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NEXOS - Chapman Foods, South Armagh, Spring 2018

New tractor treat After decades of farming, apple grower Harold Chapman has bought his first ever new tractor, a NEXOS VL narrow-width fruit tractor.

500 TONNES OF BRAMLEYS PER YEAR “We produce around 500 tonnes of apples per year. We normally harvest in September or October and sell mostly to the bakery trade for pie fillings,” he explains.

NARROW NEXOS FITS THE BILL Having carefully looked at Harold’s specific requirements ASHFIELD & WILSON concluded he would be best suited to the 4-wheel drive NEXOS 210VL. Powered by a 75hp turbo charged FPT Tier 4i engine with a minimum width of just one metre, the NEXOS is a very compact and agile tractor, perfectly suited to restricted movements in fruit orchards.

PLENTY OF POWER With its long wheelbase and optimum 50/50 weight distribution, the NEXOS 210VL has plenty of pulling power and has a maximum lifting capacity of 3.1 tonnes at the ball ends on the rear linkage, which can be used with most implements. The main job for Harold’s NEXOS is to power the sprayer for the majority of the season which has already started with tree spraying underway. “This is the first new tractor I have ever bought in my life,” says Harold. “I had never bought CLAAS before nor ever done business with ASHFIELD & WILSON, but the NEXOS 210VL ticked all my boxes in terms of tractor requirements.” “Downtime is a major drag on any business so the service backup was a very important influence in my buying decision, as both CLAAS and the dealer have a good reputation for this.” “The NEXOS has a very comfortable cab for the operator with excellent visibility. This will be my main sprayer tractor so I needed power, traction, visibility and reliability all in one tractor and the NEXOS seems to fit the bill,” concludes Harold.

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ATOS 240 - Logan Botanic Garden, Summer 2019

Globe-trotting ATOS One minute Logan Botanic Garden’s ATOS 240 tractor could be in South America, before passing through South Africa and southern California, before finishing in Australasia, all regions that are completely at odds with the fact that Logan is in the south west of Scotland and at a similar latitude to that of Moscow and Alaska!

A NEW ADDITION A new addition to the garden two years ago was a 97hp ATOS 240 fitted with an FL60C loader, which has revolutionised handling work around the garden. “The ATOS replaced a 10-year-old 65hp tractor that was worn out and underpowered for what we wanted,” says Colin. “We basically were looking for a medium sized tractor that’s manoeuvrable enough to work around the main and walled garden, but powerful enough for haulage work. We initially looked at three different makes, narrowed that down to two taking into consideration things like suitability, build quality and power, and then finally chose the ATOS due mainly to cost and quality, but also dealer support.” With its 1.25 tonne capacity loader, the main role for the ATOS is handling work around the yard and garden. But its extra power is put to good use powering the garden’s wood chipper. Its 40kph road speed and greater comfort is beneficial when delivering logs over a 20-mile radius or for hauling 5 tonne loads of stone for paths from Glenluce quarry 15 miles away. “The ATOS is a lot more powerful and comfortable than our old tractor,” says Gordon Murdoch, one of the main drivers of the tractor. “Most materials are delivered in 1-tonne bags which it handles safely and with ease, the self-levelling linkage makes a great difference and one less thing to worry about when working in a restricted area. “The cab is extremely comfortable and we have never had air conditioning before, which makes all the difference when spending long periods in the cab. There is a lot of glass, so the visibility’s good and it has a tight lock, so is very manoeuvrable. But it’s also things like having the push-out hitch that makes hitching on a trailer simple, rather than needing to lean right out of the back window to see the hitch.”

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ATOS 340 - Alan Crichton, Kington Golf Club, Spring 2019

“The ATOS has been fantastic” ATOS 340 Supplied by REES AGRI in 2016, the ATOS is also fitted with an FL80 loader and replaced a ’52 plate Renault Ceres that, says Alan, had done some serious work. “The Renault served us well but had a lot of hours on it and was not really big enough for the blower. Before we bought, we looked at all options. Not only did we like the ATOS but James Rees was very approachable and came up with a good package to support it, which is important. “The ATOS has been fantastic and the support from REES AGRI is excellent. The tractor can be out working for anything up to eight hours a day and for the 20 weeks or so that we need to blow the course, it will be doing over 50 hours a week.

