WITH the average engine power of new tractors passing the 112hp mark last year, compact tractors of about 40hp or less are clearly a minority interest – but for those farms which can use a mini tractor, some of the recent design improvements could be useful.
An attraction of small tractors is their ability to work in restricted spaces, and New Holland has taken this a stage further by fitting a SuperSteer front axle on its new 27.3hp TC27D compact.
SuperSteer gives the four-wheel drive TC27D a 2.38m (7.8ft) turning radius, said to be the best in its power range. This is achieved by a 54deg turning angle on the front wheels plus a further 21deg through pivoting the complete front axle, which adds up to an unbeatable 75deg of steering angle.
The US-built TC27D with four-wheel drive, a 9-speed gearbox and a three-cylinder Shibaura power unit is priced from £12,100, plus £500 for the SuperSteer option.
Gearboxes on most compact tractors are usually quite basic with only a few gears, but the transmission options for the top models in John Deeres new 4000 range of compacts include what most farmers would call a proper gearbox.
Deeres PowrReverser transmission is a shuttle gearbox with 12 speeds each way in its standard version, doubling to 24 speeds with the optional creeper gears added.
The 4000 series includes six models covering the 20 to 43hp range, and the PowrReverser gearbox is available on the 39hp and 43hp models.
Other design features at the top end of the range include a cab with a large window area and fully glazed doors. The steering angle on four-wheel drive versions is 62deg, allowing the John Deere tractors to out manoeuvre most of their rivals apart from the New Holland SuperSteer model.
Other recent compact developments include three additional Super B models from Kubota, easily the UK market leader. They are all powered by three-cylinder E-TVCS engines which are said to offer reduced noise and exhaust emission levels. *
Above: SuperSteer on New Hollands TC27D gives 75deg of steering angle.
Right: John Deeres 43hp 4600 tractor
has a 12 speed shuttle gearbox.