By KEN WILSON
TECHNOLOGY is changing everything.
Just ask AFGRI Equipment and John Deere dealer Boyup Brook branch manager Darren Newbey.
For years, a tractor with a power rating around 96kW (130hp) did the job on most farms in the district.
But now the dealership is a full product line branch, including selling class nine headers, self-propelled boomsprayers and 4WD tractors up to 373kW-plus (500hp).
"The pendulum has swung towards bigger gear," Darren said. "While we still sell a lot of 6Rs (John Deere 6R front-wheel assist tractors) equipped with front-end loaders, our volume sales are more with the 7R, which is seen as a value-for-money workhorse.
"You'd probably knock out 600 hours a year down here using it for spraying, spreading, tillage, hay-making and chasing at harvest.
"It's an age of bigger gear and you need that extra power.
"Traditionally Boyup Brook was known for small acreage farming but that's changed to a large extent and it surprises a lot of people to hear about the big area of broadacre farming in our eastern districts."
Darren says using bigger gear is more cost efficient with the productivity gains and there's a sweetener in buying bigger gear because of the great finance deals available, some with zero interest.
"The popularity of the 7R, as I said, is the value-for-money, but also the versatility of the machine," he said.
According to John Deere, the 7R series tractors combine the versatility of a utility tractor with the power of a row-crop tractor.
High power density coupled with a high horsepower rating (157-228kW, 210-310 engine horsepower), means the 7R has the hydraulic capacity to handle a range of machinery, and models are available with an integrated front three-point hitch and PTO options, expanding the work program, particularly in hay-making.
Linked to the engines is the e23 transmission, which delivers smooth shifting and intuitive controls with Deere's "Efficiency Manager" in a reliable 23-speed powershift transmission.
The e23 transmission is available for all 7R, 8R and 8RT Series tractors with options of 42km/h and 50km/h maximum rated speed.
Other "goodies" include triple-link suspension plus, 360 degrees lighting package, a steering system which uses load-sensing, an "ActiveSeat" seat, which uses electro-hydraulic technology with air suspension, and a premium ground-engaging hitch option for applications including, primary tillage.
ISOBUS and tractor-baler automation is also offered.
This system manages most of the baling process and when used with a John Deere ISOBUS tractor, electric selective control valve (E-SCV), and IVT transmission, the system will be able to:
p Stop the tractor when bale size is reached.
p Wrap the bale.
p Open the gate.
p Close the gate when bale is unloaded.