Ahead of Agritechnica later this year Fendt displayed its latest innovations to press from across Europe at the company’s German headquarters. David Williams attended.
Considerable investment in research and development should ensure Fendt’s products and services remain at the cutting edge of agricultural technology. This year an estimated €73.7m will be spent on R&D, up from €72.2m last year.
Sales are impressive for the premium brand in a competitive market, and last year 16,806 tractors were produced of which 66 per cent were exported from Germany, whereas the 2019 estimate is ‘significantly more’ than 18,000 units with 68 per cent exported.
Combines are in growing demand too, and with 353 sold in 2017 rising to 427 in 2018, this year’s total is likely to be up to 460, helped by the award winning Ideal model available commercially for the first time this season.
A grand reveal of the latest 900-series tractors was widely predicted ahead of the event and an impressive display of the first 35 leaving the factory on lorries for destinations all over the world didn’t disappoint.
The new 900-series 5-model line-up includes a flagship 942 Vario pushing maximum power in the series up from 396 to 415hp. Power throughout the series is from MAN engines, designed especially for the application. These 6-cyl, 9.0-litre (up from 7.8-litre) power units have variable geometry turbocharging and require an oil change only every 1,000 hours.
Fendt’s iD low engine speed concept is used in the new 900-series with rated performance at just 1,700rpm. Idling is at 650rpm and maximum 60kph transport speed is achieved at just 1,450rpm. Maximum 1,970Nm torque is at 1,100rpm on the 942 Vario.
Completely new to the 900-series is VarioDrive transmission, borrowed from the larger 1000 Vario-series. This distributes drive effort separately to the front and rear axles, depending on operating conditions. Because the front and rear axles are decoupled there is no power wasted due to axle ‘wind-up’ and at higher travel speeds drive to the front axles fully disengages unless it is needed for traction or during braking. An advantage of the design is ‘pull-in turn’ which applies extra power to the front axle during sharp turns to pull the tractor in the steering direction for extra manoeuvrability. A new heavier-duty front axle is fitted to suit the additional power. Fendt will submit the new tractors for independent performance testing in the coming months and predicts significant fuel savings mainly due to the new transmission.
The cab is new with technology capable of displaying machine performance data in realtime through the base telemetry package.
Fendt Connect allows data sharing to analyse and manage machine use making it easier to manage machinery fleets. It also provides access to dealer services.
Smart Connect is also available for the new 900-series tractors allowing the user to link an iPad to the tractor using an internal wifi network. Machine parameters including position, worked area, speed, fuel consumption and engine load are sent straight to the iPad during use and the screen serves as an additional display area for the Varioterminal. Smart Connect is standard on all ProfiPlus variants.
Despite its size the new 900-series models can be set up for a wheel-track down to just 60in.
VarioGrip tyre pressure regulation is an option allowing pressure adjustment while driving. The latest version is capable of inflating dual row-crop wheels from the cab.
Fendt Grip Assistant is also available for the new 900-series through the terminal, allowing the user to determine the ideal ballast and tyre pressures at pre-defined operating speeds. It also allows the user to determine optimum working speed and tyre pressures where ballast is already fitted.
For maximum grip a new 750/70R44 2.2m diameter tyre has been developed for the range.
Load-sensing pumps provide 165- or 220-litres hydraulic oil flow capacity. Optional 430-litres/min flow can be specified. Two autonomous axial piston pumps provide the flow; one with 220-litres/min and the other 210-litres/min, mounted either side of the rear transmission housing allowing convenient hose attachment from each side. Fendt explained that the slight difference in pump output is to prevent resonance when the pumps work together for maximum flow. Having two pumps provides greater flexibility in terms of supplying different rates and pressures and with such high flow available, the system complements Fendt’s iD low-speed concept.
Comfort and convenience
Along with the additional connectivity and driver aids, the new 900 Vario series tractors are available with an infotainment system operated from the terminal. As well as improving clarity of telephone calls, additional upgrades include a high-end speaker system.
A new storage area below the cab on the right-hand side provides space for a tool box or 12-litre washing station.
Also new is an in-cab air supply for convenient hose attachment and making it easier to blow clean the cab floor. External mirrors are electrically adjustable including a telescopic arm mount allowing extension from the seat to see around wide trailers or implements, and quick retraction to avoid damage once the trailer is removed.
Improved anti-theft protection includes a safety locking system and combined immobiliser. This uses a coded key, unique to each tractor, for the cab, ignition, bonnet and fuel tank.
Implement control and monitoring can be through the standard Isobus connection. Tractor Implement Management (TIM) is an upgrade option, allowing tractor functions including operating speed to be controlled by the implement.
Fendt TI Headland smart headland management is also available through which Variotronic activation of a programmed headland sequence can be linked to VarioGuide position monitoring. This allows implements to be automatically raised and lowered, for example, when the appropriate headland position is reached.
Deliveries of the new 900 Vario series have already started and most UK dealers have ordered at least one demonstration machine.
