Tractor test

Valtra N163 Direct

Four pots and 170 horses

If you need proof to see just how far four-cylinder engine technology has come in recent times, then it’s worth looking at Valtra’s N163. Its maximum output? A whopping 126kW/171hp. But could this be a power step too far for shorter wheelbase tractors? We find out with a test of Valtra’s Direct CVT model

Practical test

Cultivators compared — Lemken Heliodor 8/600 KA and Rubin 9/600 KUA:

Horses for courses

Lemken offers two disc-based compact stubble cultivation tools, both named after gemstones — the Heliodor (beryl) and the Rubin (ruby). We used 6m versions of both machines to see which best suits different soil-working applications

Amazone, Hardi, Lemken, Vicon, Vogel & Noot

Sprayers on parade

Last month we looked at the spec of five mounted sprayers from five different European manufacturers. Now to see how the machines behave in the field…

Driving impression

John Deere F440R round baler

Fixed and variable tech on green baler

For the 2014 season John Deere is revamping its fixed-chamber round balers with the introduction of the 440-series — a mix of proven fixed-chamber tech with new features from the 900-series variable-chamber models. We catch up with a top-spec F440R

Livestock equipment

Sheep handling equipment

Counted them all out, counted them all back

When it came to sheep handling, the norm used to be wooden hurdles, yards of baler twine and a couple of dogs. Of course, those trusty canines remain invaluable members of the team, yet the modern shepherd now enjoys the luxury of mobile ‘yards’ to help with the rest of the penning job, as Andy Collings reports

Used machinery

John Deere 5020-series tractors

Roughty, toughty tractors for stock farmers

Tractors competing in the sub-100hp livestock tractor sector traditionally featured a pared-back specification. Not always, though. With its 2003 launch of the 5020-series, John Deere offered a tractor with a comprehensive standard spec for its class. A decade on, how do these models stack up as a used buy? James de Havilland reports


From the workshop

Simple solutions to perennial problems

Mike Donovan embarks on his regular magical, made-it-myself mystery tour. This month he invites you to savour the assorted delights of more efficient fencing material transport, DD ring care, securing farm gates and faster foot block attachment. Read on for further details of Mike’s tips and tricks

Machine management

Diversification for Norfolk contractor

Fingers in many agricultural pies

Looking in from the outside, Norfolk contractor Oliver Arnold’s investment in men and machinery does appear to be bordering on the excessive. Yet closer inspection reveals that, while there’s an undeniable ambition to expand, there’s also an underlying, structured approach to this impressive level of growth. Andy Collings reports from the Eastern Counties

Around the world

Little blue tractor arrives in Australia JCB ute dresses for work Multiple sowing with a single planter Getting rid of the bugs


Contractor price guide 2013/2014

UK contractor charges

This is the National Association of Agric.Contractors’ charge guide, based on info supplied by its members this spring. The figures are ONLY A GUIDE and assume a red diesel price of 70p/litre. Prices will vary according to UK region, size of job, type of equipment used etc


The tractor and the field

Sorting out the tug

A second slice of tips on reversible plough set-up comes from tillage firm Lemken UK. Andrew Pearce does the rest, providing both words and pictures

Choosing a chainsaw for farm use

A cut above…

We gathered together 17 saws from Makita, Husqvarna and Stihl and, working with the respective demo teams, tried to come up with some suggested farm buys. In this initial instalment we look at saws that could be a sensible one-saw choice, along with PPE protective equipment, oils and sharpening systems


Mercedes Vito vs VW Transporter crewbuses

Fifty two shades of grey

Something unusual this month — we compare a pair of leading vans. Andrew Pearce figures out the differences between two of the sector’s leading contenders, Volkswagen and Mercedes