A Non-Stop Fleet of AGCO Tractors

AGCO tractors help one of the world’s largest sugar producers get their crop in and out of the field, even when it means running 24/7.

By Des Keller | Photos By Michael DeHoog

Between U.S. Sugar and Glades Planting LLC, the South Florida operations this past year used no fewer than 52 tractors from AGCO to help put sweetener on tables worldwide. Between last October into this coming April, U.S. Sugar leased 20 MF7622s that will haul heavy wagons loaded with sugar cane from the fields to rail car elevator collection points.

Those tractors work 24 hours per day, says Juan Cervera, U.S. Sugar’s harvest operations manager.

Those tractors work 24 hours per day, says Juan Cervera, U.S. Sugar’s harvest operations manager.

“Those tractors work 24 hours per day,” says Juan Cervera, U.S. Sugar’s harvest operations manager. “One harvest crew comes on at 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., then a second crew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. They are hauling an average of 4,500 tons of cane per day.”

“When you look at our operation, we put 3,500 hours on a tractor in a season,” says Heather Banky, managing director of grower relations, fleet & special projects. “You don’t see that happen in three or four years in other businesses.

“Juan even manages the fuel usage,” says Banky. “You can save money without spending a dime just by being smart with managing machinery. They’ve done a real good job with that.” This year, all the tractors were equipped with AGCO’s AgCommand® monitoring system, which will increase their ability to monitor performance, including fuel usage.

U.S. Sugar is on its second year using the MF7622. The reviews are glowing. “They pull really well,” says Cervera. “They pull better than the John Deeres of the same size. The operators like them. They are comfortable.” (In part because of their size, U.S. Sugar uses equipment from several farm equipment brands.)

Glades Planting contracts with U.S. Sugar to plant cane, spray crop-protection chemicals and apply fertilizer. In 2015 they leased eight MF5612s, eight MF5613s, and 16 Challenger® MT465B tractors. Like U.S. Sugar, they leased the machinery from Kelly Tractor in Clewiston.

“The biggest thing is to be able to support the tractor,” says Trey Dyess, co-owner of Glade Planting. “And we have to say Kelly Tractor does a really good job.” Dyess and partners also own two of AGCO’s RoGator® sprayers, an RG1100 and an RG900.

“We get 32 tractors from them. We’re the biggest ag rental for Kelly Tractor,” says Dyess. “As long as they do good service work, we’ll stay with them.”

U.S. Sugar depends on Kelly as well and, as with Glades, the commitment from Kelly Tractor is solid. “They have to be running all the time,” says Clayton Jones of Kelly Tractor. “Any downtime is expensive. They depend on our parts department, and we stay pretty stocked up. We are on call 24 hours per day.”

<< See the full story, “Sugar Cane: Hard Work, Sweet Result”