AGCO Equipment Helps This Family Farm Do More Work with Less Labor

A full shed of AGCO tractors, haying, tillage and planting equipment gets the job done.

By Jamie Cole | Photos By Jamie Cole

When Jim Fontaine says he’s not interested in getting bigger as a business (see their full story here), it doesn’t mean he and brother Steve aren’t growing their equipment inventory. In fact, their do-it-themselves approach to efficiency means the equipment needs to work harder, cost less to run and go easier on the operator.

The Fontaine family.

The Fontaine family.

That’s why they converted from another brand to a shop full of AGCO solutions, including equipment from Challenger,® Massey Ferguson,® Hesston,® Sunflower® and White Planters.

“For the two bigger Challengers, we traded in two Case Magnums,” says Jim. “You feel like you got banged around in that [Case]. When you’re on the bunk and you’re shifting, you have to go through all those gears to shift, and it’s just a lot of jerking.”

Their Massey Ferguson and Challenger tractors share the CVT transmission, and with that, “the front-end suspension and the cab suspension, it’s just a good package because it’s all working together,” says Jim.

Adds Steve: “You get out of the tractor and you can stand up straight,” he laughs. “Nothing hurts on your body.”

The CVT transmission helps save fuel on the road too. “With the other brand of tractor, to get to the full road speed, you got the rpm all the way up to 2,200, 2,300,” says Jim. “With the AGCO tractors, you can have your rpm at 1,500 and still go 35 mph.”

The tractors work perfectly with their Sunflower 6630 tillage tool, yet another AGCO piece in their arsenal. “With another brand of tractor, when we would drop the implement in the ground, it would stall,” says Jim. Not so with the Challengers. Last year, the Fontaines added a Sunflower 9421 grain drill, and are about to take delivery on a White Planters 9812.

The experts at Java Farm Supply, the Fontaines’ dealership, also believed Jim and Steve would benefit from a larger hay bale size; when the brothers were last looking for a baler, they decided on the Hesston 2170XD. “It makes a nice bale, it doesn’t fall apart, and it weighs 1,200 pounds versus the small ones that weigh 900. There are less bales to store and haul,” says Steve. And it’s better for bunk too. “You carry two bales out, and you have more hay on the bunk for the TMR mixer,” he says.

Jim and Steve don’t see themselves going back to “the other brand.” “The more you hop into the Challenger or the Massey Ferguson, the more comfortable you feel,” Jim says. “I told the dealership: ‘You should put one of these tractors on every farm.’”