serious - Challenger


serious - Challenger
Euro hub in focus
News from France – P4-7
Specialist know-how – P18
MT765C – driver’s view – P8-9
RG600 on demo – P20
Careful delivery - shipping
Challenger machines
In this edition we showcase Grubbenvorst in the Netherlands, the
site of Challenger’s operations hub in Europe. This is the focus for
production of TerraGator and RoGator application equipment, and
the base for all Challenger key functions including engineering,
sales and marketing, distribution and after sales. See our picture
special for an insight into all the activities here.
With SIMA, one of Europe’s top agri-business shows taking place
in Paris, in this issue we also highlight some of the latest news
from Challenger in France.
France is one of the world’s leading agriculture countries. It ranks number one for the production of sugar beet
and barley and is among the top five producers of a wide range of vegetables, fruit and meat (FAO statistics).
Boasting over half a million agricultural holdings, it’s Europe’s biggest market for farm machinery.
TerraGator - working with the
Take a look at how Challenger TerraGator 8333 application machines are helping to boost the businesses of
two contractors in mid-west and northern France and read about the recent successful demonstrations of
Challenger equipment.
Reputation of TerraGator spreads
And talking of demonstrations, the exclusive Challenger RoGator 600 roadshow is set for a Western European
tour this spring when all the features and benefits of this fantastic new sprayer will be in action.
MT765C – twice the speed
and less fuel
Best wishes for a successful year!
Your Challenger team
Challenger hub – picture special
Bulgaria hosts harvesting demo
New biomass harvester system
MT765B makes a difference
Spraying expert is contractor
and producer
Challenger specialist shares
News – Agribikers pay a visit;
new scale model combine;
world-changing tractor
RoGator 600 on tour
New at the top
A warm welcome to Gary Rollinson who has been appointed
Managing Director, Challenger – Europe, Africa and Middle
East (EAME).
British-born Gary joined Challenger’s sister brand,
Massey Ferguson in 1988 as a Graduate Trainee and began
his career in the Purchasing area of the business. He has since
held a number of senior roles with the brands’ parent company,
AGCO, most recently as Director, Global Purchasing for the
EAME region.
“I am very much looking forward to this new role,” says Gary.
“Challenger is a fast-growing brand with a really strong
reputation. The line-up of tractors, application machinery and
harvesting equipment is the perfect fit for today’s professional
farmers looking to maximise productivity.”
A brand of AGCO, Challenger supplies a
wide range of high performance, high specification
agricultural machinery for the professional farming
and contracting sector including tracked tractors,
application equipment, wheeled tractors, combine
harvesters and balers.
If you would prefer to receive Serious Machinery
regularly via email, please log on to the
website shown here and follow the
instructions to subscribe.
© AGCO Limited 2011
Gary Rollinson.
The Editor
Serious Machinery
AGCO Netherlands B.V.
Horsterweg 66a
5971 NG
The Netherlands
Email: [email protected]
Web site:
Handled with care –
from factory to farm gate
Once Challenger products leave the end of the assembly
line, their journey to the customer can involve many
thousands of kilometres. It’s essential that they are well
protected en route to arrive in peak condition.
For example, Challenger MT tracked tractors built in
Jackson, Minnesota, and big square balers produced
in Hesston, Kansas, bound for Europe are shipped from
the port in Baltimore to Zeebrugge in Belgium.
“One of the main issues is to protect the machines
from salt and other contaminants such as insects,
bird droppings and acid rain,” explains Mark Grigson
– Challenger, Product Marketing Manager Harvesting.
“As a result, all units are sprayed with a special transit
coating prior to leaving the plants. This temporary
coating is designed to shield painted and chrome
surfaces in transit. It dries to a clear finish and is
easily removed prior to final delivery.”
In a further move, a railway siding which passes
alongside the Hesston manufacturing facility has been
completely upgraded. This is part of a major push
to shift freight of finished goods from road to rail,
thereby avoiding any salt contamination that may
arise from treated highways.
On arrival at the port in Baltimore, Challenger units
are washed down leaving the transit coating intact,
prior to loading inside the vessel’s sealed cargo hold.
At Zeebrugge, product is then stored under cover until
it is called off for delivery to Challenger dealers.
A comprehensive pre-delivery inspection (PDI) is
carried out at dealer premises for every Challenger
machine. This includes removal of the transit coating,
checking all component settings and functions of
the machine.
“Once Challenger machines leave our factories, we take
meticulous care to ensure that they are fully-protected
en route to their final destination,” says Etienne Haanen
– Manager Dealer Central for Challenger. “We work
closely with our shipping agents to maintain strict
standards in transit which all contributes to the delivery
of product to the very highest high quality.”
Challenger products are washed down at the
port in Baltimore after their journey from
the factories.
Challenger balers await shipment via the rail
link at Hesston.
Loading at the docks.
Nothing left
A TerraGator 8333 is helping a family business in France to fulfil its aspirations to
make best use of what the environment provides. Hubertus von Dungern reports.
There’s no mistaking the passion in the way Paul
and Odile Derevier speak about their business,
Laprovol SARL.
