South Africa has about 30 000 plus commercial farmers faced with constant challenges to meet growing demands for food, to be internationally competitive, and to produce agricultural products of high quality, all while remaining sustainable and profitable.
Getting closer to farmers has been the goal of AGCO globally for the last few years and a sharp focus on Africa.
“Our focus is to ensure farmers know that we are here to stay. We are investing heavily in South Africa to establish confidence in us as the preferred supplier in terms of mechanisation and technology. We are collaborating with our dealers to ensure farmers receive the best service possible,” says Dr. Dominik Reus, Managing Director, AGCO, Africa.
“It has been accelerated now with technology in terms of a direct connection between the farmer, dealer, and us. We have aligned with our partners, the dealers in South Africa, to offer a better service and improve our turnaround times so our customers have the best experience and maximise their equipment uptime,” says Dr. Reus.
AGCO’s high horsepower (HHP) Massey Ferguson and Fendt tractor series are designed to improve power, comfort, usability, efficiency, and reliability. The HHP range can handle all but the most extreme farming tasks without hesitation in South Africa’s harshest conditions. Input costs such as diesel are considered carefully in the design process to maximise fuel consumption and environmental awareness in terms of emissions. AGCO also supplies and designs its own AGCO Power engines for higher torque at lower rpm levels.
With improved technology driving more efficient fuel consumption, tools such as MF Guidance, autopilot, and MF Section control boost farmers’ profitability. In addition, advanced technologies like MF Connect and Fendt Connect have made it possible to monitor equipment live in the field to ensure problems are addressed before they become a serious issue, as well as better connecting the dealer’s technical staff to offer improved customer service.
The focus on technology will see AGCO showcase the all-new MF 8S at Grain SA’s NAMPO Harvest Day from 16 to 20 May. The MF 8S series, with models from 205 hp up to 265 hp, boasts the latest in technology and fuel efficiency, all while keeping the operator comfortable. “Combined with its ergonomics, we know we have a leading product to offer the market,” says Dr. Reus.
In terms of Fendt, AGCO will showcase the new Fendt One cabs on the 1000 and 200 series tractors. The 2022 model of the Fendt Ideal Combine 10T is also anticipated to be on display, featuring a tracked configuration and revolutionary joystick steering for an improved operator view through the front window. NAMPO 2022 will also see a Fendt tracked tractor showcased for the first time.
“We are a global leader in building tracked tractors, with our experience spanning more than 30 years. We have linked that experience with innovation to create the new Fendt 1100 Vario MT, helping farmers to achieve the best they can every day,” says Dr. Reus. There are three models to choose from, ranging from 511 hp to 618 hp. If that is insufficient, farmers can opt for the high-end model Fendt 1167 Vario MT. This provides an extra 55 hp for auxiliary energy consumers with high power requirements like hydraulics or pulling power.
Commenting on the importance of the agricultural industry adopting best-in-class technology, Dr. Reus says it is critical on medium to large commercial farms, where input costs need to be monitored carefully to ensure maximum productivity and efficient use of resources. These resources include input costs such as diesel, herbicides, pesticides, seeds, etc. “We have precision farming technology mainly tailored towards medium to large commercial farms that enables the farmer to observe, measure, and respond timeously to crop variability.”
AGCO continues to play a key role in bringing the best machines to the local market at an affordable cost, together with superlative customer service and support.
“AGCO is dedicated to helping farmers thrive. Our high-quality smart solutions and the exceptional experiences we offer our customers start by listening to farmers to deeply understand their needs. Our experienced product teams focus on only bringing in products suitable for the South African environment. This is backed-up by continued professional training for our dealer network to ensure their teams are equipped with the knowledge and skills to support both the product and the farmers. Furthermore, our dealers can configure, customise, and specify machines for maximum effectiveness,” says Dr. Reus.
“We have established our presence in South Africa and are looking to strengthen the brands by expanding our dealer network. For instance, we have taken new dealers on board. That alone requires a lot of work from both parties to ensure that we progress in finding common ground, which is to serve the farmer to the best of our abilities.
“We have found that the dealers are happy with the changes, and we are growing closer as partners,” says Dr. Reus. Having that direct line to the OEM has made a big difference in terms of communication and pricing advantage for the South African market. AGCO is striving to close any remaining gaps in the market and ensure that any dealership is at a reasonable distance to farmers to give them effective and convenient support when needed, for both Massey Ferguson and Fendt.
Dr. Reus concludes that AGCO continues to invest into Africa in terms of people, skills, product, and facilities. “Visitors to our stand at NAMPO 2022 will clearly be able to see the difference. We look forward to sharing this experience with everyone.”