At Pfersdorf eG, it all started with a Fortschritt forage harvester. Back before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before the agricultural production co-operative (LPG) became the company it is today. Green as far as the eye can see – not just on the farmstead in South Thuringia but also in the extensive grassland landscape between the burial ground and the Thuringian forest.
A lot of work for the Fendt Katana 650: 40 percent of the land in the Pfersdorf agricultural company is grassland.
In Focus: Grasslands
Agriculture is only possible at the southern edge of the Thuringian forest and the foothills of the Rhône where the conditions are extremely unfavourable - heavy and partly stony clay soils limit the harvest. Therefore, it is no surprise that around 40 percent of the 2,300 hectares of agricultural land are owned by the Pfersdorf Grünland agricultural company. Numerous areas have to be intensively farmed to make them profitable. The 300 cows and their calves are kept here. 600 hectares are mowed three times a year to produce sufficient feed for the store cattle. And this requires powerful technology.
Graham Trommer was driving the forage harvester and making sure that the grasslands made it into the silo when the GDR still existed. A lot has happened in the last 32 years. The staff of the agricultural company are open for technical progress – or rather changes in favour of improvements. Meanwhile, 23 of the original 360 members remain - all of them employees.
Reliability, pragmatism, sustainable action and openness towards innovations are just a few characteristics which describe the members’ attitudes and actions. Precisely these characteristics also define Fendt’s green feed harvesting technology. The new generation of the Katana, the Katana 650, combines the advantages of enhanced forage harvesters with significantly increased efficiency. More benefit through the integration of new ideas in a functioning machine concept. A step forward.
Chopping technology followed suit in 2015 after the tractor fleet in Pfersdorf had already been converted to Marktoberdorf's nature green in the early 2000s. Feed for silage has been harvested with a Katana on the former agricultural co-operative, which has focussed on agriculture, cattle farming and biogas, for the past seven years. The decisive factor which caused the change of brand back then was the combination of belief in the forage harvester itself, confidence in the Fendt brand and the local dealer’s outstanding service. Above all, the experienced and long-standing forage harvester driver Graham Trommer initially had doubts about a change of brand. But why not? So far, every decision to make a change has paid off. “I started with a Fortschritt forage harvester. Since then, the technology has progressed a great deal and every change was a step in the right direction – both the technology and the quality of work”, concludes Graham Trommer.
“Chopping quality is the decisive buying criteria for us. Only uniformly cut material can be ideally compacted in the silo so that we can fully exploit the feed quality for fattening cattle and for producing biogas”, explains Thoralf Müller, manager of Pfersdorf agricultural co-operative. With the new Katana 650, the chop quality has been further optimised: the larger chopping drum and the six pre-compression rollers really show what they can do even with material of variable moisture levels.
Pre-compression of the chopped material and the six pre-compression rollers allow much higher material throughput - without negatively affecting the chop quality. The speed of the header can be optimally adapted to harvesting conditions thanks to the independent hydrostatic drive of the header and pre-compression rollers. The cutting length then remains constant.
For Thoralf Müller, silage quality is crucial to the success of the farm.
The result: Outstanding silage
The Katana 650 has fulfilled all expectations after the first season at the Pfersdorf agricultural company. “The silage which we collect from the silo to feed the cattle is almost perfect. The Katana’s chop quality contributes decisively to that”, confirms Müller. After 560 hours of operation in the first campaign, some initial statements can be made about maintenance and service which speak in favour of the latest generation of the harvester: everything is easily accessible for maintenance and the individual components are easily reached from the ground. However, the decisive factor is that the most important maintenance points are not blocked by components. The harvester driver praises the quality of service from the dealer: the Raiffeisen technology service was available to us with their expert knowledge at all times in case of queries about the Katana.
"When we swapped old for new, we kept the issue of fuel consumption in mind. In proportion to what it delivers, the Katana 650 uses less fuel. That pays off at the current high fuel prices. A positive side-effect which we are currently profiting from with every hectare chopped”, the manager explains. The machine is well-suited to the business and the expectations were fulfilled 100 percent, which means the company be optimistic about the future.