The new engine is a significant update, but the integration of the VarioDrive transmission offering improved performance combined with potential fuel and tyre wear savings will also be a major attraction to potential users. In fact, Fendt suggested that its unique drive concept is likely to filter down through to its smaller tractors in time, allowing smaller farms to benefit from the advantages too.
Other tractor news
Other large tractor news includes the flagship 1000 Vario series of which more than 2,000 have been delivered to date. Several new options include those introduced for the new 900 Vario, including; electrically adjustable mirrors with telescopic arm mounts, a security coded key and immobiliser and the infotainment and speaker packages.
The Fendt 900 Vario MT rubber-tracked crawler is now available with the joystick companion to the 10.4in terminal allowing headland sequences to be more easily programmed.
There are also two new hydraulic valve control options.
Looking further to the future a new FendtOne control concept was shown for the first time. Available in late 2020 for the most popular 700 Vario, and 300 Vario series, FendtOne is a new, intuitive operating system which allows users to plan work and field data in the farm office then transfer it direct to the tractor by mobile network with both ends of the process sharing similar layout and appearance for ease of use.
For ProfiPlus models it offers Smart Farming applications such as tracking capability, the Fendt Task Manager for efficient task management and Guide Sync for field data management. The FendtOne platform can be tailored to suit individual situations helping users get the best from their machines. The Agrirouter data exchange platform is a key part of the system making it ideal for contractors to share data with customers using a variety of different farm management programmes and software.
The most noticeable difference between current models and those equipped with the FendtOne system is additional display space and increased display options. Up to three displays can be added within the standard configuration all linked to a central computer. These include a new 9in digital dashboard display which provides essential road travel and Fendt Guide features with operation through an armrest-mounted push-dial. Two 12in displays; one on the right armrest as well as an optional terminal in the roof offer up to 6 freely configurable display fields. Both 12in screens can be controlled through the new, optional 3L multi-function joystick which also incorporates additional functions, or by direct touch to the screens. The new joystick is to the right of the standard crossgate control joystick and has 3 operating levels and up to 27 functions.
Functions are divided into groups by colour making it easy for operators to tell if buttons have been re-assigned and to avoid errors.
Fendt says the improved display options and additional screen area will help operators get the most benefit from the ever increasing number of terminal applications available, and make it easier to handle data and control more complex attachments by providing a better overview of tasks without constantly switching screen views or having to divide screens into smaller sections.
Isobus connectivity is improved including a front connector making it easier to control and monitor front-mounted implements direct from the tractor armrest.
Like the larger tractor series, the new 700 Vario will be available with an optional infotainment and high performance speaker package.
New 300 Vario flagship
Smaller tractors haven’t been forgotten in the upgrades for 2020 and the addition of a new flagship 314 Vario to the 300 Vario series provides an additional 10hp available on-demand through Fendt’s DynamicPerformnce power-boost. DynamicPerformance isn’t restricted only to particular operating situations, so up to 152hp is available whenever it is needed to meet demand for PTO, hydraulics, engine cooling, and air conditioning. It constantly monitors the power requirement, delivering extra if needed. This makes it available for stationary PTO work for example, such as powering large mixer wagons as well as for transport and field work.
FendtOne for the 314 Vario introduces Agrirouter to the series for communication and data exchange and a new multi-function joystick is available offering similar advantages to the new 700 Vario’s system.
The three-terminal option including a 9in, and two 12in displays is similar to the top-end system from the 700 Vario.
A high-end infotainment and speaker system can also be specified.
The new 314 Vario will be available in Profi and ProfiPlus variants in late 2020.
Combined automatic control of Fendt 200 Vario tractors and complex vineyard implements is being introduced by Fendt which has worked with Braun on the development.
The initial system is designed for viticulture where increased mechanical weed control is replacing herbicides. The tractor and implement combination is fully controlled by the system from accurate steering between vine rows to precise positioning and movement of front, rear and mid-mounted implements with operating speed also regulated automatically to suit the task and working environment.
Information from which operational adjustments are decided is provided by a laser, a gyroscope, the Vineyard Pilot Assistant control unit and a terminal.
The laser constantly scans the environment detecting soil contours, vines and stakes and active intervention is only needed from the driver at the headland. Operating speed is almost twice that possible when similar combinations are controlled manually and with more activities combined in one pass, compaction through additional journeys is reduced.
Fendt’s Ideal combines are working commercially for the first time in the UK this year after a limited number of machines were demonstrated by selected dealers in 2018. So far Ideal 7-, 8- and 9-series models have been shown but an Ideal 10 with a new MAN 16.2-litre power unit producing up to 790hp will be available to order from July 2020 for delivery in time for the 2021 harvest.
The Ideal 10 has a new cleaning system working with the innovative Dual Helix separator. An unusual design feature of the Ideal 10 is that it has no steering wheel, improving forward visibility to the road and the header. Replacing the steering wheel is a steering joystick on the left-hand armrest, and for access to the seat the armrest and joystick fold up out of the way. Fendt IdealDrive joystick steering is said to comply with all traffic regulations and is only available for Ideal combines.
News regarding Katana forage harvesters included an upgrade to the 650 improving performnce and reliability.
