First TM answers spray rig needs at Wongoondy

25 Aug, 2000 03:01 PM
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WONGOONDY farmers John and Steve Rowe have ended their search for a dedicated spray tractor that fulfilled their priorities of comfort and power by becoming WA's first owners of a New Holland TM150. The Series TM is the first to include the manufacturer's Terraglide front axle suspension, designed to improve stability, traction and ride in higher speed applications. And, with a farming system that is demanding more time on the spray rig, it was precisely those characteristics the Rowes were seeking. "The difference has been really noticeable and, as far as the ride and comfort goes, I think the TM is way ahead compared with a normal tractor," Steve said. "The improved ride and better visibility makes the job easier, and must be improving productivity." Steve and father John have about 2200 hectares of crop on their property, between Mingenew and Mullewa, consisting of a wide range of pulses, cereals and canola. Bucking the district trend somewhat, they still have some four-legged weed controllers in their 800 Merino ewes. But controlling the weeds, and pests, with the boomspray is now the biggest program on the property and being able to get over the crops in the optimum time remains critical. "I think the new tractor enables us to do that easier," Steve said. While the high comfort level made the first impression of Steve, the transmission has also made it mark. The tractor's Power Command, full powershift transmission includes auto-change, a feature which Steve said comes into its own in a spraying application. "It is perfect for spraying, particularly when you are turning often," he said. While the dry year has not forced the tractor to prove its mettle in tough, boggy conditions, the Rowes have been impressed with the 110kW (147 horsepower) power delivery. Matched with the transmission, it has also provided immediate fuel consumption savings that hadn't been expected. "With the new rig, we are able to do higher speed at fewer revs, which means we are putting things under less stress, and can save on fuel," Steve said. While much of its working days will be spent towing the Hardi 3400-litre, 24-metre boomsprayer, the Rowes also hope to be able to capitalise on what is a highly versatile machine. "I think it is important to always have a good utility sized tractor around and, as time goes by, we will probably find more applications for it," Steve said. It may even be the instigator for the purchase of a chaser bin in the near future, with the TM 150 more than capable of handling a bin of 15-20 tonnes. Any PTO applications will have the bonus of the practical "soft start" PTO system, which gradually feed power in rather than the PTO crashing into gear and placing pressure on the implement's slip clutch.

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