They are proud of their history but extremely
forward-thinking, always looking to how they can
improve, reduce costs and find alternative solutions to
work harmoniously with the environment.
Based in Renay in mid-west France, Laprovol
provides manure and compost spreading services
carried out by a Challenger TerraGator 8333
applicator which currently spreads around 22,000
tonnes a year. The company is also involved in
fertiliser and compost trading, production of straw
and compost pellets, plus contract baling and
breeding-house cleaning and disinfection. Nine
people are employed in the business including their
son, Simon, who takes care of pellet production.
While now a diverse enterprise, the roots of the
Laprovol business are in poultry breeding. Starting
out in 1979, this soon grew into a large operation
boasting 10,000m2 of poultry houses. Today, the
Dereviers are grouped with some 100 other poultry
breeders in the area, producing a total of 60,000
chickens a week, many of which are delivered to
halal abattoirs around Paris.
“In 2008, we set ourselves the task of reducing the
cost of heating the poultry houses,” says Odile
Derevier. “The solution was a biogas installation. This
is now used to produce electricity, while we also
recycle the heat created by the engine to run our pellet
drying operation.”
Odile, Paul and Simon Derevier – passionate about their business and the way it interacts with
the environment.
The biogas plant consumes around 6,000 tonnes of
poultry and cattle manure, slurry and straw annually
to produce 150 kWh of electricity. The residue is split
between dry matter which contains phosphorous (P)
and potassium (K), and liquid containing nitrogen (N)
and sulphur (S). This residue is used to spray back
onto the fields of farms which supply the manure.
Since the biogas process only removes energy
(largely in the form of methane) and not nutrients,
there is no loss to the farm suppliers.
In 2007, Laprovol invested in a 3-wheeler TerraGator
8133 with Tebbe box to replace the trailed rig. “As the
front wheel travels between the tracks made by the
rear wheels, the TerraGator produces less soil
compaction which is very important for our farmer
customers,” says Paul. “Our customers mostly
carry out a wheat/oil-seed rape rotation, so it’s
only possible to spread between the end of June
and September latest. Thus, speed of operations
is crucial.”
Today, spreading manure and compost forms a key
part of the business. “We originally started with two
tractors and trailed spreaders but were keen to further
develop spreading quality at low volumes,” comments
Paul Derevier.
After three seasons and 3,000 hours, in 2009 the
Dereviers upgraded the 8133 to the latest-technology
TerraGator 8333 with auto guidance for greater
precision and driver comfort.
The TerraGator enables full control over application rates.
In the background – the biogas dome.
to waste
The TerraGator 8333 is the first application machine
to be fitted with Continuously Variable Transmission,
(CVT). CVT is able to transmit full engine power at any
speed between 0-40km/h and, by allowing any
forward speed to be set at any engine rpm, it
combines optimum control and work quality with
exceptional productivity and economy.
The machine’s dry matter Nutrient Management
System (NMS) enhances spreading quality. The
chassis-mounted dry NMS box is available with one
or two beaters. The hydraulic adjustable dosing gate,
heavy bottom chain, Falcon VT control system and the
machine’s high forward speed all work together to
ensure even and consistent application of all products.
By monitoring the vehicle’s forward speed, the Falcon
VT system automatically adjusts the flow of material
to match pre-set application rates.
“Depending on the product, we spread an average
of 2-2.5 tonnes/ha at a forward speed of 28 km/h,”
explains Paul. “The average field size is around 7 ha
but ranges from as little as 0.8 ha to 30 ha. With the
TG8333, the drivers can control exactly what they are
spreading. It’s easy when changing field or product as
they can adjust the spreading parameters to achieve
the best possible job in all situations. This amount of
control is also very advantageous when you have
several drivers – no matter who is in the driving seat,
consistency is assured.”
Looking out across the yard: On the left is the dome that houses the biogas installation. On the
right are the new buildings with photovoltaic roof panels. In the foreground, you can see the
poultry manure composting areas.
In another project, the Dereviers have recently
constructed two brand-new buildings for their pellet
production operations and compost storage. As with
all their ventures, it’s not just a case of erecting two
buildings and leaving it at that. The extensive roof area
has been put to good use with the installation of solar
panels. The resulting electricity produced for resale is
paying for the cost of the buildings’ construction.
When you meet the Dereviers, their enthusiasm and
energy are infectious. You cannot help but be inspired
by their passion, commitment and ingenuity to
recycle, reuse and get the maximum output from
everything that the environment provides. Everything
they do is carefully thought through. Nothing is left to
chance, nothing is wasted. It’s a lesson for us all.
• See more on TerraGators in action
in France over page.
Special machines
for a special job
A trio of Challenger TerraGator applicators is part of a premium contract
spreading operation in France.
Such is the reputation of Challenger TerraGators that
customers of contractors Multitrav SAS ask for these
machines by name.
Working in Picardie, northern France, Multitrav runs a
Challenger TerraGator 8333, 2244 and nine-year-old
8103 as part of its extensive machinery fleet. The
company is firmly established, with long-standing
spreading experience, and is well-known for its
efficient high-quality output. TerraGators fit perfectly
with this leading profile.