OPERATOR COMFORT “It’s really comfortable to operate and it’s great having air conditioning – the ATOS was certainly in demand last summer to help keep cool. The high temperatures meant we were out blowing from about 3.30 am through until 9.00 am, after that it was getting too hot and there was a danger of scorching and damaging the grass.

FRONT LOADER The FL80 loader has a lift capacity of 1890kg and uses the FITLOCK latching and MACH hydraulic coupling system. “To reduce weight and damage to the course we only have the loader on for handling work, so we take it on and off all the time, but it couldn’t be simpler. Having the loader, for which we have a set of pallet forks and a one tonne capacity bucket, has made such a difference and it’s used for all sorts of things around the course. “Operating the tractor and loader couldn’t be simpler. The ATOS is very manoeuvrable and the shuttle reverser is ideal for loader work. Although we don’t often take it on the road, we do occasionally borrow machinery from other courses, so when we do having the 40kph road speed is great,” concludes Alan.

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ARION 400 - David Williams, Powys, Spring 2019

Reputation sells itself “We don’t have the luxury of having extra tractors to hand should there be a problem,” says David Williams, who was in the market for a replacement 120hp tractor last autumn. “As the new tractor will be our only main tractor, I want to be sure that the dealer support will be there if I need it.” “One of the reasons I approached REES AGRI was because of the reputation locally they have for the service they supply. Reputation sells itself and it’s noticeable how many CLAAS tractors there are now within a 7 to 10 mile radius of here, and I am now starting to see them on farms where you would never think they would ever change make.

LOW PROFILE CAB “I approached three different dealers, but right from the start, James Rees was very approachable. Also, what particularly attracted me to the ARION was that even though it has the PANORAMIC cab, which is great, the ARION 460 still sits lower than our previous tractor which is important for working in older buildings.” David does as much as possible on the farm himself and in addition to hauling and spreading muck with a West 1600 spreader, the 140hp ARION 460 will mow, tedder and rake before a contractor does the baling. It also undertakes general work such as fencing, and is fitted with a FL100 2190kg capacity loader to support the farm’s mini telescopic handler. “The PANORAMIC cab makes the ARION a lovely tractor to drive. We spec’ed up the tractor to what we wanted and I did stipulate wider tyres to ensure good traction and stability. “It’s ideal for our needs – on a hill farm you don’t want anything bigger. It’s a good all-round tractor and has a tight lock which is important. The gear change is extremely smooth and being able to operate both the transmission and the loader using just the (Multi Function) joystick is ideal; everything is to hand and very user friendly.”

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ARION 460 - Kevin Heywood, Cornwall, Autumn 2020

‘Do everything’ ARION 460 The number of machines and implements with HAMBLYS stickers on, bears witness to the excellent relationship Kevin Heywood has with his local CLAAS dealer HAMBLYS. “HAMBLYS have always been good and there when we have needed them,” says Kevin. “It’s a long established relationship and its one that’s based on the service they provide, which is invaluable.”

WHY AN ARION? The 122ha farm is mainly grass to support sheep, but Kevin also grows 12ha of winter barley, and he aims to do as much as possible in-house. The ARION is also used for arable work such as ploughing, power harrowing, drilling and spraying. The 140hp ARION 460 with its FL80 loader arrived in June 2018. “After my father retired, as I was going to be running the farm by myself I decided to get rid of the cattle and just concentrate on sheep. The old ARION 610 was the main tractor on the farm together with a second loader tractor and with buying the new ARION 460 I traded in both to have just one smaller, but more powerful tractor that could do everything. “The ARION 460 is fantastic. It’s compact for getting around the yard and for loader work, but it’s easy to drop the loader off and it has plenty of power for field work. You certainly know the power is there as its really lively and responsive.”

BEST FEATURES “For loader work the PANORAMIC cab is fantastic, but it also makes the cab seem far more spacious. And I really like having all the loader and tractor operating controls on the multifunction joystick. That is definitely one of the tractor’s best features and it makes it very easy to set-up and use the transmission and hydraulics.”

