Good cab and transmission spoilt by noise and poor ergonomics.
A relative newcomer to the western tractor market, Polish-built Farmtracs are a result of cooperation between Polmot and Indian company Escorts in 2000. Although they’re not available on the UK market just yet, Irish dealer Collins Farm Machinery is currently in talks with the company to take on UK distribution. They’re already a hit in Ireland, with more that 150 units being sold since 2004.
The tractors use components from manufacturers like Bosch, Carraro and Perkins.
|Engine||4-cylinder 4.4 litre Perkins5|
|Transmission||Carraro 12F/12R 35kph|
|Weight as tested||3.51t (excl ballast)|
|Price||£21,040 – price in Holland|
|Smooth transmission||Thirsty engine|
|Good access||Build quality|
|Simple to operate||Lacking in ergonomics|
Perkins 4.4-litre engine takes up power rapidly and puts out 273Nm. Maximum power is 65.1hp, but at 303.9g/kWh it’s the least fuel economical on test. It’s also the only tractor to smoke.
Opening the bonnet is tricky, but fuel and oil filters are easy to remove and transmission and engine oil filling is straightforward.
The Carraro transmission provides three ranges, each with four gears. The synchronised range lever is good but the tractor has to be stationary to change ranges. One of the best gear levers on test, but the driver has to reach for the shuttle. Six gears between 4 and 12kph for land work is good.
4WD/Diff lock 2.5/5
The 4WD/Diff lock has entirely mechanical selection via a lever in an awkward position. Diff lock is also located on the floor but the driver has to depress it when needed. There are no lights on the dash to indicate when 4wd is engaged.
Build quality 2/5
The square cab (and colour scheme) is reminiscent of Fords of the past. Things like mudguards are roughly cut out and overall build quality is basic.
Cab and ergonomics 3/5
Large, old fashioned cab is best of the group for access and overall visibility is good, especially to the rear. But the wide dashboard and steering wheel column mean vision to the front wheels is obscured. Dash display is straight from the 1970s.
Controls on the steering column are difficult to reach, especially the forward and reverse shuttle. Plastics are cheap but the roof has a jazzy pattern to brighten things up. The seat is not adjustable for weight.
Ergonomics were the worst of the group, with too many levers on the floor and controls for hydraulics located behind the seat. The linkage levers are positioned too closely together and it’s easy to trap your fingers.
Definitely the loudest on test (85dB) although it is a comforting, throaty roar. If working for a full day, earmuffs are advised. There’s light transmission whine and braking induces a loud cracking sound.
Ride quality 3.5/5
Stable and comfortable on the road with responsive steering. Top speed is 29kph. Braking from high speed results in worrying cracking noise and the tractor pulls to one side. There’s no indicator for the hand brake, either, so it’s easy to leave on when driving.
The levers sit too closely together. Draft control is via the top link, but largely ineffective with the cultivator. The stabilisers are good and the link arms can be adjusted easily without having to detach. There’s no top link holder or outside arm controls and it’s not possible to preset minimum/maximum height.
The Danfoss 40-litre/minute pump provides reasonable flow. The lever is positioned behind the seat and it’s impossible to find the float position. By the end of the week, the lever had worked loose so it was difficult to know which spool you were operating.
The PTO switch can be confused with the handbrake. There’s no light on the dashboard and although there’s a button indicating it’s engaged, this was ineffective. The speed is chosen by a lever on the left-hand side of the driver’s seat – when engaged, it picks up a little too fast.