Farm Machinery, Tractors

Crop farm thriving with JCB Fastracs

A large-scale cropping operation continues to thrive thanks to its fleet of JCB Fastrac 8330 tractors

When operators are fighting over the opportunity to drive one particular tractor, you know the manufacturer is doing something right.

For staff at Willaroo, a 15,000ha farm owned by Warakirri Cropping, the tractor in demand was a JCB Fastrac 8330 iCON.

“Our operators were fighting over who was going to drive the Fastrac. You spend a full day on that and you’ve still got a spring in your step when you get off it, but on the other one you had a bit of a sore back by the end of the day,” Willaroo farm manager Matt West says.

Willaroo is located southwest of the Queensland border town of Goondiwindi, but its 15,000 arable hectares are on the New South Wales side of the border.

Cropping the likes of wheat, barley and chickpeas, it is a large-scale operation that requires multiple tractors.

Spending their days towing the likes of trailed sprayers, linkage spreaders and chaser bins, it is imperative that the tractors selected by Willaroo are both efficient and comfortable.

It has therefore been music to operator’s ears – and relief to their backs – that the JCB fleet has been expanded.

Operators now have the choice of one Fastrac 8330 Series 4, an 8330 Series 5 and an 8330 iCON.

The Fastrac is a staple of JCB’s tractor offering. Image: CEA

JCB’s Fastrac range has proven to be a clear winner for Willaroo’s operators, which West believes is down to two main factors.

“First of all, it’s the comfort,” he says.

“They’re such a smooth tractor in the paddock and the efficiencies gained from the spreading side are significant.

“We’ve been able to spread in the paddock at a higher speed and have operators sit in the seat and be comfortable.

“The tractor seems to cruise across the paddock quite nicely. They’re very smooth and efficient, having that added speed to get jobs done a bit quicker.”

Having previously run a Fastrac alongside another manufacturer’s tractor, prompting the anecdote about operators competing to be inside JCB’s machine, West is able to recognise the reduced fatigue experienced by operators.

As is often the case with Australian farmers, it was a word-of-mouth recommendation that began West’s association with JCB tractors.

It only took one experience for him to realise the potential it could have for Willaroo.

“There was a guy running one in Goondiwindi on a spreader, and I went and had a look at it and just had a chat to him,” West says.

“I then went to a field day at (local dealer) WJ Matthews and did a demo on one. We were pulling a trailing spreader and I was heading sideways across the tram lines.

“We were doing 30km/h and the spreader behind us was bouncing around crazy, but we were sitting in the tractor and it was just gliding across the paddock.

“That was probably the biggest selling point for me, just how smooth this thing was and how much I could improve my spreading efficiencies going forward.”

The Fastrac works with a variety of attachments. Image: CEA

Fastrac tractors have been part of JCB’s range since 1991 and have naturally been refined and improved over time.

The 8330 is the manufacturer’s highest horsepower offering that provides up to 348hp (260kW) in power.

A major recent development has been the addition of the iCON concept, which is a new technology-packed control system designed to elevate the user experience.

“The iCON is definitely a step above the other series tractors,” West says.

“Bringing that technology into the machine has made a big difference, especially with the ISOBUS compatibility and being able to bring that into the separate screens.

“It’s a big improvement and we’re quite impressed with the iCON.”

The first JCB Fastrac 8330 iCON hit Australian farms in late 2022 and boasts the manufacturer’s new electronics infrastructure suite.

Improved ISOBUS connectivity is a critical element of the iCON concept, as is JCB’s new armrest console and 30cm touchscreen display.

Swiping right on the touchscreen brings up a more detailed running screen that includes settings for up to six front and rear spool valves, plus a remote camera view, an ISOBUS 2 Universal Terminal screen and satellite guidance and precision farming options.

This ability to control attachments such as the spreader, sprayer and chaser bin more easily was cited by West as the biggest advantage of the iCON series.

JCB’s iCON concept adds to the technological offering. Image: CEA

Adding a completely new control system has been a major upgrade, but JCB’s 8330 Fastrac was already a popular tractor – hence why Willaroo already had two in its fleet.

In addition to the powerful 348hp (260kW) engine that produces 1,450Nm of torque, a 10-tonne rear lift capacity means it can handle the largest attachments with ease.

A 50-50 weight distribution improves traction and therefore stability.

West described the JCB’s speed across the paddock as an advantage over other tractors, and the numbers back this up.

JCB lists the Fastrac 8330’s top speed as being 70km/h, allowing it to move quickly between jobs on large-scale farms such as Willaroo, while a modified Fastrac also set a record for the world’s fastest tractor in 2019.

For West, his initial experience with both the tractor and local dealer WJ Matthews was nothing but positive – and this has continued to be the case.

Any farmer knows even the best plans can go awry, and even the most reliable machines have occasional issues, but the way JCB have handled these have a lowed West to keep operating – and even led to the purchase of a new tractor.

“WJ Matthews have given us good back-up service, and the same goes with JCB themselves,” West says.

“We’ve had JCB come and train some of the staff through the new tractor and (national Fastrac product manager) Andrew Hacker has been out on the farm too.

“Warranty has probably been a big thing for me too. With any issues that we have had, WJ Matthews and JCB have really bent over backwards for us.

“Nothing has been too much of a drama, they’re willing to listen and help with any issues. With other tractor manufacturers or other companies that we deal with for some of our other gear, we would have been stuffed being down a tractor at harvest.

“I can’t praise them enough for that.”

The full Fastrac range is available through Australian distributor JCB CEA and is online at

JCB’s Fastrac being demonstrated in New South Wales. Image: CEA
Send this to a friend