Fendt has a history of tractor innovation and pushing the boundaries of conventional tractor design. Before it became part of the AGCO Group, the company developed different tractors such as the Fendt Toolcarrier and Xylon.

Its Vario transmission was also developed before AGCO acquired it and is now a feature of all Fendt tractors produced. In recent years, the drive to meet ever-tighter emissions regulations has soaked up huge chunks of manufacturers’ development budgets. To that end, a new tractor launch, regardless of brand, often involves an upgrade to its emission control system, a model number change and some cosmetic tweaking.

This year, though, Fendt gave us something completely new from the ground up – its 1000 Vario series. While previewed in 2014, very little detail was released about the series. The number of models, the use of MAN engines and their horsepowers was about it.

The series was launched to the public at Agritechnica in November 2015. The Irish Farmers Journal travelled to Germany in early September to see it in the flesh.

The Fendt 1000 Vario series is big and is standard in a different shade of green to Fendt’s other tractor ranges, called Forest Green. It is comparable to stepping up from the Fendt 800 Vario to 900 Vario.

On paper, the leap is not so huge between the 900 and 1000. The wheelbase is 250mm longer, it is 246mm higher and 200mm wider on standard tyres. A 3t weight difference is quite a big jump and more reflective of the difference between the two.

There are four models: the 1038 Vario; 1042 Vario; 1046 Vario; 1050 Vario. Add a zero on to the last two numbers in the model number and you have their respective powers: 380hp up to 500hp.

All of this power is packed into a relatively compact package. In fact, Fendt has effectively created a new tractor category, having identified a gap between high-horsepower conventional tractors and large articulated/tracked tractors.

So here is a powerful tractor series that weighs just 14t un-ballasted. It has a mile-munching top speed of 60kph while it is just 2.55m wide on the narrower tyre option. All are important figures for road-going operations.

Rear tyres are 46in, 2.35m diameter giants available from Trelleborg and Michelin. Standard rear tyres are 750/75-R46 and the wider option is 900/70-R46. With the latter fitted, road width is still under 3m. Fendt says these larger-diameter tyres provide approximately 14% more contact area; comparing 750/75 R46 to 710/75 R42.

Draught operations

Into the field and the 1000 series can be ballasted by over 50% of its base weight for draught operations, such as pulling large cultivation kit, wide drills and the like. It also has 60in track capability, which is important for the row-crop markets of America and Australia (the 900 Vario range cannot achieve a 60in track width).

Adding weight naturally enough brings down the rated top speeds as per tyre specifications, 18t is the threshold for 60km/h down to 25km/h for field operations while weighing a whopping 25t. All while it remains under 3m wide on its widest tyre option.

In larger articulated tractors, it is not uncommon that they are without PTO and rear linkage – the primary tasks are just to pull big kit. In keeping with other tractors operating in this power category, there is the option to de-spec the Fendt 1000 series and order it without rear three-point linkage and PTO.

Similarly, the 1000 series can be specified with conventional three-point linkage, Category 4 to suit its power category. It can also be specified with a Category-4 three-point linkage quick-hitch frame. Again, this is not uncommon on larger articulated and tracked high-horsepower tractors.

Hydraulic oil requirements to run large/wide maize or grain seeders can be quite high. Fendt mirrors others in the industry by offering a high-capacity hydraulic system. In fact, there are three variants: a 169litre/min, 228litre/min or 430litre/min system. The 430litre/min system features two LS pumps with separate circuits providing 220litre/min and 210litre/min respectively.

Fendt offers a new PTO speed category. In addition to the 1000 and 1000Eco rpm PTO speeds offered, the 1000 series features a 1,300rpm PTO. This is presumably to transfer the high horsepower being delivered by the 1000 series while reducing the levels of drive-line wrecking torque being transmitted to the implement or machine.

Providing the power for all the models in the Fendt 1000 series is a 12.4 litre, six-cylinder engine from German firm MAN. Widely used in the truck industry, the MAN engine meets EU Stage 4/Tier 4 final emission regulations using a VGT-Variable Geometry Turbo, SCR-Selective Catalytic Reduction (AdBlue) and cooled EGR-Exhaust Gas Recirculation. But no Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) or Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC ) is required to meet these regulations.

