What is driving the ‘third chapter’ for AGCO?

By Chad Elmore25 November 2021

AGCO looks to a future filled with smart machines and Fendt as a full-line supplier.

Immediately following his appointment as chairman, president and chief executive officer of AGCO earlier this year, Eric Hansotia said the “whole leadership team and I spent a lot of time doing a deep dive assessment — a strategy refresh — to take a look under every stone throughout the entire company.”

AGCO’s goal is to make the Fendt brand a full-line supplier. Applicators such as the new RoGator 900 are an important step in that direction.

That project has set in motion what could be considered the third chapter in AGCO’s history. The farm equipment manufacturer began in 1990 when Bob Ratliff led the management team that set the company’s foundation: a global manufacturer was assembled from the pieces of respected farm equipment manufacturers and through strategic acquisitions that followed for several years. Its acronym comes from Allis (from the original Allis-Chalmers) Gleaner Corp.

AGCO second chapter
The second chapter started in 2004, when Martin Richenhagen joined AGCO as president and CEO. He helped build an operating company out of a holding company when the pieces were brought together. Acquisitions slowed as the emphasis was placed on organic growth, streamlining processes and strengthening its dealer network. The third chapter began January 2021, when Hansotia was promoted from AGCO’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.

“We looked at our products and geography and we asked a lot of questions about the company,” said Hansotia. “Then we grouped our opportunities and identified areas where we can really win. During that process, we talked to a lot of farmers, a lot of dealers, and to people in other industries such as automotive. We also surveyed our employees — 10,000 filled it out. What came out of that was a number of different things that defined our new strategy. At the top is our purpose statement and our new vision statement.”

Hansotia said the purpose statement defines “why AGCO exists. Our purpose is something we expect to be long-lasting. Our purpose is to deliver farmer-focused solutions to help farmers sustainably feed the world. We intend to be the most farmer-focused company in the industry. To us, that means we not only understand our products and how they are designed and used, but also the agronomy of how plants grow or the economics of how a farmer makes money. We were not as strong as we needed to be in those areas, and now we are actively changing that with farmer panels, crop tours and more.”

AGCO’s long-term future
AGCO’s vision statement is a long-term look toward the future and the direction the company will take to get there. “The goal is to be a trusted partner for industry-leading smart farming solutions,” said Hansotia. “We are there with them, understanding their problems and the impact of those problems on their operations and their crops. Then you work with them on the solutions. That’s what our demo farms and crop tours are all about. We’re getting closer to co-learning and co-designing with our farmers.”

To that end, said Hansotia, the company is focused on developing smart machines, from its tractors to its combines to planters. “The equipment understands the environment they’re operating in and can see how conditions change in the crop, soil or environment, and they make onboard calculations and adjustments as needed.”

The applicator’s height can adjust so growers can get more versatility out of the machine.

Included in the company’s strategy are several growth engines: using AGCO’s multi-brand platform to provide different solutions for different customers; prioritizing the development of smart machines – “that’s where we’re putting a lot of our product investment toward, to becoming the leader there,” said Hansotia, “and while this industry is still largely based on brick and mortar, customers in other industries have engaged in a digital alternative. We’ve been investing for a few years in a digital customer experience, creating the tools to create digital highways for our customers.”

Growing the Fendt business is an integral part of AGCO’s future, as well. “Fendt started as a German-owned tractor company and AGCO purchased it during our first chapter,” said Hansotia. “Ratliff was able to purchase them before anybody realized they were for sale. We’ve been growing that business, but a few years ago, we started really switching gears. We have a great business with Fendt, so we decided to take it full line and offer all of the solutions farmers need throughout the crop cycle.”

Farmers are passionate about the Fendt brand, he said, and AGCO is “being very careful with it – a product will never carry the Fendt brand until it’s earned the brand. A dealer will never sell a Fendt product until they’ve earned it. We’re being extremely careful to protect the Fendt experience. It’s the best of the best.”

North America’s 72 Fendt dealers
In North America there are 72 Fendt dealers with more than 200 total outlets, and the company said it is working to grow that coverage while increasing its visibility to the “North American farmer so that they know that there is a choice in their farming operations,” said Morgan Stallings, director of Fendt marketing, AGCO North America, “and we’ve really doubled down on expanding awareness of the brand in North America.”

The Fendt 900 Gen7 Series tractors from AGCO now come with the FendtONE operator station for individually customized operation of the tractor.

Smart farming and Fendt have long been connected, and the company has introduced several new models that solidify that fact.

