Regardless of size, make or model, there’s no denying there is something of a buzz attached to buying a brand new tractor.
The smell of new paint backed up with the comforting knowledge that no one, but no one, has used or abused your chosen machine. And, just to add an extra sparkle to the occasion, there is the reassurance of a manufacturer’s warranty should it be needed. It all adds up to a feel-good factor which, in these days of toil and cost cutting can be hard to beat.
And if the budget dictates a ceiling of about £15,000 there’s now a useful selection of sub-100hp “value” tractors available that could actually leave the canny buyer with money left over in the pocket.
So where do you look and what do you consider? Our shortlist of six favourites could hold the keys to your next new budget tractor.
Tractors UK of Sturminster Newton, Devon, is the importer of Indian-made Tafe tractors, which are based on early MFs following collaboration with Massey Ferguson UK in 1961 to build models based on the popular 35 and 45 tractors.
The Tafe 35 model is available in standard and Classic specifications – the latter mirrors the original Fergie 35’s design with a curved bonnet, while the standard model with square profile bodywork comes with four-wheel drive.
Power is supplied from a 37hp diesel engine driving an 8 x 2 mechanical gearbox and both models can lift 1100kg on the three-point linkage which also comes with draft control, position control and response settings.
For those searching for more power there is the 45 model, which brings 47hp to the mix, while a turbocharged 47 model packs in 67hp. Both can be specified as two- or four-wheel drive tractors, and all but the Classic 35 can be fitted with a safety cab in place of the roll-bar.
A manual steering system based on the recirculating ball design is fitted to the Classic 35, but other models benefit from power steering systems. Prices start at £8600 for the Classic 35, rising to £11,200 for the turbocharged 47 model.
Tractors UK also offers a front-end loader that offers a 3m lift height and a 750kg lift capacity.
Browns of Liversedge imports Belarus tractors into the UK, although only three from the six model portfolio reside below the 100hp threshold.
These include the 35hp B320 compact tractor, and the 90hp B900.3/B920.3 – the latter being a four-wheel drive derivative of the B900.3.
Both the 900-series tractors share many components, including a 4.7-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged 90hp diesel engine, dual speed pto system, 3800kg lift capacity, oil immersed brakes and 14×4 synchromesh transmission. And both weigh close to 4t.
There is a £2000 price difference between the models – £12,800 buys the B900.3 and £14,800 buys the B920.3.
But those looking to shave even more off the budget can choose from two lower-specification B900.3 versions – £12,000 buys a variant with a non-synchromesh transmission and a Russian seat, but keeps its oil-immersed brakes, while saving another £500 means customers can opt for the same specification but with dry brakes in place of the oil-immersed items.
The standard kit-list includes an on-board air compressor, three spool valves plus front and rear work lights.
Options that can be added to the Belarus models include a reverse shuttle synchromesh gearbox, air or hydraulic trailer braking system, creeper gearbox and air conditioning.
Perhaps not quite as cheap-and-cheerful as they once were, the Zetor tractor range now has the Proxima, Proxima Plus and Forterra models that create a modern portfolio that has brought the Czech maker into the 21st century.
With a limited budget in mind, the 68hp Proxima 6241 two-wheel drive and 6441 four-wheel drive models gain subtle changes from previous models, including grey-painted wheels that replace a former cream paint scheme, plus galvanised side steps and lenses that make the indicators and headlights much brighter, says the firm.
The four-cylinder, 4.1-litre turbocharged Zetor 7205 engine meets Tier III emissions regulations and creates a 36% torque rise, says the firm. Drive passes through a cerametallic clutch into a fully synchronised transmission with 10 forward and two reverse gears.
An optional 12×12 shuttle gearbox can be specified, and road speeds can be 30kph for the 6241 and 30 or 40kph for the 6441, depending on transmission choices.
Zetor buyers also get a category II three-point linkage with two-speed pto, ground speed pto and an optional 1000rpm front pto system.
The 3t tractors are also available as cabless versions with prices of £14,200 and £14,900 respectively – although those who prefer a little more in terms of creature comforts could stretch the budget by another £1800 to add a heated and glazed environment in which to sit.
Tong Yang Moolsan
Korean manufacturer Tong Yang Moolsan (TYM) produces a range of tractors that spans the 23-70hp sector.
Essentially a range of compact machines aimed at the equestrian and groundcare market, there is potential for the larger models that Kings Lynn, Norfolk-based TYM International brings to the UK, to find their way into farming applications.
The largest cabless tractor, the TYM 450, packs a 45hp Kubota four-cylinder diesel engine under its bonnet and drives all four wheels through a 16×16 synchro shuttle transmission and mechanical front-wheel drive system.
Hydrostatic power steering and wet disc brakes are part of the standard specification, as are a category I/II linkage, two-speed pto and two spool valves. Lift capacity of the 1800kg TYM450 is 1300kg at the lift arms.
