Having grown up on a dairy farm in Belgium, Stijn Brebels had operated a number of different tractor brands before traveling to the United States and becoming the operations manager for Vandersanden (VDS) Farms, a 5,000-cow dairy in southern Michigan. So, when it came time to trade the John Deere® tractors the farm had leased for the past three years, Brebels convinced the owners that Fendt® would be a better fit. To that end, Plevna Implement Company in Nappanee, Michigan, delivered two Fendt 828 tractors, two Fendt 822 models and two Massey Ferguson® 8700 Series tractors to the farm this past November.
“We already have over 200 hours on the Fendt tractors,” says Brebels, who has managed the equipment inventory and crop production at the dairy for the past four years. “So far, all they’ve done is haul and spread manure. Yet, they’re using about half as much fuel as the John Deere models did to do the same job.”
As Brebels explains, his duties include producing and harvesting feed for the farm’s two separate dairies — one in Scott, Michigan, that includes about 1,800 cows and a 40-cow rotary milking parlor and another in Fulton, Michigan with around 3,200 cows and a 60-cow rotary parlor. In addition, he manages the dairy operation in Scott.
“We have about 1,300 acres of corn and alfalfa that is owned by the farm for silage production,” he explains. “Plus, we buy another 3,300 acres or more of standing corn and alfalfa from area farms that we harvest for use by the dairy.” In addition to hauling and spreading manure with two liquid and four dry manure spreaders, the Fendt tractors will be used for cutting hay with triple mowers and merging it into windrows for the forage harvester. Since corn plays a major role in the feeding program, they will also share time on the planter and tillage equipment.
“I’ve always liked Fendt the best of all the tractors I’ve operated,” Brebels adds. “So, I thought they would be a good choice for the farm. I particularly like the comfort and quality. The finish and construction is superior in every detail.” Brebels says the Fendt tractors are also very user friendly, which has helped the other employees adapt to them with very little effort. In the meantime, it is doubtful he will get any complaints from the farm’s owners, who are still based in Belgium. One look at the fuel bill is all it takes to confirm their approval.
Whether they are being used for tillage, pulling a grain cart
or manure spreader, cutting hay with a triple mower, powering a big square baler or a host of other chores,
Fendt 800 Series tractors have proven to be the perfect size for a number of U.S. and Canadian producers. For them, a
Fendt 800 Series model is “not too big, and not too small; but, just right.”
“Available in four models from 220 to 280 maximum engine horsepower, the Fendt 800 Series is the ideal size for a large percentage of North American farms,” says Josh Keeney, Fendt Tactical Marketing Manager for North America. “Yet, it includes virtually all the same features and options as the larger 900 Series. So, customers give up nothing when selecting a smaller-sized tractor that better fits their needs.”