Fendt tractors (the “d” is silent; rhymes with tent) have long been a staple on grain and livestock farms in Europe. They’ve been available in North America for more than 20 years, but the company is pushing to expand its presence in row-crop operations in the Southeast.
Fendt, owned by AGCO, made its debut at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in mid-October, displaying its 900 Gen 6 and 700 series tractors at the AGCO exhibit. AGCO, which is headquartered in Duluth, Ga., is expanding sales of Fendt tractors in Georgia through Atlantic & Southern Equipment, which will sell Fendt tractors from its Tifton location.
AGCO purchased the German manufacturer in 1996 and began selling Fendt tractors in the U.S. in 1998. Because they were initially designed with grain crops in mind, Fendt's tractor wheel configuration did not translate well to the row crops grown in the Southeast.
AGCO Product Marketing Specialist Daniel Smith said the 900 Gen 6 series is intended to overcome that and accommodate the row spacing commonly found in Southeastern row crops.
“That’s not very common in Europe,” Smith said. “They do a lot of tram-lining, a lot of broad acre, wheat and barley, not as much corn. It’s definitely more of an American market to have 30-inch spaces.”
In addition to the wheels, Smith said Fendt tractors have some other key features that could appeal to Southeastern farmers.
First, there’s the suspension. There are independent suspension systems in the front axle, the cab and the seat, which Smith said makes for a smooth ride.
Second, Fendt tractors have continuously variable transmission, which eliminates shifting gears. Instead, the operator adjusts speed by using a joystick: Push forward to increase speed; pull back to reduce it. The transmission automatically transfers power between axles to minimize slip.
Then there is FendtiD, a low-engine speed concept that manages engine RPMs according to task.
“We’re not just hopping in the tractor and turning up the throttle to 2100 RPMs,” Smith said. “We’re actually tailoring that engine speed to what’s needed at that time.”
These features combine to maximize fuel efficiency and extend the life of the tractor’s components, Smith said.
Farmers can see demonstrations at Fendt dealers. The tractors are built to order at the company’s manufacturing facility in Marktoberdorf, in south Germany. Delivery time is between six and seven months, depending on where the customer is located. Smith said prices vary according to options chosen, but typically fall in the $1,000-per-horsepower range.