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Tractor range upgrades increase appeal

A demonstration day by Valtra UK provided an opportunity to try out the latest 5th gen N- and T-series models in the field. David Williams enjoyed his time in the cab.

Tractor range upgrades increase appeal

The UK is Valtra’s third largest sales market after France and Germany, and the brand currently achieves a 6% UK market share. Significant range upgrades included in the latest 5th generation line-up increase productivity and comfort, although the power ratings remain the same as before. First to receive the 5th generation Valtra design treatment was the new G5-series launched last year, then the entry A-series was updated earlier this year. Now the popular N- and T-series have been upgraded, leaving only the largest S-series outstanding.

A5-series

The Valtra line-up includes seven A5-series models from 75–135hp. Simple mechanical 12×12 transmission is available across the range, but the 3-cyl A75, A85 and A95 models can also be specified with two powershift gears as HiTech 2 versions with 24×24 transmission. The most popular A105 and A115 are also available as HiTech 4 variants with electronically controlled, four-step powershift giving 16×16 gears. HiTech 4 models can also be equipped with a creeper transmission.

G5-series

The G5-series fills the gap between A5 models and the larger N5-series and includes five models of 105, 115, 125 and 135hp. G125 Eco versions are designed to save fuel with massive torque available in boost mode. Valtra Shuttle six-speed powershift is standard.

The N5-series includes four models with 4-cyl, 4.9-litre engines from 135–201hp, and with Valtra Shuttle powershift or CVT transmissions.

N5-series

With N104, 114 and 124 models discontinued, the N5-series has been slimmed down to four 4-cyl, 4.9-litre engine models of 135, 155 and 175hp (201hp max). The N135 and N155 both come with an extra 10hp boost, there are Eco and standard versions of the N155, and the flagship N175 has another 30hp available to boost up to 201hp.

N5-series transmission options include 5-speed powershift for HiTech, Active and Versu specifications, and stepless CVT in the top Direct version.

T5-series

The T5-series includes eight models from 155–235 rated horsepower, and 170–271hp with boost. There is also a T175 Eco model in the line-up offering increased fuel efficiency. Engines are all 6-cyl and the smaller T145 and T155 models have a 6.6-litre version, and T175 models and larger come with 7.4-litre power units.

Transmission choice includes 5-speed powershift for HiTech, Active and Versu specifications and stepless CVT for the Direct.

“There is demand for simple, high horsepower, high-speed tractors for transport tasks without complex electronics, and the T5-series can have a 57kph top speed, with mechanical hydraulics as an efficient and cost-effective package,” stressed Andy. “But we can also supply it to suit the most demanding field applications, with class-leading automation and precision farming systems. For a large tractor it’s very manoeuvrable with a tight turning circle, which saves time on field headlands and improves efficiency for transport applications and loader work too.”

The T5-series includes nine models with 6-cyl, 6.6-litre or 7.4-litre engines producing 155–271hp. Transmission choice includes the new Valtra Shuttle five-step powershift or CVT.

First impressions

The press demonstration day in South Yorkshire featured the new N5 and T5 models for the first time, working with Amazone implements.

The two series share many new design features including revised styling, new smart functions, and redesigned cabs. Valtra Connect is available for both series.

In the cab, one of the most obvious upgrades is a new A-pillar- mounted display. This replaces the traditional instruments behind the steering wheel and the top section constantly shows all essential operating information, while the lower section can be customised to suit the task and user. On HiTech and Active models the display is also used to adjust engine and transmission settings. On Versu and Direct models, the A-pillar display and SmartTouch terminal show selected information determined by the application – although the operator can choose what is shown on which display too.

Revised controls

The new forward and reverse shuttle lever makes it easier to change direction when switching between different controls such as the SmartTouch lever or the TwinTrac shuttle.

Models with the SmartTouch terminal have a redesigned right- hand control panel, and extra seat swivel improves comfort while keeping an eye on rear-mounted implements. Improved storage includes a handy phone holder and there are electronic power points for charging and powering electronic devices.

The new Valtra Evolution seat has a backrest which swivels with the driver and it maintains back support when the driver turns partially to monitor implements at the rear.

A new, Premium cab interior is an option.

Increased efficiency

More than 80 per cent of Valtras supplied in the UK have Valtra Connect telematics. “With the owner’s permission, Valtra Connect links the dealer, tractor and customer and can improve productivity and reduce downtime,” pointed out Andy. “As the system has developed there have been greater benefits for customers, and now dealer service staff regard it as an essential tool for fault diagnosis during servicing and repairs.”

