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'Lots of steel where you need it' - Massey Ferguson-branded telehandler impresses

Whether a die-hard fan of the brand or keen on the partnering manufacturer, the collaborations between companies has opened the door to many alternative brands of telehandler.


Alex Heath visits one farmer who uses a Massey Ferguson telehandler.

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'Lots of steel where you need it' - Massey Ferguson-branded telehandler impresses

Retrieving high value hay and haylage crops in a timely fashion is a key priority for many farmers, not least Nigel Simkin from Staffordshire.


Mr Simkin farms 121 hectares on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, predominantly down to grass, providing grazing for some 80 livery horses on his parkland.


A large proportion of the land is dedicated to hay and haylage production, carried out with his fleet of classic tractors, with straw bought and baled from local arable farms.


With many diversification projects, including fishing pools, clay pigeon shoot and classic vehicle and machinery storage, he explains the need for a reliable front line machine to carry out the daily tasks his businesses require.


Mr Simkin took delivery of a new Massey Ferguson TH.7038 in May 2018, which was swiftly put to work loading hay and straw, most of which was towed with the telehandler back to his yard.


Mr Simkin explains for the most part he works on his own, so needs a loader which can load a trailer with 28 large square bales quickly and safely, and have enough power to get the load back to the farm.


An MF enthusiast with 20 classic Masseys in his collection, he previously ran two JCB telehandlers, the last being a 530-70. He was happy with the quality of the JCBs, but felt the cost of updating his existing one was too high.


However, when the new MF range was mentioned at his local dealership, KO Machines, he looked more into the Bobcat-built loader, launched in 2016.

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Mr Simkin says: “I felt previous Massey Ferguson telehandlers were not built as well as the JCBs, and I had no issues with the yellow machines, so I was not inclined to jump brand.


“However, when I saw the new Massey loaders, the first thing which struck me was how well-built they looked, with lots of steel where you need it.”


This build quality is the biggest selling point of the loader, according to Mr Simkin, who points out the thickness of steel around the boom pivot, as well as the pivot pin itself.


Having had previous issues with loaders cracking around this point, he says it is reassuring to see plenty of heft in this area.




Other features he points out include the fully stainless steel exhaust pipe and the pressure release on the third service block, which he says makes changing pipes relatively easy.


Inside the cab is a pleasant place to spend the day, says Mr Simkin.


“The machine comes with a generous spec as standard, with air conditioning, plenty of work lights and an air suspended seat,” he says.


“I am the main driver of the machine, so I keep it tidy, and like the little extras which make a long day in the field more enjoyable.”


One omission from the machine he does find a nuisance, is a form of tool storage.


“On my previous machine, tools could be stashed under the seat, leaving the cab floor free,” he says.


“I believe a toolbox at the front of the cab is an option, however, I think this should be standard, for safety and practical reasons.”


Mr Simkin says the hydraulic performance of the machine is particularly impressive, however.


The TH.7038 is fitted with a 190 litres/min load sensing pump, providing swift movement of the boom, according to Mr Simkin.


He says he is yet to find a task which saps the hydraulic power, even when carrying out three functions at once, such as crowding, raising and extending the boom.


Mr Simkin says the eco-mode is also a useful feature, as it reduces engine rpm and hydraulic flow to save fuel, but even then, he says it is plenty capable for most of the tasks he demands of the loader.


At the heart of the machine, the engine is sourced from Doosan, in the form of a 3.4-litre, Stage 4 compliant oil burner.


Mr Simkin notes how quiet the engine is both when idling and when under load.


With the cab door shut, he says there is minimal noise and very little vibration.

Initially sceptical about the use of AdBlue, being his first machine requiring the polar bear-saving elixir, he reports there have been no issues so far, with the machine frugal in its consumption.


He is also complimentary about the layout of the engine bay, with all check and fill points within easy reach at the side of the engine.




The air filter is at the rear of the engine bay, making it accessible, while the radiator sits at the top of the engine compartment, out of the way of mud and water.


He says the reversing fan does a good job of keeping the radiator clear of detritus, even in dusty straw fields.


When towing, the 130hp generated from the engine is plenty to keep moving at a decent pace says Mr Simkin, and far superior to his previous loaders. He also notes how sturdy the hitch is, which protrudes from the body work of the loader.


His only gripe is the visibility to the hitch, but concedes this is the same on all telehandlers.


Transmission-wise the TH.7038 features a hydrostatic ‘box with four speed ranges, in the form of two mechanical and two hydraulic.


These are flicked through on the joystick, enabling Mr Simkin to get the right balance between power and torque.


In normal yard use he says the transmission is responsive and good to control, offering a creeper gear for very delicate work.


He says from prior experience KO Machines is a good company to deal with, giving him peace of mind in selecting what is a relatively new machine on the market.


He says the dealer made sure the machine was the right one for him, with all the options he required to carry out the tasks his various businesses demand of a telehandler.


With the machine clocking 300 hours so far, Mr Simkin has very little in the way of improvements he would like to see on the machine, stating it does everything he ever asks of it.


He admits it is not worked as hard on his farm as it would be on most, but he is keen to keep it as pristine as possible, so not to detract from the rest of his MF collection.

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