Engine power is up by 25hp to 650hp from its MTU 6-cyl power unit. A variable drive cooling fan with reversing function is now standard controlling air flow by adjusting the blade angle.
For harvesters working with wider maize headers, improved performance on undulating ground is provided by a new intake with up to +/- 7 degrees of rotation available.
The crop pick-up is optimised and the processing area is enlarged with two 300mm rollers, one of which has an additional V helical groove to increase lateral destruction of the crop.
The spout has a larger cross section aiding crop flow and Fendt national sales manager Martin Hamer explained that this improves performance in wet grass and will increase appeal for UK users.
From in-feed to the chute flap the redesigned crop flow to suit the new roller conditioner increases throughput by up to 21 per cent, equivalent to 12 per cent reduced fuel use compared with current model performance. Chop length up to 30mm can be obtained.
“For crops such as direct cut rye the new roller cracker can be set up for exceptional cracking quality, and will increase appeal to UK farmers and contractors,” pointed out Martin.
Improved blade sharpening performance and an extended blade and sharpening stone life result from a new sharpening system. The stone constantly readjusts during use and is more aggressive on the outer blade sections to maintain an even profile. Optimal blade sharpening improves chopping quality and extends the service life of the stone and knives by up to 25 per cent claims the company.
For improved performance on steep slopes Fendt has added BalancedGrip to the Katana 650 which adjusts the proportion of drive allocated to each axle and prevents the wheels spinning when axle loads are reduced, protecting the sward from damage.
The new Katana 650 is available to order from November 2019.
A more powerful Rogator 600 self-propelled sprayer is being added to the line-up. The Rogator 665 has a 307hp, 7.4-litre 6-cyl engine and, from 2020, all Rogator 600 models will be powered by similar power units with a range of different power outputs.
Fendt OptiNozzle will be available from January 2020 offering Rogator users optimal application results with minimum chemical drift. The most suitable nozzle or nozzle combination is automatically selected once the operator has specified the output, degree of drift reduction needed and a working pressure range for optimal droplet size. Then the system constantly adjusts in work responding to changes in speed or output levels.
For Rogator 300 trailed sprayers, Tractor Implement Management (TIM) is being added allowing compatible Fendt Vario tractors to be controlled by the sprayers. The sprayer automatically selects optimal speed and adjusts the nozzle parameters accordingly, including the preferred drift reduction and output. Depending on the nozzles used the sprayer adjusts the travel speed to the calculated target speed ensuring the product being applied always benefits from a suitable level of drift reduction. Active TIM control allows the operator to adjust the speed; choosing from pre-set ranges and the selected speed is maintained while the sprayer adapts the nozzle or combination of nozzles to suit.
Also new for Rogator 300 trailed sprayers is a wider 36m boom with triple folding.
Grass harvest updates
A new front mower is being added to the Fendt Slicer range. The Slicer FQ is designed for medium to large dairy farms and contractors in 3.1 and 3.6m working widths and with tine or roller conditioners. Lateral shift of +/-20cm left and right is standard and allows correction on side-slopes for drift.
Three-dimensional ground adjustment maintains accurate ground following laterally and longitudinally. As the cutter bed moves up and down following ground contours, the mower tilt automatically adjusts between -6 and +15 degrees with the mower’s vertical travel. This is claimed to result in constant cutting height even in difficult conditions. Compensation for undulating ground includes up to +/-13 degrees cross-swing and 750mm vertical travel.
The mower can attach direct to the tractor’s front linkage, keeping the centre of gravity close to the tractor.
Fendt’s TurboLift hydropneumatic ground pressure adjustment is standard with tool-free adjustment and minimises sward damage even in very wet conditions.
The addition of Lotus tedders to the Fendt grass harvesting line-up for next year was welcomed by the Fendt UK sales team. “The Lotus name is highly respected and there is nothing to touch it for tedding performnce in typical challenging UK conditions,” explained Martin, who said having it available for next year’s grass harvest season will be appreciated by customers and dealers.
Three Lotus models in the Fendt range cater for most UK demand. These include the fully mounted Lotus 7.7m 770, and trailed 10.2m 1020T and 12.5m 1250T models. All have Fendt performance tines; 6 on each rotor on mounted models and 7 on trailed. The tines have a unique profile guaranteeing thorough pick-up of the mowed crop and ability to effectively turn heavy, wet forage. Fendt’s tine design is claimed to result in up to 15 per cent higher work rate than standard tines.
Baler updates include Intelligent Hay, allowing data specific to each bale to be recorded and stored easily. During baling, data about each square bale is recorded including GPS position, moisture, bale flakes as well as information regarding bale length, weight and additives used. Using special twine in the third or fourth twine position, an RFID chip is woven into each bale providing an identification code. When this code is cross-referenced against data stored in a cloud-based memory the bale data is available to view.
Other baler news includes the ProCut cutter unit being added as an option for the Fendt Squadra high-performnce square baler. The 26 knives are arranged in the drawer in 2 groups, each of which can be controlled separately to provide a fine cut or for double the cutting length when only half are selected.