In the vicinity of the Šumava National Park, Czech Republic, in the beautiful hilly countryside, close to the town of Vimperk, in the altitude of nearly 1,000 meters elevation above sea level, there you can find the family farm of the Novak family.
To tourists, it is a kind of paradise, whether they are hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing or downhill skiing. However, weather can be harsh here. It is a hilly terrain partly covered with forest. Nor far from this place, there is the highest located village in Bohemia – Kvilda – which is every year the site of the lowest temperature in the republic and which can be covered with snow and frost at times when trees and plants are in bloom in the valleys.
On the farm, the Novak family, which contains four members, takes care of 145 ha of meadows and pastures and 3 ha of forest which they use for logging and private purposes. They also have basic herd of 30 pcs of cattle and flock of 360 pieces of sheep. In the winter, when lambs are born, the flock increases to about 800 pieces. It is interesting to notice that the Šumava sheep belongs to the Czech genetic reserve, thus the farmers develop the respected breed. This is also one of the reasons that annually there are animal auctions on the farm. In the winter, the family has to take care of maintenance of 25 km of local roads. They also run a hostel for 36 guests.
Over the period of 25 years, the farmers have done a great deal of work. They privatised the farm in 1993. At that time, there were several buildings in a terrible condition and two old models of ZETOR tractors. Until now, the family has renovated most of the buildings using them as warehouses for machines and stock and stables for animals. They have built a modern sheep stable and winter areas for cattle which protects it against freeze and predators. However, sheep spent nights in the stable also in the summer as the population of lynx is growing in Šumava causing damage to farmers. In the Michlovka farm as well the farmers had to deal with torn and killed animals.
Working exclusively with ZETOR and PÖTINGER
The farmers are faithful to two brands: in respect of tractors, the always prefer ZETOR; in respect of aggregated machines, they use mainly aggregations by PÖTINGER.
In 1993, when they started farming, the family had two old tractors ZETOR 5211 and 6245. However, the need of bigger power and new aggregations led to buying a 7340 and also 10540, the representative of Unified Series III. Interestingly, the 10540 has been on the farm until today, the farmers appreciate it a lot and they use it on every day basis to work with bale unwinder while preparing bedding and feed for animals. The farm owner says, “The tractor is in operation daily for a few minutes only but it starts easily both in the summer and winter. It has been reliable for the whole time that we have it.”
Over the time, the family have worked on the farm with models 11441 and 12441 being very much satisfied with them. For this reason, the farmers have been loyal to the ZETOR brand and two years ago, they bought two new FORTERRA HD 150 tractors. “It is necessary to be flexible to changes in weather and current conditions and do the work as quickly as possible. All this forces us to use powerful aggregations with better stroke and, consequently, strong tractors with sufficient power,” says Mr. Novák. Besides the FORTERRA tractors, they also have a PROXIMA PLUS 80 which is used for transporting bedding and hay for the sheep as well as minor works on the farm.
FORTERRA tractors are aggregated mainly with forage machines, e.g. double mowers equipped with conditioners with the total stroke of 6 m, double-rotor collector, high-capacity hay trailer FARO 8000, and three-axle trailer Galán by ZDT Company for transporting hay bales. It is obvious that FORTERRA HD tractors are aggregated with machines that fully load the tractor, also due to a heavy and hilly terrain of the farm.
Other aggregations provide less load to the tractor, e.g. round bale press, tedding machine, and baler. The reason is that conserving part of hay requires competent machinery.
Over the two years, each of the FORTERRAs HD has been in operation for 700 hours. PROXIMA PLUS has about 500 operation hours annually.
Low operation costs and reasonable price of spare parts
Still, what is the reason that Michlovka farm always prefers ZETOR tractors? Over the whole period of the existence of the farm, the owners did not have to solve any major issue with the tractors that would threaten the course of work on the farm. If there were any minor issues, they were quickly solved by Agrozet Husinec service centre, so that everything was again in operation nearly immediately. The farmers also appreciate low operation costs and prices of spare parts. “At the time we were considering to buy new FORTERRA HD, we had the chance to test a tractor by a foreign competitor. In respect of power and equipment, it was comparable to Czech ZETOR. However, the purchase price was twice the price of the Czech tractor, that is why I stayed with the brand from Brno,” says the owner.
However, nothing is perfect and apart from praising ZETOR tractors, the farmers have also several remarks about what could be improved. For instance, they said that some controls on the multifunctional panel are too distant which can be inconvenient for the operator. We have solved this problem in the FORTERRA HD coming this year: a swivel chair was used which makes controlling the panel more comfortable and it also allows better view of the rear of the tractor. Another thing which the farmers were not satisfied with was the system of automatic clamp of front axle while braking. This has also been improved by ZETOR: this year’s tractors are equipped with front wheel brakes. The last major remark concerned the limited space between fenders and wheels which made it difficult to apply snow chains. The cabin of new 2018 FORTERRA tractors is located 10 cm higher which makes the job easier. From this it is obvious that ZETOR reacts to customer feedback, thus innovating the tractors to satisfy their needs.
Michlovka farm is satisfied with their ZETOR tractors. To the future, we wish the farmers ever-reliable tractors and the best of luck in the further development of the farm.
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