Event: AgQuip 2018

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Australia’s largest agricultural field day event was on again in 2018 and not even a flight delay could keep Harrison Hunkin away

The crowds of AgQuip 2018
The drought didn't deter the crowds at AgQuip 2018

While drought conditions in western NSW continue, you couldn’t dampen the spirit of the Aussie farmer as many swamped again to one of Australia’s premier field days, AgQuip.

A delayed flight that resulted in missing a connecting flight to Tamworth couldn’t deter Farms & Farm Machinery from getting there, and it was well worth it due to the fantastic machines and equipment on display at Gunnedah.

The Challenger MT700 on display
The new Challenger MT700 drew a crowd at AgQuip 2018

CHALLENGER MT700

We’ll start with the new Challenger MT700 from AGCO. It’s freaking massive, and dwarfs even the larger Fendt tractors that sat close by to the MT700 at AGCO’s stand.

And according to AGCO product manager Tim Oldaker, the model has been pretty popular with farmers since arriving down under at the start of the year.

"Sales have been excellent, farmers have been snapping them up as soon as they’ve landed, which is good," he says. "The MT700 has been going to a mix of areas; a lot are going to broadacre customers, while the cotton guys are just starting to come on board now ready for the upcoming season."

The MT700 has undergone major changes to its chassis, engine, cabin and hydraulics system, making it a completely different tractor from its predecessor.

Spec wise, the MT700 features AGCO Power 9.8-litre tier-three diesel engine ranging between 380-431hp, and the new Accu-VT continuously variable transmission, which allows the MT700 to run in the maximum torque range while delivering low fuel consumption.

Stay tuned for a test drive of the MT700 soon.

The John Deere model 730 on display
Old Gold

JOHN DEERE MODEL 730

John Deere had a huge presence at this year’s AgQuip, displaying a expansive range of new machines. But the gear that caught our eye was the old-school section, with this old Model 730 glimmering among the many.

A 1960 baby, this John Deere 730 was far beyond its years, featuring a float ride seat for operator comfort and power steering.

The Model 730 series of tractor was produced from 1958 to 1960, and would be the last two-cylinder ‘Popping Johnny’ tractor.

A total of 29,713 Model 730s were made before the more-powerful Ten Series tractor range was introduced.

With a 58hp under the bonnet, and a max drawbar pull of 6,547lb, the Model 730 was a seriously cool tractor for its time.

The first retail Goldacres G8 48m
The monster Goldacres G8 self-propelled sprayer

GOLDACRES G8 SPRAYER

Since recently driving the very first Goldacres Crop Cruiser, and checking out the Ballarat-based company’s flagship G8, I’m champing at the bit to get behind the G8.

"This is the first retailed 48-metre Goldacres-designed boom," Goldacres sales and marketing operations manager Stephen Richards says. "It has three different spray widths – so it’s 48 metres wide when fully folded out, it can be folded down to 36 metres and then again to 20 metres.

"This one has few extra bells and whistles on it. This G8 has constant 4WD and it’s the biggest in our self-propelled range.

"It’s obviously a big-capacity machine, with a 6.7-litre Cummins engine under the bonnet as well as an Allison auto transmission.

"Our Allison transmission is an Allison 3000 series box. It’s a six-speed auto that gives us a good way of transferring the power to the wheels as our machines are mechanical drive.

"We’ve invested a lot of money and time into this design, and we think it’s come out really good. The last two years it’s been under development and I think we got it right."

The Merlo telehandler front on
The green machine

MERLO TELEHANDLER RANGE

I was once told a story about a farmer who always wanted a telehandler but never knew what it really did or what he could use it for.

It wasn’t until he saw a demo of one that he realised how much he needed one. That’s the boat where I sit … I need one. Maybe I don’t, but still, they are fascinating machines that are capable of doing so much on a farm.

The Merlo range of telehandlers certainly stood out at AgQuip, and my intrigue and desire led me to its tent. The Merlo TF30.9 Turbofarm II stood out at me in its Shrek-green paint job.

It features a tier-three, 100hp Kubota engine with the "widest cabin" in the market. With a maximum speed of 40km/h, a maximum lift capacity of 8.6m and a 3,000kg load capacity, the Merlo TF30.9 Turbofarm looks like a ton of fun.

The Dunstan 150-tonne side on
At 19.4m-long, the Dunstan 150-tonne is a giant

DUNSTAN 150-TONNE MOBILE FIELD BIN

If you want to stand out at field days there is really only one way: size. And the Dunstan 150-tonne mobile field bin does that perfect by dwarfing nearly everything at this year’s AgQuip Field days.

The Dunstan 150 has been around for six years now, but the sheer size of the 19.4m-long bin certainly doesn’t get old.

"We made a 130-tonne bin before that but the farmers wanted to go even bigger so we made the 150," Dunstan sales and service support Peter Den Houting says.

Dunstan chaser bins have been made in Kerang in northern Victoria for 53 years. Fit with 20 wheels and a striking tangerine paint job, the Dunstan 150-tonne field bin is a serious bit of gear – well done to another fantastic Aussie agricultural manufacturer.

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