The Massey Fergsuon 5711: Perfect Prize for an Award-Winning Livestock Operation
It didn’t take Farmer of the Year Michael McDowell long to be impressed with the ideal utility tractor for his operation.
By Jamie Cole | Photos By Jamie Cole
When Michael McDowell climbs into the cab of the Massey Ferguson 5711, he’s seeing something he hasn’t seen before. For one thing, it’s a new tractor; he took delivery on the machine as part of his prize package just after winning the Southeastern Farmer of the Year award at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, so he hasn’t logged many hours yet. For another, “the visibility of the cab on this tractor is the best I’ve been in.”“The visibility of the cab on this tractor is the best I’ve been in.”Click To Tweet
Michael weaves in and out of gates, buildings and, most importantly, award-winning purebred Angus cattle in the field, often with hay spears on the front and back of the machine. “I feel very comfortable, almost as if I’m in an open-station tractor,” he says. And the comfort doesn’t end there; it’s about more than a “cushy seat,” he says.
“When you’re feeding cattle, you’re in and out of the cab a number of times, opening gates, crossing fences,” he says, especially with his rotational grazing setup. “The space in the cab, the tilt on the wheel, the retractable buddy seat, all of it makes the cab easy to enter and exit.”
Once he’s in the seat, the power shuttle makes the ride comfortable, too. “Other tractors have shuttles, but the part that’s unique is being able to program how quick the response is but in forward and reverse. The shift is very gentle, and it’s not jerking or spinning the tires, digging holes.” That’s conserving the tires, “and the soil under the tires,” he says.
Like any farmer, the balance between income and inputs is a constant challenge. “The only way we can overcome it is efficiency,” says Michael, “and my impression is that this will be a very efficient tractor for us,” he says. “That matters a lot because do spend quite a bit of time based on our layout both on the highway as well as in the field.”
This tractor may be new to McDowell, but Massey Ferguson is not. He learned to drive a tractor on the MF135, and still has a MF375 on the farm for odd jobs.
William White, store manager with the Danville, Virginia, location of Boone Tractor, and AGCO Field Specialist Mark Frutchey have visited McDowell on the farm to help make adjustments and get the machine running just as he needs it. “It’s a good match for his operation,” says White. See more about the tractor here and about McDowell’s award-winning operation here.