“The new Valtra is like my Harley Davidson – the seat remains soft and comfy even on the longest tour,” says Gerrit Herbst from Lichtenburg. He and his two sons, Barnie and Gerrit, have an extended crop farming enterprise. Since mid-December, they had to cover great distances in the tractors to prepare and plant the fields after the first rains on 7 December.
This season, two new T193 Valtra tractors released their pulling power on the farm. However, Valtrac is no strange name in this farming venture. Since 2003, Valtra tractors were used, as well as sugar bean equipment, Double Master and Pickett from Valtrac.
Gerrit says he thought that his old Valtra BH180 was light on fuel, but the new ones work even more sparingly with diesel. “They are only 140 kW tractors, but they convey all their power to the ground,” he says.
With the changing weather patterns, quick, uninterrupted work is necessary to prepare the fields in time. Soil cultivation is the main duty of the Valtra tractors, and they precede the planters with the discs, rippers and seedbed preparation equipment.
Gerrit says when he first set foot on the farm many years ago, they commenced with planting around 7 October. Later, it was postponed to 15 and 20 November, and now they are still planting after the Day of the Vow on 16 December.
Although they have not used the option yet, the tractors are ready for precision farming. Another major advantage is the wet clutch system of the newer models. Gear-changing is smooth and economical, and any possible problems can be promptly rectified by means of a small adjustment.
The bright LED lights make it possible to work day and night. “The tractors are modern and comfortable, and they last.”
“Valtrac’s people have their own, unique approach. Even with our old tractors, they never forgot us. When we had a problem in peak time, they delivered another tractor on the farm so that we could continue with our work. When times are tough for the farmer, they find a way to help and support you. With such a company you can go a long way.”
Towards the east, with farmlands stretching between Ogies, Kriel and Bethal, Henk Conradie from Dries Cronjé Boerdery has been depending on Valtrac for superb service and machines for 18 years. Their first Valtra tractors were BH180 models that served the farms for many years. However, over the past few years the tractors were exchanged for newer ones, and this season, Henk planted vast fields quickly and accurately with the aid of three new Valtra S374 tractors.
Henk relates: “You may well say we and Valtrac grew together over the years. From a small farming venture, we are a family business that expanded to what we are today – just like Valtrac. I think because they are also a family business, we understand each other better.”
Henk follows a system of minimum strip tillage with only a tine in front of the planter unit. Therefore, the tractors should not only be powerful, but also precise.
Henk says: “We need the auto steer technology for our precision farming, and we waited a year for the new S models with the clever arm rest control.”
He also said while they were waiting for the new models to arrive in the country, Valtrac was kind enough to borrow them tractors for the previous planting season. “Which other supplier will be prepared to do that?” he asks.
With the new tractors, you need not do any footwork; the tractor does it for you. Henk says with the modern control system you simply have to press a button and from there on everything will happen by itself.
“We do not even use all the functions yet, but you can set the tractor to lift the implement at the right spot in the headland and to lower it again at the right place.”
Everything is aimed at working as economically as possible, with the least strain on the tractor’s working parts, so that everything can last longer, particularly the diesel in the tank!
Henk says: “You simply choose the implement and the working speed on the computer and the system will calculate the desired engine revolutions and most suitable gear by itself.”
However, the technology is only one attribute – in addition the tractor is appealing and comfortable. The cabin rests on air cushions, the seat adapts itself to your body weight, no noise can be heard inside the cabin and the air conditioning is superb. “It is nice to be inside the tractor on the field. I enjoyed it so much, I did not want to get out,” he declares with a smile.
Apart from the three big ones, the farm also uses a brand new T234, two Valtra N134s, and an N143 for general farm work and nitrogen spreading. For the spreading, another superb product from Valtrac is used, namely two Bogballe three-point mounted spreaders.
Henk discarded towed spreaders as the Bogballe is carried close to the tractor, making it more stable and therefore also more accurate with the applications. Moreover, there are fewer wheels that may compact the field, and “we use less than a litre of diesel per hectare for spreading”.
All the Valtra tractors on the farm are an attractive red. Henk attributes it to the fact that their first Valtra was red, and now they order all tractors in red to match one another. Valtra is the only tractor manufacturer who offers the farmer a choice of colours and patterns, so, if you want to, you can also display your rugby preferences on your tractors.
Henk says: “Nowadays, the is no such a thing as a bad tractor, but Valtrac offers not only the best tractors with the latest technology, but also the best service that can be obtained.”
Valtra’s S series
The five models in the S4 series are equipped with six-cylinder 8,4-litre AGCO Power engines of 199 kW in the S274 to 272 kW in the flagship S374. Maximum torque is a mighty 1 600 Nm. The front lift can lift 5 tonnes and the rear one 12 tonnes.