Wednesday, 20 July 2016 21:22

Vario masterpiece looks the goods

Written by  Grunt, John Droppert

IT’S news that’s sure to make more than one Australian dairy farmer re-check their budgets for the tough season ahead to see if just a little more equipment finance can be snuck in.

And no doubt contractors will be taking another look at that list of customers they can expect reliable payment from, to try and anticipate a bit more work.

Friends, the Fendt 1000 series Vario is coming to Australia. In ‘early 2017’, that is.

Now I’ve waxed on about Fendt in this column before, and while I don’t envisage ever being in a position to own one that’s younger than me, I have driven a few, and they really are pretty good.

I haven’t driven one of the new 1000 series machines, but those who have gotten up close and personal have handed out a swag of awards already.

Fendt themselves are calling it a German ‘Meisterwerk’ (masterpiece).

This is a new machine designed from the ground up; it’s not just a beefed up 900 series.

The spec sheet takes things to a whole new level – every feature you’d ever need, and many you never imagined.

They’ve even put a camera at the bottom of the Fendt badge on the front, for use when hitching implements on the front linkage. Kind of says it all.

Sure, you don’t need a tractor in the 380 to 500 horsepower range to do many of the things your average dairy farmer is likely to get up to, but what’s life without dreams?

And if you are looking for an excuse to scratch around behind the couch and put together a deposit, just remember our own agriculture minister recently suggested diversification as a means to escape the current dairy bind.

And unlike most 500hp tractors, there are diversification options aplenty with these monsters.

They’re billed as the biggest ‘conventional’ tractors ever made, and are designed to steal jobs from larger-framed articulated and tracked machines whilst remaining nimble and versatile enough to handle lighter jobs too.

Surprisingly light at 14 tonnes unladen (21 tonnes fully ballasted), an important selling point is their light footprint; a central tyre inflation system finds the best pressure to put all that power to the ground.

These beasts are primarily intended for heavy draft work, but the compact design and light footprint allow them to stay busy with jobs like spraying and haulage for the rest of the year.

Don’t get the wrong idea though.

You’re probably not going to be pottering around with a round bale feeder on the back of one of these things.

It’s 3.6 metres high, for goodness sake.

Admittedly, with a 60km/h top speed you’d get to the turn-out block in no time, but otherwise, it’s probably overqualified for the role.

At a reported starting price of $400,000 plus, you’ll want to put it to better use.

Like one of the two prototypes, which apart from undergoing its share of some 25,000 hours of testing, featured in a series of ‘sizzling snaps’ to show off ‘this brawny beast’ for the Farmers Weekly magazine in the UK.


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