0 Which tractor?

Which Tractor?

By Dave Saltman

Tractor-Demo-Day-Jan-2006-0.jpg

For most machinery, dealer backup is probably the most important consideration, but is that so for a tractor? I mean tractors are built to last, withstand abuse and should give you a lifetime of work with very little likely to go wrong if regular maintenance checks are carried out.

When we decided to do our second 'Which' style testing with mid range tractors it was going to be interesting to see how the various manufacturers would fair against each other. However once I started looking for potential candidates I was overwhelmed at how many manufacturers there actually are. We had arranged with Ian and the School to accommodate the tractors for a week, enabling the Groundstaff the time to carry out a series of tests. At that time we thought that we'd get around six machines to trial.

Once word got out that we were going to do the trials, more manufacturers wanted to be involved, and with the variations involved between tractors in a 35-45hp range, it became evident that the tractors could not be judged on a 'like for like'Tractor-Demo-Day-explains1.jpg

Tractor-Demo-Day-Demo.jpg

On the Wednesday, during the weeks testing, we had decided as I said above, to hold an open day. Over 80 people turned up through the day and the majority of them were in the market for a new tractor. On a cold but dry February morning, the manufacturers were able to provide a summary of their respective tractors, this was followed with informal questions and answers and some test-driving before a hot lunch and refreshments. In the afternoon more test-driving took place, before a fun race down the 1st team rugby pitch to close proceedings. Apologies to Ian and the team for the wheel marks at the start and finish.

Below are some comments from attendees and manufacturers.

Tractor-Demo-Day-explains.jpg

James Mead (Rugby School)- "We're looking to purchase this year, this open day has been professionally organised and leaves me with no need to look elsewhere. St Albans School is also a super venue and holding this event has been a great opportunity as well for them".

Kevin Duffill (Hawkswell Athletic)-"For any operation with scarce funds and resources this has been an invaluable use of time".

Steve Potter- "It's been great to concentrate on one product, evaluating all the features and benefits in one place without any distractions".

Simon Tickner-"There are more tractors here than at the shows and they 're all wheel to wheel. I'd much rather come and do these 'hands-on' days, it's much easier to make an informed decision".

Richard Allam (Burghley Estate)-" We're in the market for new tractors, so this event is a godsend. At the shows, manufacturers are often so far apart, it's impossible to do any real comparison".

Tim Pinney (Kioti)-"This event gives customers the opportunity to see similar products in a line, as manufacturers our benefit comes from all the end-user discussion".

David Broad (Massey Ferguson)- "We have received some good enquiries from this part of the world, with everyone in one place and no other distractions there is no other event like it". Tractor-Demo-Day-viewers.jpg

Kevin Carley (New Holland)-"This has got to be a first, a true head to head in a friendly way. It's a unique event, certainly interesting to see the variety all at one venue. The customer makes the decisions, so they need to be at ease with what they purchase. It has been very worthwhile doing this working demonstration day".

Rob Norris (TYM)-" Proved very viable for all those attending, certainly an event that I'd be delighted to do again".

Prior to the tractors arriving the St Albans Groundstaff and I had put together a list of criteria that we felt were necessary points for consideration when purchasing a new tractor. These were as follows:

1) Pre start checks-efficiency and ease. These are the checks listed in the Manual and some that we have ourselves to try and prevent machinery breakdown. We looked here at how long it takes and how straightforward the checks were to carry out.

2) Starting procedure and ease of starting operation.

3) Fuel filling-ease of filling and how much fuel used. Is it economical to run.

4) Road speed/ gear ratios-ease of gear changing/hydrostatic changes.

5) Operator visibility-subject to there being a cab, how easy does the shape of the tractor allow clear view in all directions.

6) Control layout-does the operator have easy access to all controls, in terms of throttle, hydraulic controls, hand brake, switches (indicators/beacon)?

7) External controls-are hydraulic couplings/PTO/3 pt linkage easy to connect/disconnect.

Tractor-Demo-Day-overview.jpg

9) How noisy is the machine during operation. How much vibration or unnecessary bouncing of the tractor is there.

10) Are there any significant reasons to vary running/maintenance costs of the tractor. Does the manufacturer specify less or more service intervals than others.

11) Operator comfort- Does the machine respond quickly to gear/speed changes, does the seat offer a comfortable operation? Does the driver feel safe in operation. Do pedals require additional exertion than would be expected.

12) Manoeuvrability of the machine- can you still swing the tractor round on the spot or is it a corn circle to turn round.

13) Does the tractor leave a large tyre imprint or is the weight/ground ratio just about right.

14) Cleaning down of the machine. A job we all hate but it has to be done, is it any easier now?

15) In general was the machine easy to use?

