ZETOR has been operating in Austria since the early 1970s. To this day, there are over 2,000 of these machines in this country. So we met up with a farmer from the region of Lower Austria, who is the proud owner of three red tractors: a FORTERRY 9641 from 2006, a PROXIMY POWER 90 from 2015 and finally a FORTERRY HD 150 from 2016. We talked Franz Holzinger about Austrian agriculture, as well as servicing the machines on his farm.
“Our family farm is situated in Waldviertel, part of the Federal Republic of Lower Austria. There are four of us in total who take care of our medium-sized farmstead and devote ourselves to the cultivation of traditional crops such as potatoes, maize and a small herd of cows,” says Mr Holzinger, a smiling pensioner with whom you met at the KFZ-Service Austrian dealer show. The family, respectively his wife, son and his son’s wife, owns 43 ha of land. Ten hectares of the land are used for potatoes or seedlings for a customer who is dedicated to the sale of seed varieties. The rest of the area is intended for growing corn. The family also cares for a twenty-head herd of cows for milk, which are bred on pasture lands used by neighbours in the surrounding area.
The dominant peaks of the Alps are present in 2/3 of Austria. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the agricultural production of the country is connected with timber harvesting, cattle breeding and the growing of crops resistant to weather and higher altitudes. The Waldviertel region, mentioned by Franz Holzinger, is located in the fertile hills surrounding the Danube River. The whole of this region, which stretches to the north of the country, is characterised by the growing of potatoes, corn, and also wheat, sugar beet, sunflower as well as the growth of grapevines at the border with the Czech Republic.
“I am retired and my son and family have taken over the management of the farm, but I actively help them and try to assist with continuing our family farming legacy. The family has been farming for 4 generations, more than 100 years, and although it is hard work, I believe it will survive future generations as well,” said Mr Holzinger, proudly.
The combined programme of the farm, which is dedicated to growing crops and cattle breeding, is challenging in terms of the amount of work to be done throughout the year. That is why the farm has a total of 4 tractors, of which 3 are ZETOR tractors with power ranging from 70 to 150 hp, while there are countless aggregates of different brands and performances. The FORTERRA HD 150 is the latest addition to the farm, a 4-cylinder 150-horsepower machine especially used in heavy agriculture work where power and durability are needed. The machine is thus aggregated with a 4-blade self-turning plough, 4 m disc harrows, a rotary harrow combined with a 3-m-wide sowing machine, and an 8-tonne lift for grain harvesting and transport in general. “I appreciate the strength and comfort of this machine and I feel comfortable when working thanks to the front suspension axle, cab suspension, spaciousness and comfort,” Mr Holzinger says. Over a period of 1.5 years, the machine has worked 300 engine hours on the farm.
Of the ZETOR tractors on the farm, the FORTERRA 9641 has currently been there the longest time; it has worked over 2,800 engine hours since 2006. The machine is mostly aggregated with rakes (one and two rotor), in silage during rolling and when driving a slurry tank. “We had the machine reconstructed and modified a few years ago to run on rapeseed oil. A specialised company made a simple intervention for the machine and added a tank, which was not only beneficial for saving operating costs, as the price of rapeseed oil is incomparably lower than diesel, but also for ecology,” says the smiling farmer.
The PROXIMA POWER 90 is the last of the ZETOR tractors to work on the farm. The machine is primarily used in the so-called green programme, i.e., in activities related to pasture maintenance, grass mowing, drying, harvesting, etc. That's why the POWER is aggregated with a 7 m agricultural turner, rakes, as well as a potato digger. If necessary, it can also manage work on a seasonal basis. “The tractor has been on the farm since 2015. It has worked 900 engine hours and is used in a wide range of work – working with crops or activities related to livestock. PowerShift and PowerShuttle enables convenient control of the machine,” says Franz Holzinger.
However, the range of aggregation on the farm is far from over – there are mowers available, whether the side 3 metre version (aggregated with FORTERRA HD) or a combination of front and rear mowers, a silage truck, a compactor, a spreader, etc. For the sake of completeness, it should be added that the farm still uses a 70 hp STEYR 968 for smaller jobs.
We wondered why the family preferred ZETOR tractors. “ZETOR is affordable compared to the more famous competitors and brings us the power and durability we need. The operation and maintenance of the machines is simple. During the time we’ve worked with these machines, we’ve only had to deal with minimal repairs, while spare parts were easily accessible and more cost-effective than those of the competitors,” explains Mr Holzinger.
The first ZETOR they started working with was the 5011 in the 1980s, and they have been very satisfied with those red Czech tractors on the farm ever since. We thank the family for the time it has given us and wish them and all other ZETOR tractor users many smooth and successful working hours.
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