Russian Kirovets makes its move

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Kirovets brings a 240hp front wheel assist model to the Australian market, with plans for more

Kirovets K-424 tractor is set for launch to Australian buyers
The Kirovets K-424 tractor is set for launch to Australian buyers later this year

The Kirovets K-424 tractor is set for launch to Australian buyers later this year, with hopes to appeal to new buyers in time for tillage season.

Produced by Russian manufacturer Peterburgsky Traktorny Zavod, the articulated, 240 horsepower (179kW) tractor is designed principally for tillage work on farms of between 500 and 2,000 hectares.

The range is distributed in Australia by APCO Machinery, a subsidiary company of business management consultancy the Australian Productivity Council, with executive director Craig Milne telling Farms & Farm Machinery that the tractor had a number of features that set it apart from its competition.

"This tractor is unusual in that it’s articulated in a power range that is all front wheel assist at the moment, although it is much the same size as the early artics from Wagner, Steiger and Kirovets (Belarus)," he says.

"This frame/steering layout gives better traction and handling than FWAs but they’re best in flat country… articulated tractors are not that good in hill country."

"You don’t see too many torque converter transmissions in tractors – they’re in earthmoving equipment mostly, so we will see what sort of interest comes from it," Milne added.

The K-424 drives all four wheels via a ZF automatic transmission with torque converter and limited slip differentials.

The transmission provides an effortless two-pedal automotive-type driving experience and eliminates the shock loads imposed on conventional powershift designs with their multi-plate clutch packs, says the company.

The load is taken up via a fluid coupling and the lockup clutch, needed to economise on fuel, is only engaged when driving, while driven elements are speed matched within the transmission.

Kirovets says the design arrangement greatly enhances the smoothness, reliability and longevity of the whole drive train.

Weighing in at 10,000kg, the K-424 is powered by a six-cylinder YMZ-53625 diesel engine with max torque of 900Nm at 1,300–1,600rpm.

The Kirovets K-424
You don’t see too many torque converter transmissions in tractors

With six forward and three reverse gears the K-424 has a maximum speed of 40km/h, with high capacity Bosch Rexroth hydraulics and an ISO Category 3 rear hitch as standard.

Additional options include a floating drawbar with a maximum vertical load of 1,700kg, a Stapler Walterscheid 403697 INNENTEIL 5410/309 towing hook and two-speed power take-off.

Kirovets says it has set out to make its tractors quiet, comfortable and easy to drive, with Milne saying the drive was much like a car.

The front axle has leaf spring suspension and the suspended cab has excellent ergonomics, an air seat and climate control.

The spacious and comfortable two-seater cabin has operator comfort as a key priority, with a climate control system and high level of automation.

The tractors will be available at just under $150,000 plus GST, with a warranty that covers 24 months or 2,000 hours (whichever comes first) and with a maintenance service interval of 500 hours.

This new model joins the larger 354 to 428hp (264 to 319kW) K744R series of tractors, which became available in Australia last year.

Milne told Farms & Farm Machinery the company was planning to relaunch the model with a full powershift transmission by early next year at the earliest.

"The semi-powershift is a bit old fashioned these days, so people didn’t want that," he says. "We have a full power shift being trialled, so we are waiting to see how that goes on that model."

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