Joern and Tammo Glaeser are out on a shoot – taking still photos, film and drone footage. Judging by their equipment, anyone might think they were making a music video. But the brothers’ cameras are trained not on a pop star, but on a tractor with a short disc harrow.
“This is a Fendt 939 Vario, only just released last autumn,” says Tammo Glaeser, 30, with a twinkle in his eye. “It’s a completely new shade of green.” His brother, who is 2 years his junior, has travelled across the country for this film shoot in a field out in the sticks.
That very night, they upload some of the day’s photographs to Facebook. A few minutes of their 5-hour filming session will also end up on a new DVD.
Inspired by their passion for tractors and combine harvesters, the young men have built up a thriving business. They now travel the world to follow farmers while they work, in places as far apart as Australia, Canada and Russia.
Their DVDs are translated into 5 languages and are distributed throughout Europe. They feature hours of footage of massive machines rolling across fields with their motors throbbing, churning up dust.
Some of the footage features music on the soundtrack, as a narrator explains the yields and structures of each business. The narration can also be turned off, however, so that the images can be savoured by themselves.
So who watches something like this? “Some of them are city dwellers who grew up in the countryside,” says Tammo Glaeser. And a lot of women buy the DVDs for their husbands or sons as Christmas presents, he says.
Joern Glaeser has a picture sent by a customer on his smartphone, of small boys sitting on toy tractors in a barn, while one of the brothers’ DVDs is projected on a big screen. The film makers don’t want to reveal their exact sales figures. Christoph Goetz from the mechanical engineering association VDMA has also witnessed the special appeal of farm machinery at careers fairs.
“The hi-tech tractors with GPS are always admired. I think that this symbiosis of technology and nature is what makes them so fascinating,” says Goetz. The association has scored high click rates on YouTube with its own farming films, he says.
The YouTube video portal is a competitor for the Glaeser brothers, who sold their first videotapes of German farms on eBay in 2002. There are estimated to be more
than 100 Facebook fan sites in Germany, set up by fans of agricultural technology who upload their own photos and films.
“The photographers on Instagram are also very active,” says student Max Meyer, who runs the internet platform Agrartechnik im Einsatz (Agricultural Technology in Action). There are also numerous people selling DVDs, he says.
“I’m impressed that there is even a market for these films,” comments farmer Kai Zettel, 42, as he makes his rounds on his new tractor, which cost as much as a family home.
Tammo Glaeser kneels in the field, in order to film the Fendt from a lower angle as it cultivates the stubble. Joern Glaeser has his camera at the ready. The two look a bit like a wildlife film crew who are waiting for a lion to appear.
Zettel has known the brothers
for more than 10 years. Back then, they used to turn up on their bikes to take pictures, or were brought by their mother.
The brothers did not grow up on a farm themselves, but they often spent holidays with their uncle, who had a dairy farm. Tammo Glaeser recalls: “Back then, when our parents would pick us up to fly to Gran Canaria, we would object!” Their teenie love of tractors has now developed into a source of income.