16 January 1998

Telehandlers a big asset on this small dairy unit

Matbros TR250-110 was

given a high-spec cab,

110hp engine and tweaked

powershift transmission at

its launch. But is it still the

UKs benchmark for pivot

steer handlers?

Geoff Ashcroft reports

HAVING clocked up about 500 hours during the first eight months of operation Charlie Wray is, so far, pleased with the performance from his Matbro TR250-110 telehandler.

It was bought earlier this year as a straight replacement for a two-year-old TR250 Powershift model having covered 2000-hours. And, used daily on the 75ha (185-acre) Wayside Farm, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, Mr Wray often wonders how he ever managed using a tractor and loader.

"It is the third telehandler we have had, and this one is a bit over the top for our small unit," says Charlie Wray. "But when you spend a lot of hours in the seat, you need a comfortable cab on a machine that is easy to operate."

Seasonal duties

Winter months see the TR250-110 on feeding and bedding duties, handling round bale straw and silage for the farms 80-head Jersey herd plus followers. In the summer, there are muck spreaders to load, bales to stack and 20ha (50 acres) of maize silage to clamp.

"I suppose we will clock up 1000 hours a year," he says. But, of the many telehandlers to choose from, what was the reasoning behind his current choice?

"We have a tight yard and some tricky buildings to negotiate, so that ruled out a side-cab machine for starters; even with low boom models, there is still a nasty blind spot over the offside rear corner, so it had to be a pivot steer," he explains.

"Although there is better choice now, few handlers compare with Matbro on specification. And the TR250-110 is a considerable improvement over the previous machine.

Plenty of power

"The transmission kickdown is useful when clamping maize, there is plenty of power and it has the best all-round visibility I have ever known on such a machine."

So that is the good news out of the way – and now some not so good news: Mr Wray is far from pleased about Matbros attention to detail. "The machine has been reliable, but it is poorly finished for a telehandler of this calibre and price," he says. "The bonnet release cable has a plastic handle which has broken off (mole grips now form the basis of a temporary handle).

"Also, the floor mat finishes lower than the edge of the cab so when you wash the cab floor, dirt and water are trapped between the mat and the doorway.

"In addition, the steering column shrouding is flimsy and the design of the drain tray for the air conditioning unit (now modified) meant when the air conditioning was running, icy cold water dripped into the cab."

Mr Wray admits justifying the TR250-110s £42,000 list price was a little difficult to achieve, but a good exchange deal on the outgoing machine was a deciding factor.

"When you spend that amount of money on kit, it must be looked after and kept clean; it should help the resale value when the next trade-in deal comes round." &#42

The TR250-110 is a useful asset to Charlie Wrays dairy operation at Wayside Farm for feeding, bale handling and mucking out.

"The cab is comfortable and the machine does all we ask, but Matbros build quality is still way off mark," says Charlie Wray.