Agco Corp. celebrated a milestone on Thursday with the delivery of the 25,000th large square baler built at the Hesston, Kan. factory since the original Model 4800 was introduced by Hesston Corp. back in 1978.
The new owner of the latest model Hesston by Massey Ferguson 2170XD large square baler is Bill Levy, owner and CEO of Pacific Ag, the largest agricultural residue and hay harvesting business in the United States and a long-time user of Hesston balers.
Levy and his 11-year-old son, Jacob, took possession of the keys in a ceremonial presentation that honored the longstanding tradition of Hesston products in the hay and forage industry.
Dean Morrell, Agco product marketing manager for Hay and Forage, said 25,000 may not sound like an impressive number of machines for a 35-year history, but its significance becomes clearer when you consider the size of the market.
"When we started out, the market was about 100 units a year," he said. "Even today, the North American market is still only about 1,100 units a year."
And how much of that market share belongs to Agco?
"A significant amount," Morrell says with a grin. "It's fair to say the Hesston brand dominates the baler market."
Fifteen Agco employees were recognized at the event for their long history with the Hesston plant – 610 years of cumulative experience in engineering, parts procurement, field testing, welding, fabrication, shipping and paint. All 15 have been involved in some way with every aspect of big square balers from the first prototypes to the Hesston by Massey Ferguson 2170XD 4-foot x 3-foot baler delivered on Thursday.
Steve Koep, vice president, sales, for Agco North America said a lot of things have changed in the 30-year history of the large square baler, but many things today are very similar to the conditions that led to its creation back in 1978.