Mike Neaverson: Where’s the ‘big lever’ on the tractor?

Our new tractor has arrived. 

It is indeed very comfortable, and appears to have a lot of grunt, which I’m sure its main driver Jack will appreciate, given that he spends the best part of 2,000 hours a year in it.

See also: Mike Neaverson – New tractor prices make me hanker for old kit

About the author

Mike Neaverson
News opinion writer
Mike Neaverson is a potato grower and independent agronomist from South Lincolnshire. After a spell in farm management, he set up his own business in 2017 and is also heavily involved with his family’s 300ha arable farm.
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I’ve driven it for approximately six minutes and, as far as I can tell, the main difference from its predecessor is that it cost significantly more.

It’s also got matt-black rims and some chrome trim on it too – which I’m told are cool – but were I to apply the same styling to my pickup, then folks might well assume that I have commercial interests outwith the legal definition of agriculture.

I sat for five of my six minutes trying to figure out which sequence of small buttons and touchscreens I had to press in order to assign the hydraulic couplings to the electrical switches to tip the load of pig muck on the back, and I was imagining what my grandfather would have made of the situation.

“My tractor used to have a big lever to do that,” he would have said. And it was about then that I realised I’d assigned the right spool to the wrong switch and was about to deposit 12 tonnes of porcine guano in the middle of the yard.

So I briefly hankered after the now modern classics of my youth. The Massey 3075 would start religiously, but there endeth the functioning electronics.

You would need the good Lord on your side should you wish to change into high range.

The JD 1640 was rubbish even before it had a misadventure in the Tydd Cut, requiring its second ill-fitting cab.

The 7710 was a proper unit, but, to put its power down, it needed a front weight extension so comically long that you weren’t entirely sure which postcode it needed to be insured in.

On balance, I think we’ll keep the new one with its air suspension, massive tyres, RTK steering, refrigerated lunchbox, ergonomic joystick and isobus sprayer. I might even get to drive it a bit, too. 

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