Running a farm nowadays is not easy. It is difficult to plan and predict anything. The weather, the price of grain, farm machinery, fertilizers, or plant protection products are unpredictable and the only constant that can be factored into a business plan is the increase in the price of everything used for agricultural production.
"These are not optimal conditions for farming and it takes a lot of strength and selflessness to feed your family," says Paweł Cierniak, a 32-year-old farmer living in the small village of Pacanowice, located in the Wielkopolska province in central Poland.
He has always been connected to the land. As a child, he helped his parents on their 50-hectare farm. There was a lot of work, but Paweł did not neglect his studies and after graduating from a technical high school he continued his studies at the University of Agriculture in Poznań, majoring in agricultural and forestry technology. As he says himself, this gave him a different perspective on his farm and the need for changes seemed more and more urgent. But they came sooner than he wanted.
Time of change
"My parents invested in the farm, planned their crops wisely, and raised several cattle and pigs. We tried to be self-sufficient in both breeding and farming technology, even though it was not the latest generation at the time. The two main tractors, the Ursus 902 and 914, were past their prime and starting to cause problems," says Paweł. "My father and I started talking about buying a brand-new tractor to take over the main role on our farm. The choice wasn't easy, because Class III to VI soil is challenging and the crops that guarantee the self-sufficiency of a family farm require good equipment."
The young farmer recalls looking at the tractors of neighbors and friends and weighing up the pros and cons together. Acquisition and running costs mattered, and servicing and spare parts had to be reasonably priced. In the end, the decision was made. The choice fell on ZETOR.
I couldn't have done it without the ZETOR.
The new ZETOR FORTERRA 135 tractor arrived in 2015 when Paweł was slowly taking over the farm. After many years of using Ursus tractors, the powerful FORTERRA with its 136 hp engine, modern and relatively quiet cab, and two-wheel drive was something of a release. Working on the 50 hectares of the Czerniakow farm was suddenly more pleasant and faster. However, the joy of the new acquisition was overshadowed by the unexpected illness of his father, who soon died, leaving Paweł alone on the farm.
"When I was left alone, it was very difficult for me. My mother and my wife helped me, but the main work on the farm remained with me," says the young farmer. "I couldn't have done it without the ZETOR. A piece of land that used to take me two days to plow with the Ursus 914 took me only one day with the FORTERRA, and that without getting tired. And what a saving in fuel!"
Although the large Ursus continued to be parked under the shelter, the new ZETOR FORTERRA acted as the main transport and auxiliary tractor, as Paweł ordered it with the original Zetor System loader. As he says, the work went faster and the tractor itself proved to be much more profitable and economical.
Old farm, new farm
Paweł decided to stay with farming and still relies heavily on independence and self-sufficiency. Although he stopped breeding pigs due to AMP (African swine fever), he still raises a few beef cattle. He feeds them with his green fodder from meadows and silage, for which he uses several hectares of cultivated maize. He also grows rape, wheat, and triticale. "It's safe and stable, I follow a step-by-step process. It's my heritage and I have to respect it," he says in a moving voice.
Looking around, you can see the results of the young farmer's decisions that are transforming the farm. Gradually, Paweł is replacing old and worn-out farm machinery with new: a plow, a drill, rotary harrows, trailers - all Polish-made.
For difficult times - ZETOR PROXIMA
"Farming is going through tough times, which is why I recently bought another ZETOR," smiles Paweł, pointing to the new Proxima HS 100 in his yard. He says it's a bit of an investment for the future, as a new tractor would be needed soon anyway. Although the PROXIMA is less strong than the FORTERRA 135, it can easily pull a 12-tonne trailer. He is so pleased with the performance of the ZETOR engine and, as he points out, he deliberately chose a model without AdBlue.
When asked about the other advantages of his ZETOR, he replies: "Operating and service costs are much lower than my fellow farmers with other equipment, and spare parts are simply cheap and readily available everywhere," says Paweł. "And what do I like about the Zetor? It took me a while to get used to the PROXIMA reverse lever under the steering wheel (PowerShuttle), but I have to admit it's convenient. The same goes for the clutch engagement button on the gear lever (PowerClutch), which is particularly useful when transporting," he enthuses about the equipment on his new tractor.
We listen to Pawel and take a close look at the older FORTERRA, now seven years old. It has 3,300 mths on it, but despite the hard work on the farm, it looks very good. We wonder how much of this is due to the quality of the construction and how much is due to the farmer's care.
"You see, there are about 300 people in our village, and as I counted, with my tractors there are 10 ZETORs in total." Suddenly he stops and laughs, "No! I stand corrected, there are exactly 10 and ⅛ ZETORs. Come on, I'll show you." He leads us into the house where his young son is sitting on a small model of a FORTERRA pedal tractor...
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