For the farm machinery success story of the past decade, look no further than the telescopic handler. These machines are now considered essential items on many UK farms, they’re starting to take off in Europe, and as for the US…well, Caterpillar has just bought Claas Teleporter, which says it all. In co-operation with the DLG test station, we assess six 3t/7m models from the top end of the farm handler sector

Think of a materials handling task, and it’s likely that a telehandler can do it – and do it, in most cases, more efficiently than the traditional tractor loader. Whether it be filling the mixer wagon, stacking big bales into barns, mucking out stock sheds, loading grain into artics, the telehandler is capable of them all and is why these versatile machines are now such a familiar sight on UK farms. Their justification has developed into a catchphrase, almost to the point of becoming an agricultural cliché: “When a farmer has had one, he’ll wonder how he ever managed without. The longer he has a telescopic, the more jobs he’ll find for it.” And so on.

In this article, the first of a ‘two-parter’, we assess the test results achieved by six top-spec handlers at the DLG test station; whereas next month we move on to look at how the machines perform in the field – how easy they are to live with on a daily basis. Detailed specifications of the particular handler models tested are shown in the table overleaf, ‘Technical data and measurements in comparison’.

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