25 December 1998

Mezzo measures up to job

Valtra Valmet filled a gap at

the bottom end of its Mezzo

range 12 months ago with

the introduction of a 80hp

version. Ian Marshall finds

out how a model has

performed on a S Yorks

mixed farm

TALK tractors to Philip Waller and it soon becomes obvious he is a Valmet enthusiast. "Its always a joy to drive," he says of his current model, an 80hp four-wheel drive Mezzo 6200.

It is not Mr Wallers first Valmet. Slightly over a year ago the 6200 took the place of a long-serving 72hp two-wheel drive 505 on Hardwick Grange Farms 138ha (340 acres) at Aston, where combinable crops account for 122.5ha (300 acres), with the balance down to short-term grass leys for haylage sold to urban equestrian centres.

When it came to replacing the 505, the Wallers wanted a slight increase in power and four-wheel drive for the new tractors role as jack of all trades – powering the farms side-mounted Taarup forage harvester, fertiliser spreading, spraying, hedge cutting, secondary cultivations and drilling.

"But I did not want to lose the manoeuvrability of two-wheel drive because I have to get in and out of small yards delivering the haylage and conventional straw bales," says Mr Waller, who adds other key factors were residual value and reliability.

For Mr Waller, the yardstick for those two criteria was the 505.

"In its 10 years on the farm it clocked up 15,500hrs and we have never had the injectors out, all we had to replace were the steering bushes after 10,000hrs," he says.

Additionally, the 505s paintwork remained in good order at trade-in, when it held its value.

"What make could I buy which was better?" asks Mr Waller, who adds Fendt got a look in because it was the only marque considered to match Valmet in terms of engineering and quality.

The Mezzo 6200 arrived at Hardwick Grange in August 1997. In its year on the farm, it has put in more than 1800hrs on field operations and haulage, where it does 100 miles a week with a lot of the roadwork in and around the outskirts of Rotherham and Sheffield.

And the tractor has not disappointed. Comfort levels, visibility and the 36 x 36, 40kph Delta powershift transmission – an option Mr Waller specified – come in for praise immediately.

"I spend long hours in the cab but still get out feeling far from tired. The transmission is straightforward to use and provides a good range of gears and speeds," says Mr Waller, who adds the 6200s powershuttle is also a boon.

"You really appreciate it when you deliver 2000 round haylage bales and 20,000 conventional wheat and barley straw bales to urban equestrian centres, whose yards can be pretty tight," he says.

All-round handling is described as superb – as is visibility, although with a couple of caveats.

"I specified a side-mounted exhaust for better visibility on the road, I think is should be a standard feature," says Mr Waller. "Valmet should also fit better wing mirrors, it was not long before the glass dropped out."

It is the same for the 6200s performance in the field. Two features Mr Waller picks out for comment are minimal transmission losses giving nearly 70hp at the pto – the tractor has no problems driving the forage harvester – and the hydraulic system.

"The auto control is excellent, it is easy to use and allows precise positioning of the implement," he maintains.

A feature, however, which does not come up to the engineering standards Mr Waller expects of Valmet is the top link hanger.

"The jaws are very weak," he says. "It does not take long for them to widen through use, with the result the top link drops and can get caught on the drawbar when turning."

And, although the 6200 has so far maintained the standard of reliability set by its predecessor, if he has to carry out repairs, Mr Waller will not put his trust in the tractors tool kit.

"They are inferior to what I would have expected – of poor quality because of negligent out- sourcing," he maintains.

But, overall, Mr Waller has no regrets about buying the 6200. "It is not over sophisticated but incorporates enough technology to make it user-friendly and it has proved as good as I had hoped," he says. &#42

VALMETMEZZO 6200 DATA

&#8226 Engine 4-cyl turbocharged.

&#8226 Max power 80hp at 2200rpm.

&#8226 Transmission 12×12 synchromesh with creeper box, 40kph.

&#8226 Max lift capacity 4.5t.

&#8226 Pump output 74 litres/min at 190 bar.

&#8226 Pto 540/1000rpm.

&#8226 Pto output 67hp.

&#8226 Price £32,500.