“TerraGators are special machines for a special job,”
says Thibaut Flament, son of Multitrav Director,
Christian Flament. “It’s a highly professional
piece of equipment that engenders great
customer confidence.”
The 8333 and 2244 are equipped with Tebbe spreader
boxes and work around 600 hours per year applying
solids including compost, poultry manure and
potassium sulphate. The two units work together
Working alongside the sugar beet harvester.
The Tebbe box can be quickly removed and replaced
by this specialist carrier.
Doing the job of five trailed spreaders,
the TG2244 and TG8333 work together
with an excavator.
with one excavator which loads the material into the
machines from the in-field delivery vehicle. Average
spreading rate is 3 tonnes/ha and, as a pair, they do
the job of five trailed spreaders. Liquid fertiliser
spreading is carried out by the TG8103.
Utilisation of the latest TG8333 and exploitation of
its light footprint have been further extended with
the addition of a Panien sugar beet harvesting box.
“There are many advantages to the TerraGators,”
explains Thibaut, who is in charge of the firm’s
spreading services. “They deliver high quality
spreading and, with their three wheels and low ground
pressure, they respect the soil structure. They are
high-productivity machines capable of handling
low-volume application at high speed – we average
around 25-30 km/h.”
Founded in 1977, today Multitrav employs
up to 42 people. As well as Thibaut, Christian
Flament’s other son, Arnaud, and nephew, Rodrigue,
also work in the business. Originally starting with
silage harvesting contracting, the company has
flourished. Between 2000 and 2003, turnover rose by
15% a year and then gathered pace. A healthy 30%
increase in turnover was recorded annually from 2003
to 2007. Together with spreading, among the
On Show at
Christian, Arnaud and
Thibaut Flament.
company’s many services are sugar beet harvesting,
cleaning and loading, plus grain and silage harvesting.
With more than 100 machines on the fleet, Multitrav
operates a serious service outfit. Heading a team of
four, this is Rodrigue Flament’s territory. “If you want
to ensure a quality job, you have to take good care of
the equipment,” he says. “During the season, we have
one of our guys available day and night. The service
we receive in turn from Challenger is very good.
There’s always someone to speak to – it’s a
professional team.”
• As Serious Machinery went to press, the
Flaments upgraded their fleet with the
purchase of a second Challenger TerraGator
8333 which will take over the reins from
the TG2244. With its three wheels, quicker
headland turns and CVT transmission,
the brand-new machine is set to deliver
15-20% more productivity.
Plenty of Challenger product for VIP
guests to study in depth.
Challenger was out in force at France’s
Taking place at Outarville in the central region,
this is the most visited outdoor trade fair in
France and attracts some 90,000 visitors
and 300 exhibitors. Billed as the largest
agricultural field event in Europe, it makes
operational equipment more accessible by
means of a demonstration plot adjacent to
the stands.
The RG600 on the demo plot
at Innov-Agri.
“There’s nothing we like more than to
demonstrate our machines – seeing is
believing!” says Pascal Le Couedic, Challenger
Sales Manager – France. “Our stand attracted
a constant stream of visitors.”
On show were MT700C and MT800C tracked
tractors equipped with a variety of big
implements, plus a TerraGator 8333 applicator
with Tebbe box, and Spra-Coupe 4660 and
7660 sprayers. Taking centre stage was a new
RoGator 655 sprayer, skilfully demonstrated
by François Baures from Challenger dealer,
Ets Linard.
Pascal Le Couedic, Challenger
Sales Manager – France.
Following the show, Challenger ran a series of
VIP customer days for an in-depth look at the
latest products including the new RoGator 600
and MT765C tracked tractor. Around 50
specially-invited guests were treated to
technical presentations and then a ride and
drive session.
field,” remarks Pascal. “While the frontmounted cab initially takes some people by
surprise, it’s not long before they realise its
benefits. We received an overwhelmingly
positive response to the new machine with
many comments about its fantastic boom
stability, build quality and high-class
engineering and design.”
“Customers were impressed with the comfort
of the RG600 – both on the road and in the
• See page 20 for news of the upcoming
RoGator 600 roadshow.
Twice the speed
& less fuel too!
A Challenger MT765C is pleasing both owner and driver on an arable farm in the UK.
Having recently taken on some extra land, Sandy Walker
needed to achieve more output per day at the 800 ha
all-arable Ercall Park near Telford, Shropshire in the
English Midlands.
He is exceptionally pleased with the new MT765C.
“I’m covering so much more ground in a day,” he says.
It’s fulfilled all our expectations and more – I’m amazed
at what this machine can do.”
“We opted for a Challenger MT765C because we wanted
to get more work done in the time available,” explains
Sandy. “The move has certainly paid off and, on average,
we are travelling virtually twice as fast as we were with a
350hp wheeled tractor and using less fuel. The
Challengers also have a good reputation for long life and
durability. You only have to see the machine in action, and
its performance speaks for itself.”
