The opportunity to try out the latest Valtra T-series tractor range attracted farmers
The opportunity to try out the latest Valtra T-series tractor range attracted approximately 70 farmers and machinery operators to an event staged by Essex Valtra main dealer Hosplant Sales Ltd as part of the manufacturer’s European tour. David Williams reports.
Valtra announced its new T4 tractors which replaced the previous T-series during autumn 2014, and the new machines had their first public viewing at Lamma this year. Almost totally new, the T4 models have been designed from the ground up and include a brand new cab and there is a new Active specification option, along with established Versu and Direct, with the latest features to aid productivity and efficiency but with manual rather than electronic hydraulics, increasing their appeal to those not needing high-end technology.
At the open day was Valtra’s Finnish-registered articulated lorry and mobile display unit and a selection of T4 series tractors from across the range, available to inspect and test-drive. A team of product specialists was on hand to explain the features and benefits of each model and to answer any queries.
The day started with a presentation inside the show unit explaining Valtra’s company history as well as the development and main features of the new models after which there was the opportunity to test drive and find out about the new machines, including the latest precision farming equipment and services available.
The attendees were mainly local farmers and contractors; some existing Valtra users and Hosplant customers and others were potential customers with who the dealer had discussed Valtra machines previously.
“We had a very good day,” said Hosplant managing director Adrian Mays. “We have had plenty of opportunity to get used to the new models and are very impressed, but this open day meant our customers could see for themselves why we have been so enthusiastic and it allowed them to test-drive the different transmissions and try the cabs for comfort for the first time. The T4 range is impressive and seeing farmers from our trading area so enthusiastic as they stepped down from the cabs was pleasing.
“We have many demonstrations to follow up as soon as our own demonstrator arrives in the next few weeks which will tie in well with spring drilling in the area, and those wishing to order then will be able to achieve deliveries just in time for harvest so the timing is ideal. An attraction of Valtra is the different transmission options available and having them there to test-drive meant it was easy to compare the performance,” he added.
As well as the demonstration requests received, the Valtra day also resulted in a confirmed order, as a direct result of the machines being available to try. “We received an order for a new T4 from a local farmer who currently operates another brand, but with who we have discussed Valtras previously,” explained Adrian. “He had seen the new tractors on the Agco stand at Lamma, but spending time in the cab driving the new model helped him reach a decision. The new Valtra will be ideal for his needs.”
“Most interest was in base or top specification models and an attraction of the new T4s is the availability of a 250hp basic specification tractor,” he explained. “All models share the same great new cab and comfort on the road is impressive, and whatever the intended work situation, we can offer versions to suit.”
One of the farmers attending the day was Richard Bradshaw of J&N Bradshaw & Son, farmers from Tolleshunt D’Arcy. The all-arable family farm currently operates a Valtra T173, bought new from Hosplant three years ago. “It replaced another brand, because when we were last updating the new model was too complicated for our situation,” he said. “We run three tractors and the Valtra with its HiTech transmission was adequate for our use. We had Adrian on the doorstep and knew we would receive excellent service and we had a friend using a Valtra which had worked 12,000 hours and remained reliable so had faith it was a good product. The current Valtra is used for most of the ploughing, some mole draining and spraying and we need something reliable, which we can just get in and drive. We are not due to change at present, but were keen to come along and see how the models have been updated and improved,” he said.
Hosplant managing director Adrian Mays is pictured with Valtra sales support manager for UK and Ireland Alan Sanderson. “We have concluded deals at almost every event so far,” said Alan. “The reaction has been especially pleasing from those who have not previously operated Valtras, but who have seen the new models in the agricultural press and who have taken advantage of this opportunity to try them. When the dealers first saw the new tractors at the launch, they were immediately impressed and we took orders for 180 machines then, and the potential users are equally positive. This is an excellent range of tractors which has been well-received.”
Karl Roots who trades as KJR Contracts, based at Wigborough, Essex, offers a contracting service including snow clearing, forestry and arable field work as well as baling and carting hay, haylage and straw, using his Valtra T160 HiTech 3 and a Valtra 8550 which is in need of replacement. “I have used Valtra since 2003 when I purchased the two year old 8550,” he said. “The first contracting work I had for the tractor was forestry and I knew Valtra was well-suited to that type of use and also knew the brand’s reputation for being capable of working long hours and for reliability. I don’t do a lot of arable work, so prefer a straightforward transmission and I like mechanical hydraulic controls, but reasonably high flow rates from the pump. The new Active specification seems ideal for my needs.”
Karl said he had no issues regarding the cab design of his current tractor, but accepted that the new cab with its better visibility and cleaner control layout was an improvement, especially for loader work.
Having tried out the T4 Active model at the event, he said he was impressed. “The transmission is much smother and easier to use,” he explained. “I tried the new super-steer option which means the steering operates faster at lower speeds, improving manoeuvrability, and that would definitely be a benefit for my loader work. It seemed a tighter turning circle too. The cab is lighter with its glass roof panel but will need good air conditioning for summer work, which I am assured that it has,” he said. The gearbox controls are good and I like the mechanical spool valve option so, although I will be considering all manufacturers when I do update, I will certainly be tempted by the new T4.
“I am not a big customer but I know if I get a problem and call for assistance, even on a Sunday, I will get looked after by Gary and Adrian and that feeling of being valued as a customer is important to me,” he said.
Hamish Howie of Howies & Sons LLP farms at Layer Marney, and was one of the visitors at the event who doesn’t currently run Valtra tractors on the arable and pig enterprises. “We are looking for a tractor of approximately 200hp to replace one of our current machines and had a demonstration of the previous T series approximately four years ago,” he explained. “Our operators preferred another make, mainly because of the transmission but, having had a drive up and down the road today, I am very impressed with the new Valtra’s CVT system. It is a lovely big cab, well laid out and I think our operators would like it. We would need a high specification because of the mix of work it would do, and the factory-fitted loader appeals and would be ideal for use on our pig unit. Having tried the loader controls I am impressed with their smoothness and response and the on-demand hydraulics, which respond to increase hydraulic oil flow as needed, would be a benefit. Variable-rate steering would also be good for manoeuvrability and I feel this tractor would relieve pressure on our telehandler during busy periods so will be asking for a demonstration on our farm in the near future.
“Back-up from the dealer is important to us and from what I have heard from other local farms, Hosplant is a good company to do business with and is conveniently located close to us,” he added.