16) Did you like the Machine? Perhaps a personal choice, but a fair question.

Unfortunately due to the time scales and in some cases the lack of handbook, we were unable to provide an adequate assessment on numbers 8 (Lifting capacity) and 10 (Running costs). I have left these questions on this report because we felt that they are important criteria for people to look at in the future when choosing a tractor in any size bracket.

There were 5 points allocated against each question, so having omitted two questions, a total of 70 points were available.

Ian and his four members of staff as well as his resident mechanic tested each tractor independently. As I have mentioned before due to the variations in Hp/drive from different suppliers, it was not based on a 'like for like' comparison, but more a benefits and drawbacks assessment of each individual tractor.

Ultimately there are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a new tractor, hopefully this assessment will have brought to the fore the range of machinery that is out there. I have included web links and contact details for each of the companies that took part, so if you would like further information please contact the manufacturer/supplier direct. All the details and the comments made by Ian and his staff are as follows:



Aebi

http://www.aebi.com/html_e/frameset.htm

Contact: John Taylor 07850 123455

Tractorday_Aebi1.jpg

Scored highest on control layout and comfort. Only real drawback was having to lift a gas ram aided side compartment and radiator to get at dipstick for pre-start checks.

That said the Hp machine supplied was considerably larger than the rest (hence the price tag) and would be more suitable to compare against more powerful tractors.



Carraro

http://www.antoniocarraro.it/

Contact: Steve Cabrol on 01420 479606

Tractorday_carraro.jpg

Scored highly on visibility, fuel filling and pre start checks were easy at the lower level. A lot of horsepower for a small tractor.

Drawback on model supplied was the central control island which provided a cluttered driving position. However this can be adjusted by the operator on a permanent basis.



Ferrari

http://www.lameng.com/uk-ferrari-tractors/

Contact: Andy Fuller 01892 890364

Tractorday_ferrari.jpg



Iseki

http://www.ransomesjacobsen.com/mainframe.htm

Contact: Peter Powell 07815 062185

Tractorday_Iseki.jpg

Operator comfort was also marked high (well it was January).

Drawbacks included tyre impressions left and turf ripped during turns and a thin dipstick that bent easily when oil checked.



John Deere

http://www.deere.com/en_GB/

Contact: John Deere 01949 860491

Tractorday_John-Deere.jpg

The feature was useful when loading and operator failed to stall the engine when put under pressure. Second feature was the electronic speed adjuster. This meant that the speed required could be locked or adjusted up or down in small increments.

Scored highly on comfort and operator visibility, lost marks on flimsy bonnet and awkward opening-would benefit from a gas ram opening system.



Kilworth

http://www.kilworthmachinery.co.uk/compact/index.htm

Contact Mark Parnham 01530 412690

Tractorday_kilworth.jpg

It also needs a toolbox attached somewhere.



Kioti

http://www.reco.co.uk/kct.html

Contact Tim Pinney 07876 593215

Tractorday_kioti.jpg

The front wheels seemed disproportionate to the tractor, hence the ripping of grass on a tight turn.

Number plate position affected operator visibility when hooking up a trailer or machine on three point linkage.



Kubota

http://www.kubota.co.uk/

Contact Sales on Tel: 01844 214500

Tractorday_kubota.jpg

Dropped marks on pre-start checks where bonnet needs to be lifted to get at the dipstick and some control levers were slightly out of comfortable reach.

Rear visibility was obscured by the position of lights and number plate on ROPS. It's a small size tractor for a high Hp.



Massey Ferguson

http://www.masseyferguson.com/

Contact: Colin Gregory on Tel 07711 095279

Tractorday_Masseyfergusonse.jpg



New Holland

http://www.newholland.com

Contact: Kevin Carley on Tel 01268 292580

Tractorday_Newholland.jpg

The super steer axle also made the turning circle the best of the bunch. Main drawback was the awkwardness of fuel filling, tank cap was high and not the easiest to fill from a Gerry can.



Same Deutz Fahr

http://www.samedeutz-fahr.com/uk/deutz-fahr/

Contact Andy Watson on 01788 891892

Tractorday_SDF.jpg

The narrow width of the tractor combined with the central levers provides a slightly cramped or snug position for the operator to work in.

The high elevation of the tractor would be better served with another step below the footplate.



Siromer

http://www.siromer.co.uk/

Contact Jeff or Cath on Tel 01253 799014

Tractorday_siromer.jpg

The levers were not labelled because the cowling was not in place and the brakes were not the production brakes. The seat supplied was not for production, the seat in production will be an EU approved seat.

All that said and done, it is a good basic tractor with a budget price tag.



TYM

http://www.tym-international.com/

Contact Bob Norris 0800 783 5580

Tractorday_Tym.jpg

Drawbacks included high fuel filling position, and ripped turf on tight turning circle.