Martin records fuel consumption meticulously at the
end of every working day and has noted savings of
20%. “Spread across a variety of jobs, I calculate the
MT765C’s average fuel consumption at 50 litres/hr
which compares to around 62 litres/hr with our previous
tractor,” he points out. “That’s an extremely good saving
in its own right but on top of that we are also doing twice
as much work – and all for a similar horsepower.”
Trading as MS Walker, the business is a partnership
between Sandy and his father, Scott. They crop 120 ha
potatoes, 400 ha wheat and 280 ha of rape and barley
on sandy to clay/loam soils.
He is a big fan of the MT765C’s Power Management
feature which matches power requirements to forward
speed. “This is a big advantage to any driver and I use
it all the time to get the maximum amount of work done
at lowest fuel consumption,” he says.
A driver’s view
The MT765C arrived on the farm in September 2009 in
time to tackle most of the autumn cultivations. “The
machine works with a 5-leg Flat Lift subsoiler, 4.4m
Sumo Trio cultivator, 6m Vaderstad spring-tine
cultivator/roller, and 9-furrow plough,” remarks
Martin Williams, who has been driving tractors for
over 30 years, 22 of those for the Walker family.
The MT765C is covering
the ground much more
quickly than the farm’s
previous tractor.
Power Management works by automatically controlling
the transmission shifts and the engine speed (rpm) to
keep the tractor working in its most efficient range at all
times. The engine’s intelligent electronics work with
transmission sensors to ensure the tractor is running
in the optimum power band for the engine.
Ploughing has also seen a big improvement. “With our
wheeled tractor we were working with a six-furrow
plough but the Challenger pulls nine furrows as if they
weren’t even there!” explains Martin. “This has
encouraged us to step up to a ten-furrow model.” In
other words, this equals a 66% increase in potential
work rates compared to the six-furrow regime.
The MT765C’s low ground pressure is making a major
difference especially when working with the Vaderstad
spring-tine cultivator. “We’re getting less compaction
and no longer have to fill in the 4-5 inch (12-15 cm)
wheel marks left by the previous tractor,” adds Martin.
“When you are sitting in the tractor cab for many hours
a day, seven days a week, comfort is important,” he
continues. “It’s a very comfortable ride and you
just don’t feel the bumps which is much better
for my back.”
Working with
the 4.4m Sumo
Trio cultivator.
Sandy Walker in
the potato shed –
the farm grows
120 ha of the crop.
With potato ridging in March/April, the Challenger came
into its own. “Working on top of freshly-ploughed
ground, the tractor needs to be able to ‘float’ on the soil
and not sink in which is where the tracks really help,”
says Sandy Walker.
Summing up, Martin comments. “It’s an absolutely
fantastic tractor. For anyone looking for a tracked
machine, the Challenger is definitely
the one to go for.”
Driver Martin Williams keeps careful
records of diesel usage and is impressed
with the MT765C’s average fuel
consumption of 50 litres/hr –
a 20% decrease compared
with a previous tractor.
Grubbenvorst in the Netherlands is Challenger’s central operations hub for
Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME).
Hub of act
Some 170 people work at the 5 ha Challenger site in
Grubbenvorst which is located in the province of
Limburg near the Maas River, just five kilometres
from the German border.
The facility includes manufacturing operations for
TerraGator and RoGator application equipment;
it is also the preparation centre for MT tractors and
Spra-Coupe machines in EAME. Other key functions
based here are engineering, purchasing, sales and
marketing, distribution and after sales. In addition,
the Serious Machinery Centre provides the focus
for after-sales training and support in the EAME
region for all Challenger application equipment.
Starting in the late 1980s, the Grubbenvorst team was
responsible for opening up the European market for
self-propelled application equipment. In the early days,
the American-designed TerraGator machines were
imported from the manufacturing facility in Jackson,
Minnesota. In 1999, the TerraGator 2104 was the first
machine of this type to be completely ‘European’designed and manufactured in Grubbenvorst. Shortly
after that, the first ‘European’ RoGator 618 was
introduced. Following the acquisition of the Jackson
plant by Challenger’s parent company, AGCO, the
preparation of Spra-Coupe sprayers was added to the
Grubbenvorst line-up. Meanwhile, the sales area
expanded to include Africa and Middle East, and the
site became the centre for all Challenger operational
activities and products in EAME.
Today, a 25-strong engineering department – including
prototype/testing and technical publications – looks
after the design of several TerraGator and RoGator
models. The TerraGator team is responsible for the
current TerraGator 2244, 3244 and the latest 8333
model – the first applicator with integrated CVT
transmission. Most recently, the RoGator team has
been fully-focused on the design of the brand-new
600 models. The software and electronics team
concentrates on high-end technologies such as
fully-integrated electronics, EDT (Electronic Diagnostic
Tool) and auto-guidance, and also develops modern
software strategies and solutions for integration into
both product lines.
As well as extensive internal know-how, Grubbenvorst
works together with design departments at OEM
The Serious Machinery Centre
focuses on training.
