A BUSY agricultural contractor upsized his tractor and is now reaping time-saving rewards, writes EMILY PORTELLI.
Grass Growers lead operator Michael Smith said the Terang fertiliser retailing and spreading business had increased its urea-spreading efficiency by 30 per cent since buying a JCB 8250 Series II Fastrac machine.
"It is a far more efficient machine to operate," Michael said.
Michael uses the 8250 Fastrac predominantly for urea spreading, with a linkage-mounted 4.5-tonne Amazone spreader, broadcasting urea at 36m and superphosphate at 55m.
"And a big factor with the JCB 8250 is that, although it is a 10-tonne machine, it handles like a seven to eight tonne tractor in manoeuvrability," he said.
"That is very important to our business because we work on dairy farms where we need to get around a lot of gateways."
Grass Growers has a wide range of clients - from broadacre farming operations to dairy properties - and covers a 100km radius in Western Victoria.
Michael said road speed was important when working over such a big area.
The 8250 Fastrac has 710mm rear tyres and 540mm front tyres and can travel at up to 71km/h.
"Road speed was another factor in the decision to buy this tractor because our drivers can now get around to four or five different farms in a day, despite them being 15-20km apart," Michael said.
The tractor is powered by a Cummins 8.3-litre QSC turbo-charged and inter-cooled engine and produces a gross 194kW, with a power burst of 14kW as engine revs drop to 2000rpm.
Maximum torque is 1179Nm at 1400rpm.
Michael said the Grass Growers drivers mostly operated in flex mode when spreading fertiliser, which was highly fuel-efficient, using 8-9 litres of fuel an hour depending on ground conditions.
It also has a category-three rear linkage system with full electronic control and provides lift capacity up to 10,000kg.
The optional two-category front linkage has capacity for lifting up to 3500kg.
Michael said the tractor easily carried the 4.5 tonne Amazone spreader while pulling an 11t feeder trailer.
"We have found the JCB 8250 to be highly versatile, easy to manoeuvre and good to operate on slopes. You can drive this tractor anywhere and feel comfortable and safe in the ride," he said.