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ARION 420 - Chris Fogden, 1200 sows, Suffolk, Spring 2021

Hard working ARION WHY ARION 420S? “We’ve tried other options but found that the 420 is the ideal combination of strong build quality and a light footprint. All fitted with loaders, they’re incredibly versatile, each one able to undertake any of the regular tasks on the unit.” “The start-stop nature of the feeding job is hard on both the tractor and driver, requiring constant clutch use. Having SMART STOP on our feeder tractor has made a huge difference – you just hold the machine on the brakes and the transmission automatically de-clutches. Lift off the anchors and it smoothly takes up drive once again – on to the next pen.”

HAVE THE ARION 420S BEEN RELIABLE? “We’re generally changing tractors out before they hit the 5000-hour point and we’ve hardly had any issues with the six that we’ve had. “That’s pretty impressive given the nature of the work they do. They go for months on end plastered in muck, so they probably don’t see the grease gun as often as they should. “But despite not having the most rigorous maintenance schedule they prove reliable time-after-time. They’re tough little machines really.

MAXI CARE “We do opt for the MAXI CARE service and warranty package because it provides us with one way of fixing our costs. I spend my life trying to manage risk, whether its pool-buying feed, fixing contract weaner prices or servicing machines – that way I can accurately budget to ensure we make some margin at the end of the year.”

WOULD YOU HAVE ANOTHER ARION? “Given how the six we’ve had have performed and the continuing improvements CLAAS has made, almost certainly. “Of course it depends on the deal on the day but these ARION tractors represent really good value for money and seem to hold their value well, so we get a good trade-in price. On top of that CLAAS tends to offer some really good finance deals to make it affordable. “But ultimately the decision always comes down to the back-up – MANNS are just fantastic on that front.”

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ARION 530 & 620, Mark Weaver, Shropshire, Spring 2020

“The simple reason we swapped was for the service.” Mark Weaver farms at Burleydam, Shropshire alongside his wife Sue and youngest daughter Rachel.

FIRST CLAAS SERVICE “We have been dealing with MORRIS CORFIELD for 14 years. When the farm changed from a dairy farm to a beef and arable farm, we decided to buy our own combine, which is predominantly driven by Rachel,” explains Mark. “We had never dealt with MORRIS CORFIELD until I saw their second-hand list and saw the machine I wanted and went for it. MORRIS CORFIELD serviced the combine from that point on and that’s what started our relationship with them.” “It was all due to the service on the combine that we considered buying a tractor from MORRIS CORFIELD in the first place,” says Mark. “We have a Case tractor, we were always Case before the CLAAS tractors. We were so impressed and still to this day cannot fault MORRIS CORFIELD, hence the loyalty to them. “Recently MORRIS CORFIELD managed to get us back up and running within 30 minutes of the technician receiving our phone call. That’s the sort of back up you need and that’s what farmers expect these days. You just can’t get service like that anywhere else.”

A FAMILY BUSINESS Mark has a new ARION 530 which is used for feeding, loading bales, power harrowing, ploughing and drilling and is also driven by Sue and Rachel. The ARION 620 does all the main groundwork on the farm. “I know that my tractors are reliable and the MORRIS CORFIELD service is too. The tractors are just great because they are very straightforward and easy to operate,” says Mark. “When the tractor was delivered, CLAAS UK went through everything to make sure that we could change things to suit our business. CLAAS showed us a lot of new features.” Pick another tractor model

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ARION 650 - Randal Williams, Pembrokeshire, Spring 2021

ARION 650 assists with new venture Having a frontline tractor that will comfortably do everything that is asked of it has been key in helping one Pembrokeshire dairy farm develop its business. Based right on the west coast of Wales, the Williams family’s Morfa Milk enterprise has rapidly gained a big following with locals buying milk and milkshakes from the farm’s cliff-top vending machine. Six years ago a bold decision was taken to invest in a 36-point rotary milking parlour to cut milking times in half, freeing up time for other projects. In a similar vein, two seasons ago the family opted to upgrade from their 130hp front-line tractor to a 175hp CLAAS ARION 650. “Last year we decided that we needed a more powerful tractor to speed up our heavier machinery workload. We do a fair bit of tankering, silage-carting and mowing and our existing 130hp tractors were struggling to get it done.