Preparing MT tracked tractors for delivery to European markets.
suppliers to develop new technologies. For example,
the new RG600 hydrostatic system was developed with
Bosch-Rexroth, and the independent wheel suspension
unit was a collaboration with ZF Lemförder GmbH.
Over in the manufacturing plant, the logistics
department takes care of in- and outbound components,
designed and built to Challenger’s specifications. These
come from suppliers in Europe, Asia and the United
States. In the assembly areas, some 60 technicians
work on the production of TerraGator and RoGator
models. Average annual production volumes have been
around 60 units for the TerraGator and 25 for the former
RoGator 418 and 618 models.
Until recently, all vehicles were produced using a
bay-built concept but the new RoGator 600 – with a
future annual planned volume of 200 units – is set to
be assembled and tested on a new production line
with three sequential production cells.
The 300m2 Serious Machinery Centre welcomes
service and sales staff from Challenger dealers and
importers (as well as operators themselves) for
in-depth training. Courses cover everything from
machine servicing to parts supply and field operation.
“These courses are an essential part of the Challenger
approach to provide the very best standards of service
to customers,” explains Thom Sanders, Challenger
Machines are put through more than 1000 hours punishing testing on the
bump track.
A TerraGator gets a final polish before leaving the plant.
Product Support Specialist
Application Equipment.
“Challenger representatives are
highly experienced, professional
agricultural machinery advisors who provide
continuous support that carries on well after the
initial purchase of the machine.”
• See more on the Grubbenvorst operation in our
picture special over the page.
Grubbenvorst – picture special
More images from Challenger’s European hub. Continued from P10-11
RoGator 600 –
the steering
Boom assembly of
the RoGator 600.
The RoGator 600 cabs are shipped in
from the Challenger facility in Jackson
and assembled and finished at
Attaching hoses
to the tank.
Working on Challenger Spra-Coupe machines
which are imported from the United States.
At Grubbenvorst, the machines are finished off and
any options requested by local markets are added.
Finishing the
engine hood
assembly on a
Pre-assembly of the axle
on the RoGator 600.
Checks on MT
tracked tractors.
Theory in the
The engineering department is responsible
for the design of TerraGator and
RoGator models.
Practical training
in the Serious
The CH652 and CH654B line up
for inspection.
Demo shows off machine
power and technology
Land belonging to the PEPE Group in Bulgaria
was a hive of activity last September when
owner Stoyan Pandev kindly hosted a major
demonstration of Challenger combines,
tracked tractors and application machinery.
“This was a real showcase of Challenger
technology and muscle,” reports Philip Lazarov,
Commercial Manager for Varex, Challenger
distributor in Bulgaria who organised the event.
Taking place near the village of Yakimovo in the
Montana District of the country’s north-west
region, machines showing their paces were
Challenger CH652 and CH654B combines,
MT765 tractors and a Spra-Coupe 4660 sprayer
which demonstrated the merits of high-speed,
low-volume spraying techniques. All the
machines were in the hands of experts as they
were operated in the field by PEPE’s own drivers
who use the equipment on a daily basis.
PEPE Group farms more than 2,500 ha and
grows all major crops including wheat, barley,
rape, sunflower and maize.
“The Group’s application of high tech equipment
for soil cultivation and harvesting dates back to
2007 and is based around the winning
combination of Challenger tractors and Simba
multi-functional cultivators plus two CH652 and
a CH65B combine harvesters,” explains Philip.
“Yield results over the last four seasons have
undoubtedly shown the benefits of employing
this equipment in Bulgarian soil and weather
conditions. Oil seed rape yields, for example,
have increased by an average of 20%, and wheat
and barley by 15%, over this four year period.
Yields of sunflower and maize have also risen
and the costs per hectare for all crops have
decreased significantly with the use of
Challenger/Simba technology.”
Stoyan Pandev is delighted with the performance of
the combines which coped admirably with the
extreme weather that dogged the 2010 Bulgarian
harvest. While the 2009 season was dry, 2010 was
beset by heavy rain and flooding. The beauty of
these combines is their flexibility which means that
they can adapt easily to these changing conditions.
During the event, the CH652 and CH654B,
equipped with Capello maize and sunflower
headers, demonstrated harvest of sunflower.
For grain crops, PEPE’s CH652 is fitted with a
6.6 metre FreeFlow table. This machine is ideal
for medium-to-large-scale operators and
contractors, and equally at home in cereals,
beans, peas, sunflowers, oil seed rape, grass
seed and maize.
Hydrostatic four-speed transmission allows
maximum harvesting flexibility, while the
machines are powered by the latest-generation
electronically-controlled engines. Optimum
threshing performance is assured with the
high-inertia cylinder and heavy-duty concave
featuring adjustable speed plus rotary separator.
Adjustments to the concave can be made
independently to the front and rear.
The model’s rotary separator provides extra
separation capacity – especially useful in damp
conditions and when straw volumes are high.
When not required, the rotary separator can be
Harvesting sunflower at the demo
in Bulgaria.
fulfils dual role
An innovative biomass harvesting system – employing
a Challenger 680B combine and LB34B big square
baler – is currently under development.