The main downside was the close proximity of the four hydraulic couplings to the top link. This would prove a problem when using more than two hoses at once in conjunction with mounted equipment.



We had originally asked for tractors to be submitted between 30-45 Hp, but as testing was based on each respective tractor, models that were slightly below or above this requirement were included. We did also ask that tractors weren't supplied with a cab, and that all machines had to be on turf/grass tyres. Manual gear or hydrostatic drive was optional.


AEBI Carraro Ferrari Iseki John Deere Kilworth Kioti Kubota Massey Ferguson New Holland Same Deutz Fahr Siromer TYM
1) Pre start checks-efficiency and ease?
3.5 4.5 4.5 3.5 4 4.5 4 3.5 3.5 4.5 4 4.5 4
2) Starting procedure and ease of starting operation?
4 4 4 4.5 4.5 4 4.5 4.5 4.5 5 4 4 4.5
3) Fuel filling-ease of filling and how much fuel used. Is it economical to run?
4 4.5 4.5 4.5 4 4.5 4 4.5 4.5 3.5 4 3 3.5
4) Road speed/ gear ratios-ease of gear changing/hydrostatic changes?
4.5 4 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 3.5 4.5 4 4.5 5 4 4
5) Operator visibility-subject to there being a cab, how easy does the shape of the tractor allow clear view in all directions?
4 4 4 4.5 4.5 4 3.5 3.5 4.5 4.5 4 4 3.5
AEBI Carraro Ferrari Iseki John Deere Kilworth Kioti Kubota Massey Ferguson New Holland Same Deutz Fahr Siromer TYM
6) Control layout-does the operator have easy access to all controls, in terms of throttle, hydraulic controls, hand brake, switches (indicators/beacon)?
5 4 4 4 4 4 3.5 3.5 3.5 5 3 3 3.5
7) External controls-are hydraulic couplings/PTO/3 pt linkage easy to connect/disconnect?
5 4 4 4 4.5 4 4 4.5 4 4 4 3 3.5
8) Lifting power/capacity-dependent on the Hp of the tractor, does it adequately pick up machines on the 3 pt linkage efficiently?
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9) How noisy is the machine during operation? How much vibration or unnecessary bouncing of the tractor is there?
4.5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3.5 4
10) Is there any significant reasons to vary running/maintenance costs of the tractor? Does the manufacturer specify less or more service intervals than others?
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
AEBI Carraro Ferrari Iseki John Deere Kilworth Kioti Kubota Massey Ferguson New Holland Same Deutz Fahr Siromer TYM
11) Operator comfort- Does the seat offer a comfortable operation? Does the driver feel safe in operation? Do pedals require additional exertion than would be expected?
4.5 4 3.5 4.5 4.5 3.5 4 4 4 4.5 3.5 3 4
12) Manoeuvrability of the machine- can you still swing the tractor round on the spot or is it a corn circle to turn round?
4.5 4 4.5 4 4.5 4.5 4 4.5 4 5 4.5 4 4
13) Does the tractor leave a large tyre imprint or is the weight/ground ratio just about right?
4 4 4.5 3 4 4.5 3 4.5 4 4 3.5 4 3.5
14) Cleaning down of the machine. A job we all hate but it has to be done, is it any easier now?
4.5 4 3.5 4.5 4 3.5 4.5 4 4.5 4.5 3.5 4 4
15) In general was the machine easy to use?
4.5 4 4 4 4.5 4 4.5 4 4 4.5 3.5 3.5 4
16) Did you like the Machine? I know it can be a personal choice, but a fair question?
4.5 4 4 4 4.5 4 3.5 4 4 4.5 3.5 2.5 4
AEBI Carraro Ferrari Iseki John Deere Kilworth Kioti Kubota Massey Ferguson New Holland Same Deutz Fahr Siromer TYM
TOTALS (Out of 70)
61 57 57.5 57.5 60 57.5 54.5 57.5 57 62 54 50 54
Horse power (Hp)
61 47 46 46 43.7 46 35 39.5 38 45 40 42 43
Weight (Kg)
1650 1555 1190 1575 1360 1220 1515 1035 1360 1417 1320 1200 1690
Model number tested
TT75 Tigrone T5400 Cobram 50 T6 5470 3720 Valiant 500RS DK 35 STV40 1540 TC 45D Agrokid 40 404 T430
Guide retail price (£)
49,038 14,500 14,550 18,348 16,000 14,950 13,825 15,800 16,010 18,044 13,250 7,500 12,628

Pitchcare would like to thank St Albans School, Ian Smith, his staff and all of the tractor manufacturers for their time and effort in making this event possible.

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