Meeting increased demand - Fruit & Vine

Meeting increased demand

When Essex-based machinery dealer, RC Boreham & Co took on the Deutz-Fahr tractor franchise in 2010, the brand’s agricultural tractors were the priority. However, growing demand for the manufacturer’s specialist narrow tractor line-up has resulted in the dealer investing to meet the needs of the viticulture and fruit industries. David Williams reports.

Deutz-Fahr dealer RC Boreham & Co on fruit orchard and vineyard article
Essex-based Deutz-Fahr dealer RC Boreham & Co has experienced a big increase in the number of fruit orchard and vineyard owners expressing interest in the latest range of 5D-series specialist narrow tractors.

“We have done a lot more business with vineyards and fruit growers in recent years,” explained director, Matt Boreham. “The Same Deutz-Fahr Group (SDF) has a strong history of producing specialist narrow tractors, although until recently the market for them in the UK was limited.

“Now that is changing as the number of vineyards is increasing, and customers become more aware of the very high specification and attractive features the tractors offer.”

The specialist tractors are all within the 5D-series.

Mechanical transmission, generous specification

Deutz-Fahr 5S-series narrow tractor for viticulture and orchards
The Deutz-Fahr 5S-series narrow tractors have a spacious, flat-floor cab that makes the most of the limited width.

Models with standard mechanical and powershift transmissions were updated in 2022 with engines meeting Stage 5 emissions standards, and improved cabs with a flat floor. Transmission options range from the base 12fwd/12rev up to a 45fwd/45rev. GS models feature as standard, adjustable drive engagement for the fwd/rev shuttle allowing the user to set the action to suit personal preference and the task. They also have Stop-Go. This allows the operator to bring the tractor to a standstill just using the brake, then to pull away again when the brake is released, all without using the clutch.

The hydraulic system is designed to power modern, high-performance implements, with flow rates up to 68 litres/min. A separate power steering pump means the full flow is available for the implement, without compromising the steering action.

Up to three rear spool valves can be fitted, and duplicated for powering front- and mid-mounted implements and to provide free-flow return. Flow rates are adjustable with detent and kick-out positions.

Premium transmission, higher specification

The premium TTV series was introduced in 2021, with infinitely variable CVT transmission enabling precise matching of travel speed to any task. Cruise control allows two speeds to be set and memorised for easy recall. Maximum 40kph can be achieved even with low engine revs and TTV models offer superb fuel economy.

Deutz-Fahr tractor for viticulture
The Deutz-Fahr design allows a great view down to the front wheels.

Hydraulic flow is up to 100 litres/min, making these tractors the preferred option for larger and more complex implements. A separate pump serves the steering, ensuring maximum flow is always available for implements. Up to five rear spools can be fitted – with free-flow return and power-beyond. Up to four front spools can be fitted, plus three duplicated from the rear, providing up to eight hydraulic outlets in total – all with electronic control through the dashboard iMonitor display. Functions include timers, adjustable flow rates and constant pumping. The system allows flexible operation by finger switches, the main joystick or the secondary joystick making it extremely user-friendly whatever the application.

Hydraulic lift capacity is 2,600kg at the rear, and options to improve comfort and control include hydraulic adjustable stabilisers and tie rod.

Front linkage with 1,500kg lift capacity is an option along with a 1,000rpm PTO, and a rear PTO with up to three speeds.

Spacious, well-equipped cab

The comfortable and spacious cab can be equipped with a high visibility roof, quick steer adjustable-rate steering, and a range of SDF precision farming applications are available, including GPS guidance and automatic steering through the iMonitor screen. Additional services which will be a particular help for those operating larger enterprises include SDF fleet management, Agrirouter connectivity and Isobus for monitoring and control of advanced attachments and implements.

Both ranges include five models from 91–116hp, although the flagship 115 model also has boost mode providing up to 126hp.

RC Boreham using farm machinery for viticulture
RC Boreham has taken on the UK-manufactured Voxx Machinery franchise to cater for the needs of fruit and vine growers.

Customer feedback

Matt Boreham with Deutz-Fahr tractor
Matt Boreham is pictured with one of the larger Deutz-Fahr agricultural tractors.

“Many customers comment as soon as they see the latest tractors on the extremely stylish appearance,” commented Matt. “They look solid and sharp, but extremely practical.

“Considering the narrow overall tractor width, the latest flat-floor cabs feel spacious. The four-post frame means there is a large glass area and visibility all-around is excellent. The controls are logically and neatly arranged, and all the main operating levers and switches are just where one would expect them to be – it’s extremely intuitive. Even on the road on narrower tyre options, the rubber block cab suspension soaks up the bumps well and ensures a smooth ride.”

Matt commented on a recent customer demonstration of the Deutz-Fahr 5105D S GS 4cyl, 105hp tractor. It was equipped with the top 45/45 mechanical transmission and, for the trial, it had a Voxx inter-vine strimmer at the front. “As soon as he saw the tractor, the customer was impressed by the cab size and comfort, and the mechanical transmission was surprisingly smooth and easy to use. The Stop-Go brake-to-clutch feature was also considered an advantage.

“The successful demonstration meant we were immediately asked to supply a quotation for two similar tractors. The positive response was typical of similar demonstrations we have carried out for Essex fruit and vine growers in recent months.”

Surprised by specification

The level of equipment included in the TTV models often surprises customers, said Matt. “I was amazed the first time I drove one: how much functionality had been included in such a compact tractor. Even the narrowest V (Vineyard) models are absolutely packed with useful features. The hydraulics are incredible, and for operators spending all day in the cab during the pruning and spraying seasons, the well laid out controls with a choice of how to operate them means users are far less fatigued.”

Investing in specialist market

table of Deutz-Fahr 5D-series tractors
Other brands within the Deutz-Fahr family include Same and Gregoire, and SDF has also invested in the Vitibot robotic vineyard tractor business.

RC Boreham has invested in additional franchises that complement the tractors to meet the needs of growers in the area. “The narrow tractors obviously have applications beyond just orchard and vineyard use. In fact, anywhere capable compact tractors are needed we have a model to suit, from working in polytunnels and glasshouses to between rows of tabletop strawberries. We have represented Kuhn for many years, specialising in agricultural implements, but there are also many smaller machines in the diverse range including cultivators, flail mowers, mulchers, sprayers and spreaders including specialist orchard and vineyard models.

“We are also representing Voxx Machinery, which manufactures vineyard machinery in the UK. The range includes strimmers, vine trimmers, flails, subsoilers and much more, and back-up from the Kent-based company is excellent.”

“We have gained considerable experience of this specialist industry during the past few years, as sales enquiries and product sales have increased. Whether customers are starting out with a small vineyard and need something cost-effective and basic, or larger established enterprises or contractors, we would love the opportunity to demonstrate our tractors and complementary products and explain how we can look after their needs.”

Read more machinery news here

© Fruit & Vine 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Website Design by Unity Online

Sign Up To   Fruit & Vine

Our free* magazine subscription offers a host of benefits to those in the wine making, fruit growing, juice and cider producing industries - find out more, and sign up today, below.

Sign Up Today *Fruit & Vine is sent free-of-charge to qualifying industry professionals in the UK.