Operating a fleet of Fendt tractors is a dream for many, but for Tom Rees it has been a project that started when he bought a 20-year-old 2001 Fendt 714 to be a third tractor on his mixed farm in Pembrokeshire.

Despite his tractors being supplied and serviced by Chandlers, the emergence of Arwells Agri Services as a new Fendt dealer for Wales has provided him with greater confidence to run tractors for longer. He is also hoping to invest in a self-propelled Rogator and believes that one more tractor purchase will give him the perfect combination for his farm.

“We have the 714 which everyone fights over, it’s ridiculous because we have a 939 and a nearly new 720, but the operators want the 714. I would like the new 728 Gen-7 because it has a good power to weight ratio and VarioGrip which will help us to reduce compaction,” he says.

His motivation to invest in Fendt came when he realised the length of warranty available and the lack of depreciation he would face.

“The 714 will probably only gain value and the 939 is holding its value well. Buying the 939 took me out of my comfort zone, but it is the best decision I made because with the extended warranty I know exactly what my operating costs are. It also helps to have a dealer here in Wales. Arwells are only an hour away,” he says.

He purchased the 2018 Fendt 939 Vario with 4500 hours and immediately extended the warranty to 8000 hours.

“That gave me a better warranty than most new tractors come with. The 939 only weighs 10 tonnes and we can run the tyres at 10psi in the field and on the road. It can manage a heavy ballast and it has a great turning circle. We thought it would only be good for drilling and cultivating but it is really versatile,” he says.

In 2023 he chose to take on an ex-demonstrator Gen-6 720 Profi Plus to introduce a tractor with a tighter turning circle and the lift capacity to cope with field work.

“Our 30-year-old operator has driven many other tractors and says it is the best combination for mixed work. This model has a high spec and was very well priced. I didn’t need the extra power of a 722 or 724 so it ticked all the boxes and has fitted in well,” he says,

The 6th generation at Dudwell Farm, near Camrose, Mr Rees is farming 1100 acres which includes 800 of cereals, 60 of potatoes and grazing land for the farm’s flock of 250 mostly Texel ewes. The soil is largely light to medium loams with an area of heavy clay. However, it is the high annual rainfall that presents the greater challenge.

“We had 365mm in July, August and September, that is just 90 days, and it was supposed to be summer. We are at 750mm for the year to date at the end of September,” he says.

He has established a balanced system that benefits from cooperation with a neighbouring dairy farm and takes advantage of the flock to graze off cover crops.

The majority of the land is on a min till system and Mr Rees has started direct drilling after beans. He speaks highly of the Vaderstad TopDown 500 which he suggests can be used like a carrier by only engaging the discs when cultivating land after OSR. He uses a Vaderstad Rapid to drill and rarely uses his Sumo Trio on cereals land.

“The TopDown is 7.2 tonnes with a working width just shy of 5 metres. The 939 pulls it with ease. However, we quite often only use the discs rather than the 18 tines. The 720 manages the Sumo very well and the combination means we can take full advantage of the short weather windows here.”

During the pandemic the farm saw the price of machinery soar and, like so many, Mr Rees and his father made the decision to manage this by reducing the finance bill.

“The operating cost per hour almost doubled in 2019/20, so we moved to Fendt because depreciation was less of a concern than the cost of continually changing. The cost per hour of a second-hand Fendt was much less than a new tractor from another brand. The 939 has been 20 per cent cheaper to run than our last 250hp tractor.”

In building the fleet he has begun to take advantage of Fendt’s technology both in the tractors and the office.

He intends to align the tractor’s FendtONE operating system with his Gatekeeper software to keep accurate spraying records and send data between tractors, a sprayer and Gatekeeper.

“The dream is to walk the fields, make a plan in Gatekeeper and use Wi-Fi to send data to the tractors and a sprayer, which will create a paperless system that records every job in real time to help us store data for the future.”