PRACTICAL TEST: Tanco Autocut M3 and M9 mower combination: Razor blade on wheels. Has Tanco hit the market bang on cue with its mower combination? The rise of more powerful but relatively lightweight tractors means the semi-mounted mower design is ideal on paper…and we see if it’s the same in the field.

After several seasons of confidence building, Tanco is now ramping up the production of its triple mower combination — the front-mounted M3 can be partnered with a semi-mounted M9 or M10 with 9.0m and 10m respective working widths. In fact, Tanco is so confident in the triple’s performance, they gave us the 9.0m version to test last season.

Pulled front

There’s no A-frame, as the front mower hitches directly to the tractor’s lower links. Once these are about 65cm off the ground, the frame is in its optimum position for the cutterbar to make the most of its travel — 85cm vertical and +/-16° of movement front to rear and 19° of oscillation, according to Tanco.

The top link is correctly adjusted once the headstock is vertical. The two hydraulic rams on the frame require one single-acting spool, and a tap between them switches the oil flow.

One ram is used for the hydro-pneumatic suspension, which should be 40-50 bar. Once pressurised, the tap can lock it off and the machine can even be stored like this. Unfortunately, on our machine the associated pressure gauge sits right next to the top link pin, making it hard to see, but this has since been moved to an easier to spot position. The other ram lifts the mower in and out of work on the headland.

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