LAMMA 2009: JCB 7000 production versions on show

Though prototypes were shown at last year’s Grassland and Cereals events, LAMMA will be the first chance for many farmers and contractors to see the production versions of the new JCB Fastrac 7000 series tractors in the flesh.

The first examples have gone out to dealers as demonstrator machines and deliveries to farmers are starting about now. The company reports a lot of interest in the new tractors and good levels of forward orders.

This is almost certainly the most important JCB tractor launch since the Fastrac was first introduced 18 years ago. These 7000 series tractors, with their bigger cabs, new transmissions and uprated all-round self-levelling suspensions, aim the Fastrac right at the increasingly popular 170-220hp bracket. And the conventional big-wheels-at-the-back layout (as seen on the more recent 8250) mean these new tractors are fully suited to heavy jobs like ploughing.

There’s an amazingly wide cab, with room for a full-sized passenger seat and plenty of space for the bulky armrest, which hosts the joystick and key switchgear. Under the bonnet is a Cummins six-cylinder engine and transmissions on the 7000 series are all six-speed, four-range, fully clutchless semi-powershifts, which are designed and built entirely in-house.

An interesting change on the new 7000s is the arrival of oil-over-air self-levelling on both front and rear axles – other Fastracs have hydro-pneumatic on the rear but coils on the front. The idea is that that the tractor will automatically level itself to take account of whatever weight is on the front and rear and maintain the 60:40 weight distribution.

On the road, whacking great 600mm diameter discs on all four wheels pull you up sharply. Combined with standard ABS, 70kph top speed and an auto option on the transmission, the Fastrac should retain its position as the roadgoing tractor of choice.

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