Hesston by Massey Ferguson, a hay equipment brand of AGCO Corporation –  who introduced the self-propelled windrower to the agricultural harvesting world more than 60 years ago — will complete the production of its 100,000th windrower in March 2016 in Hesston, Kan.

The 70-year-old Hesston by Massey Ferguson brand is a manufacturer of agricultural machinery. The landmark achievement will be celebrated in Hesston on March 29.

“When Hesston’s founder, Lyle Yost, introduced the first self-propelled windrower back in 1955, he not only shared this unique invention but he would ultimately be a leader in the revolution of the hay business,” explained Kyle Kitt, marketing manager for hay cutting, preparation and forage at AGCO. “Over the course of the last 60 years, our skilled engineers have worked to innovate and improve upon this harvesting machine, such as with the recent addition of rear-wheel steering, known as RearSteer. This is our effort to listen and respond to the needs of farmers not just here in North America, but across the world.”

The 100,000th windrower is a vast improvement from the first model of 1955. Today’s WR9800 Series of self-propelled windrowers are fuel-efficient and offer superior operator convenience. The WR9800 Series are powered by reliable AGCO Power engines, led by the AP66-4F, a 6.6-liter engine in the WR9870. This model is ideal for Hesston’s disc header, and offers 225 horsepower and the muscle to operate in heavy crop conditions such as winter forage, wet silage hay and hilly or rough terrain. The WR9860 is designed to perform toe-to-toe with any six-cylinder windrower with its AP49-4F — a 4.9L four-cylinder QuadBoost engine — which boasts 195 HP and is an increase over the previous model. This additional power provides a higher field speed of 17.5 mph, plus a maximum road speed of 24.5 mph for quicker moves between fields, when equipped with RearSteer.

If time and change shaped Hesston over the course of its 70-year history, innovation has defined it.

“Hesston is committed to creating machinery that brings added value to the agriculture industry by delivering higher Relative Feed Value and better quality small grains,” Kitt said.  

As a result of this innovation, its team of engineers has been enhancing the windrower since it was introduced. Whether it be the addition of hydrostatic power in 1967 (renamed Hydro-Static 600), or the addition of RearSteer in 2016, the Hesston Windrower continues to be a leader. In 1955, the first commercially-available Hesston Windrower was sold and in 1956, it came off the production line — a self-propelled windrower known as the Model 100. A groundbreaking advancement in the agricultural harvesting business, the Model 100 provided much greater versatility when harvesting both hay and grain crops and brought a new level of maneuverability.