WHY AN ARION 650? “To get jobs done more quickly we needed to take a significant step up in the horsepower stakes – I wanted something over 170hp. “What I particularly liked about the ARION 650 is that it’s rated to produce a maximum of 185hp and it’ll do that all day long. There’s no messing about with boost that’s only available for transport or PTO work – you get full power all the time.

WHY CLAAS? “It’s two years since the ARION arrived and in that time we haven’t had a single issue that’s stopped us. “We’ve had a long relationship with RIVERLEA and have had plenty of kit from them over the years but never a tractor. However we know the back-up is far and beyond the best in the area. “They’ve got a long history of serving the farmers in this corner of Wales and I’m pretty convinced they’ll be here for many years to come.”

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ARION 660 - GB Phillips & Son, Haverfordwest, Autumn 2019

Power in a compact frame GB Phillips & Son replaced thier 7,000 hour ARION 640 with an ARION 660 CMATIC. “Out of the tractors we looked at and had on demo, one was ruled out very quickly as we just didn’t like it, so it just came down to the ARION and one other,” explains Josh Phillips. “What finally swung it in the ARION’s favour is the fact that it has plenty of power, but in a compact frame, so it’s very manoeuvrable. It’s also very comfortable to operate, the cab specification is right, the suspension’s very good and visibility excellent. It’s got it all and is very good on the road, and the back-up and support from RIVERLEA is brilliant. It’s done all we want of it and is well on top of the job.” Based near Haverfordwest the ARION 660, which has clocked up over 2,700 hours in its first year, undertaking mowing, tanker work and fertiliser spreading, bedforming for potatoes and harvesting daffodils. “Once you find out what the CMATIC transmission can do, it’s really good and great that it just keeps pulling through without needing to stop and change ranges,” says Josh.

ALL THE FUNCTIONS IN THE RIGHT PLACES “I really like the CMOTION control and how everything you need is right there at your fingertips. All the functions are in just the right place and it makes it easy to set up the tractor how you want. Everything I need – mowers, trailing shoe, even trailer tipping are all set-up on ‘F’ keys. “The new touch screen for CEBIS also makes life so quick and easy. At the touch of the screen everything you need can be set from there, making operating the tractor relaxing and allows you to just get on with the job.” RIVERLEA also advised the new ARION came with the S10 ISOBUS terminal, giving them full RTK accuracy. “For jobs such as bedforming you have to be spot-on and it allows us to also match up exactly with the customer’s settings. By setting up a field to avoid short work, for instance when mowing, it means that we can make full use of the tractor and implement. With the trailing shoe we can also leave an exact gap with no overlaps, leaving a professional finish to the job.” Pick another tractor model

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ARION 660, 550 & 530 -Thomas, Pembrokeshire, Spring 2021

Fleet of CLAAS Tractors Based close to the harbour town of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, the Thomas family have a long history with CLAAS tractors, having taken delivery of the very first lime green and white liveried tractor to arrive in Wales back in 2004. The family run an ARION 660, 550 and 530 plus a SCORPION 635 telehandler.

WHY ARIONS? “We really like the combination of the ARION’s light weight, manouevrability and power. On top of that, they’re packed with the latest technology so that we can really make the most of every pound we’ve got invested in them,” says Rhodri. “They’re not the cheapest machines on the market but the undoubtedly the best value for money.”

CEBIS “The new CEBIS touchscreen is a huge step on. Even for someone less technologically minded like myself, it’s dead easy to set up and doesn’t overload you with stuff you don’t need to know,” says Geoff.

COMFORT “The four-point cab suspension is fantastic – it’s the next best thing to fully suspended axles,” says Geoff. “It’s quiet, even with the mowers running flat-out. I’d go as far to say that the current CLAAS cockpit is a better cab than anything we’ve had or tried before.”

WHY CLAAS? “Put simply it’s all down to the back-up. As contractors we’ve got to keep going and with CLAAS you feel as if everyone’s working towards ensuring that’s the case,” says Geoff. “We really value being part of the CLAAS family. The combination of dependable, capable machines and unbeatable dealer back-up make CLAAS tractors the clear choice for us.”

