Smooth Power from AGCO Equipment

An Illinois farm family finds success with Massey Ferguson and Gleaner.

By Des Keller | Photos By Christy Couch Lee

Soybean harvest is two-thirds complete on the Gronewold family farm outside Carthage, Illinois. As Ashton Gronewold pulls a grain cart alongside the family’s Gleaner® combine that his father, Merlin, is operating, the younger Gronewold is thankful for their Massey Ferguson® 8660 tractor.

“The best thing I like about this tractor has to be the CVT transmission,” says the 32-year-old. “Everything we do with it happens smoothly with those seamless shifting gears. And this tractor can also move down the road at 32 or 33 mph, keeping us on schedule to cover a lot of ground during harvest and spring fieldwork.”

Merlin echoes those comments. “The speeds are infinite with the CVT,” he says. “You can push the T-handle forward to speed up or back to slow down. There isn’t that stopping to use a clutch and shift gears through a set range.”

The CVT is particularly valuable when the Gronewolds are installing drainage tile as part of a family side business. In that work, they may travel as slowly as 0.2 mph to 1.2 mph. The tractor’s smooth shifting prevents any surges that can change the pitch of the plow while in operation. “It’s almost like the CVT is made for that work,” Merlin adds.

Along with the MF8660, the Gronewolds also own two other Massey tractors (an MF8650 and MF6490) and the Gleaner combine (an S67) with a 40-foot 9255 DynaFlex® draper head. 

While pleased with them all, Merlin can’t say enough good things about the 9255 DynaFlex.

“I love this draper head,” says the 55-year-old. “It used to be I’d almost rather take a beating than cut beans, but this head is so smooth. And with the 40-foot width, we move slower but harvest more beans.” The heavy-duty reel assembly feeds beans smoothly under almost any condition. Previously, according to Merlin, damp beans would cause the auger to clog, then surge with uneven feeding. 

The core of the Gronewolds’ satisfaction with their AGCO® equipment is the service of A.C. McCartney Equipment in Carthage, one of the dealership’s four locations in Illinois.

“Their service has been excellent,” Merlin says. “For me, it is all about location and service, and they have both. I’ve called them at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, and they are there to answer the phone, then help if need be. That’s a good thing.”