There are many challenges facing farmers today. Increasing fuel prices and rising costs are placing pressure on everyone to be as efficient as possible. For large farms and agricultural contractors, these pressures can impact the bottom line. Maintaining profitability in a fast-changing market requires careful planning and knowing where to invest. For agricultural contracting, having the right tractor fleet armed with the right smart farming technology can make the difference between turning a decent profit or not.
Difficulties facing farming contractors
A recent UK survey by NFU Mutual highlighted the cost of machinery as one of the biggest concerns for agricultural contractors, with nearly one-third of respondents (29%) claiming cost was their greatest concern. The same study placed the shortage of skilled labour as the third biggest concern. A May 2022 study found that nearly half (49%) of food growers admitted to rationalising or reducing their output due to labour shortages.
The total cost of ownership for large tractor fleets
Real total cost of ownership to a business amounts to more than just the initial price tag. Capital cost of the machine, cost of parts, fuel consumption, support and service costs, reliability… There is a myriad of cost considerations to take into account when purchasing or replacing a tractor in your fleet. The Q Series meets these challenges on multiple fronts.
Tractor technology that maximises uptime
The NFU survey highlights just how important uptime is to farm contractors. The Q Series has been designed and engineered in Finland and tested in the most extreme environments. Robust and reliable precision engineering is paired with advanced telemetry and smart technology to virtually eliminate downtime. With the Q Series and Valtra Connect telemetry, remote diagnostics can automatically identify potential issues and notify you and your trusted service partner simultaneously. Together, you can schedule pre-emptive maintenance to avoid unscheduled downtime.
Fuel consumption and farm contracting
Much has been written about the current crisis of rising fuel costs. Fuel consumption is a two-fold issue. Displacement and horsepower are two well-known factors that can influence fuel consumption, and thus purchase decisions. At 7.4 litres displacement, the AGCO Power engine in the Q Series has the perfect displacement for the 230-305 horsepower range. The tried and tested CVT transmission also puts the power generated from the engine to efficient use. However, many farmers and contractors are realising engine efficiency isn’t the full story. Tractors can spend many hours idling while coupling, loading, or changing implements etc. Some estimates place idling at over 200 hours a year for average farms! Agricultural contracting requires long days, often working in shifts. A greater amount of work hours in a year could mean even greater idling times. With the Q Series and Valtra Connect, farm managers and contractors can see what each tractor in their fleet is doing in both real-time and historically. Building a picture of when and how fuel is used can help identify where efficiencies can be made. Driving down those idle hours not only saves fuel, but also wear and tear on the tractor. Valtra Connect helps make sure every hour of the Q Series’ 600 hour service interval counts towards making a profit by increasing efficiency and reducing yearly fuel consumption.
Smart farming. Smart contracting.
When it comes to contracting, smart farming is pretty standard these days. If you are familiar with some of our other blogs, you will know that Valtra’s smart farming solutions are the easiest to use on the market. This is taken to the next level with the Q Series. We know that agricultural contractors will be putting the Q to work for long days in the field. Often with multiple drivers working shifts during long harvest days. That’s why the Q Series is ergonomically designed to make switching drivers easy. The legendary SmartTouch terminal can be customised with operator profiles so that drivers can freely change between tractors in your fleet, and all tasks can be completed by any tractor. Thanks to TaskDoc Pro, tasks are easily managed and documentation is automatically generated.
Many contractors operate mixed fleets and work with implements from a range of manufacturers. They might also need to work with different FMIS Systems on different farms. The Q Series is Agrirouter ready. This industry standard means The Q can work with any Agrirouter compatible system and seamlessly communicate with partners you choose to share information with, including farmer/customer, contractor, dealer, advisors, and trusted extended service providers.
Tractor talent attraction
Lastly, technology can play a part in helping to secure and retain the best drivers. Drivers appreciate the comfort that comes from the Q Series’ AIRES suspension, air suspended cab, and innovative cab heating and cooling systems. However, these days, drivers also expect a high level of technology and automation to make work easier and more efficient. With Auto U-Pilot headland management, and SmartTurn the field driving experience becomes completely autonomous. Freeing up the operator’s time and attention to concentrate on the task-at-hand reduces their stress. In a world of competitive employer branding, offering the best machines with the best technology, and most comfortable cabs can attract the most skilled operators to your business.
The Q Series is a smart farming tractor for smart farm contractors
On-going machinery costs and the rising price of fuel remain top concerns for agricultural contractors. A shortage of skilled labour means attracting and keeping the best operators is a challenge. The Q Series has the smart technology to drive down costs, easily identify where efficiencies can be made, and work seamlessly across different FMIS and implement set-ups. Valtra’s leading easy-to-use smart framing technology reduces drivers’ stress, makes their work easier, and facilitates easy switching between tasks and operators. If you’re interested in how the Q Series can make your fleet more efficient follow the link to find your local Q Certified dealer today.