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AXION 870, Agricola Growers, Cornwall, Spring 2019

AXION 870 boosts efficiency One operator is now responsible for cultivating 900ha for Agricola Growers, with a new 295hp AXION 870 and a 5.0m wide cultivator. Arriving in October 2017, the tractor has already clocked up 2,250hrs, with the cultivator and a six-furrow mounted plough. “We did look very carefully at buying the new AXION because we did have some ‘issues’ with some previous models,” says Jeremy. “But CLAAS and the dealer HAMBLYS, dealt with these very well. This experience, along with a good deal and warranty, gave us confidence to buy another.” Operator, Lewis Kitto, is delighted “I’m now cultivating twice the area I was before with the Sumo,” he says. “With wide equipment you can’t afford not to use auto-steering, which is operated via the optional large screen, S10 ISOBUS terminal. This provides an accuracy down to 2.0cm using RTK NET that replaced the original EGNOS GPS system, which we found had problems receiving the signal in some areas.” The tractor has TELEMATICS and Agricola Growers has given permission to HAMBLYS to use this to monitor the tractor, allowing the dealer to spot any potential problems and help prevent breakdowns. “It’s also a good security measure,” states Andrew Finnamore, production manager. “I get an email the moment the tractor moves. I can also receive emails about the tractor performance – when its moving, fuel consumption, area worked etc.”

FEATURES AND BENEFITS “One of the main reasons for the change of tractor was because we wanted to increase efficiency by doing more, but without increasing running costs,” he explains. “The FPT engine provides plenty of power to work the Karat at high work rates and we feel it’s quite economical – it’s not using any more fuel than the previous set-up.” “It’s a large and comfortable cab” comments Lewis “and I’ve found all the controls are easy to reach and set and it helps the joystick is the same as the one on our CLAAS LEXION 750 TT combine.”

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Rob Pugh, 243ha and 250 cattle, Shropshire, Spring 2020

AXION 830 - Rob Pugh, Shropshire, Spring 2020

“The AXION 830 is so comfortable” LOYAL DEALER RELATIONSHIP The Pugh’s relationship with MORRIS CORFIELD and CLAAS dates back to the 1960s. “We have dealt with MORRIS CORFIELD for many years,” comments Rob. We had a demonstration of an ARES 836. I was really pleased with how it went; it was spacious and all in all a very good tractor. The tractor came with full GPS and autosteer which was quite new back then. “I kept that tractor for a few years and changed it for an AXION 840 CEBIS. That was quite a big jump in the technology but we got on well with it, putting about 8,000 hours on it. “I then swapped the AXION 840 for the AXION 830. It does exactly what I want it to do. Mostly in the summer the AXION 830 sits with a 14-ton trailer attached and picks up from the COMBINE and it does the cultivation in spring and autumn. In winter we use the tractor for animal feed deliveries. I wanted the CMATIC on the tractor because I do a lot of road work. I quite like the computer systems, the ease of use and the fact you can program everything into it. I think that it is logically laid out and works for me.”

CLAAS COMFORT “Back up is one of the main reasons I deal with MORRIS CORFIELD,” says Rob. “I know with MORRIS CORFIELD that if there ever was a problem with any of the machines all I have to do is pick up the phone. There will be someone on the end to sort out the problem or a replacement tractor for me to carry on. The backup is second to none!” “I went with the CLAAS because of the backup and the comfort. Going down the road it is like being in your truck, the AXION 830 is so comfortable. Some of my customers are an hour away, so a 2-hour round trip means the machine has to be comfortable.”

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AXION 870 - TW Hill & Son, Leicestershire, Autumn 2020

CEMOS for Tractors The 2 new tractors, an ARION 650 and an AXION 870, were expected to undertake a wide range of jobs, getting ballasting, tyre pressures and transmission settings right has become an essential issue. So when Ollie was approached by his local CLAAS dealer to trial a new system to help with this, he jumped at the chance. “We were really impressed by the way the stepless CMATIC transmission delivered the power to the ground, but I was keen to get any extra guidance I could in setting them up right.”