At the top of the range, the larger TYM700 complete with glazed cab delivers 70hp from its John Deere three-cylinder turbo diesel engine.
Despite its power, this tractor remains relatively compact and measures 4m in length, 1.95m in width and 2.6m to the top of the cab. Tipping the scales at just 3020kg and shod on 11.2×24 front tyres and 16.9×30 at the rear.
And TYM is one of the few manufacturers that offers an extensive warranty – in this instance, it can extend to five years.
Spalding-based Rabtrak is the UK distributor for a range of Chinese built YTO tractors that spans 18-90hp.
Built at the First tractor works by Yuito (YTO) – which is reputed to be the oldest and largest machinery maker in China and produces 750 small tractors a day – these models are considered to be mechanically straightforward, and could appeal to those with a penchant for levers and mechanical linkages.
The 18-20hp models benefit from a 16-speed transmission, independent brakes, cold start, hydraulic three-point linkage, 540 rpm PTO and on-board air compressor. Larger YTO 300/304 – the “4” denotes four-wheel drive – are said to be ideal yard scraper models, while the YTO 400/404 are comparable in size to an MF35 and feature power steering, two speed PTO, 8-speed dual range gearbox plus three-point linkage and differential lock. Expect to pay around £6500 for such a tractor.
At the top end of the range are the 80hp and 90hp YTO 800/804 and 900/904 – both versions are based on Fiat Agri tractor designs with an Italian chassis and components used throughout, except for the engine. The four-cylinder turbocharged engine is Chinese manufactured, but based on a British design, says Rabtrak’s Richard Birkett.
Even these models remain free of electronic gadgets and on-board computers, and for £16,900, the YTO 904 comes with a glazed cab, air conditioning, pickup hitch and front mudguards as standard.
Perhaps the ultimate in low-cost tractor purchases could be found in the Chinese-manufactured Siromer stable.
The agricultural equivalent of a do-it-yourself kitchen, these part-built compact tractors are effectively a flat-packed collection of components in a crate, and are distributed in the UK through Siromer Tractors of Pilling, near Preston.
Currently, the three-model range peaks at a heady 30hp in the guise of the £5250 model 304, though a 40hp model is expected to arrive soon. The three-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine drives through a multi-plate clutch into a transmission offering six forward and two reverse gears.
At the business end, a dual-speed pto and category I linkage with 850kgs lift capacity offers the ability to handle most yard scrapers.
Building the tractor is a 10-step construction process that starts with unpacking the crate. After bolting on the wheels, the roll bar, mudguards and seat belt anchor points are installed, followed by the addition of the front weight frame and battery.
Then the rear three-point linkage needs to be fitted, along with the rear lights before lubricants, coolant and fuel is added, and the tractor finally brought to life.
Siromer says any of its tractors can be supplied fully assembled, if required.
Other makes in the wings
You only have to go to one of the big continental machinery shows to realise that there are all sorts of makes out there who have their sights set on exports. And some of the those would like to sell in the UK, if they could find an importer.
- Poland’s biggest tractor maker Pronar, but sells most of its 3000 a year output to its domestic market plus Russian and east European farmers (and a few to Eire). Starting to target west European markets (including the UK) with tractors that mix home-grown components with western technology. 8140 packs a 265hp Deutz engine.
- Turkish parts and castings manufacturer Erkunt plans to export its simple-tech tractors to western European markets under the Armatrac brand name.
- Perkins engines, ZF transmissions and Carraro axles are fitted and the model range currently starts at 60hp and includes 70hp, 80hp and 90hp models.
- Chinese maker Foton Lovol sells 60hp and 82hp cabbed models as well as 25 and 40hp tractors. Power is provided by Perkins-designed engines produced under licence.
- Russian tractors aren’t seen much in the EU, but two Terrion models (177hp and 265hp) are due to go on sale in Germany next year. They are made in a separate facility in the Kirowetz factory in St Petersburg but the design is done by Berlin firm ATM United Technologies.
- Most of the Terrion output will go to the 100,000 a year Russian market, but there’s also expected to be demand in Europe for a straightforward machine with western technology but minimal electronics that will compete with wstern makes.
- This Farmer-branded tractor on sale in Eire is Polish built and currently available in two sizes, the 92hp F-9058 and the 105hp F-10244 C1. The smaller unit is powered by a John Deere engine and uses a 12 x 12 transmission
- LimbLuxs Slovenian-built tractor was being brought in by TractaMotors, Co. Cavan, Eire. Looking a bit like a Deutz-Fahr, it’s currently offered as an 85hp model with plans for 95hp and 125hp variants. Powered by a Perkins engine, it has a 24 x 24 40kph transmission and 3.2t lift capacity.