Five years ago, only 5% of Valtras were equipped from the factory with GPS guidance, but that has increased to 83% this year. “Farmers are under pressure to optimise working efficiency and reduce costs, and GPS guidance can reduce overlaps when spraying or spreading and help maintain accurate workrecords,”hestressed.“Valtra Guide, Task Doc and Section Control are all easy to set up and use through the SmartTouch display.

“For base specification HiTech and Active tractors without SmartTouch, the Xtend display remains an option. This brings the benefits of GPS guidance to users who don’t need additional features of premium Versu and Direct models and it provides a practical and cost-effective solution for fertiliser and slurry applications on smaller livestock farms. Users can create operating profiles and store or transfer them to other tractors on a USB stick. This saves time setting up and ensures continued accuracy.”

Auto U-Pilot is new, and combines Valtra’s headland management system with Valtra Guide, controlling the implement with greater precision on headlands for improved accuracy and reduced operator effort.

Loading efficiency

Precision farming upgrades have been added for loader work too, with the Valtra Precision Lift & Load app, available for G, N and T-series tractors with SmartTouch terminals. Precision Lift & Load uses a new loader weighing function to weigh each load on the bucket or fork as it is handled. The app collects weight data and when the task is completed, the information can be transferred to an Excel spreadsheet for records or analysis.

Upper and lower loader movement limits can be set as well as maximum angles, and the loader and attachment movement stops automatically as soon as the limit is reached.

An automatic bucket shake function is also included.

Various operating profiles for different attachments and situations can be set and stored for quick recall.

The cab design is excellent. A new A-pillar display shows essential operating information and the lower section is easily customised to suit the task and operator preference.

In the field

The latest Valtras feature attractive but practical styling. Access for servicing and daily checks is excellent, and the cooling packs fold out for clearing accumulated dust and chaff.

Improved cab steps and a large door opening make it easy to enter the cab, and with the steering wheel moved forward there is plenty of space to get into the seat. The cab interior is attractive and well finished. From the base HiTech to the top Versu and Direct specifications, the layout is excellent, and all the controls are within easy reach.

The new pillar-mounted display is larger than expected and makes the most of space available without obstructing the view. The display is clear and logically laid out, and the lower section is customised using a rotary selector and buttons to select information.

Pulling away under load in the B and C speed ranges is made easier by Valtra’s Start Boost feature which makes full power available until the speed increases. The cab is very quiet, and there is little vibration. The test fleet included models with standard mechanical or active cab suspension, and both proved equally comfortable for field work.

Visibility from the five-pillar cab is excellent all around, including down to the implement at the rear. Valtra fits decent size side mirrors which provide a good view behind.

Smoothest powershift transmission

Top, Direct specification offers the smoothest operation and greatest control with infinitely variable CVT transmission, but the most noticeable improvement when test- driving the new N5- and T5- series HiTech, Active and Versu models was the new Valtra Shuttle five-step powershift. It’s much smoother than the previous gearbox in N4- and T4- series predecessors, and in automatic mode it was hard to tell when ratio changes occurred whether slowing down or accelerating hard with a cultivator in the ground. Ratios were perfectly matched and there appeared to be no loss of power. For operators used to a brief pause followed by a lurch as drives re- engage; the new Valtra transmission will prove extremely popular and reduce fatigue during long working days in the field or on the road.

The SmartTouch display on Versu and Direct models allows settings to be changed quickly and easily and it takes little time to get used to the logical menus.

Verdict

The new N5- and T5- series Valtras are impressive, and even those currently loyal to competitor brands would find it hard not to be impressed.

The cab is spacious, quiet, and comfortable and if one of Valtra’s four standard specifications doesn’t include the features wanted, then the Unlimited Studio will almost certainly oblige.

Demand remains strong

Valtra UK national sales manager Alan Sanderson was at the event, and he told Farmers Guide that demand for the latest 5-series models is strong. “Things are looking good, and we are increasing our volume and market share. With the new G5-series, our product portfolio has grown, and we can offer a wider range of specifications and features in all sizes. Valtra’s Unlimited Studio is extremely popular – allowing customers to tailor all aspects of the tractor to suit their needs.

“Agco has invested heavily in Valtra including the new models, a new paint shop and improved distribution, and this makes us well prepared for continued sales growth.”

Tractor range upgrades increase appeal

Members of the Valtra UK team at the demonstration (l-r): Senior product specialist Seth Bradford, business manager, key accounts and Ireland Andy Miller, marketing specialist A&SP Sarah Howarth, area sales managers Gareth Jones and Kevin Towers, and national sales manager Alan Sanderson.

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