Beauvais in France is the global home of Massey Ferguson and its centre of engineering and manufacturing excellence. More than 990 000 tractors have been built here to date, with nearly 80% of production exported to over 70 different countries around the globe, including Africa.
For more than 170 years, Massey Ferguson has been the world’s dominant tractor brand. Its Beauvais facility focuses on meeting the ever-increasing demands of farmers the world over. One of the biggest AGCO-owned tractor manufacturing sites in Europe, Beauvais is also the first French producer and exporter of farm machinery, presented with France’s prestigious Factory of the Year 2016 award. The Beauvais site in Picardy beat ten other shortlisted factories from a wide range of industries in France to win the title.
By the end of 2024, Beauvais will bring together four sites with a total surface area of more than 54 ha. The sites have seen a massive investment in tooling and design technologies to boost efficiency. Staff numbers and expertise have also grown to generate an output of up to 20 000 tractors a year.
With 14 new tractor ranges launched since 2015, and a further 14 on the cards by 2023, Massey Ferguson is meeting the diverse requirements of farmers who are looking to invest in state-of-the-art equipment. These new launches will enable customers to have an exciting and sustainable future in agriculture, while meeting the need for value in a more cost-conscious age dominated by volatile commodity prices.
The aim is to reduce manufacturing costs even further and firmly establish a global benchmark in terms of research and development. In order to realise these goals, AGCO plans to double the current size of its technology centre and build an automotive-grade showroom. It is anticipated that the number of visitors to Beauvais will ramp up to 20 000 a year from the 8 000 to 11 000 at present, as the restrictions introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic are gradually lifted.
Some of these global visitors have included customers from Africa who have travelled to Beauvais for a personal factory tour, explains George Cilliers, Product Marketing Manager: High Horsepower Tractors, Africa. “AGCO Africa maintains excellent communications with the Beauvais site and other Massey Ferguson factories around the world, providing feedback that is critical to the ongoing improvement of its tractor range.”
In terms of the tractors that the Beauvais facility builds specifically for the continent, these are the MF 7600, MF 7700 and MF 8700, with a new addition to the line-up anticipated in June 2022. The 7700 / 8700 S models exclusively feature a guidance system using ISO BUS that is built-in at the factory. Michelin tyres are fitted as standard, because the tyre factory is also located in France, thereby adding to the economic value of the tractors.
Combining smart technology with straightforward, rugged construction, the MF 7600 Series is designed to ensure superior infield performance and a lower cost of ownership. Reliable, powerful and fuel-efficient Tier II AGCO Power engines provide 140 hp to 170 hp in standard fieldwork and 150 hp to 195 hp in transport and PTO applications. The combination of the AGCO Power engine and the DYNA 6 transmission means the MF 7600 series has a drive train that delivers unmatched performance and reliability.
The MF 7700 Series tractors meet the needs of professional farmers across all sectors of the industry, from livestock to arable, mixed and contracting. A comprehensive selection of power output, transmission, cab specification, hydraulics and PTO variants allows customers to specify a machine for their precise requirements. Four models are available, with power ranging from 200 hp to 255 hp and a Dyna-6 and Dyna-VT transmission.
The MF 8700 Series produces even more power and reduces running costs further. The AGCO Power six-cylinder 8.4 litre engine generates power from 270 hp to 370 hp. The stepless Dyna-VT allows operators to achieve the correct operating speed for various applications and soil conditions. This allows the tractor to reach the optimum engine speed to maximise work and minimise fuel consumption.
The stringent quality control processes employed by Massey Ferguson at its Beauvais facility ensures the best possible tractors for the African market, highlights Cilliers. “As part of our strategy of getting closer to our customers, we aim to put the farmer first. This means ensuring that all of our high-end customers are guaranteed the highest level of build quality in their tractors. Machines can be fully customised by means of the ‘ASK on OneAGCO’ configurator, which forms part of an online dealer portal. We have for example a custom ordered black MF 7720 tractor for a customer in Bergville due for delivery later this year.”
The Beauvais facility optimises the experience from both a dealer and a customer perspective, notes Cilliers. The ‘ASK on OneAGCO’ configurator means that customers can select from a range of options in consultation with a MF dealer. Once a build slot has been booked, customers also receive weekly updates on the build progress.
“This state-of-the-art facility is an important part of our strategy to put the farmer first, as all requirements can be met using the latest technology and production methods,” adds Cilliers.
Such flexibility and customer responsiveness even extends to making all relevant documentation available in the language of choice, including French and Portuguese. This not only includes operator and parts manuals, but even the instrument panels on individual tractors can be translated if need be.
In support of the farming community, Massey Ferguson has an extensive network of 39 dealers covering the whole of South Africa. It also has distributors into Africa, making it the leading tractor supplier in the region. What also makes MF tractors stand out is the one-year unlimited hours or two-year, 2 000-hour warranty.
“We like to maintain close relationships with our customers, as this translates into improved service levels. Our dealers are now directly in contact with our factory representative in South Africa to cover all aspects of end-customer service, ranging from after sales to spare parts and advice on tractor applications,” concludes Cilliers.