Five hardworking Valtas are hauling, ploughing, planting, harvesting, and lifting to their heart’s content at N&M Boerdery. This is how mechanisation contributed to Nico and Mariana Hendriks’ farm near Ellisras – and it all started with a red T191 and NAMPO.
On the banks of the Mokolo River, near the Botswana border, Nico and Mariana farm with potatoes, onions, and cattle. Their son, Nico, who is currently studying agriculture, and son-in-law, Tiaan Gerber, farm with them. They have been farming cattle here since 1996, but when they bought the farm in the year 2000, Nico started planting tobacco. Later, they switched to farming vegetables.
“Over time, we started to focus only on potatoes and onions to farm more efficiently with our main source of income,” Nico says. “We plant 100 ha of potatoes and 36 ha of onions, but also cover crops for the cattle.”
Their packing plant runs full-time during harvest season when the onions are harvested first and then the potatoes. An average of 18 000 10-kilogram bags of potatoes are packed per day. Therefore, a hard-working tractor must be able to keep up with transporting the harvest from the field to the plant.
Valtra offers value for money
In 2014, it became clear to the couple that they needed another tractor on the farm. They themselves could not visit NAMPO to look at the various models from the different suppliers. One of their daughters was already on her way to Bothaville, so Nico simply asked her to go look at tractors.
“My daughter called and asked if I wanted to look at Valtras. I immediately said no, because they are too expensive, but she insisted that she had already arranged a demonstration with Alfred Purchase, the Valtrac sales representative for our district.”
And so, the nifty Valtrac team brought a Valtra to the farm the week after NAMPO to show what it is made of. The demonstration showed Nico and Mariana everything they wanted to see in a tractor, and they decided to buy the T191.
“I had confidence in the Finnish product, and this contributed to the decision to get a Valtra tractor,” he elaborates. “I understood where it came from, because I myself started farming with two old Volvo tractors.”
A Valtra team tackling all!
“There are currently six Valtras on the farm and there is not a thing they don’t do,” Tiaan testifies.
The Valtras are used for land preparation and to draw the large potato harvestor and tipper trucks. The old tractors that have been collected on the farm over the years take care of the other odd jobs.
“The first Valtra that came was the T191. After that two N123s were purchased, and a T193 with a three-point front linkage which was shortly followed by another T193,” Tiaan says.
The most recent addition is a giant from the N155 series.
The T191 tractor that started it all is a 139-kW model that has already clocked more than 9 000 hours. Both N123 tractors are 99 kW, but one has a permanently mounted loader to help with moving bags and bales. The T193 model is a 139-kW tractor that draws the heavy 5-tonne trailers effortlessly. N&M Hendriks Boerdery’s latest addition, the N155 is an Active model that produces 111 kW. It also boasts a 160-litre hydraulic system.
“The N155 was specifically chosen to draw the Grimme GT170 potato harvestor thanks to its hydraulic capability,” Nico says. “The other tractors were chosen to pull the heavy trailers as well as do land preparation in the fields.”
Tiaan says that the farm also acquired several other implements through Valtrac.
“Other equipment on the farm that we have also acquired through Valtrac is the 3-metre Pöttinger high-speed disc which is used with an APV to sow our cover crops, a Kuhn baler, the Ranger 3000 sprayer, the Pöttinger combination mowers (an Alpha Motion of 3,5 meters in front and a Nova Disc side mower of 3,5 meters that tackles the field at an average of 8 km/h) as well as the Pöttinger tedder and rake that helps to break the thick cow candy to dry it better, and then later rake before being baled.”
Nico believes that the wide variety of quality products made available by Valtrac is convenient for the farmer.
After-sales service like no other
What matters in particular for N&M Hendriks Boerdery is after-sales service. This is also part of the reason why so many of their implements and tractors were acquired through Valtrac.
“I can testify to their excellent service by telling a story,” Tiaan mentions. “When we received the first T193, I noticed that there was a small crack on the fan belt. I called them at four in the afternoon and informed them. I was completely surprised when a mechanic all the way from Parys stopped here the next morning to replace the part.”
“The tractor was under warranty, so it did not cost us a cent. This kind of dedication just speaks to excellent customer service!”
Nico says that although the nearest Valtrac branch is in Parys, the faithful team never lets grass grow under their feet. “This is the best service I have ever received from a dealer,” he says. “Ruan van Wyk, one of Valtrac’s handy mechanics, is happy to help if any part of the tractor breaks down and there is often a Valtrac mechanic in the area.”
If one of the parts can be replaced by someone on the farm, Mariana sends a WhatsApp photo to the Valtrac office in Parys and the part is sent the next day by courier. Spares are always available.
“There has never been a case where Ruan has said that something is not available – from a small sensor on a gearbox to larger parts,” Tiaan says. “Even the few times that there were serious problems, the owner of Valtrac, Wynn Dedwith, came here himself to help find a solution.”
“When the software of the Kuhn baler starts to baffle my brains, then the team is just a phone call away,” he smiles.
Nico says that he will confidently recommend Valtra to other farmers. “In my opinion, the tractors’ performance is above average, the fuel efficiency is also above average, and the after-sales service is exceptional,” he concludes.
For more information about Valtrac’s tractors, wide implement range and legendary service delivery, contact Attie de Villiers at (+27)83-261-9863 or (+27)56-817-7308. Feel free to also send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit the website at www.valtrac.co.za.