Two New Holland tractors are making the grade at Hadlow College. A TN60D-A and the compact TC27D-A have been added to the Kent-based college's fleet and have been awarded top marks by Machinery Lecturer Andrew Hall, who is very pleased with his students - both the four-wheeled and the two-legged variety.
"One of the features that attracted me to these machines was the layout of the controls, which makes them very easy to operate. That's vital when they're being used by students, who may have very little tractor driving experience," says Andrew. "The tractors are performing well and, thanks to the ergonomics of the machines, so are the students that operate them.
"The tractors are an incredibly useful teaching resource - they're good all round machines," he adds.
Andrew visited a number of dealers with a list of requirements before making his choice, and says that the New Holland tractors 'ticked all the boxes'. Both machines were bought from Maidstone-based Martin Fordham of Haynes Agriculture, as was the Lewis backhoe and loader that came with the compact tractor.
The TN60D-A is used mainly for teaching purposes and was specified with two-wheel drive in order to help teach the students how to manoeuvre trailers in tight spaces.
"We asked for the model to be fitted with a creeper gearbox because the college has a lot of equipment that requires slow operation. We also wanted a machine that was suited to road work," explains Andrew.
The flexibility offered by the model was a deciding factor: "Apart from teaching, the 59hp TN60D-A is also used for some light secondary cultivations on crop fields. The machine really does fulfil all our medium-range tractor needs," he adds.
The college's TC27D-A was sent to Warwickshire-based machinery manufacturer Lewis to be fitted with the backhoe and loader before being delivered to the college and they have remained on the tractor ever since - it's permanently set up as a loader/digger.
"Again, this machine is primarily used for teaching purposes, but it is also used to maintain the college estate - to dig holes in order to lay water pipes, for example," says Andrew.
The TC27D-A is proving itself to be an agile, reliable and robust workhorse. Its hydrostatic transmission eliminates risk of clutch wear and tear associated with a mechanical transmission when the machine is used with the front loader. This was another feature that caught Andrew's eye when he was looking for a compact tractor.
"The hydrostatic transmission is a boon to us," he says. Robustness and ease of operation aside, Andrew is also impressed with the level of user comfort that the machines offer. And vital for ease of maintenance, and again teaching purposes, both machines' workings are easy to access for routine servicing.
"They're easy to service and the service we've received from New Holland, and the back up we've had from Martin Fordham, has also been excellent. There's been a good rapport between us all," adds Andrew.
The college eagerly showed off its new assets this summer when both tractors were on display, as part of a line up of machinery, at a college open day. The TC27D-A formed a static display, but was also driven around the display ring and the TN60D-A was used as a passenger-conveying tractor to transport visitors around the college campus.