29 January 1999

JD models of co-operation

The Smithfield Show saw

John Deere revamp its 3000

tractors with the

introduction of the 3010

series. Ian Marshall climbs

aboard the range-topping

four-wheel drive 3410

MAINTAINING profits in an increasingly competitive tractor market calls for a degree of co-operation between companies, for example the cost of developing a new engine or transmission is generally too tall an order for most makers to go it alone.

One such agreement exists between John Deere and Renault. Deere supplies engines to Renault for its Ceres range; Renault, in turn, provides the transmission, final drive, three point linkage and cab for Deeres 3010 series tractors, marries them to Deeres engine and assembles the tractors.

The outcome is a four model, low to mid-specification, range spanning the 55hp-85hp bracket. Its target market is the livestock, mixed and arable farmer who wants a utility power unit for general operations such as loader work, trailer haulage or grassland farming. "It is a shrinking sector in the UK, but still a reasonable size at the top end," says John Deeres tractor product manager, Gordon Day.

At the top end of Deeres 3010 series sits the four-wheel drive 3410, whose power and lift capacity of 5t – up 13% on its predecessor through the fitting of larger rams – enables it to take on the additional useful role as a cultivations tractor.

As on other models Deere offers SE versions, a designation which, on the 3010 series, gives the buyer a choice of standard or up-market "X" cab, 16.9×34 rear/13.6×24 front tyres and front wheel mudguards.

But there is a choice of transmissions: Basic 9×9 30kph in two ranges and 10×10 40kph, also in two ranges. Speeds in both can be doubled up by the addition of Twin Shift – a single high/low splitter – mechanical on standard cab models, hydraulic on X cab machines.

farmers weekly caught up with an X-cabbed 3410 SE fitted with the 20×20 Twin Shift transmission, at Deeres UK headquarters at Langar, Notts.

It is in the cab where the 3410 differs most from its predecessors. Gone are the 3000s heavy framed doors and interior dark browns and blacks, replaced by a frameless door design and lighter, textile colours.

Swing up through the wide, front opening doors, which latch forward to allow easy access for the constantly on and off stockman, and the difference these change make come to light – literally.

The cab is not short on elbow room and the interior brightness from almost floor-to-ceiling glass and the light colours of the panels and mouldings, definitely brings this out. Additional space comes from the position of the range and main gear levers, neatly grouped by the drivers right thigh. To their right sits the hand throttle.

Behind these – easily reached but out of the way – are the spool valve levers, the modulated pto engagement lever and the hydraulic controls. To the left of the fully adjustable Grammer seat are the handbrake, differential lock engagement lever and 540/1000rpm pto speed selector.

Fire up the motor and increased cladding keeps engine noise comfortably on the outside, but bring out a shortcoming – the bulk of the console blocks out the view to the front wheels, marring otherwise good all round visibility.

The slim exhaust stack does not get in the way as the muffler is under the bonnet, another feature of models fitted with the "X" cab.

A redesigned gear lever knob fits neatly into the palm of the hand and, on the move, it is a simple matter to get a required forward speed by de-clutching up and down the five speed gear box and using the button operated Twin Shift.

And simulating shuttle work showed the SE is not lacking in the manoeuvrability stakes. The steering is light and precise and it has a good turning circle. Shuttle reversing is by a clutch operated shuttle lever mounted on the dashboard to the left of the wheel.

In the market-place the 3410 comes up against its counterparts in the likes of Agcos MF 4200 series and its Renaults Ceres twin.

Whether buyers opt for green or orange will be mainly dictated by preference, local after-sales back-up service and the inducement of finance packages. &#42

JOHNDEERE3410 SE

&#8226 Engine 85hp 4-cylinder turbocharged.

&#8226 Transmission 20 forward/20 reverse twinshift with shuttle reverser, 40kph.

&#8226 Hydraulic lift 5t.

&#8226 Pto 540/1000rpm.

&#8226 Weight 3.5t.

&#8226 List price £23,608.