Tractor drivers who like to open a window to let in a bit of fresh air can breathe a sigh of relief – the humble side-opening window isn’t about to disappear. But it is getting harder to find one, even on lower-hp tractors.
John Sprackman, a dairy farmer from Thornbury in south Gloucestershire, rang us to voice his worry about the future of this humble but much-appreciated part of a tractor’s anatomy.
His 105hp McCormick CX105 was due for changing and, looking at potential replacements, he found that the options had shrunk, simply because he insisted on an openable side window.
“I would always want air-conditioning, but there are times when there is nothing quite like opening the side window and getting some fresh air. I know a lot of farmers around here feel the same way,” he said.
So are tractor side-windows about to become a thing of the past? That might not worry arable farmers, who rely on an airtight cab and good air-con to keep out the dust on long cultivations stints. But livestock and mixed farmers, it seems, prefer the option of scooping in a bit of real air now and then.
Why should manufacturers want to get rid of side windows anyway? Mainly because a four-pillar cab (front screen, rear screen, two big doors) generally lets in more light and looks more modern than a six-post one (front screen, rear screen, two side windows and two doors).
The big tractor manufacturers have different stances on opening side windows. New Holland says it fits side-windows to the 72-100hp TLA series traditionally used for stock duties. Go up a notch to the 101-141hp T6000 tractors and you lose the side window but gain a roof hatch. Jump another notch to the 167-196hp T7000 and you can only have a roof-hatch if you order one.
At McCormick, the 84-102hp CX, 102-136hp MC and 115-152hp MTX tractor ranges all have openable side windows, though the CX will lose these when a new cab comes in at the end of the year. But it will gain a roof hatch.
John Deere says most of its tractors up to the 180hp 7530 have an openable side window, but above that the one-piece cab holds sway. Deere concedes that it’s an issue that many livestock and mixed farmers feel strongly about and now offers a four-post cabin with one-piece glass doors as an option on its 6030 and smaller 7030-series tractors.
Massey Ferguson says it’s committed to openable side windows. “Every tractor we sell in the UK has opening side windows,” said a spokesman, “and we have no current plans to change that.”