For some, John Deere’s decision to exit the telescopic handler market could not have come at a better time. Representatives from telehandler manufacturers have been beating a rapid path to Deere dealers’ doors keen to fill the imminent void in their forecourt line-up.
The Model 7.30 driven here may be mid-range in terms of agricultural handlers but it’s only the second-biggest machine in Faresin’s line-up, which extends from the compact Model 6.28 – 2m wide, 2m tall – to industrial-scale designs that look as though they could pitch bales into the clouds.
More intriguing are handlers homologated as tractors that come with bolt-on three-point linkage and hydraulic pto.
The subject of this First Drive, though, has a plain back-end and as such is limited to handling duties. Like many of its ilk, it is something of a kit-build machine: engine by Deutz, axles by Carraro, hydro transmission by Sauer-Sundstrand.
Carrying out routine servicing and daily checks should be easy enough given that the side-mounted engine is positioned lengthways beneath a one-piece composite cover that lifts high out of the way.
Checking the oil level involves an reach across the engine to pull the dipstick, the coolant header tank is in clear view and unbolting the lower side panel reveals the alternator and filters for the engine and transmission oil.
The handler’s cooling pack lies at a near-45 degree angle above the pumps for the hydrostatic drive and hydraulics. When the optional Cleanfix fan with its reversible blades is fitted, air drawn in through the top of the engine cover can be blown out again to remove clogging dust and debris.
With the cover slammed shut and the Deutz four-cylinder fired up, the Faresin handler doesn’t need too many revs to get the electronically-managed hydrostatic drive to respond.
A twist grip selector gives a choice of two modes – one for speed, one for getting maximum torque from the driveline to climb an incline or penetrate compacted muck. Being able to quickly switch between the two should add to the machine’s productivity when emptying the contents of a cattle yard into a waiting spreader.
Most of the time, the hydro drive slows the handler effectively enough that the foot brake can be ignored except when it’s role as an inching pedal is needed; which is just as well, since the braking system is seriously over-aggressive.
The Deutz engine gives the Faresin 7.30 a competitive power output, its 102hp peak matching similar figures quoted for Manitou’s MLT 731T, base versions of JCB’s 531-70 Loadall Agri and the New Holland LM435A, as well as Merlo’s 3.4 tonne TurboFarmer P34.7 handler.
The red and black handler’s 101-litres/min maximum oil flow is modest in this company, beating only the Deutz-Fahr Agrovector’s 94 litre/min, while matching the base Merlo and Manitou offerings.
Combined with hydraulic rams sized for muscle rather than speed, this means plenty of revs are needed to keep the pump spinning and it’s best to use just one hydraulic function at a time.
The New Holland LM, Manitou MLT and JCB Agri are only a little more generous in the pump department at 110-litres/min (although the Loadall has additional pumps for steering and ancillaries), while both Manitou and Merlo offer 150-litre/min output options with the added advantage of load sensing variable flow.
But the Faresin does score with its generous lift height and its unique ability to take its rated load clear to the top. A modest “7.30” model designation underplays a 7.8m lift height on standard 20in tyres when most competitors go to between 6.8m and 7m and lose half a tonne or more of load capacity as the boom approaches full extension.
In contrast, the Faresin maintains its 3t ground-level capacity throughout and even manages to lift this load to almost 6m when the boom is extended 2.5m forwards.
Getting comfortable to make the most of this performance is no problem. The cab is a pleasant enough place to work; it’s roomy, has a deep windscreen that extends overhead for good upward visibility and large side and rear windows to make the most of the side-engine installation.
The electro-hydraulic joystick is well placed and light to use, although holding in the activation safety switch on the back of the control is awkward at first. Equally, the pedals are well positioned and the steering wheel angle adjustment is a welcome fine-tuning feature.
The Faresin is well worth a look if Bonhill has a handy dealer in the neighbourhood, all the more so if a strong lift performance and the ability to place loads up high are on a buyer’s list of desirable features.