Most tractor model numbers bear a passing resemblance to the power within.

Not so with Czech maker Zetor, which has muddied the waters somewhat with the introduction of its Forterra 11741.

This four-cylinder turbocharged model has just joined the range and, sitting alongside the firm’s 11741 126hp six-cylinder turbo, packs 128hp from its turbo intercooled four-pot. Confused?

Let me explain.

The six-cylinder model uses a Same engine, which won’t yet meet Tier III emissions, so its future hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, the Czech maker has put its own four-cylinder Tier III compliant engine on to the production line and developed a shorter, lighter tractor that currently gives more choice to buyers.

Apart from a 30cm shorter wheelbase, the four-pot 11741 carries a 4c designation, to remind you of its cylinder deficiency.

That’s not to say it’s lacking in the field – far from it.

Farmers Weekly travelled to Easton College, Norwich, to put a pre-production model through its paces on top work.

The college kindly provided a ploughed field and 4m Kongskilde Germinator, which proved a useful test for the tractor’s lugging ability and transmission.

Transmission

Keeping a 9kph (5.6mph) forward speed on the gently rolling site required frequent use of the tractor’s three-speed powershift function – easy enough to operate using push buttons on the front face of the main gear lever.

But keeping track of whether you are in low, medium or high is more of a challenge.

The powershift splits are shown on the dashboard, but in an illogical and frustrating fashion.

Where no lights are illuminated, the transmission is in high.

Medium is indicated by a single light, and low is indicated by two lights.

Come on, Zetor, let’s have a straightforward sequence of one, two and three lights corresponding to low, medium and high, respectively.

Gear lever numbering is much more straightforward using 1-4 in a H-pattern, as is the range lever, which selects low and high ranges by simply moving the lever forwards or backwards.

Changing direction requires use of the long-life cerametallic clutch, with a colour-coded shuttle lever used to move swiftly between F and R.

The lever is cranked, which gives a useful amount of knee-room when the foot throttle is used.

It would make a good loader tractor, too, if the roof line didn’t drop at the top of the windscreen, stealing valuable forward vision, so watching those high lifts would require a degree of contortionism from the operator.

Simple Controls

No headland management or electronic push-button hydraulics here, this tractor is one for the traditionalists – or one for those who have an influx of occasional tractor drivers, as finding your way around the cab and controls is childs’ play.

Driving the 11741 will keep you fit, too, as legs and arms co-ordinate with levers, hydraulics and pedals when headland manoeuvres are needed.

You won’t get bored.

But the weedy-looking hand throttle requires too big a stretch to operate.

Opening the hand throttle needs a big forward push on the dash-mounted lever, and that’s after you have leant forward from the seat just to get your hand to it.

There is a useful passenger seat, too, but unless you are in the habit of sharing your cab, it is best removed.

When folded up it can interfere with your left arm and shoulder – if left down and you are in and out of the cab opening and closing gates, for example, folding the seat up and down will get tedious.

It would be easy for Zetor to make the cab that bit more comfortable and thought out.

And while the control layout has a mostly simple layout that is easy to follow without burying your head in the operator’s handbook, the cab is a fairly noisy environment.

A long day could prove ear-numbingly tedious.

Given the glass area, the air-con does work well, though.

And standard-fit heated mirrors and rear screen will help on those misty mornings.

Summary

Zetor’s own four-cylinder engine pulls hard and the 11741 4c has plenty of lugging power when the revs drop away.

The powershift changes are smooth, too, if not logical, which helps to keep the engine spinning in the 1500-2000rpm working zone.

It performs well in the field, and is compact enough to perform well in the yard.

And despite a few of its shortcomings, the Zetor brand has the potential to find favour with those working on a limited budget.

Click here to go to the Farmers Weekly interactive special report on tractors

fwmachinery@rbi.co.uk