The new adjustable-clearance Fendt Rogator 900 offers nutrient and crop protection versatility for both liquid and dry applications. As crop production practices evolve and farmers make more late-season passes to apply nutrients and fungicides or seed cover crops, the need for high-clearance equipment is greater to clear tall crops like corn, sugar cane, sunflowers and others.

Pre-plant, postemergence, mid-season, late-season and post-harvest applications can be accomplished with one machine, said the company. With the push of a button, the two new H (high-clearance) models automatically raise from standard to high clearance of up to 76 inches in less than 45 seconds for critical late-season dry or liquid application and less disturbance of tall crops. After application, the applicators just as quickly return to standard clearance of 56 to 60 inches, depending on model, for stability on the road. It can be switched from liquid to dry application or vice versa in as little as two hours.

“The Fendt Rogator 900 is the first of its kind – the only self-propelled, rear-mounted boom applicator with adjustable clearance and easy conversion between liquid and dry systems for ultimate versatility,” said David Fickel, manager of tactical marketing for application equipment at AGCO. “Because the new Rogator can be equipped for nearly any type of crop care application, customers not only optimize their investment in the machine, but have greater control over when and how products are applied. That helps ensure better product use for higher yields and an overall better return on their crop care investment.”

Owners of Fendt tractors and combines as well as the current RoGator C Series applicator will find the multifunction joystick and armrest of the Rogator 900 series familiar.

The Rogator 900 Series has five models: RG932, RG934, RG934H, RG937 and RG937H, with liquid capacities ranging from 900 to 1300 gal., or dry spinner systems with capacities ranging from 253 to 330 cu.ft.

The RG932 and RG934, with 70 in. diameter tires, have 56 in. standard clearance; the RG937 has 80-inch tires and 60 in. standard clearance. The two high-clearance, dual-position chassis models, RG934H and RG937H, change to clearance heights of 72 in. and 76 in., respectively. All models have AGCO Power 8.4 L diesel engines ranging from 315 hp to 365 hp.

Steel booms of 90, 100 and 120 ft. lengths with 10, 15 and 20 in. nozzle spacing are available to suit specific width, volume and broadcast needs. An optional aluminum 132 ft. boom, which is 5% lighter than a 120 ft. steel boom, is also offered.

The Fendt Rogator 900 Series was developed and manufactured in Jackson, Minn. Customers can place orders at Fendt dealerships beginning in October, with delivery beginning in the second quarter of 2022.

New Tractor

The new Fendt 900 Gen7 Series and 1000 Gen3 Series tractors come with the FendtONE operator station, which features up to three large, easy-to-read display screens, as well as a new multifunctional joystick and customizable control buttons built into the redesigned right-hand armrest. Both new series also come standard with five years of Fendt Connect telematics that allows an operator or their dealer to remotely monitor important machine data.

The Fendt 1000 Gen3 Series tractors are available with MAN diesel engines ranging from 396 HP to 517 hp. Thes tractors are designed for year-round use, including heavy tillage, planting, combine chaser work and large-square baling.

“The philosophy behind the FendtONE operator station is its simple design and function. Fendt has delivered technology that is easy to use by incorporating setup of all the tractor and implement functions through an intuitive touchscreen system,” says David Soliday, AGCO senior tactical marketing manager for tractors.

The operator station gets a 12 in. LED touchscreen display mounted on the armrest, connecting the operator to all tractor functions. A second optional 12-inch display recessed into the roof liner can be pulled down when needed.

“The added display area is important for farmers who want to monitor many of Fendt’s smart farming programs, including ISOBUS for variable rate control or implement management; guidance with TI Headland; and more,” Soliday said.

FendtONE is not only connected with the operator inside the tractor cab, it also is able to share data back and forth from the cab to the office in real time. Both new series also come standard with five years of Fendt Connect telematics that allows an operator or their dealer to remotely monitor important machine data.

“If a farmer is interested in monitoring machine hours, fuel consumption, machine location, whether it needs service or when it needs to refuel, FendtONE can simplify some of those tasks,” Soliday says. “It will also share error codes if the driver is not operating the tractor properly, so the issue can be corrected right away.”

The Fendt 1000 Gen3 Series includes four models ranging in power from 396 hp to 517 hp for year-round work, including heavy tillage, planting, combine chaser work and large-square baling. Track width can be adjusted down to 60 inches for row crop applications. The Fendt 1000 Gen3 Series has a top road speed of 31 mph.

Complementing the larger 1000 Gen3 Series, the Fendt 900 Gen7 Series tractors include five models ranging from 296 to 415 hp.

Fendt 900 Gen7 Series is powered by a six-cylinder, 9.0 L MAN engine and the 1000 Gen3 Series by a six-cylinder, 12.4 L MAN engine.

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