REPORT: A new Aco articulated tractor has debuted in South Africa. Dutch farm machinery magazine Trekker got the chance to hop in the cab and chat to the people behind the project.
What does an aircraft maker do when looking for a challenge? Justus Venter, together with his father, Nic, threw himself into a very special challenge. Although they had no experience whatsoever of building tractors, they embarked on the mission to help South African farmers, by providing an upgrade of their existing Aco tractors.
Nic has owned the Aco brand since 2017, including the engineering plans for the large tractors that date back to the 1990s. These high-hp tractors were built on Alph Coetzer’s farm in the South African Free State until the company filed for bankruptcy in 1998. Sadly, Nic Venter passed away last year. However, this sad loss did not deter Justus Venter’s plan from turning his father’s idea into reality. On the contrary, he has pushed on with the project with an even greater zeal and determination.
Simplicity as a strong point
Justus Venter soon realised that there was a lot to learn if the project was to succeed. He gathered together all the information and knowledge about Aco tractors that he could get his hands on. The former aircraft builder listened to South African farmers, especially to his previous farmer customers: “Most of them run very large farms,” Justus explains. “These farmer customers generally farm several thousand hectares and use planes or helicopters to get around.” Many of these arable farmers complained about the poor service of their machine dealers.