Up front is the firm’s Concentric Air System (CAS), a new cooling fan developed by Fendt. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the cooling fan to improve efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

Cooling fan

The cooling fan on the 1050 Vario is positioned in front of the radiators. Pushing denser cold air through the radiator rather than drawing hot air through improves the efficiency of the cooling system.

The design of the fan blades and the fan’s position in its housing further increase efficiency. There is just a 1mm to 2mm gap between the blades and the fan housing to maximise blow-through. The fan itself is a hydraulically driven on-demand unit which Fendt says increases efficiency from 25% to 70% over a conventional viscous fan unit.

The fan is angled slightly upwards to draw less dusty air from above and fan reversing is optionally available. The hydraulic drive for the CAS fan is provided by its own engine-mounted hydraulic pump and is separate from the tractor’s main hydraulic system.

The CAS design and hydraulic drive also allows freer positioning of the radiator/cooling package – in this case over the front axle. This allows the front wheels to tuck tight into the sculpted chassis, providing a tighter steering lock. This is an important feature to maintain a decent level of agility on such a large tractor.

Fendt says the MAN engines used in the 1000 Vario series have been optimised to minimise fuel consumption. Named ProDrive by Fendt, the engine operates within a lower engine rpm band than normal on an agricultural tractor.

Engine speeds

Idle engine rpm is a low 650rpm while maximum engine rpm is only 1,700rpm – typically where most would be developing their maximum torque. In the Fendt 1050 Vario, a maximum torque of 2,400Nm is developed at 1,100rpm (high idle rpm on most tractors). Fendt says the main working range lies between 1,150 and 1,550rpm.

To cater for these low engine speeds (and high torque), Fendt developed a new-generation TA400 VarioDrive transmission. In keeping with the fuel-saving optimised theme, the 1050 Vario reaches its maximum speed of 60km/h at 1,450 rpm, 50km/h at 1,200rpm and 40km/h at an engine speed of only 950rpm.

The TA400 VarioDrive transmission drives the front and rear axles independently of each other. In a conventional Fendt Vario transmission, the hydraulic pump drives two motors which are paired and connected through mechanical elements to provide a hydro-mechanical drive.


Fendt also uses one hydraulic pump and two hydraulic motors in the 1000 Vario range. But in this case, one motor drives the rear axle and the other motor drives the front axle. The oil supply to both is interconnected to provide, in effect, a hydraulic central differential.

This is a concept many will be familiar with on 4x4 jeeps with permanent four-wheel drive. With Fendt torque distribution between the front and rear axles, efficiency increases because the front and rear axles are not fighting against each other.

The front axle is now permanently driven up to 25km/h. Above that, drive is disconnected from it. The system also allows the front wheels to pull the tractor around more effectively in headland turns. Like any differential, if conditions are such that the front (or rear axle) goes into a spin, there is the potential to stall the other axle and the entire tractor. To counter this, there is a mechanical connection and clutch between the axles which locks up if either axle exceeds the slip setting.

There is no speed range selector on the 1000 Vario range. To cope with the power and torque being supplied by the MAN engines, both the hydraulic pump and motors are 60% larger than previous applications.

With Fendt Torque Distribution there is the potential for the front axle to feel the full effect of the MAN engines. The Dana-derived front axle is a beefed-up version of that used on the Fendt 900 Vario series and according to Fendt is capable of handling all the engine’s power.

The cab is tweaked as well, with 85mm wider entry through the large doors. There is more glass and the interior features a new soft-touch surface. There are new storage options, a wiper is standard on the right-hand window and the air conditioning has been upgraded to cater for very hot regions.

In the comfort department, a new four-point pneumatic suspension system is available. Among the standard and optional lighting options available are height-adjustable headlights, daytime running lights and a third brake light up in the roof.

Grip Assistant

A new Fendt Grip Assistant is fully integrated in the seat-mounted Varioterminal. The operator inputs the implement coupling type, operating conditions, tyre size, implement type and working speed. The system then recommends on ballast selection (how much and where) and tyre pressures according to the data entered.

A new central communication box acts as a central hub for all data exchanges. This includes telemetry system, farm management, RTK Ntrip correction signal, Radio, WiFi, Bluetooth, 2G/3G/GSM/CDMA and Iridium satellite communication for areas with poor GSM connection. It also enables communication with the new AgCommand 2 telemetry system as well as third-party telemetry systems through new API interface plus transfers CAN data, error codes, software version, and job management.