The tractor engine of John Kelliher’s Fendt 1050 tractor is rated at 517hp, making it one of the most powerful tractors in the country and sitting close to the top of Fendt’s tractor power range.

John bought the 181-registered tractor last year from a UK dealer in a deal that included the Fendt extended warranty offer that, unlike some other tractor brands, extends to the Irish market.

The tractor had over 4,000 hours on clock and was still within its warranty programme, giving John the option of buying into a further full eight-year extended warranty deal that was transferable to him as the new owner. For John, this was a very important part of the deal.

The Fendt 943MT geared for early fertiliser spreading with the rear-mounted Amazone ZA-TS 3200 spreader that has full hydraulic control.

This new addition Fendt 1050 is the second high-power Fendt in John’s three-tractor range that now includes a rubber-tracked Fendt 943MT model and a more recent purchase of a new Fendt 728 tractor, all running alongside his Fendt Rogator 645 self-propelled sprayer.

His total tractor power capacity for this tillage machinery operation now runs to 1,251hp, which he considers reasonable given the range of his work activity. When scheduled over the acres farmed, this equates to effectively only about 0.5hp per acre.

John uses a folding 8m Kuhn power harrow combination with an 8m modified pneumatic seeder and front hopper to provide a high output sowing system with ample power from the Fendt 1050 tractor.

More importantly, this power capacity allows him the flexibility to move fast to plough, till and sow crops once a window of weather opportunity presents itself. The arrival of the Fendt 1050 adds to that flexibility.

John’s tillage machinery system is based around a low labour input operation that demands high levels of power to achieve optimum work rates and efficiency when weather windows allow. This low labour input system demands power and capacity when needed. His tillage operation includes winter cereals, spring cereals, oilseed rape and beans.

John Kelleher had this secondhand Kverneland six-furrow plough converted to a seven-furrow unit by Roche Engineering in Wexford for use behind his Fendt 943MT rubber tracked tractor. John has a six-furrow and another five-furrow reversible Kverneland plough.

Since its arrival into his fleet last autumn, the Fendt 1050 has been primarily a tilling and sowing tractor. John has matched the tractor to an 8m folding Kuhn power harrow and pneumatic seed drill operation, which match that working width.

He has done this by modifying two existing 3m disc coulter bars, widening the coulter row spacings from 125mm to 166mm, with the same number of counters across a wider working width, also contributing to less blockage in the field.

The Fendt VarioGrip integrated tyre pressure control system is a particularly attractive feature of the tractor for John Kelleher. The tractor is running on 710/60 R38 Trelleborg VF front tyres and Trelleborg IF 900/65 R46 rear tyres.

Seed is carried in a front-mounted Kverneland DF-2 hopper and a Rossmore Engineering bag lifter sits on top to facilitate easier filling.

The engine power and torque of the Fendt 1050 allows him to operate at speed with low engine revs. While the tractor’s fuel consumption on an hourly basis is slightly higher than the Fendt 828 that he had previously, the higher output means that the fuel use level per acre sown, is lower.

The Metal-Fach 710 disc harrow which has a 6m working width provides one primary cultivation option and usually attached to a 6m AgriWeld Assist subsoiler, for high-speed tilling behind the Fendt 943MT tractor.

John feels that despite its massive power, the tractor is relatively compact, and for this he praises the Fendt design team. “The 1050 can look and feel like a big tractor when all of the weights are on board, but when you take off the additional weight, it feels like a more flexible machine,” he says.

The Fendt VarioGrip integrated tyre pressure control system is a particularly attractive feature of the tractor. Fendt claims that this allows for up to 10 % more tractive power and reduction of fuel consumption by up to 8% with 8% more area output.

The system is also designed to protect the tyre and give lower overall operating costs.

John found the system particularly useful this spring when ground conditions were difficult, as he could lower tyre pressure to match ground conditions and minimise compaction. The impact of the lower tyre pressures is noticeable in the fields during sowing and in the weeks following as the crops germinate.

The tractor comes with a 60km/hr maximum road speed rating, which allows for easy movement between jobs, where fields are dispersed and can be up to 60km away from his yard.

On the road, the tractor’s dimensions mean that it comes within the road width regulations and, equally important, it handles well with the suspension system that gives good driver comfort.

Currently, the tractor is hitched to an Amazone trailed fertiliser spreader for cereal top-dressing. Earlier in the season, as ground conditions were challenging, John combined the Fendt 1050 with his Fendt 943MT to get early urea fertiliser applications out when ground conditions were soft.


He purchased a secondhand Amazone ZA-TS 3200 mounted spreader from local dealer, Corbett’s in Mallow, and fitted it to the Fendt 943MT tracked tractor. He also fitted a new Zuidberg front linkage to the Fendt 943MT for an additional front hopper.

The larger Fendt 1050 is supporting it by combining the farm’s Pronar chaser bin to give a high-capacity top-up operation for the spreader in the field.