Spearheaded by AGCO, Challenger’s parent company,
this time-saving one-pass rig marries proven combine
technology with the durability and reliability of the baler.
It collects and packages clean maize stover, cobs and
leaf mixture into a 1 x 1.3-metre (3 ft x 4 ft) square bale.
What’s more, it provides a biomass product that has
minimal silicon (dirt) content compared to other
collection and storage options.
disabled by rotating its concave up over the
top of the separator drum. This, in turn,
provides the operator with more flexibility to
minimise straw damage as well as optimise
the grain sample and machine performance
in dry harvesting conditions. Furthermore, it
also reduces fuel consumption.
The first prototype was demonstrated in the United
States at the POET Project LIBERTY Field Day Iowa.
POET is the largest ethanol producer in the world and
recently set up a pilot cellulosic (matter derived from
wood, grass and non-edible parts of plants) ethanol
plant which uses maize cobs as feedstock.
“In the US, the cellulosic biofuels industry is providing
our customers with a new revenue opportunity,” says
Dean Morrell, AGCO Product Marketing Manager –
Hay and Forage Harvesting. “As this market develops,
equipment solutions are needed to help growers
efficiently harvest and transport high-tonnage biomass
feedstock to biofuel processors. We are committed to
developing practical and efficient solutions so that
growers can take advantage of these income opportunities.”
“Large square bales are efficient to stack, store and
transport,” Dean explains. “We believe this system
will be easily adapted to other sources of biomass
such as cereal grains. It also provides a clean, superior
maizestock-based afterfeed or bedding for beef and
dairy operations.”
• You can hear more about this new harvesting
system by logging on to
The CH654B is a top performance combine
for large-scale operators and contractors.
This advanced range meets the needs of
agri-businesses by achieving consistent high
output under wide-ranging crop and
harvesting conditions.
Fitted with a PowerFlow table as standard,
cutting widths on the 654B are available from
6.8m to 7.6m.
The machine’s heavy-duty concave minimises
flexing under load to deliver smoother and
increased grain flow. Boosted output comes
from the 8-straw walker design which
provides more separating action to separate
and shake the straw and remove the last
trapped grains. A special feature is ‘Constant
Flow’ which varies the forward speed of the
combine and automatically improves output
by keeping the cylinder and concave fully
loaded and the combine working at its most
efficient. With Constant Flow doing the
thinking, this leaves the operator time to
concentrate on other tasks.
“People from all over the country came along
to the demo and were also given the
opportunity to get up in the driving seat
themselves,” adds Philip.
The prototype biomass harvesting system just one pass is enough to harvest both grain
and crop residue.
A Dutch contracting company has invested in a
Challenger MT765B for land levelling duties.
This machine
makes a difference
Kees (left) and Cris Schilder.
Schilder carries out around 600 hours of a levelling
work a year and is further exploiting the versatility of the
Challenger MT765B with the purchase of a Farmtec
spader machine complete with built-in seeder and
rotary harrow which cultivates and seeds in one pass.
“This combination is too heavy for a wheeled tractor but
the Challenger is well up to the job,” says Kees.
“We have to continue to provide added value to stay
ahead of the competition,” say Kees and Cris Schilder.
“The Challenger MT765B allows us to do so in several
respects, which is why we think it’s champion.”
The Childers run Loonbedrijf Schilder and made the big
leap into purchasing the 320hp MT765B three years
ago. They set the Challenger tracked tractor to work
with a Bos Leveller during the peak period after harvest
and before sowing. The weather at this time is not
always reliable which naturally creates additional
pressure to get the levelling job done.
When the Challenger arrived, “it was immediately
evident that its tractive power was far greater than
expected,” according to the Schilders. The brothers
worked closely with Bos to customise the leveller to
their specification and create a super-robust machine.
It features a 6-metre wide, 1.6-metre high leveller board
plus the addition of two 1-metre-long side boards for
an extra-wide finish. The MT765B’s regular Agricultural
Tracks were upgraded to Extreme Agricultural versions
to better cope with the loads.
“It’s fantastic what the Challenger can achieve with this
leveller,” say the Schilders. “We are operating at almost
double capacity compared to our heavy-duty wheeled
tractors. In addition, the combination is particularly
stable and soil-friendly.”
Perfect ridges for chicory.
Pictures courtesy: Gert Vreeman.
In addition, the MT765B works with a six-metre
Baselier ridger for chicory operations. “Although this
job can be carried out by wheeled tractors, the
Challenger has less impact on the soil,” he adds.
The MT765B works with a
customised leveller.
The leveller has an adjustable leveller board to enable
the soil to be loosened effectively under all conditions
and produce a quality result. In order to level bulb fields
faster and more efficiently and deal with the mounds of
dumped soil, the Schilders have also added an extra
scraper to the front of the tractors. “Appropriate to this
higher capacity, we can therefore charge a reasonably
higher hourly rate than for the wheeled tractor
combinations,” explains Kees.
Despite the relatively high price of the MT765B, the
operational results make it extremely cost-effective.
