Farm Handling South West review

Fresh from the success of last April’s Farm Handling Event at Stoneleigh, Farmers Weekly also ran a regional event at Frogmary Green farm, near Petherton in Somerset, before Christmas.

John Deere

The green giant had two very different loader tractors for punters to try out. The first was a basic-spec 100hp 5100M with H-series loader, which is clearly targeted at the cost-conscious livestock farmer.

At the other end of the spectrum was a bells-and-whistles 110hp 6110R fitted with the new R-series loader.

This new top-spec loader line-up includes five models that can be fitted to tractors from 100hp-210hp in both 6M and 6R ranges, as well as previous 30-series tractors.

Curved jibs apparently improve attachment visibility and can better accommodate wider tyres and the tighter-turning front axle now fitted to all 6-series tractors.

See also: Photos: farmers grab chance to try out kit at the Farm Handling Event

John Deere tractor

©Jonathan Page

As well as a 10% increased lift capacity, these new loaders also get auto latching when hitching the jib on to the tractor as well as auto attachment coupling when the carriage is crowded right back – a new feature for Deere.

Previously the operator was required to jump out and lock the attachment manually.

Mechanical self-levelling is an option – with the extra ironwork integrated into the curved boom arms – and we are told a hydraulic self-levelling system is in the pipeline.

As an extra option, there’s a return-to-position feature within the electronic controls that apparently takes the strain out of repetitive tasks.

New Holland

New Holland tractor

©Jonathan Page

As well as its LM7.42 rigid chassis telehandler and T4- and T6-series tractors equipped with fore-end loaders, New Holland had its W170C loading shovel working at the event.

Farm Handling Event 2016

This year’s national farm handling event will take place at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, on 20-21 April 2016.

As last year, most of the main manufacturers will be there and it will be a great chance to try out machines that you are thinking about buying in the next couple of years.

Determined that it can compete with the likes of JCB’s ubiquitous Farm Master wheeled loaders on the clamp, the company was hoping to win over a few visitors with a ride-and-drive opportunity.

Capable of lifting 5.4t to a height of 4.4m, the W170C weighs in at 14.2t in standard format with a Z-bar loader linkage.

The optional long-reach jib adds an extra 400kg – ideal for consolidating silage clamps, according to NH – although lift capacity is slightly less for this version, at 4.4t.

Power is provided by a 6.7-litre FPT four-cylinder turbo engine rated at 170hp but capable of maxing out at 197hp.

This drives a five-speed transmission which has an “Ecoshift” facility that automatically locks the torque-converter at speeds above 8kph, running up to a maximum road speed of 40kph.

Avant

Avant tractor

©Jonathan Page

Finnish firm Avant might not be the first name that springs to mind when you think of agricultural handlers, but the company says it is having considerable success across the continent on farms where cramped conditions are an issue, such as in poultry and livestock buildings.

Typically a skid-steer might be the machine of choice in such situations but Avant says there are a number of advantages to its articulated compact loaders, primarily tyre wear and limiting soil surface smearing and damage.

The mainstream line-up runs from machines capable of lifting 400kg through to those able to handle up to 1.4t. Kubota engines provide the muscle – anything from 20-60hp driving hydrostatic transmissions.

Two variants are available – one with the operator perched forward of the pivot, up front with the telescopic loader boom, the other with the driver sat atop the engine on the rear half of the machine.

Avant says there is no particular difference in performance – it’s down to operator preference.

Prices start from £10,000 and there is a whole raft of attachment options from standard grabs and buckets to more complex bits of kit such as the combined cubicle bedding dispenser and slat scraper the company had on display at the event.

Dieci

Dieci T70 telehandler

©Jonathan Page

Dieci’s ever-expanding telehandler line-up now includes another new face in the shape of its 40.7 Evo 2.

The Italians claim it delivers headline-making pushing power, which should appeal to anyone that likes to work their machines hard on muck, silage or grain.

The generous power outputs are provided by a Fiat-sourced, 4.5-litre engine, which uses a combination of EGR and AdBlue after-treatment to deal with the exhaust nasties before they head out of the stack.

Unusually, the main engine radiator is positioned behind the boom pivot, which Dieci reckons has improved the flow of clean air. The other cooling packs, including the one for the transmission, are still positioned in front of the engine.

There are two gearbox options – a six-speed powershift or a new CVT set-up. The latter uses four different driving modes depending on the type of work you are doing.

The first is full power, which works normally from 0-40kph. The eco mode works in a similar fashion but manages to trim engine revs.

The third limits top speed to 18kph for more controlled pushing power, while the fourth is a constant speed setting that allows the driver to select travel speed and engine rpm.

There have also been some welcome changes in the cockpit. Most notably, the old joystick trigger has been replaced by a heat sensor to activate the hydraulics without having to squeeze the stick. Prices start at £69,146.