Talking horses in the equestrian ring
Asked where we’d find the most powerful tractor, an organiser of the Spring Farm Machinery Show advises we head to ring three: “You can’t miss it.”
He was right. A chorus line of huge machines filled the Cavan Equestrian Centre last Wednesday and Thursday, but towering above them all was a true behemoth: a Fendt 728.
With deep-set headlights and frowning bonnet the 728 wears a mean expression. It’s sheer size and monster-truck style exhaust suggest it packs a fair punch. Climb the steps and the spec details tagged to the cab door confirms it breaks the 300 horsepower threshold.
Adam Delaney of Ballyboughal based Farm Works Machinery is standing ‘neath the Fendt’s shadow, understandably happy to talk.
“To tell you the truth they are probably the top of the top” Adam confesses like he’s relieving a burden. “You can’t get a lot better.”
Adam says the main customers for such heavyweight tractors are Leinster tillage farmers, and a few contractors - “lads doing silage and slurry spreading would have a good few Fendts as well.”
“She’s 280 boosted to 303 horsepower - so when she comes under load she will kick in an extra bit and boost on up to 303 horsepower when she needs her load.”
The German engineers behind the tractor which can do 66km/hr didn’t leave anything to chance spec-wise on the tractor that will set you back circa €300K + VAT.
“Everything you can get in a tractor, you will get in that tractor.”
Is it daunting to drive it?
“Lads have this perception that Fendt is a spaceship to drive, but they’re not. Everything is laid out in front of you. You spend half an hour in a cab with a man that’s never sat in a Fendt, and he could drive it for the rest of his life no bother. They’re very simple to use.”
He says they have a new specially designed 7.5l engine especially designed for the Fendt 728.
“This tractor from top to bottom, front to back is completely new - a completely new concept, the whole lot.
The Celt naively speculates that 303hp must be their most powerful tractor.
Adam says the 939 models, of which he sells “a good few”, boast a whopping 390hp, while the 1050 model has seemingly more horse power than Genghis Khan’s Mongol army.
“She has 507 horsepower - that’d be the biggest. There’s only three of them in the country.”
Nodding to the 728 he comments, “That’d be your average sized tractor down around Dublin. She wouldn’t be the biggest in the league - you put her beside the 929 and you’ll see the size difference - the 929 is a lot bigger.
“We actually have a 942 going out today and she’s 420 horsepower”.
On the other end of the scale Pratt Agri showcased a petite tractor with a commensurately petite price tag.
Although Solis tractors have a lengthy history the Indian company is a relative newcomer to the Irish market.
The series comes with a Mitsubishi engine ranging in power from 16horsepower up to 90HP. The dainty 16HP model looks about twice the size of a ride-on lawnmower.
The biggest draw for the compact tractor is the price. The Pratt Agri stand offered “a show special” price tag of just €6,000 + VAT.
“It’s the price of a lot of quads at the moment - it’s got four wheel drive so you have the ability to do a lot more jobs than you can with a quad.”
He adds: “We have people running everything from link boxes to power washers, log splitters, even little fertiliser sowers,” said the sales man.
“A lot of farmers are using them for cleaning out sheds, and general farm maintenance. A lot of tractors for getting into sheds to do the jobs they want to keep them tidy - at that kind of money, it’s a good investment.”