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One Year With Fendt 724: Kirton Farming Share Their Experience

Farmer Michael Paul (left) is pictured with tractor operator John Tooley
October 19, 2023 Machinery

A year after the first Fendt tractor arrived on a large East Suffolk estate, the farmer and the tractor’s operators remain very happy with their buying decision.


The Fendt 724 Vario Gen 6 was purchased by Kirton Farming Ltd in autumn 2022 and supplied by Thurlow Nunn Standen (TNS). It met the farm’s requirement for a highly versatile tractor with a low unladen weight but that could also be ballasted to increase traction and for working with heavy implements. It replaced a slightly less powerful tractor of another brand.


“Last time we changed tractor brands was in 2009, and since then we have owned a succession of tractors of the same make all from the same local dealer, and received back-up that was second to none,” explained farm owner and manager, Michael Paul.

The Fendt 724 Vario Gen 6 was purchased by Kirton Farming Ltd in autumn 2022
 The Fendt 724 Vario Gen 6 was chosen because of recommendations from several local farmers

When the farm’s mid-sized tractor was due for updating last year, a consultant friend of Michael’s suggested that he should consider a Fendt. “I had always considered the brand too expensive to justify, but when we compared the Fendt price and specification with that of the newer version of the tractor we were replacing and then added on all the extras needed, the Fendt surprisingly cost less.”


Fendt’s reputation for fuel economy was also an attraction. “Our diesel costs have increased significantly in recent years, so we are always keen to consider anything that uses less diesel and could save us money,” pointed out Michael.


Unbeatable warranty

The manufacturer warranty was considered another major advantage. “We could buy it with a full five-year warranty, with the option to pay to extend it to eight years at any time,” continued Michael. “I was confident that the Fendt would be reliable, but that sort of manufacturer guarantee provides extra reassurance. Whether we keep the tractor for longer – protected against the cost of repairs, or sell it with its remaining warranty for a higher price, it’s definitely worth having.”

Farmer Michael Paul
Farm owner and manager, Michael Paul

References sought

The Fendt 724 Vario Gen 6 was trialled and compared to the farm’s existing tractors, and quickly proved popular with the experienced operators. Before committing to the Fendt and placing his order, Michael also spoke with several farmers already using Fendt tractors supplied by TNS. “In recent years we had bought several smaller items from TNS, but nothing significant requiring immediate back-up. The feedback from everyone we spoke to was extremely positive regarding both the Fendt brand and the dealer, so we placed our order and the Fendt 724 Vario Gen 6 arrived last November.”


Ideal drilling tractor

The Fendt’s primary role is drilling. A 4m Vaderstad drill establishes most crops, and a Claydon direct-drill has recently been ordered from TNS, replacing a 6m mounted tine seeder. Michael explained that the Claydon drill has been ordered for use within the existing min-till crop establishment regime. “We drill later in the autumn to give grass weeds and volunteers time to chit before being sprayed off ahead of drilling. If conditions turn wet before drilling is finished, then we believe the Claydon drill will continue performing successfully and allow us to work for longer when our main drill would struggle. It will also penetrate effectively to establish wheat into land which has been left to weather, without needing additional pre-cultivations. We are interested in the possibility of direct-drilling when conditions are right in future, so this year we are planting some second wheat and beans direct into stubbles and we will monitor the crops’ progress and yields next harvest.”

Drilling is its primary role on the 1,100ha East Suffolk arable farm.
Drilling is Fendt 724’s primary role on the 1,100ha East Suffolk arable farm

Light enough for top work

Fertiliser application is another of the Fendt’s main roles. For most of the spring and early summer the standard tyres are replaced by a set of narrow rowcrops. It cuts hedges in the winter and spends a lot of time fitted with a mower topping grass. It is also used for spring seedbed cultivations ahead of sugar beet and pea drilling and applies Avadex through a mounted 24m spreader. Its light weight and the narrow wheels also make it ideal for moving the farm’s irrigation system.

We wanted a versatile tractor suitable for a wide variety of tasks all year around, and in its first 10 months, it has already recorded 780 hours,” continued Michael. “In contrast, the larger tractor is used only for heavy cultivations, and it works approximately 400 hours per year.’

Main operator, John Tooley said he loves the FendtONE cab
Main operator, John Tooley said he loves the FendtONE cab

Reduced fatigue

The Fendt 724 Vario Gen 6 has the FendtONE operating concept, allowing users to adapt the controls and display terminals to suit their pretences for a particular task. The tractor’s main user is John Tooley. “I love the Fendt cab,” he stressed. “It’s quiet and comfortable and the visibility is superb. The controls are excellent, and I quickly got used to them. It’s a rewarding tractor to drive and even after almost a year using it; I’m still finding new features. One I find particularly useful is ‘Angle to A-B’ in the autosteer menu. For jobs such as stubble raking, we work at an angle to the tramlines rather than driving straight along them, and I can simply select and activate that guidance mode in the menu. Using my previous tractor for the same task meant setting up completely new A-B lines.”


Saving diesel

Pulling the Vaderstad drill across flat fields of dry, medium loam soils the Fendt easily maintains a 16kph working speed – equivalent to a spot hourly work rate of 6.5ha, while burring only 37 litres of diesel per hour. “It uses far less fuel than the tractor it replaced. Direct comparison is difficult and the Fendt design is newer, but we estimate average savings of 10 litres for every hour worked, and I can easily achieve two full days of drilling without having to refuel,” added John.

Farmer Michael Paul (left) is pictured with tractor operator John Tooley
Farmer Michael Paul (left) is pictured with tractor operator John Tooley

Excellent dealer

Back-up from the TNS Melton depot team has proved just as good as Michael had hoped. “There have been no reliability issues, but when the tractor is due for a service then the TNS engineer turns up at the time we agreed. The Area Sales Manager, Kyle Tew is always helpful and when we call for advice then he understands what we need and quickly finds a solution. His background working in the service department helps, as he knows the range of products inside out.”


Potential order for a second Fendt

TNS recently lent the farm a larger Fendt 728 Vario Gen 7 tractor to try, of which first customer deliveries recently started. “We are considering options for the future, and the 728 Vario impressed everyone who tried it,” confirmed Michael.

“When we bought our first Fendt, we invested in a brand we weren’t familiar with from a dealer we hadn’t worked with for a long time, so it was very much uncharted territory. However, TNS and the Fendt tractor have met and exceeded all our expectations so far, so if Kyle Tew can put together an acceptable deal, then it’s likely we will end up with a 728 Vario too.”


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