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Rudolf and Daniel Bolliger stand in front of a Fendt 724 Vario.

We have been using Fendt tractors on our farm for a good 17 years and have always had good experiences.

Rudolf and Daniel Bolliger, agricultural contractor Bolliger Agrar Dienste, Schmiedrued - Fendt 211, 412, 516, 724, 926 Vario

We have been using Fendt tractors on our farm for a good 17 years and have always had good experiences.

Specialist for slurry hosing.

Slurry hosing is gentle on the soil and can be used when the soil has not yet dried sufficiently for slurry drums. This method is widely used in Switzerland. The agricultural contractor Bolliger Agrar Dienste has specialised in this method.

The bottling plant is in full at full speed. This is also the case at the Bolliger Agrar Dienste in Schmiedrued in the Swiss canton of Aargau is no different now that spring is here. "At the moment, we are out manuring from early in the morning until late in the evening," says Daniel Bolliger during our visit at the beginning of March. Manuring is one of the mainstays of the contract farm, which is located 700 metres above sea level in the pre-Alpine hill zone. Daniel and his father Rudolf rely entirely on hosing for manure. "This is what we have specialised in over the last few years," says 37-year-old Daniel.

The reasons for this are that this method has a high level of acceptance among farmers because it is gentle on the soil. No farmer wants deep ruts and damage to the soil. In addition, the hose system is more flexible and has a larger time window than the slurry tanker. "With the barrel, you can only go into the fields when the soil has already dried, but with the hose system it is possible sooner," says Bolliger. Especially now in spring, that is a big advantage, he says. "With the ever-increasing amount of slurry that we carry, we also need to have more days for spreading." Another advantage, he says, is that the hose system can be used well on slopes, whereas the slurry tanker quickly reaches its limits of use on slopes. The region in which Bolliger operates is hilly. The meadows and pastures of their customers are largely on steep slopes.

The Fendt 412 Vario with a 15-metre drag hose spreader while watering a barley field.
The Fendt 412 Vario with a 15-metre drag hose spreader while watering a barley field.

The right equipment makes the difference

The power of the contracting company is impressive: The slurry machinery includes three hose reels with 1000 or 1600 metres of hose capacity, depending on the model. In addition, there are two drag hose spreaders with a working width of 12 to 15 metres and slope compensation, as well as a slurry thrower especially for use on steep slopes and pastures. "We use the slurry thrower wherever we can't reach with the drag hose distributors, especially on steep terrain," explains Daniel Bolliger Hosing is offered from the farm with a centrifugal pump or from the edge of the field. "Thanks to flow meters on the distributors, we can distribute the slurry quantity, i.e. the nutrients, precisely over the entire area." Three 26-cubic barrels and two 28-cubic barrels are available for transport to the field edges. Barrels and two 28-cubic truck semi-trailers are available for transport to the field edges.

After use in the field, the hoses are carefully blown out with extra compressors brought along. Under no circumstances should slurry run onto the road, says Daniel Bolliger. Slurry puddles near residential areas must be avoided. This is not tolerated by the population and is bad for the image of agriculture.

Slurry agent

In addition to farms, operators of biogas plants are also among their customers. The contractor handles around 100,000 cubic metres of slurry per year. "Liquid manure is an issue for us all year round. In addition to spreading, we can also temporarily store slurry in rented silos. This is important in winter when farmers have too little space. For this we calculate the nutrient balances of over 100 farmers," explains Daniel Bolliger. "We are also agents of manure, which means we know who has too much manure and who has too little." In the future, he says, they want to examine whether the use of drag-shoe or slotted equipment could also be an alternative to the drag hose on their farm. A project for this is already in the workshop.

From 110 to 260 hp

Of course, the machinery needs a strong tractor fleet. In total, six of the company's own Fendt tractors from four series ranging from 110 to 240 hp are used on the Bolliger contracting farm. In detail, these are a 211 Vario, a 412 Vario, a 516 Vario and three 724 Vario. The fleet also includes a rental tractor, the 260 hp 926 Vario. "On the drag hose and slurry tanker, we use the 412 Vario and the 516 Vario, each with double wheels for good grip on slopes and to protect the soil. The transport barrels are pulled with the 724 Vario."

Except for the models with double wheels, all tractors are equipped with tyre pressure regulators, and they also have GPS and a track guidance system. "It is important for us that all tractors are of the same brand." This is easier for the employees overall, he says. Everyone knows, for example, which hydraulic hose to connect where. There is no danger of confusion. This also has advantages for the work in the workshop, where more or less everything is repaired and constructed by the employees themselves.

The Fendt 724 Vario and the 26-cubic feed barrel transport the slurry to the edges of the field.
The Fendt 724 Vario and the 26-cubic feed barrel transport the slurry to the edges of the field.

Regular trade-in

The tractors complete between 800 and 1200 hours per year on the farm. "Our strategy is to exchange them for a new model after five to six years of use," explains Daniel Bolliger. That way they have the warranty and the latest technology. The latest model on the farm is a few weeks old 724 Vario with the new FendtONE operating system. "We have been using Fendt tractors on our farm for a good 17 years and have always had good experiences," says Bolliger. This is also the case when it comes to manure.

Especially when used on slopes, the tractors are smooth-running, friction- locked and the driver always has the optimum speed thanks to the Vario transmission. "We appreciate the automatic trailer steering axle lock on the large Fendt tractors. When used with the transport barrels, this steering axle lock offers additional safety and clean driving behaviour in the hills. The transport barrels drive almost like on rails with it."

A look into the future

Daniel Bolliger is optimistic about the future. "Of course, it's not always easy these days. He notes that many people don't even know what a contractor does. It takes a lot of persuasion and patience in discussions. He finds it difficult when farmers and contractors are blamed for everything.

In addition, two votes are pending in Switzerland this summer, the drinking water initiative and the pesticide initiative, which could have a massive impact on the future of Swiss agriculture. But Daniel Bolliger is convinced that things will always continue. He is about to take a landmark step this year - the takeover of the farming and contracting business from his father Ruedi.

Rudolf and Daniel Bolliger stand in front of a Fendt 724 Vario.
From left: Rudolf and his son Daniel Bolliger from Bolliger Agrar Dienste in Schmiedrued.

Bolliger Agrar Dienste

The Company

Bolliger Agrar Dienste comprises a warehouse in the industrial zone of Schmiedrued and a 15-hectare farm outside the village. Daniel Bolliger will take over the contracting business from his father Rudolf this year. Rudolf, or Ruedi as they say in

Switzerland, turns 65 this year. The enterprising farmer, who will continue to actively help after his retirement, started with contract work 30 years ago. First with sowing maize and sugar beet. Over the years, the work for third parties increased more and more. Today, Bolliger employs six permanent staff and up to four temporary workers
during the season.

In the office, Ruedi, his wife Ruth and Daniel keep an eye on things.


In Schmiedrued in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland

Services offered:

• Arable farming from ploughing to sowing

• Square balers
• Combine with two Laverda combine harvesters
• Plant protection
• Municipal and dredging work