11 December 1998

But its not all glitz at show…

ITS not all glitz, glamour and powershift transmissions on the tractor stands at Smithfield. Stock farmers wanting a no-frills, no-nonsense power unit for yard and light field duties also have a good choice of machines.

Smallholder Tractor Co made its Smithfield debut with a range of low-price models, including the companys first four-wheel-drive machine.

Unlike the 41hp Lister-Petter engined ST35 that launched the company from Evesham, Worcs, a year ago, the newcomer uses all-new components rather than a mixture of new and refurbished parts.

"The skid unit comes from a European manufacturer and we clothe it in Smallholder bodywork and livery," explains company director Giles Hirst. "Apart from giving us a four-wheel-drive model, the tractor is narrow enough to be driven through a stable doorway."

Specifications include a nine forward, three reverse speed gearbox, live hydraulics with draft and position control linkage, and two-speed pto.

But there is no cab, just a protective roll bar. It costs an economical £6500.

Renaults latest Herdsman tractor is rather more expensive at £19,210 to £26,050 – but then it is bigger and has a more comprehensive specification.

There are 52hp and 67hp models in two and four-wheel drive, and a four-wheel drive 76hp machine.

Updates include a new cab with improved visibility, fresh instruments giving more precise read-outs of pto speeds, and optional electronic control of the hydraulic linkage.

An adjustable steering column should make it easier to get a comfortable driving position, but gear levers that project from either side of the gearbox make it awkward to get into the seat in the first place.