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The best thing about my decision to switch to Fendt are the fuel savings I make.

Fanie van der Walt, South Africa - Fendt 1000 Vario

The best thing about my decision to switch to Fendt are the fuel savings I make.

Visit to Fanie van der Walt, Head of the Fendt Chapter, South Africa

It is now 25 years since Fanie van der Walt and his two brothers decided to take over and expand the family business. They come from a long line of farmers who have been farming for over 100 years in the Lejweleputswa Municipal District, a very arid region in the province of Free State.

The van der Walt family grows corn, sunflowers and wheat. Every three to four years they change the crop rotation between corn and soy, sometimes wheat. They also keep cattle and sheep and, like many South African farmers, run a wildlife farm. A great challenge for the farmers of the region are the climatic conditions, which range from very dry to almost humid. The average annual rainfall in this province is just 450-700 mm. The soils here are partly covered with sand (loam content less than 5%), some lime deposits as well as clay-containing soils – all material from the foothills of the famous Karoo half-desert.

Recalculating with Fendt

When Fanie van der Walt was looking for a tractor with 300 hp or more in 2016, he came across the Fendt brand. Until then he had used a tracked machine that had come of age and was now interested in a wheeled tractor. As the Fendt brand has only just been introduced to the South African market, Fanie turned to his local AGCO dealer. For one season now, he has been the proud owner of the high-torque Fendt 1050 Vario with high performance and low fuel consumption. “The best thing about my decision to switch to Fendt are the fuel savings I make,” says Fanie enthusiastically. “I can't reduce the amount of seeds or fertiliser; they're fixed. But my Fendt 1050 Vario saves me half the amount of fuel I used to use with my old tractor. We're talking about savings of 1 million. South African rand per season, that's about 61,000 euros,” says the South African farmer.

Especially in the severe droughts, saving resources of any kind in South Africa is important. “When we had no rain, we fought against the seasonal increase in fertiliser prices of 10-20%”, Fanie says, describing the extra challenges. This makes it all the more important that using his Fendt 1050 Vario would quickly pay off. “I tell many of my neighbours who ask about my Vario, how differently Fendt runs its business. It's so different from anything I've experienced before. And the attention that Fendt gives to its customers goes way beyond my previous aftersales experiences.”

Fanie is now part of a group of Fendt customers who visited the tractor plant in Marktoberdorf in April to inquire directly about current technological trends and telemetry applications. Both the tractor production as well as the hospitality he experienced at Fendt and in Bavaria in general, impressed him. Meanwhile, Fanie van der Walt was elected by the South African “Fendt family” in September 2019 as Head of the “Fendt Chapter, South Africa”. Just like with us, farmers and agricultural equipment dealers meet here to share professional insights and of course also have fun. It's a beautiful tradition that connects farmers across borders.