Practical test: Amazone Catros 5500 discs …Top Cat. Or that’s what Amazone would have us believe when referring to its Catros compact disc/press combi. In any event, there’s no shortage of competition in a shallow disc sector where it would seem that every tillage kit manufacturer, almost without exception, has some sort of model offering to bring to the party. We tested the 5.5m wide trailed Amazone Catros 5500 unit

Whatever a farm’s available tractor hp and workload, Amazone reckons to have a Catros disc/press combi to suit all ag requirements. Within the company’s mounted listing there are 3m, 3.5m and 4m rigids and, where transport width is a critical issue, the product offering extends to include 4m, 5m and 6m folding units. Completing the line-up are the trailed machines – 3m, 4m, 7.5m – including the 5.5m Catros 5500 model tested here.

As stated above, we operated the 5.5m trailed unit over our test period, and we were particularly keen to see whether the machinery manufacturer had addressed all of those issues highlighted in the profi disc comparison test published way back in our 01/05 magazine. In the main these niggles were points of detail, but they’re important nonetheless. So, to the Catros 5500. Standing at 3.34m tall and measuring 2.88m across in transport mode, the 5.5m of working width concertinas into a neat and professional looking package.

It has a robust feel and appearance, which starts at the chunky ring hitch and runs through the complete design. But that’s not to say there’s no room for improvement. On the ring hitch, this is far from being the only tow option on offer: Amazone lists all the customary continental options, including a clevis or semi-mounted linkage set-up. Still, we were happy enough with our ring which, in the Catros design, provides a combination of accurate depth control and the capability to withstand a reasonable amount of abuse. Above all, it’s simple to couple up to and set.

Only niggle of note is that the pivoting drawbar does seem to generate rather too much machine bounce when travelling along the road – and especially up at speed. A little care is needed here. On the hitching up job, a twin-gear jack would help, but then in all other respects the coupling procedure is no real problem; once hooked on, the operator swings the jack underneath the drawbar where it is secured in position by a spring-loaded pin. And similar operator-friendly news applies to the Catros’ six hydraulic hoses, which are clearly labelled, neatly routed and can be stowed tidily when the unit is parked up. As for the tractor requirement, the tug needs three double-acting spools – for fold up/down, chassis lift/lower and depth control – with a fourth valve also a ‘must’ if the buyer decides to spec the leading harrow option (£2,485).

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