23 November 2018

Tractor test

JCB Fastrac 4220 Long-term test:

High on comfort, low on fuel:

JCB’s Fastrac 4000s have been flowing off the production line for over four years now and have made something of a name for themselves, performing both on the road and in the field. Unsurprisingly for a brand new machine reliability has been a bit of a mixed bag but where there’s decent back-up most have stuck with Staffordshire’s finest shade of yellow. Our featured machine has been clocking up 1,800 hours a year

Practical test

John Deere 543R front loader:

Strong horns for Deere fawns

John Deere is marketing the new 5R tractor series as the ideal loader tractor, but the ‘ideal loader tractor’ is of little use if there’s no ‘ideal loader’ to accompany it. Which, naturally enough, is why we requested a try-out with Deere’s own 543R loader model. Does green paired with green make the perfect materials handling match?

Seven ATVs group test:

Fruity choices but thankfully no lemons

A decade ago, the growing availability of ‘more affordable’ petrol-powered side-by-side utility vehicles looked set to erode agricultural ATV sales to the point of near extinction. Such thinking has since proven completely wide of the mark, with around 6,500 ‘working’ ATVs selling a year into farming. What we have here is a selection of machines that helps to illustrate why these versatile tools continue to have a place on so many farms

Düvelsdorf GreenRake Expert grass harrow:

All aboard the grass train

Düvelsdorf’s grass harrow has the option of pulling a roller to firmly tuck any new seed into a cosy bed. But this is far from being the only point of machine differentiation, as the GreenRake Expert also boasts a wireless seeder. Our practical test examines what the harrow and roller combination is capable of, as well as seeing how the surface looks following the Düvelsdorf treatment

Driving impression

Valtra SmartGlass:

Flash of the future

Valtra showed a tractor windscreen display at Agritechnica last year. Called SmartGlass, we’ve been over to Finland to see one of the prototypes and take a closer look at the technology involved

McCormick X7.690 P6 Drive:

Does X hit the spot

When we first drove the X7.670 in 2014 one colleague commented ‘it will be nice when it’s finished’. Two years later, when the X7.460 rolled into the profi test ring, the tractor impressed in many respects — but even then there was still work to be done. So with the new generation of X7 now hitting the market, has McCormick finally got it right? Let’s find out ...

Hellad LED Headlamps:

Be led to the bright side

Some tractor makers are moving towards fitting LED headlamps as standard, rather than an option. Hella shines bright in the development and production of new lamps, so we dropped in to see what’s happening

Junkkari W700 drill:

Genius giant

The simplicity of the Finnish-made 7.0m Junkkari W700 combi drill caught the attention of visitors to the last Agritechnica. Keen to learn more, we went to see one of the first machines working not far from the Arctic Circle

Livestock equipment

Outdoor milking Dutch style:

Maximising grazing time with portable milking

Bringing in the cows morning and evening is a time consuming task and reduces valuable grazing time. Looking to maximise those grass munching hours, young Dutch dairy farmer Bartele Holtrop embarked on a system of milking his herd of 100 Jersey cows outdoors. How? By taking the parlour to the cows

Used machinery

New Holland T7 tractors:

Know your sevens from your sevens

New Holland launched its T7 tractor series in 2011 with nine models divided into short and long wheelbase variants. Replacing models from both the T6000 and T7000 series, the T7 range was further expanded with the addition of three HD models when the range was upgraded to Stage IV emission regs in 2016. This now means the T7 series spans three distinct tractor classes that, before engine boost, develop a nominal 140 to 300hp. As a used buyer, job one is to establish what the T7 series has to offer and to then home in on the model that suits your needs.

Power:

Cameco 805:

Giant from Louisiana

In the mid-1990s the Cameco 805 was one of the world’s most powerful tractors. An example of these 600hp 30t articulated leviathans found its way to Europe, and it’s still in work today

Machine management

Custom cutters in the US - Part II:

Harvesting 40,000ha

Most North American custom cutters have three or four combines. Neumiller Harvesting reckons to be one of just 5% of firms with 10 of them on the books

Diverse contracting business in North Yorkshire:

Tractors, truck and powerwork

As well as offering a typical contracting service, Adam Metcalfe also carries out the logistics, storage and spreading of digestate for a growing number of anaerobic digesters. The challenge is as much about managing paperwork and public relations as it is fieldwork

Workshop:

Sparex Connix LED lights:

Lights on the fly

Most farms will hve a light board sitting in the workshop for tose days when you need to more a rarely used bit of kit on the road or when you don't have time to investigate a lighting fault. Sparex has come up with a wireless lighting kit called Connix. We see how it works

Vehicles:

Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Velar:

Size isn't everything

No pick-ups for you this month, but a pair of performancebiased SUVs — just in time for Christmas. Take one Audi and one Land Rover, light the fuse and stand back…