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Monster movers on-test: Summaries and verdict

Insights
Overall scores are very tight, balanced out by each machine’s strengths and weaknesses.
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To find out how the latest crop of large wheeled loaders compare, Farmers Guardian teamed up with the Irish Farmers Journal and pitted four monster movers against each other.

 

We put them to work on a clamp in the middle of Ireland. As well as the heavy crop conditions, for an extra challenge the machines were faced with four forage wagons coming at them at once.

 

Cat 924K Ag Handler

From the outset, the 924K Ag Handler looks a brute and you can tell where its roots lie. Unbelievably though, it was the lightest of the four over the weighbridge.

 

Operator comfort is certainly up there and thanks to the simple hydrostatic transmission control, it is one of the most jump on drive machines, whereas the powershift/torque convertor machines take a bit more management. Transmission is very accurate too.

 

A slight downside is the dark cab with some impeded visibility. More climbing performance would be good too, if it is to keep up with the JCB. That said, performance is impressive considering the size of its engine, and if handling material on the flat, we would rather go for the Cat.

Read the full test of the Cat 924K Ag Handler...

JCB 435S

When it comes to buckraking, there is no question which one is on top of the job. It is clear this machine was engineered with one goal in mind; to shove material up a clamp.

 

Torque lock up and a high power to weight ratio are this machine’s party pieces, especially for clamp work.

 

Could it be accused of being a bit of a one trick pony? Even if it was, it is a good trick. Away from the clamp though, carrying out yard work we would be more tempted to go for either the Volvo or the Cat.

 

Overall, from looks to performance, it is an aggressive machine, but in a good way. And as of Agritechnica, it also now benefits from an updated cab environment.

Read the full test of the JCB 435S...

New Holland WC170C

A stand out feature of the New Holland is its rear configuration which makes good use of air flow, and the weight of the engine to provide ballast at the rear.

 

It is a decent all-rounder too – capable on the clamp and happy to handle materials around the yard or in a muck pile, for example. However, larger, more ag-spec tyres would not go a miss, and a higher road speed would be good to keep up with silaging convoys.

 

Although it is not, compared to the others it does give off a cheap look and feel. Gaudy stickers and decals do not help its cause and it would look a lot better if finished in the higher quality liveries we have come to expect from the manufacturer’s agricultural products.

Read the full test of the New Holland W107C

Volvo L70H

Without question, the Volvo comes across as the most refined machine, with much more of an automotive feel to it compared to the other three.

 

While it is quite capable on the clamp, it is noticeably slower at climbing than the JCB. However, if we had to choose a machine to use for handling materials on the flat, then the Volvo would be right up there for consideration.

 

As eluded to, if it wants to make serious inroads into agriculture, the only thing it is really short of is torque lock up for climbing work. Aside from that, it is a well finished, easy to use and maintain machine.

Read the full test of the Volvo L70H...

Scores out of five

 

Cat 924K Ag Handler

JCB 435S

New Holland W170C

Volvo L70H

Cab layout

4

3

4

4

Cab comfort

5

4

4

4

Overall visibility

3

5

5

5

Clamp work performance

3

5

4

3

Yard work performance

5

3

4

5

Road performance

4

5

3

4

Transmission usability

5

4

4

4

Hydraulic usability

4

5

5

5

Total out of 40

33

34

33

34

 

FG Insight verdict

FG Insight verdict

As you can see from the table, overall scores are very tight, balanced out by each machine’s strengths and weaknesses.

 

Put simply, if was just a case of picking a machine for dedicated clamp work, then there is no doubt we would go for the JCB. A true ag machine, not born out of construction, it really showed its worth in an ag environment on the clamp.

 

However, if you are a contractor out there wanting to make the most of your machine, then perhaps the New Holland is one to consider. We felt it was a decent halfway house between what the JCB offered and the material handling capabilities of the Volvo and Cat.

 

But showing off their construction/quarry heritage, the refined Volvo and easy to use Cat would definitely be our machines of choice if it was just a case of materials handling around a yard or grain store, for example.

 

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