This allowed John to get the fertiliser out when it was too wet to pull the trailed spreader without doing significant damage to the tramlines.

This gave time to help dry out ploughed soils and cultivated soils and once the ground conditions improved, he then transferred the Fendt 1050 to the 8m sowing operation and quickly caught up with sowing date targets.

The Fendt 943MT tracks had the advantage of leaving a very light footprint in the tramlines, while also evening out any ruts from earlier spraying applications.

The spreader is hydraulic-powered and John used the Amazone control system linked to the tractor’s GPS and ISOBUS system to allow for easy transfer of the machine management system.

The Fendt 943MT has also been used for cultivating and ploughing and the track system will allow for on-land as against in-the-furrow ploughing with a large enough plough-on behind.

John purchased a secondhand Kverneland six-furrow plough and had Roche Engineering in Wexford upgrade it with a full overhaul and added a seventh mouldboard to match the tractor’s capacity.

John has used the outfit for both in-furrow ploughing and on-land work, depending on the field conditions, again adding flexibility to his machine system.

The purchase of the Fendt 1050 has made sense for John Kelleher. The tractor cost him close to the cost of a replacement of a new 700 series Fendt.

John Kelleher’s Fendt Rogator 645 has a 5,000-litre tank capacity. The machine can be quickly filled from a large tank that is supplied by rainwater from his 10-bay grain shed.

It offers more power and greater flexibility, as well as capacity for higher output tillage operations with the benefits of the impressive tyre pressure control system in a relatively compact size for a tractor of its engine power output.

The tractor offers great operator comfort in its higher cab position coupled with the full complement of Fendt technology and GPS systems for integrated control of a range of implements.

Tractor facts

Fendt 1050

  • Engine: six-cylinder MAN engine.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 740-litre fuel tank; 84 litres AdBlue.
  • Weights: 14,000kg empty and 23,000kg total weight.
  • Top speed: 60km/hr.
  • Wheelbase: 3,300mm.
  • Fendt 943 MT

  • Engine: seven-cylinder engine AGCO Power or Sisu.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 681 litres; 71 litres AdBlue.
  • Weights: 15,169kg empty and 22,500kg total weight.
  • Top speed: 40km/hr.
  • Wheelbase: 2,565mm.
  • Fendt 728

  • Engine: six-cylinder engine AGCO Power or Sisu.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 450 litres; 48 litres AdBlue.
  • Weights: 8,750kg weight and 15,000kg total weight.
  • Top speed: 60km/hr.
  • Wheelbase: 2,900mm.
  • Extended warranty

    The extended warranty offer was a key part of the tractor deal for John, and he now has an extended warranty programme on all of his Fendt machines.

    This gives him peace of mind and has worked well with his local Fendt dealer, Atkins Machinery of Cork, who have been very supportive, even though he purchased the tractor in the UK.

    Atkins manages all of the servicing of the machines at their required service intervals, allowing John to focus on maximising output from the machines in the field.

    The tractor’s telematics systems give clear signals in terms of service intervals and, more simply for John, the 500 hours’ interval is easy to keep track of.

    Rogator modifications adds to flexibility

    John Kelleher bought the Fendt Rogator 645 to improve his spraying capacity and spending an evening in the cab with him spraying fungicide on winter oats, confirms that decision.

    The sprayer had been originally used on a Meath farm and then travelled across to the UK where John bought it, before it made its return journey to Ireland through Fendt dealer Farmworks in Dublin.

    John has added to the boom flexibility with a modification that allows him to work across a range of widths to facilitate different tramline widths.

    He has added a short central boom section from a modified Berthoud sprayer to achieve the option of 18m, 24m or 36m spraying widths.

    This required some thought to ensure that the non-drip nozzle features were maintained as well as the boom section control system.

    He made good use of the Berthoud folding system so that the short section boom fits neatly inside the wider aluminium boom of the Rogator.


    The Rogator is as impressive in the field as it is on the road. Its 5,000-litre sprayer tank along with wash tanks, gives stability, while the variable height control allows the chassis to be raised and lowered for varying crop conditions.

    Managing labour opportunities

    For a share-farming contractor like John Kelleher, managing labour resources can be a challenge, even when work is planned around a tight fleet of high-powered tractors.

    To meet that skills demand, John operates a barter system whereby some of his farming clients provide driving duties in lieu of tillage and straw baling services.

    This gives added flexibility, coupled with reliability from known skilled machine operators.

    At the end of the year, John sits down with his two primary barter operators and the accounts are settled to everyone’s satisfaction. This is a practical and workable approach to managing skills where a full-time work demand is not present throughout the year.

    One-man operation

    For many other jobs such as spraying and fertiliser application, John has geared his system up for a one-man operation. He is constantly looking for new ways to improve efficiencies while being conscious of machinery operational costs.

    What’s clear is that John Kelleher does his job with passion and with a constant eye for ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of his farming operations. There are no limits to what can be achieved with a constant uptake of new machine technology; there are only limits to what you can believe in.