BEEFY COMPACT GIVES ESTABLISHED NAMES A REAL RUN FOR THEIR MONEY BY NICK FONE

TONG YANG Moolsan is not a name that springs to mind when you think tractors. However, as with cars, vans and construction equipment, Asian manufacturers are keen to work their way into the European agricultural machinery market.

The company builds a range of compact tractors, the largest of which is the TYM 700. A lightweight machine, powered by a John Deere engine, we were keen to see just how it would perform in the field.

With pea-stubble to prepare for the drill, a three-furrow plough was coupled up to put the little tractor through its paces.

Hopping up into the cab it”s surprising just how roomy it is for a small tractor. Headroom is never going to be a problem, even for 7ft giants and there”s plenty of elbow-room, although it”s needed to operate the vast array of levers that greet the operator.

Down to the left of the seat are the handbrake, four-wheel drive, pto and range levers. To the right there”s another collection which includes the main gear lever and control for a front-end loader.

 Operation is, however, simple and straightforward – select one of four ranges, then engage one of four gears. It”s all basic mechanical engineering until you reach for the linkage controls.

A simple dial controls lift/lower functions but more complex electronic controls are used for a self-diagnostic system and draft sensitivity.

This takes time to master and once set up is not as effective as it should be – it requires the driver to constantly tweak the linkage to get the best from the tractor and plough.

On a brighter note, however, there”s bags of power from the Deere engine, which sings along happily, rarely dipping its note, even ploughing down to 10in (25cm). 

WELL BALANCED

Traction is no problem either- the TYM feels well balanced and extremely chunkily created Hankook tyres dig in to pull the plough along. If a tougher patch does appear it takes some persuading that the foot-operated diff-lock wants to stay engaged – keeping your heel in on the pedal all day could prove tiresome.

Headland control comes in the form of a system that automatically disengages the pto as the link-arms are lifted or the steering angle exceeds a set limit – a useful safety feature that could save bent shafts and guards.

In addition, a clever foot-operated parking brake helps to make the hand-brake redundant, thanks to its simplicity in operation. All in all it”s a driver-friendly machine.

For what purports to be a basic budget tractor, it has a spec level that you would usually find on only range-topping machines. There”s air conditioning, cup-holders and even an electric fridge/hotbox big enough for a sandwich pack.

 Ploughing is not, perhaps, the type of application that the TYM 700 is primarily destined for, but it’s as good a trial as any when testing a machine”s power and traction. And, thanks to its eager engine it takes it in its stride

 Consider the price and you’re looking at a tractor that has strong potential to serve less arduous agricultural tasks. TYM 700 Power 70hp @ 2500rpm Engine 2.9-litre John Deere 3-cyl Transmission 16F/16R, 4-speed, 4-range manual Linkage capacity 2t Turning circle 4.7m Height 2.6m Weight 3t Price 16,995