The conditions for growing macadamia nuts are ideal here. Macadamia Farm on the edge of the rainforest in the Australian state of New South Wales is run by Trevor Martin and his wife Barbara. As soon as he left school, the Australian decided to start farming and 9 years ago he switched to growing macadamia nuts. On his 37-hectare farm there are around 8000 macadamia trees, which produce 110-120 tonnes of nuts every year. The couple has already received several awards for the high quality and high yields of their business. "One decisive factor for the quality of the nuts is a quick harvest, as the nuts are very susceptible to moisture. So, we try to deliver the macadamia nuts to our processor as quickly as possible so they can be dried under controlled conditions," explains Trevor Martin. The nuts are harvested from March to September, with harvest runs taking place every 3-4 weeks. As soon as the nuts are ripe, they fall with their green shell to the ground and must be collected. "Before we bought our Fendt Tractor at the beginning of the year, one harvest run would take 10-14 days, depending on the weather. With the Fendt 211 P Vario, we were able to reduce our passages to 5-6 days this year," explains the farmer.
Harvesting and mulching – in one step
The Fendt 211 P Vario was delivered in April and tows the hook-up, specially designed for the macadamia harvest, back and forth between the rows of trees. The machine was delivered to Australia earlier this year, but had to be converted locally by the local dealer. Equipped for the macadamia harvest, the Fendt was ready to be put to work this year. It was a stroke of luck for the Martin family, because finding a tractor suitable for the macadamia harvest is no easy task. "We'd already looked at many other tractors, but none of them met our requirements. The tractor has to be able to work simultaneously with the specialist harvester on the front PTO shaft and a mulcher on the rear power lift," explains Trevor.
With the fendt, not only do we save 2/3 of the working time, but also a lot of fuel
Thanks to the Fendt 211 P Vario, Trevor has been able to combine several jobs this season. Thanks to the powerful hydraulic system, the macadamia nuts are collected and the soil mulched in a single step. "This is the first tractor that lets us combine these steps. It saves us not only 2/3 of actual working time, but also a lot of fuel," Trevor reports. By combining the work steps, the soil is already prepared for the next harvest after harvesting. So that the macademia trees are more productive over a long period of time, the soil must have access to enough of the right nutrients. "The mulching is therefore very important for me. Because we have to give back to the soil what we took from it," Trevor continues.
Thanks to the infinitely variable gearbox, we can always drive at the ideal speed
Precision work that's comfortable However, the time that the specialist tractor saves is not the only reason to opt for a Fendt tractor. Another big advantage is the Vario gearbox. "We drive an average of 7 km/h during the harvest. Thanks to the infinitely variable gearbox, we can always drive at the ideal speed. If a wheel is jammed on the harvester, you just drive backwards and free up the blockage – without any jerking," says Trevor. But it was also the comfort in the cab and the precise operation of the machine that won the farmer over. "The machine can be operated with your fingertips. You can see here that the gearbox and the operation work together really well," Trevor says, with visible enthusiasm. The sensitive control of the attachments with the Vario joystick also makes it possible to work with the mulcher 45 mm above the ground. And jus at the right height, so you take all the leaves and branches with you. This means that the soil is well prepared for the next harvest. The tiny turning circle was another crucial point on the Fendt 211 P Vario.
Innovating and always planning one step ahead – a principle that's clearly followed on the Martins' farm. To ensure that the quality of the macadamia nuts and yields are always kept at a high level, 10 different varieties are grown on the plantation. "This minimises the risk of complete failure. If one variety doesn't come off one season, we'll have nine others to fall back on," Trevor said. "Last season, we planted high-yielding trees to replace a number of trees on our farm that hardly produced any more fruit. They will bear the first fruits in 7-10 years' time," says the Australian farmer. Successfully growing macadamia nuts always requires a clear view into the future.