A multi-faceted tractor, able to turn its hand to any job on-farm is a valuable option for most contracting fleets.
Alex Heath rounds up the offerings in the 200-300hp sector...
With the constant yearly increase in power requirements of farms and contractors, both in the UK and on the continent, manufacturers have been keen to pack as much power as possible into frames suitable for a vast range of work.
Versatile, powerful and light, these tractors are some of the best when it comes to power to weight ratio, offering high horsepower for pto applications in relatively light and compact frames.
Conversely, they also have the ability to be ballasted up and used for heavy tillage, with many able to tip the scales at more than 15 tonnes, competing with the traditional draft application tractors making them the go-to tractors for many contractors across the country.
Typical applications a contractor or large farm may subject these workhorses to include baling, triple mowing, drilling, as well as power sapping jobs such as subsoiling and ploughing, proving their versatility when weighted up and tyre pressures adjusted.
In addition, these tractors are often bristling with the latest technology, and some would say the pinnacle of what manufacturers can offer.
For this on-paper comparison we have focused on a model from each manufacturer that offers these traits in the 200-300hp category.
Most now include a continuously variable transmission for precise speed control. In addition, all are available ex-factory with GPS steering and various suites for precision applications such as variable rate application.
THE king of the 6R series is the 6250R. Launched in 2016, it combines components for the firm’s smaller 6R models, bolstered by heavier duty parts from its 7R series.
This includes the firm’s own 6.8-litre engine, churning out 250hp at rated speeds and rising to 300hp at max power. Torque output is 1,167Nm at 1,600rpm, before boost kicks in.
The ZF Eccom 2.9 CVT transmission is used, which adds 100mm to the wheelbase of the tractor, compared to the firms 6215R model. This is known in JD speak as AutoPowr and is capable of 50kph.
Hydraulic capacity is 160 litres per minute, while lift capacity is 10,400kg. Shipping weight is 9,300kg but this is void of most fluids.
The firm’s CommandPro joystick was initially launched on this model, which has now been filtered throughout the range.
TOP of the table for New Holland’s T7 series sees the recently introduced three-model T7 heavyduty range top the power output, with the flagship T7.315 developing 313hp. The engine employed is a 6.7-litre FPT, which also produces 1,282Nm of torque.
Transmission options are limited to the company’s AutoCommand CVT, available in two speed options.
As standard, hydraulic output is 165 litres per minute, but there is the option for the company’s MegaFlow pump, boosting flow to 220 litres per minute.
Inside the cab it shares much of the architecture found across the T7 range, including the SideWinder armrest and IntelliView monitor.
The company has added a number of features for safety and convenience, including CustomSteer, variable ratio steering and intelligent trailer braking which applies the trailer brakes as the transmission speed decreases.
THE largest tractor in Fendt’s fourmodel 800 series is the 828. It features the manufacturer’s famed Vario transmission. Power comes from a Deutz 6.1-litre engine making 287hp.
There is no boost, and maximum torque is 1,217Nm at 1,450rpm. Its transmission is split into two ranges, both of which are capable of speeds as low as 0.02kph, with top speeds of 35 and 60kph in each range.
Hydraulic performance is generous as standard at 152 litres per minute with a 205l litres/minute pump as an option, operating at 200bar. Lift capacity is 11,110kg, with the arms also able to power down.
There are four specification levels with Power the most basic, rising to PowerPlus for a few more features. Next is Profi and this is topped by ProfiPlus, which features the 10.4-inch VarioTerminal among other extras.
Unladen weight is 9,520kg. The company’s VarioGrip central tyre inflation system is available ex-factory, allowing tyre pressures to be managed on the move.
TOP of the pecking order for Massey Ferguson’s 7700S series is the 7726S. Using the parent company’s 7.4-litre engine, it develops 255hp and peaks at 280hp with electronic power management.
Maximum torque available is 1,146Nm, developed at 1,500rpm.
Two transmission options are available; the 24-speed Dyna-6 powershift and the CVT Dyna-VT.
Lift capacity is 9,950kg. Hydraulic options extend up to 190 litres per minute operating at 200bar.
In the cab, drivers will find the firm’s Fieldstar 5, a nine inch touchscreen IsoBus terminal. Built as a complete precision farming package, it has a suite of products that provide mapping, automatic section control, variable rate applications, record keeping and comprehensive machinery monitoring with telemetry.
McCORMICK’s biggest offering comes in the form of the X8.680.
New to the party in 2017 it uses an assemblage of well known parts, such as an FPT engine, ZF transmission and Carraro axles.
