Posted on 6th April 2022

Technology gives Fendt the edge

Technology gives Fendt the edge

H. Barker & Sons is a family farming partnership in North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire. The main operation is arable farming; growing cereals, root crops, and vining peas, as well as a fleet of 16 lorries for bulk and hay and straw haulage.

Such a large-scale farming business needs lots of machines to help it run smoothly. H.Barker & Sons use various top machinery brands such as Fendt, Massey Ferguson, JCB and Valtra to name a few. They use Challenger and a competitor brand for primary cultivations.

We spoke to Fred Barker, Partner at H. Barker & Sons, to see what he had to say about the role of machinery and technology within the business.

“Our most recent purchase was three 9 series Fendt tractors which go on three Fendt balers. I like these Fendt tractors because they are large horsepower machines whilst being relatively small and manoeuvrable. Wherever possible, we use lorries rather than tractors for road haulage. I am a big believer that tractors should remain in fields and lorries are for road work, however, tractors do need to get from field to field and these tractors feel very well planted and safe on the road, even at high speed. The removable weights mean that you can ballast them more or less, depending on the job you’re doing.”

“The technology side was quite a big factor when they were
making the right choice on their next machines”, Fred told us. “Historically, all record keeping was done on paper, we had maps, farm and field names. Drivers who were unfamiliar with the farms would be unsure which field was which or even if they were in the right one. I can only think of one occasion where we have started baling in a wrong field, but it could easily happen. With the introduction of technology, we now create jobs in advance which includes a field map, size, and crop information. The jobs are then sent out to the tractors remotely. Once the tractor enters the field boundary the operator is notified of any pending jobs for that field. If there is no notification, then there are no planned jobs for that field. Once the job is selected, work can begin."

"The tractor records all operation information including start and finish times, bale numbers, tonnage, and moisture. Once the tractor leaves the field boundary, a notification will ask if the job is complete or if it is to be returned to. If completed is selected, all information is sent back to my computer. This is useful and efficient as I’ve got an instant and real-time record of what’s been done, what straw would need paying for and what straw we’ve got in stock.”

This provides a great insight into how the Fendt technology aids this business and surely many others within the same industry. As well as the current technology available, we wanted to know where Fred sees the future of machine technology assisting his business. Fred has some fantastic ideas on this topic.

“Going forward, specifically for baling, I’d like to be able to record the moisture of each bale as I go along. The tractor that is chasing and collecting the bales up could communicate with the baler by sharing the moisture data, so that it would then know which bales are wetter or drier. One way to build on this could be a traffic light system to organise the bales. So, bales below 14% moisture would be green. 14%-18% would be amber, and 18% or above would be red. The bales could then be collected and stacked according to their colours.”

“It does not matter what brand of machines you buy, tractors, lorries or cars, they all break down. Some may be more reliable than others, but it all comes down the the dealership back up. I have to say the 9 series Fendts have been fantastic, they never missed a beat. The balers have gone very well too with only a couple of minor breakdowns. These were dealt with promptly and efficiently by the P&B service team, Mark and Gary were quick to get any problems sorted. Sam is the baler specialist at Peacock & Binnington, he is very willing and capable and has a genuine interest in the balers with a keen eye for detail.”