“Roughly speaking we, we save a man and machine
combination when compared to a normal wheeled
tractor,” Kees comments. “This also reduces fuel
consumption and the cost price per cubic metre, per
hectare or per hour depending on the service provided.
That gives a completely different perspective on the
purchase price! The tracked tractor sets us apart in
terms of quality and capacity and also helps attract new
customers. 1000 hours a year is sufficient to make the
machine profitable and so we’re not ruling out having
more tracked tractors in our fleet in the future.”
• Adapted from an article in Grondig magazine
by Gert Vreeman.
Russell Fuhlbohm – his customers like the lightness of the 4660 because it
doesn’t cut deep tracks. (Picture courtesy: Graham Fuller, Rural Press Limited)
When it comes to being able to pass judgement
on farm sprayers and spray technology, Russell
Fuhlbohm is ideally positioned because he’s a
contractor as well as a producer.
From his 64 ha home property at Mount Molar,
in south-east Queensland, he was one of three
Queensland finalists in the 2010 Syngenta Crop
Protection annual Spray Awards competition for
spraying excellence.
Operating within a 50 km radius, the emphasis is
on managing the needs of the district’s producers
who range from lifestyle farmers to absentee
owners and also larger farming enterprises.
In addition, Russell leases some 44 ha of nearby
land thereby ensuring a hectic, but manageable,
work schedule throughout the year.
Although contract fertilising, cultivating and
planting operations are on offer to local producers,
the mainstay of this busy enterprise is undoubtedly
its self-propelled 4660 Spra-Coupe sprayer.
“They are great machines and their capital costs
are lower than that of bigger sprayers,” Russell
says. “But what a lot of my customers like is
their lightness - they don’t cut deep tracks.”
Powered by a 125hp engine and weighing 4.5 tonnes
dry and just 6 tonnes when loaded up, the sprayer
is fitted with bigger wheels which allow the 4660 to
A Spra-Coupe 4660 sprayer
is the lynchpin of an Australian
contracting business. Graham
Fuller reports.
‘tiptoe’ over soft ground, or when operating in wet
conditions. It features tank capacity of 1500 litres
and a 24-metre boom. Set up on 3.05-metre track
width for Controlled Traffic Farming, it also comes
into its own when carrying out hillside work where
stability is an important issue.
When it comes to work loads, the 4660 can
achieve some 40 ha/hour when travelling at
between 22 km/h to 24 km/h which is considered
to be optimum in flat field situations.
The idea is to minimise dust, and also any
‘shadowing’ effect – where the plant is sprayed
on one side only in the direction of travel –
resulting from the sprayer moving too fast.
“I am running low pressure air induction nozzles
and the bodies are changeable so I can have
three options depending on what job I am doing
and what pressure I plan to run at for the spray
quality required,” Russell remarks.
At just 18 months old, the 4660 had already
racked up 1500 hours work or around 20,000 ha.
With this regime, it looks to be fitting in well
with any contractor’s business maxim, namely
‘if a machine is not working, then it’s not
making money’.
A large part of the contract spraying business in
the late summer is spraying out mature sorghum
pre-harvest with the majority of work concentrating
on fallow spraying the rest of the year.
Interestingly, between 20%-30% of the Fuhlbohm
spray contracting operation is carried out at night.
“The best spraying times are not always in daylight
hours,” Russell said. “So, if it’s busy and the
conditions are right, we keep going but will pull
up when either temperature, humidity or wind
speed are too high, or too low. You have to
make these decisions on-the-go.”
Then there is that all-important paperwork. For
each job Russell must note weather conditions,
application rates, products and field references,
to name but a few examples that must be entered
in to his record-keeping system.
As to whether there are any conflicts between
managing his own property and honouring contract
commitments, the customer always comes first.
The point is illustrated in the small-scale nature of
the Fuhlbohm cropping programme which means
it can be tended to “very quickly,” neatly slotting in
with their yearly contract operations.
As a respected district contractor the emphasis is
on setting an example to farmer customers. This
means always using gloves when mixing, wearing
eye protection, even an apron to minimise the
effects of splashes.
Call the specialist
Since becoming a Challenger Product Specialist for UK
dealer Thurlow Nunn Standen (TNS) nearly seven years
ago, Dave Lovell has seen more than 100 MT tracked
tractors safely installed on customers’ farms. But that’s
just the tip of the iceberg in this key role that goes way
beyond closing a sale.
Covering the eastern counties of Norfolk, Suffolk,
Cambridgeshire and parts of North Essex, Dave is
responsible for the whole Challenger package – from
product demos to finance deals, service contracts,
driver instruction, tractor set-up plus advice on
implements and methods of working. There’s not
much Dave doesn’t know about Challenger tracked
machines – he’s one of the UK’s top experts and has
probably answered every question in the book
about their operation.
“When I’m talking to a customer who is thinking of
buying a tractor for the first time, one of the biggest
myths that I have to dispel is that tracks and wet weather
don’t go together,” he remarks. “This is an issue which
stems from the very early days of tracks and has
unjustifiably stuck around. It’s all about getting the
balance right and weighting up the machine correctly
for the job. The wetter the conditions, the more weight
you need to add to the front idlers. Similarly, when the
tractor is pulling hard – such as with a big tillage train
– it’s important to keep the tracks perfectly level and
flat on the ground, so again you need to add more
idler weight.”
