When Matt Hoff purchased a used Fendt Model 926 tractor nearly seven years ago, he was primarily looking at the transport speed that Fendt offered, which would allow him to reduce travel time when hauling manureand silage. However, like many Fendt owners it only took one tractor to make a lasting impression. Since buying that first used model with nearly 3,600 hours on it, Matt and his wife, Debbie, who operate Coldsprings Farms in New Windsor, Maryland, have since acquired three new Fendt 900 series tractors. Even though his dealer — M. M. Weaver and Sons, Inc. basedin Leola, Pennsylvania — is nearly 2½ hours away. Matt says the serviceand dealer support have been exceptional. However, the reliability, fuele conomy and available reverse station option also keep him coming back.
Although the farm has nearly 2,400 acres of crops and forage, the main enterprise is a 1,100-cowdairy that keeps Hoff and 26 fulltime employees on the go virtually year around. Consequently, the Fendt tractors are either cutting hay, hauling manure or pulling silage wagons. According to Hoff, the history of the farm dates back to 1868 when hisancestors settled in the area … making him the fifth generation to managethe operation. Through out that time, dairy cows have been part of the program. It’s just that there are a lot more of them now.
“Dad expanded to about 260 head in 1966,” he explains. “Then, in 1976,we went to about 350 head. However, we built a new 350-cow barn in 1995and went to about 700 head.” Hoff notes that it wasn’t until after his father passed away in 2005 that he expanded to 1,100 head with about 980 producing at any one time. Ofcourse, more cows mean more waste and more feed.
“I actually traded that first used Fendt for a new reversestation 927 about four years ago,” he explains. “Then, this pastspring, I leased a Fendt 930 and a reverse station 933. The 927 was starting to get quite a few hours on it, so I wanted another reversestation model as a backup,” he continues, noting that he uses a 30-foot header on the reverse station models to cut alfalfa and forage.
“We also custom haul manure for a neighboring dairy, so we spend a lot of time on the road with two liquid tankers and one dry spreader,” he adds.
In between, the tractors can often be found pulling three large 29-foot, triple-axle forage wagons that help the crew keepup with a self-propelled forage harvester. In addition to cornsilage, Hoff puts up 200 acres of alfalfa silage five times a year, as well as 1,000 acres of triticale. “I do have a few John Deere tractors, as well. However, they’re primarily just used for specific applications,” he admits, explaining that the newest one is used for pulling a John Deere planter. “We did have one of the comparably sized John Deere tractors on a forage wagon, though, and it seemed to be using a round two to three more gallons per hour under full load. The other problem is that everybody would rather drive the Fendts. I don’t spend much time on the tractors anymore, but when I do, I’d rather drive the Fendt tractors myself, too.
“The Fendt tractors look complicated, but they’re really easy to operate once you learn how to use the controls,” Hoff continues. “And they’re so comfortable to drive. You’re not worn out after a long day of driving over rough fields and hauling silage down the road.” Hoff says the Fendt CVT transmission is also a huge benefit when spreading manure and keeping pace with the forageharvester, especially since the driver is required to follow along side with a tractor and wagon.
“The best feature, though, is the service we get from M. M. Weavers. We’ve had very few problems, since the Fendt tractors are so reliable. However, the times we have needed something, they’ve been out here right away. As an example, we found we needed a new fuel injector pump on the used model we bought.
Weavers had a guy out here within about 12 hours with everything he needed to get us going again. Their highly trained and knowledge able technicians make it feel like they are right down the road.