Top 7 farm machinery reviews of 2015

By: Tom Dickson

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In 2015, we witnessed an array of farm machinery from overseas and our own backyard being launched into the market and managed to take a good number of them for a spin. TOM DICKSON recaps some of his highlights this year.

Boy, what a busy year 2015 has been.

Over the last 12 months, I have travelled the length and breadth of Australia in search of the most interesting stories to write about and equipment to review.

I even ventured across the ditch to judge in our inaugural Top Tractor Shootout in partnership with New Zealand sister magazine Farm Trader.

I have met some fantastic people in the agricultural industry along the way and most importantly got to play with...I mean test the newest pieces of equipment as they are released on to the Australian market.

There were simply outstanding ones, some that blended in with the background and some that just fell short of expectations.

However one thing is apparent with these machines, they are all getting more and more hi-tech and advanced with each new release. So many features and functions designed to keep cost down for farmers and make their lives so much easier. 

It wasn’t easy playing favourites but after much consideration, here are my top seven farm machinery picks of 2015 (in order):

 

 1. Kuhn SDE 3000 trailed seed drill

Kuhn SDE 3000 Seed Drill _4334

This 3m wide trailing drill is a great example of engineering excellence and attention to detail.

Just by looking at it my gut feeling is that this machine is quality, quality and quality. After seeing it work on the field and listening to owner Alister James’s testimonial, my gut feeling proved to be bang on the money.

From the build of the machine to its control and calibration systems, everything is so meticulously designed and setup that farmers won’t have any issues at all with operating it. Best thing is, return on investment is most definitely in the bag for anyone who uses it.

Suited to contractors and farmers, the unit just ticked all the boxes and I found it nearly impossible to fault.

Watch the video and read my review of the Kuhn SDE 3000

 

2. Fendt 716 S4 Vario tractor

Fendt S4 Vario _8573

When it comes to advancements in tractor technology, Fendt is no doubt leading the pack.

Sure, there could be some serious money involved when you purchase a tractor by the German brand but as with anything else, you get what you pay for and with Fendt that is longevity, comfort and effortless driving.

After testing one of its newest models- the 716 S4, I came away with no doubt that Fendt is now the Rolls Royce of the tractor industry.

I previously doubted my ability to adapt to Fendt’s high tech features but later realised they are anything but complicated. I dare say I am now a fully converted fan.

Watch the video and read my review on the Fendt 716 S4 Vario

 

3. DJI Phantom 3 Drone

DJI Phantom 3 Drone _flying _9272

What a blast. After only minutes of instructions from the rep I became a virtual aviator. Certainly a big plus for any technophobic farmer out there.

Cruising the sky viewing the agricultural surrounds from 300m up in the air gave me a glimpse of the endless possibilities this type of technology presents to farmers.

While monitoring on farm conditions, farmers also get to release some stress and have fun flying this remote–controlled unit. I say why not?

With this type of technology becoming more readily available and affordable, my tip is they will soon be as common on farms as ATVs and utes.

Watch my experience with the DJI Phantom 3 Drone

 

4. Krone Swadro TC 880 Plus rotary rake

1884_Krone Swadro TC 880 Plus Hay Rake _2

Krone’s Swadro TC 880 Plus is a heavier framed twin rotor, centre delivery rake which is constructed from higher gauge steel and features stronger rotor bars and a better designed guide wheel system under the rotors.

This one really impressed me because it showed sheer guts and determination to push through where no other rake would dare to go.

Operating exceptionally well in the harshest of conditions- a reclaimed blue gum plantation, it dodged pot holes and timber left behind from the tree harvest and showed no sign of fatigue or damage.

Conditions are so rough this machine shouldn’t be able to rake effectively, but it did.

Read my detailed review on the Krone Swadro TC 880 Plus rotary rake

 

5. Haze-Ag Spreader

Haze Ag Spreader

This machine is an example of local excellence and innovation. Why rely on machine from overseas when you’re fully capable of making your own?

Haze-Ag founder Richard Hazelton has an eye for detail and excellence. His hands are an indication of a man who has actively worked in the industry for many years.

His spreaders deliver accuracy and are designed to last. Perhaps the most defining feature of his machines is the spinners which rotate in the opposite direction to that of many of its opposition.

Hazelton says rotating the spinners in an inward direction creates an overlap in the centre resulting in a really even spread pattern.

Word about his invention really spread (no pun intended) and as a result Hazelton received a ‘Highly Commended’ award for his spreaders at the 2015 Henty Machinery Field Days.

Watch the video of my review on the Haze Ag spreader

 

6. Massey Ferguson 7615 Dyna-6 tractor

Massey Ferguson 7615 Dyna 6

Representing Australia as a judge in the 2015 Top Tractor Shootout was most certainly a highlight for me.

Out of six quality tractor brands with the likes of John Deere, Case IH, Claas and New Holland, Massey Ferguson ultimately came out on top with its 150hp 7615 Dyna-6 tractor.

In addition to winning in the looks department, Massey Ferguson's 7615 Dyna 6 is also a very well designed tractor, with many features the Top Tractor Shootout judges did not manage to take full advantage of during the trials.

However, there is no doubt it stood out from the crowd in terms of individual customisation, particularly in the way transmission and hydraulic settings all combined in a comfortable, well refined cab.

Watch the exciting video of the Massey Ferguson 7615 Dyna-6 tractor in action at the 2015 Top Tractor Shootout

 

7. Tow and Fert Multi 4000 spreader

Tow Fert Multi 4000spreader

This award-winning spreader just does it all. Built by NZ-based company Metalform, the machine is capable of spreading everything from liquid fertilizer and lime through to thick sludge from effluent ponds.

What really sets this machine apart from the others is its ability to thoroughly mix and maintain the product in suspension at all times.

Equipped self-load, mix and spread, it appears to be a cost effective alternative for farmers looking to improve soil biology and save a few dollars in fertiliser costs.

Watch my video review of the Tow and Fert Multi 4000 spreader

 

And there you have it, my machinery highlights of the year. So what will 2016 bring?

Word on the street is that John Deere’s exciting new 9RX quad track tractors and Fendt’s multi-award winning 1000 Vario series will be arriving in Australia next year so we will definitely be keeping a close eye on our shorelines for them.

We are also in the planning stages of the 2016 Top Tractor Shootout where we will be upping the ante in every way we can. Don’t miss it!

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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