“Another key element for today’s Challenger operator is
auto-guidance and this an area where I focus a lot with
drivers. It really has made a big difference in saving
time and fuel but also in reducing driver fatigue. Drivers
have told me that with auto-guidance, after two months
continuous drilling, their eyes are much less tired than
previously because they don’t have to focus on a marker
to ensure they are following the right line. The auto
guidance system keeps the tractor on course and
ensures there are no overlaps. It’s not until customers
have installed the system and used it that they realise
how good it is! I don’t know anyone who would go back
to the manual system once they have experienced the
advantages of the automatic eye.”
“It’s a major decision to move from wheels to tracks,”
Dave continues. “Of course, initially, the price looks
high in comparison. Thus, it’s a question of getting to
know a customer’s business and looking at the farm’s
whole regime to prove that the investment will pay off
with increased efficiencies through better traction,
boosted output and reduced soil compaction.”
“No two customers are the same – each has different
needs, demands and expectations,” he says. “For a
typical MT tracked tractor purchase, I visit the customer
a couple of times before arranging a demo which
usually lasts one to two days. After that, there are likely
to be three or four more visits before we conclude the
deal. Then I install the machine, set it up with the
different implements and instruct the main driver in its
operation. I call again several times once the machine
has been up and running and, of course, I’m always
available to advise on any aspect of the tractor such as
when a new implement arrives on the farm.”
“My role is as much after-sales as sales and I liaise
closely with our service and parts departments. Without
an excellent service team with the drive to support our
customers, the job wouldn’t be the same. Industryleading service support is essential and a major
contributor to repeat business.”
“Building strong relationships with customers,
providing the very best back-up and seeing the
Challenger tractors make a real difference – that’s
what makes this a great job!” Dave concludes.
Challenger specialist: Dave Lovell.
Agribikers descend on Grubbenvorst – pictured here with Dorus van Esch, Challenger Director
Sales & Distribution (far right).
Agribikers zoom in!
The roar of motorbikes resounded through Challenger’s European operations in
Grubbenvorst in the Netherlands as the Agribikers rode into town.
“As the name suggests, the Agribikers are a group of enthusiasts drawn together by
their common interests in motorbikes and agriculture,” explains Ryan Jackson,
Manager Marketing Services, Challenger. “They are all agricultural journalists and
every year they organise a weekend excursion to a destination with a farm machinery
theme. We were delighted when they chose Grubbenvorst for their 2010 outing.”
10 Agribikers from Germany and the Netherlands took up the invitation and were
treated to tour of the Grubbenvorst operations plus an overview of the Challenger
brand. They were also given the opportunity to swap their customary two wheels
for tracks and big tyres with a ride-and-drive session on a variety of Challenger
product. “They thought their motorbikes had a tight turning circle until they tried
the MT800C tracked tractor – it certainly ran rings around the two-wheelers!”
adds Ryan.
Miniature harvest
One of the latest scale models to be added to the Challenger gift range is a 1:32 CH680B rotary
combine equipped with a PowerFlow table that can be fitted either to the front of the model or
towed behind.
Speak to your Challenger dealer or order online at where you can
also check out the complete range of gifts and clothing.
A new scale model from Challenger.
A Challenger tracked tractor has been
chosen as one of the ‘tractors that
changed world’ by a Dutch magazine.
LanbouwMechanisatie, a leading
farm machinery journal, cited the
revolutionary rubber tracks on
the Challenger MT800 as the key
development which made a big
difference to farming practices
and thereby ‘changed the world’.
The magazine featured the MT800 on
its stand at AgroTechniek Holland 2010,
a brand-new show for the Dutch
agricultural sector which took place
for the first time in September 2010
at Biddinghuizen.
New RoGator
hits the road!
The Challenger RoGator 600
roadshow will be travelling all
over Western Europe this spring
in a series of exclusive events
demonstrating the impressive
features of this exciting
brand-new sprayer.
The one-day workshops by
special invitation will take place in
Germany, France, UK, Benelux
and Denmark, starting from the
beginning of March and running
through to late April.
spraying techniques to the latest
regulations affecting the industry.
Also showing its paces will be a
Challenger MT tracked tractor.
As well as the chance for visitors
to drive the machine, the event
will include guest speakers
covering a range of topics
including everything from
“We’ll be taking the RoGator
sprayer to the heart of local
markets so that customers can
see for themselves just what this
revolutionary new machine can do
• For more information on dates
and venues, please contact
your local Challenger dealer or
go to the Challenger website:
Catch the new RoGator 600 in action at
the spring roadshow in Western Europe.
Serious Machinery comes to you with the compliments of:
Cat®, Caterpillar® and Challenger® are registered trademarks of Caterpillar Inc
and are used under licence by AGCO.
for their spraying operations,”
says Ryan Jackson, Challenger
Marketing Services Manager.