Tractor test: Deutz-Fahr Agrofarm 430

A compact chassis and large tyres typify Deutz’s Agrofarm. The tractor is nimble, has an impressive engine but had to accept penalty points for some practicality issues.

Engine 6/10

At rated rpm the tractor delivers 83hp at the pto shaft. Sipping diesel at a rate of 303g/kWh it is especially economical. Peak performance (94hp) was reached at 2100rpm and here consumption sat just 5g over the group average of 272g/kWh.

The Agrofarm performed better in the all-important part-load test. Measured over the six points, it returned 287g/kWh, nearly 10% less than the thirstiest in the test.

The constant power range reached 31%. At 35% rpm fall the Deutz engine achieved a torque rise of almost 47%, while draft performance and fuel consumption at rated rpm landed up at exactly the average of the group.

The Agrofarm scored with a maximum draft performance of 81hp and an economical specific consumption of 315g/kWh (group average was 321g).

Transmission 6/10

There’s no lack of gearing on this tractor. Our Agrofarm had four ranges (creep, low, medium and high), five gears on the main gear stick and a two-stage splitter. The result is 40F x 40R gears with 10 between 4 and 12kph without great gaps between the ratios.

But, because there are only two splits, gears have to be changed more often.

The transmission can grumble when changing range, especially when the tractor was under power pulling the plough. Gear changes were mostly OK, however. Only when changing from fourth to fifth was there a problem – the stick has to be shoved hard across to the right.

The aggressivity of the shuttle is controlled by a roller-switch on the lever. The splitter is harsh on the road although the changes were acceptable for fieldwork.

Cab 5/10

The four-post cab is like a compact greenhouse. It is low to clamber in and out of and those on the large side should consider a bigger Deutz. The air-suspension seat adjustment lever threatens bruised calves. Despite this, the quality of finish is OK.

Illogically, the exhaust is positioned on the left A-pillar alongside the grab-rail. The heat shield isn’t great, so burnt fingers could be an issue.

There’s a definite shortage of storage, though the cramped cab dimensions means that few controls are out of reach. Also, there’s no console to house groups of switches or levers. There are 12 air vents right from the roof-lining to foot level. But under direct sun the cab becomes a glasshouse and could use beefier air conditioning.

The rear window catch is useless when the seat is right back, but the skylight offers superb views. Less delightful are the sound levels – at 84dB(A) the Agrofarm was the loudest tractor on test.

Hydraulics 5/10

There’s no electronic linkage control available for the Agrofarm, though Deutz-Fahr says it’s working on it. The mechanical linkage lift lever is especially stiff, which is a nuisance during fieldwork. The external controls are not the easiest to operate either.

We could find nothing to criticise about the mechanical lower-link sensing when ploughing. But linkage lift is no record-breaker at 3.6t (test average was 4.4t). In particular, lift power was lacking lower in the lift arc where only 2.7t was lifted.

Deutz-Fahr offers a variety of hydraulic equipment. Our Agrofarm had three mechanical spool valves. The somewhat awkward levers are well marked and are situated on the right side beside the seat. Flow-rate for one valve is adjustable by a valve directly at the block.

The pump puts out nearly 60 litres/min – nothing to write home about. The same applies to the 20 litres of available oil capacity.

Pto 8/10

The Deutz-Fahr scores well with four speeds – 540/1000 as well as eco-ratios. For this, there are two separate levers behind and to the left of the seat.

Changing speeds is a slightly challenging experience. To start the pto, you have to briefly push the switch on the right-hand side of the seat twice in short succession. The shaft starts very slowly, though the display immediately shows the current rpm.

There are no auto functions for the pto but buttons on the mudguards allow external operation.

4WD/diff-lock 6/10

Simple on-and-off rocker switches for the 4wd are situated handily near the seat, but there’s no auto function. The driver activates both diff-locks (100% up front and rear standard) with a rocker switch. There’s no auto and the otherwise standard brake-to-release facility didn’t work.

Driving comfort 7/10

On the road, the diminutive Deutz performed well, with just over four turns bringing the steering wheel smartly from lock to lock.

Neither self-cancelling nor an audible alarm is fitted for the indicators, so you’ll frequently find you’ve covered several miles on the road with the indicator winking away happily. However, a good point is that there’s plenty of pedal travel before the brakes (wet discs on every wheel) kick in and they’re nice and precise.

For more from the tractor test click here.

Need a contractor?

Find one now