Fendt Testimonials

Natural Selection

The groundbreaking organic enterprise Laverstoke Park Farm finds Fendt tractors the ideal partners to boost productivity and sustainability.

To be'known as the University of Organics' is quite an accolade, but it is one that is fitting for Laverstoke Park Farm, a business which has invested heavily in organic-farming with the aim of producing "the best tasting, healthies food, without compromise", according to proprietor Jody Scheckter.

The former world champion formula one driver has left nothing to chance in his orgaic/biodynamic enterprise, developing soil testing laboratories withstate-of-the-art equipment and an abbatoir dedicated to reducing stress to the animals, and ultimately producing better meat. Extensive processing facilities ensure quality down the line, and a full scale kitchen has a capacity of 460 pies per hour. The next step is an anaerobic digester, which wil take municipal and farm waste and transform it into enery to meet the farm's requirements and contribute to those of the surrounding Hampshire villages.

Mr Schecter's approach extends to farm machinery, which he aims to run to the highest levels of efficiency while taking advantage of the latest technology to help minimise its impact on the environment. This naturally led him to Fendt, which with its engine supplier Deutz AG has pioneered biofuel compatible tractors, allowing Laverstoke Park Farm to power its operations with all-natural, environmentally-friendly rapeseed oil, pressed from crops sourced locally.

An initial foray into the technology saw a Fendt 818 Vario converted to run on rape seed oil by a German specialist two years ago, and Jody Scheckter is now the proud user of the first 820 Greentec model in the UK. Deutz AG's purpose built biofuel system starts the engine using a small amount of mineral diesel and once the components are up to temperature, switches over to pure rapeseed oil.

Although an initial plan to grow and press rapeseed on a commercial scale has not proved economically viable, Laverstoke Park has a small press for its own use, and remains committed to the concept.

"Our aim as a buiness is to be carbon neutral and self-sustaining in enery within two years, and the Fendt 820 Greentec is an important element of that", comments Mr Scheckter.

Fendt has enjoyed a long relationship with Laverstoke Park, which currently has four of the leading-edge tractors in its fleet, with a 147hp 714 Vario and 167hp 716 Vario sharing the duties with the 186hp818 and 207hp 820 models. Alongside their everyday farming duties, an important role for the tractors is towing 'tractor buses' around the estate for farmer and public visits. Manager of Farming, Karl Barton, comments that while any old tractor could tow the buses, it is a good opportunity for visitors to see the latest in tractor technology close-up.

But it is in the field that the Fendts really come into their own. The 1000ha estate is mainly down to grass and forage crops, so the green harvest occupies much of their time, with 3500 round bales made each year.

Another important task is applying laboratory formulated, nutrient-rich compost from Laverstoke Park's own 40,000 tonne intake capacity green waste processing facility. Solid materials are spread to 24m with high levels of accuracy using the latest computer controlled spreader, while the liquid 'compost tea' is applied with a crop sprayer.

Tractor drivers, Sid Cook, Richard Gwilliam and Martin Lane say that Fendt offers the highest levels of productivity for these tasks. The local Fendt dealer keeps them fully updated with the latest developments, recently offering training to help the team get the most out of the Tractor Management Systems (TMS).

Richard explains "Our Fendt 818 and 820's are equipped with TMS and the main advantage is that you are always in the right gear for the task and conditions, which allows the engine to operate at its peak performance. I find it useful to work at maximum torque and it is possible to prioritise engine revs to achive this".

He confirms that most of the time he is able to work in automatic settings, which allows him to focus on the implement and the job in hand, and he also makes maximum use of the Vario joystick for optimum comfort and thus productivity.

"For example, I would always use the joystick to lift front or rear implements rather than having to operate the levers"

Another benefit of TMS that Richard points to is the ability to monitor fuel consumption and performance levels, which has helped to amass some useful data on the rapesee-fuelled tractors.

It has also shown the impressive frugality of the Fendt tractors when deployed for fuel-hungry work such as mowing, using just four litres per hectare when working at outputs up to 11ha/hr.

"It is possible to see a distinct performance improvement with TMS - I use it as much as possible and I would encourage everyone else to do so", says Richard

Sid admits: " I am not computer minded but these tractors are extremely straightforward to operate. And everything has a purpose to make the work more efficient. For example, electrical hydraulic valves that allow you to programme the spools to your exact requirements". While roadwork tends to be sporadic, Sid comments that here too the benefits of TMS can be seen "It makes for an easier drive on the road and is much more comfortable when going at higher speeds".

The 716 is fitted with a loader, and is described by the team as a useful loader tractor, with good visibility and all controls easily to hand.

Routine maintenance - plus full servicing of the older tractors is undertaken in house and service access and the clarity of service manuals comes in for praise.

"But we also have excellent support from Lister Wilder at their Reading and Wallingford branches", comments Richard.

With new projects and developments emerging all the time - a recent public barbeque event is to be expanded to a food and farming show in the future, and neat rows of vines mark the establishment of a proposed winery - productivity will become even more key for Laverstoke Park Farm. And on that, Jody can continue to deliver.




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