We meet the Antonio Carraro Mach 4 R tractor

By: Andrew Hobbs

Presented by

How a Tasmanian berry farmer found the perfect tractor on the other side of the world. Andrew Hobbs reports

The Antonio Carraro Mach 4 R
The tractor is equipped with a 98hp, four-cylinder Kubota engine

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It was difficult to miss the Antonio Carraro Mach 4 R tractor at the front of the TTMI Tasmania stand at Tasmanian field day AgFest in May.

Positioned in front, its four tracks mounted on a stand to show off to a passing crowd, and bedecked in the branding of its new owners, there was no way the new model wasn’t going to turn heads.

For new owner Simon Dornauf, the general manager and director of hydroponic berry farm Hillwood Berries, it was a long-awaited arrival, after he had ordered it from its Italian manufacturers about six months prior.

Dornauf told Farms & Farm Machinery that he had bought the tractor after searching for something that could successfully navigate the farm’s wet conditions and sloping surfaces.

The tractor would need to navigate tight corners and close rows, with the farm’s strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries grown on 40 hectares of covered production – with 17ha of tabletops.

"Because our table tops are above the ground, we need to spray between 1,400mm wide for it and our current tractor is 1,200mm wide," he says.

"When you come into that narrow spacing you have got quite narrow tyres, and that can cut the ground up… so I spent a bit of time investigating a track based tractor to create a larger footprint and spreads the weight of the tractor."

The Antonio Carraro Mach 4 R quadtrack tractor met his accessibility requirements, Dornauf said, while its stability also seemed to be a suitable match compared to a tyre-based tractor.

The machine is articulated in the middle, and that allows the rear tracks to follow the front tracks
The machine is articulated in the middle, and that allows the rear tracks to follow the front tracks

"If one drops in a pothole, then the stability of the tractor – being quite narrow with an 8.5m boom on front of it – tends to become a little more unstable, so we were looking for stability for safety for the operator," he says.

Equipped with a 98 horsepower (73kW), four-cylinder Kubota engine and weighing 3,300kg with a cab, the Mach 4 R has a capacity of 2,300kg and can reach road speeds of up to 40km/h.

The tractor’s reversible drivers’ seat, and the fact that there was a linkage available on both ends of the tractor, also gave the driver a few more options, Dornauf says.

"It has good really good ergonomics as well – our strawberry spray operator might spray for 8-10 hours to get around the farm so you want to be comfortable in your operating space," he adds.

"Having that joystick control with his arm in a nice ergonomic position allows us to control the boom a lot more, rather than getting driver fatigue where you can end up running into some of the tabletop structures… once you damage the structures it is a difficult task to repair any damage."

Antonio Carraro sales and marketing manager Marco Corra says the tractors are currently being built on demand from customers, adding that it had been popular among berry and nut growers.

"The machine is articulated in the middle, and that allows the rear tracks to follow the front tracks, and that makes it extremely suitable for an orchard operation," he says.

"The driver always looks ahead, so he doesn’t have to think about if the rear wheels will cut the corners and perhaps reap the trees when making turns, and it can work on much tighter spacing, because each move is secure, each turn is secure.

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