I typically run about 1,500 head each year,” he explains. “I usually buy them around January at around 600 pounds and then run them up to about 900 to 1,000 pounds, or to a point where they can be finished in the feedlot. I’ll start them on hay and pellets and then put them out on pasture around May or as soon as the weather permits,” he adds, noting that he has about 1,200 acres of pasture and 450 acres of dryland hay.
While he may be an expert on cattle, Holmes will be the first to admit he is still learning a few things about tractors ... especially since he purchased a Fendt Model 714 in April 2013. “I’ve owned John Deere tractors for years,” he admits. “But I wasn’t real happy with the 30 Series,” he adds, in reference to a model 7430 he owned at the time. “A neighbor with a Fendt told me I should look at one of those instead.”
Holmes was so happy with the tractor, in fact, that he purchased a second one this past January. That’s when Holmes traded the John Deere with only 800 hours for a Fendt 718. “The salesman sure did his job,” he comments, “He had asked, ‘If you got another Fendt, which one would it be?’. I told him I’d probably want one with a little more horsepower. Well, he called me a few months later and said, ‘Your tractor is in.’ I hadn’t really planned to buy another one that soon, but he gave me too good of a deal to turn down. I can’t say I’ve been disappointed. Fendt builds an outstanding tractor,” he adds, noting that both models are equipped with loaders.
Holmes says he uses both tractors to feed or haul hay. Otherwise, one is usually attached to a bale processor, while the other is attached to a feed wagon that distributes pellets and grain.
“I also use one of them on a 12-foot Hesston disc mower, while the other one is hooked to a Massey Ferguson round baler,” he says. “Being 53 years old, I was a little concerned about all the technology on the Fendt tractors, but the mechanic at Agriterra Equipment made it really easy to understand and apply.”
As an example, Holmes says he sets the cruise control speeds on his baler tractor for about 5 miles per hour in forward and 0.1 miles per hour in reverse. To start baling, he simply activates the forward cruise speed. When the bale is finished, he then activates the reverse cruise, which stops forward motion and slowly backs the tractor a few feet while the bale is wrapping. By the time the bale is wrapped, the machine is at a point the bale can be ejected, and he pushes the button for the forward cruise speed. It’s that easy.
“People try to tell you that a Fendt tractor costs a lot more money,” he says. “But I actually think they cost less in the long run, by the time you add all the features that Fendt includes as standard equipment,” he concludes. “I never had the IVT on my John Deere tractors, so there’s a few thousand dollars right there. Plus, I think the Fendts use a third less fuel than the John Deere did, and that adds up pretty quickly.”