At 2,200rpm the 6.7-litre engine develops 301hp and maxes out at 310hp at 1,900rpm. Maximum torque is 1,282Nm. The engine is mounted in a half frame chassis, limiting any loads going through the engine, while isolating the cab from vibrations.
The transmission is a CVT. As standard it comes in Eco 40kph guise, with 50kph an option, which is most likely to be selected.
Standard hydraulic capacity is 157 litres per minute with a 212 litres per minute option. Lift capacity is a healthy 12 tonnes, and it tips the scales at 10,800kg.
DESIGNED specifically for high power to weight ratio tasks, the Case IH Optum CVX range has been extended to include a smaller 250hp model. The threemodel range is topped by the flagship Optum 300 CVX.
Weighing 10,500kg unballasted, up to 16,800kg can be deployed for heavy draft work. Maximum power tops at 313hp at 1,800rpm, developed by a turbocharged 6.7-litre FPT engine used across the range.
The category three rear linkage can lift a maximum of 11,058kg and hydraulics are a serviced by a 165 litres per minute pump with 210 litres/minute as an option, operating at 215 bar.
The Optum range is only available with a 50kph CVT. For keeping things on-track, there is the option to install the company’s Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Accuguide GPS system, coupled up to the tractors AFS 700 screen.
THE two-model 7 Series range from Deutz-Fahr is crowned by the 7250 TTV. As the acronym at the end of its title suggests, this features a stepless transmission, also from ZF. It is available in speeds of 40, 50 and 60kph.
Power comes from a Deutz 6.1-litre engine, making 230hp as rated and maxing out at 246hp.
Maximum power arrives at 1,900rpm, with torque topping out at 942Nm at 1,600rpm.
Inside the tractor’s MaxiVision cab, operators are greeted with a multi-function joystick, with options for air suspension, LED work lights, IsoBus compatibility and various seats.
Lift capacity is 10 tonnes, with hydraulics of 120 litres per minute as standard or optional 160 litres/minute pump. Unladen weight is as low as 8,200kg.
The company also sells a blackliveried Warrior edition, for those who want to stand out.
CLAAS’ Axion series is split into two ranges; those of the larger prime mover 900 range and the smaller 800 range.
Topping the Axion 800 line up is the 870, developing a maximum power of 295hp from its 6.7-litre FPT engine. Torque tops out at 1,276.
Transmissions available in the range include the 50kph Cmatic CVT from ZF and the company’s Hexashift powershift in 40 or 50kph guises. This features 24 gears split evenly across four ranges.
Three spec levels can be chosen from for the range; the basic CIS with mechanical spools and powershift transmission, the CIS Plus with transmission choice, and Cebis with choice of transmissions and multi-function drive lever, among other premium features.
The 870 can only be specified with the latter two options.
The 870 weighs in at 9,050kg, with a lift capacity of 10,200kg. Hydraulic capacity as standard is 110 litres per minute with a 150 litre/minute option.
THE pair of tractors featured in the Fastrac 8000 series are the largest the British manufacturer offers.
While the range tops out at 348hp, the 8290 produces 280hp as rated, boosting to 306hp. Power is derived from an 8.4-litre engine by Agco Power.
And the Agco partnership does not end there, with the transmission also derived from Fendt’s 900 series. This means it is a stepless transmission, capable of up to 70kph. Unlike the smaller Fastrac range, the 8000 series features larger diameter rear tyres, compared to the front.
At the rear, lift capacity is 10,000kg, with hydraulic capacity of 137 litres per minute as standard and the option of 178 litres per minute. Both operate at 210bar.
The defining feature of the Fastrac is naturally its speed. To deal with this, outboard brakes with twin callipers and ABS are used to halt proceedings. All round suspension and front axle steering complete the package.
The T series from Valtra is the largest model built in its Finland factory, with the T254 topping the power. Under the hood resides an Agco Power 7.4-litre engine, which develops 235hp as rated and 271hp on boost at 1,900rpm. Torque on boost is about 1,000Nm.
Where the T254 differs from the rest of the range is its single transmission choice; a four-range powershift named Versu. This is split into five gears in each range and has two creeper ranges, effectively giving 30 speeds.
The company says the auto functions give CVT-like drive quality, akin to its Direct stepless box, available on the rest of its T Series range.
The Finnish manufacturer has been busy recently, making its tractors some of the simplest in this category to operate, but that does not mean it has been stripping back the tech.
With its latest SmartTouch controls, which features a nine-inch touch-screen terminal, it intuitively controls all major tractor functions.