29 March 2002

Targo earns top marks

Over a year has rolled by since the first Claas Targo

telehandlers came off the production line at Saxham,

Suffolk. Andy Moore visited a farm in Shropshire to

see if the K70 has lived up to expectations

INVESTING hea-vily in a new telehandler range, Claas was keen to have Richard Solari Farms as a customer of its Targo K70 machine last May.

The farm needed a versatile workhorse to handle a high tonnage of grain and root crops grown on its 480ha (1186 acres) – plus 4000 medium square bales/year and shift all the muck produced by a 260-sow pig unit.

But why a Claas Targo? "The manufacturer offered us a very competitive deal on the K70 and were fully prepared to iron out any teething troubles," says farm manager Rob Waterston.

"We chose the range-topping K70 not just because of its 7.2m/3.5t lift performance, but because we were impressed with its Automatic Powershift transmission Controller (APC)."

Supplied with the machine as standard, the controller is designed to kick-in when the driver selects 4th, 5th or 6th gear in the Targos full powershift transmission.

If these speeds are selected, the transmission adopts an automatic mode and shifts up and down the gears according to tractive demands, different ground contours and gradient.

"The transmission comes in handy when we need to clear the D1000 bales off fields as quickly and comfortably as possible before cultivation work starts," says Mr Waterston. "When slowing down to grab a bale, the transmission automatically switches down a gear or two and then notches up again as the loader makes for the stack."

Also useful in the transmission department, he believes, is Kick Down – a facility which can be operated to shift down a speed from the one selected. This is a useful feature when digging deep into piles of muck or grain.

"Combined with the power delivered by the 106hp Perkins block, the Kick Down delivers impressive traction in heavy going muck shifting work," says Mr Waterston. "The motor puts out more than enough power in challenging ground conditions, so the optional 122hp engine may have been too much output for our requirements."

Also delivering the goods is the Targos load-sensing hydraulic system with its 120 litres/min axial pump which allows the boom to be operated very quickly regardless of engine speed.

High oil flow from the pump is designed to allow sufficient power to operate auxiliary functions, such as the farms box tipper and bale grab.

But while the Targo comes up trumps in the power and lifting stakes, Mr Waterston believes there is room for improvement in the panel work and engine access. "Telehandlers have a tough life on our farm and the glass fibre panels and mudguards might not stand the test of time.

Niggling complaints apart, Mr Waterston gives full marks to the loaders Panavision cabin, which gives an unhindered view of the boom throughout its 7.2m lift – important when stacking bales 10-high tight to the barn roof. &#42

The range-topping Targo K70 has a 3.5t lift capacity and 7.2m lift height.