Friday 16 March 2012
Dairy farmer Ian Barker admits to being a bit apprehensive about buying his first Landini tractor two years ago; he felt it was a big gamble changing from the familiar red machines he ran before.
But now he is enthusiastic about the 110hp Powermondial 115 that handles a wide range of different jobs on his 200-acre farm near Winslow in Buckinghamshire.
"It's clocked up more than 1400 hours and hasn't missed a beat," says Ian. "Features like electronic control of the linkage are useful but there’s nothing too complex; a tractor with two much in the way of electrics is hopeless when it goes wrong."
The machine is from a four-model line-up of tractors that span 90hp to 120hp with two levels of specification – Base and Top.
For Ian, the 4.4-litre Perkins engine under the bonnet of the Powermondial provides some continuity from his previous tractor make – which Ian concluded had become too expensive. But everything else is different, from the transmission, front axle and hydraulics to the spacious cabin, all of which are built in-house by Landini manufacturer ARGO Tractors.
"Perkins engines are pretty much bombproof and this unit in the Powermondial is turning out to be economical to run," says Ian. "So far, the tractor as a whole is performing reliably too."
The Powermondial gets a varied workload on the farm, where Ian grows 50 acres of forage maize and 25 acres of whole-crop wheat, with the rest down to temporary grass leys for the 100-cow dairy herd.
The tractor runs with a four-furrow plough and 3.5m power harrow to prepare ground for sowing, and mowing silage grass for chopping and baling.
"We also run an umbilical slurry applicator on the tractor and it does all the straw carting and muck spreading,” notes Ian. “For hedge trimming, the very low bottom end gearing is ideal."
The Powermondial’s transmission is equipped with a power shuttle that Ian Barker says works very smoothly when changing direction. Three powershift speeds for each of the 12 gears means there are 36 forward ratios in all, so drivers should easily find an ideal speed for any task.
Quick on-the-move shifting deals efficiently with an increase in draft load – when ploughing, for example, or when climbing an incline with a trailed implement in the field or on the road.
"The tractor pulls really well and the shuttle is very smooth and progressive, which helps make it comfortable to drive," says Ian. "It's also very stable when working with the hedge trimmer, and I'm pleased we've got the over-size tyres, because they give the tractor good flotation and lots of traction."
The cab on the Powermondial is a four-pillar design that not only gives great all-round visibility but also a comfortable place to work. There is a light and airy feeling thanks to the large glazed area and the roof window that provides a helpful view to a raised loader.
All in all, it is an attractive package for farmers needing a nimble tractor of 90hp to 120hp output.
"I wouldn't bat an eyelid about buying another Landini," he says. "I'm really pleased with it, and with good service and parts back-up from Adrian Ford it would make sense to have another."