Keeping Fendt Tractors and Massey Ferguson Balers Busy
A huge fleet of AGCO equipment—in all sizes—helps keep this family’s huge hay and feed business moving forward.
By Jamie Cole | Photos By Cody James
Barr-Ag Limited in Olds, Alberta, shipped some 100,000 tons of product in 2020, all over the world, including timothy grass, alfalfa, wheat straw and, starting this year, corn silage. That kind of production needs a fleet of dependable—and comfortable—equipment to keep the trucks and ships full.
Barry Schmitt, president and founder of the company that started on his family farm in 2004 and is now the largest exporter of hay in Canada, has to check with his son Tyler to get a count of the number of Fendt tractors he’s running in the fields these days. “It’s tough to keep count,” he says, as 24 Fendt tractors and 14 Massey Ferguson balers make their way across some 43,000 acres of forage and crop land.
“We have them all sizes,” says Barry, who bought his first Fendt tractor from Hanlon Ag Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. Their fleet does in fact include at least one tractor in every Fendt series, from the 1000s down to the 500s. More than a dozen smaller Massey Ferguson tractors round out the fleet, handling various tasks around the farm.
Barry’s review of the tractors will come as no surprise: “We like them because they’re dependable, they’re comfortable, they’re fuel efficient,” he says. “What really makes it work is the combination of good equipment, good dealership, good access to parts, and people willing to go the extra mile.”
That last part describes Barr-Ag’s dealer, Brendon Hanlon, perfectly, Barry says. “I can’t say enough about the service and commitment,” says Barry. “Brendon’s the only guy who texts me at ten o’clock at night to see how many bales were made that day, making sure the equipment’s running good,” he says. “You just couldn’t find a better team to work with and a company to grow with.”
Hanlon Ag Centre was also there with Barry when it came time to fulfill a promise to his daughter, Rayelle (see the full story here). In a visit with FarmLife back in 2015, Rayelle said on camera that she asked her dad for a “pink Fendt and/or baler. And he said, ‘Yeah, when you do work for me, I’ll get you one,’” she says. “I had gotten pretty used to answering the question, ‘So when are you going to get your pink tractor?’” she laughs.
When it finally came to be this year, she was ready; she’d been training with her dad and brothers for years to drive on her own. “After a couple hours of training, I was good to go by myself,” she says. “We spend 12 hours sometimes in these big tractors, going from tedding to raking to baling, and honestly, it’s just all super comfortable.”
Rayelle got her pink tractor, a Fendt 828, and baler, a Massey Ferguson 2270XD, at an event held by Hanlon Ag Centre in the fall of 2020. “Where else do you find a dealer that can pull this off and make this happen?” says Barry. “We really appreciate Brendon and Hanlon Ag.”
And Barry is quick to remind Rayelle of what the pink tractor and baler represent, beyond fulfilling a wish. In his speech dedicating the tractor at the Hanlon Ag Centre event, Barry summed it up: “Today, Rayelle, your father keeps his promise. May you carefully drive and produce lots of bales.” (She has; some 16,000 this fall.) “When you’re driving this, you represent… the daughters, the women in agriculture in Canada.”