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"At 40 km/h, the speed is only 950 rpm, which of course makes the job a lot more relaxed for the drivers."

Frank Busche, Busche contracting company, Estorf - 700 Vario, 900 Vario, 1000 Vario

"At 40 km/h, the speed is only 950 rpm, which of course makes the job a lot more relaxed for the drivers."

Traction artists for professionals

A year ago, Busche, a contractor specializing in slurry services, was one of the first customers to take delivery of two tractors from the new Fendt 900 Vario series. We visited the slurry professionals and asked about their initial experiences with the new additions to their fleet.

Strong team: the 930 Vario is predominantly on the road with a tridem barrel.

Harm Hoffmeyer from the Busche contracting company steers his new-generation Fendt 936 Vario onto the maize field with routine. The plants are already a good half meter high. Today they are getting another dose of fertilizer. A tridem barrel with a 30-meter drag shoe boom hangs from the K80 coupling. At the push of a button, Harm extends the boom and off it goes. Services related to slurry spreading as well as slurry logistics are the main focus of the services offered by the Busche contracting company from Estorf near Nienburg. This means, above all, high traction weights of up to 40 tons. This means heavy-duty work for the tractors used! Contractor Frank Busche relies on Fendt tractors. In addition to a Fendt 1050 and a Fendt 1042, the Busche fleet also includes four Fendt 724 and four Fendt 900 series tractors, including a 930 Vario and a 936 Vario of the latest generation.

High gross combination weights

The new Fendt 900 Vario large tractor series, developed specifically for contractors, covers the power spectrum between 296 and 415 hp with five models. Frank Busche has opted for a Fendt 930 Vario. "The tractor is mainly used for slurry spreading in flat topography, where we have absolutely sufficient engine power with just under 300 hp," explains the contractor. For slurry spreading in the nearby Bückeburger Land region with its numerous slopes, the contractor has two large tractors in the form of the two flagships of the 1000 series, which do not fall to their knees even on hills with a total tractive weight of 40 tons. The new additions from last year now each have just under 1,200 operating hours on the clock. "That corresponds to the average annual mileage of our tractors," explains Frank Busche. There have been no problems so far. But the loyal Fendt customer didn't expect that either: "We've been driving Fendt tractors since we founded the contracting company 25 years ago and are convinced of the quality and reliability!"

Incidentally, the various vehicle components such as the transmission, fan, hydraulics and ancillary units are tuned for low engine speeds that conserve fuel and materials. In addition to low fuel consumption, the extended service intervals also contribute to the economy of the new 900 series. For example, the change interval for the M3677 engine oil has been increased to 1,000 hours for the first time. This means that the contractor's new 900s are in the field for just under a year between interval pit stops. "As our machines are almost fully utilized throughout the year, the higher availability naturally has a very positive effect for us," says Frank Busche.

Appreciates his workplace in the new 900: Busche employee Harm Hoffmeyer.

Efficient powertrain

But let's get back to the driveline: At its heart is the TA 300 Vario transmission, which Frank Busche believes is very successfully matched to the engine. One of the most important features of the transmission: The Fendt iD low-speed concept, which is geared towards high power reserves, is now also being used in the 900 series for the first time. The rated speed is 1,700 rpm. At idle, the speed range is a quiet 650 rpm. Since the tractors of the Busche contracting company also regularly have to cope with road sections of up to 12 km, the low engine speeds have an effect here, of course, when marching on the road. "At 40 km/h, the engine speed is only 950 rpm, which of course makes the job a lot more relaxed for the drivers," says Frank Busche. This is also appreciated by Busche employee Harm Hoffmeyer, who is also on the road with a Tridem barrel. "If you ever have to make a phone call or want to listen to music, the smoothness associated with the low engine speeds is of course perfect!" He, too, appreciates the benefits of the Vario transmission. "You can concentrate on driving, the transmission control runs automatically, as was clearly noticeable just now when we drove from the paved farm track onto the field with the slurry tanker on our necks. There were no interruptions in tractive power, and the continuously variable transmission is controlled in such a way that optimum traction is available in every situation," says a delighted Harm Hoffmeyer.

While the slurry is being distributed over the area with the aid of the trailing shoes, he checks the spread rate on the tablet, which is located in a holder to his right. Everything is within the target range. The tablet is one of three monitors. It displays the area-related data from a land use planning index. With the help of the other two monitors, he can monitor the functions of the slurry tanker and the operating data of the tractor. It only takes a few minutes to refill the 30 m³ Tridem barrel. Loading the liquid cargo is also done gently at low speed. Harm uses the time for a quick chat with the biogas plant employee. Then he can already take off the loading hose again, climb into the Fendt Life Cab and set off again for the cornfield. "The name Life Cab is appropriate," says Jan Busche, and Harm Hoffmeyer also appreciates the spaciousness and good all-round visibility of the 900 cab. "Of course, the new sound system is also really great," he says, smiling as he accelerates on the farm road - after all, there are still a few more loads of digestate to spread before evening.

The Fendt iD low-speed concept, which is designed for high power reserves, is now also used in the 900 series.

Powerful slurry technology

His boss Frank Busche invested in high-performance slurry technology early on! When he founded his contracting company in Estorf near Nienburg in 1995 as a 22-year-old young farmer, he mainly transported and spread sewage sludge. Even then, however, his clients demanded spreading by drag hose technology. Frank Busche invested in this technology. To handle the rapidly growing volumes at the time, he invested in a first tridem drum just three years later. With this, too, he was far ahead of his time. A decision with foresight, as became apparent just a few years later. When the biogas boom began in the early 2000s, slurry spreading efficiency became a key success parameter. Powerful Fendt tractors have provided traction throughout the years. This is needed above all in the field. For this reason, the investment-intensive tractors are only used in the field or for distances up to a maximum of 12 km for transport tasks. If longer distances need to be covered on the road, the contracting company uses its fleet of trucks consisting of twelve tractor units and just as many trailers. "Our customers include seven biogas plants, each of which sometimes produces up to 25,000 m³ of fermentation residues annually," explains the contractor. If these are transported by truck to the spreading barrels, this adds up to around 100 trips. All in all, Frank Busche's contracting company spreads around 300,000 cubic meters every year. In addition, another 70,000 m³ are transported by the Busche trucks as part of relocations for external customers. These are quantities that make logistics a challenge. Eight tank trailers are available for slurry logistics. It sometimes happens that all eight of the company's truck feeder tankers are used for one job. "We have a customer where, because of the distance from the loading site to the field, this high number of feeders is necessary to supply the Tridem barrel with sufficient slurry.

Transfer on own axle

With Frank Busche's son Jan, the second generation is already in the starting blocks to continue the contracting business. The young Fendt fan has completed an apprenticeship as an agricultural machinery mechanic and also drives a Fendt 1042 in his father's contracting business. The contractor has taken it over together with the new 930 Vario. Jan Busche and Harm Hoffmeyer had a very special relationship with their new Fendt tractors right from the start. "We didn't want to simply have the new tractors delivered via the sales and service partner, but picked up the machines ourselves from the factory in Marktoberdorf. It was a really long day," says Jan Busche looking back. The two of them started at the crack of dawn in Estorf, took delivery of the two new 900s at noon, and set off on the long return trip to northern Germany. "With breaks, it took us a good 14 hours," says Jan Busche, laughing. A good opportunity to familiarize ourselves in detail with the functions of the new tractors.

Source: LU Special November 2020 edition