CEMOS SANITY CHECK “What the CEMOS system provides is a sanity check about how best to go about making changes. When I set off doing a new job, I do a couple of runs with the tractor set as I think best,” explains Ollie. “During this time the CEMOS computer is monitoring everything and then makes an assessment as to how things could be improved. It might suggest altering engine transmission droop settings or trying difflock. Alternatively it could propose altering how much air is in the tyres or how much weight is on the nose. “Almost always making the changes results in the tractor going better – either covering more ground or using less diesel.”

SURPRISING SUGGESTIONS “With our old tractors I’d always try to keep engine rpm as low as possible for cultivations work to extract maximum torque out of the motor. If I try that with the 870, CEMOS immediately suggests altering transmission settings to let the engine rev up to somewhere between peak torque and peak power. Typically aiming for 10-12kph with our disc-tine-press combo the system has comfortably knocked fuel use back by 1-litre/hour compared with how it would run before we had CEMOS fitted.”

BETTER THAN AN OPERATOR “What CEMOS does is provide an extra level of finesse, constantly questioning my judgements and giving me a sanity check about transmission set up, ballast and tyre pressures. Ultimately that results in us covering the ground faster using less fuel.”

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AXION 960 - Michael Wilton, Stody Estate, Norfolk, Autumn 2020

Impressive, cost cutting traction MORE THAN CAPABLE An AXION 960 CEBIS arrived on farm last October marking considerable change as it replaced a more specialist equal wheeled articulated tractor, 100hp more powerful and 6 tonnes heavier. However, despite the differences, the AXION has proved more than capable of handling all the same cultivation equipment. The AXION was on farm as a demo tractor from MANNS and “we couldn’t believe how well it gripped. Adam Godwin the operator also liked it and it ticked a lot of boxes. From there it was down to price and service support,” explains Mike.

FLEXIBLE WORKHORSE “The larger specialist tractor was only any good for cultivations and so spent a lot of the year parked-up. By going back to a rigid tractor, the AXION is a compact workhorse that has the weight distribution and high traction that enables it to pull all the same equipment, albeit that with the Combi-Disc it is at its limit, but it has the flexibility that allows it to be used for other jobs such as hauling grain or sugar beet.”

WORKING IN PAIRS The AXION 960 has now been joined by an AXION 870. The policy is that tractors are paired, so supporting the AXION 960 is another 370hp tractor, while the 280hp AXION 870 supports an older 290hp tractor for secondary cultivations and corn carting, with another pair of 175hp tractors below these.

EASY TO USE CEBIS “The AXION is a far more refined tractor and overall I have been very impressed with it – it has far exceeded my expectations. The CEBIS is so intuitive and easy to use. It’s such a comfortable tractor and as a rule I hate leather seats – but the ventilated leather seat in the AXION is brilliant; I love it!” “The AXION is a good product that’s well priced, and the support MANNS provide is faultless. Also the relationship the service team have with Adam is important as it helps him to get the best out of the tractor,” concludes Mike.

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AXION 830 & AXION 920 - GTR Contracts, Summer 2019

AXION – “It’s an operator’s tractor” Having never driven a CLAAS tractor, Doug Boyd admits that he was a little wary of driving a new AXION 830 CEBIS with CMATIC transmission. Now, a year later and 2,100 hours in, he’s a convert. “What I particularly like about the AXION is that it is so easy to operate,” states Doug. “The new touchscreen CEBIS is so simple to use – it’s idiot proof and it makes it very easy to setup the tractor and allocate functions to F keys.”

VERY IMPRESSED WITH CMATIC “I am also very impressed with the CMATIC transmission. I had a CVT in my previous tractor, but the AXION’s is far smoother, less noisy and power loss through the transmission is less. On the road, it’s really smooth and I like the way the engine winds the revs right back and just sits comfortably at 50kph.” The AXION 830 has also been specified with the latest S10 terminal which is the main control for the tractor’s steering system, and also has full ISOBUS compatibility.

BRILLIANT GPS STEERING “The new S10 terminal is very simple to use and makes it easy to set-up fields and A-B lines. I do a lot of umbilical spreading working at 18 to 24 metres, but the GPS steering is brilliant for jobs like that and ensures there are no overlaps. Not only does it save the farmer money, but by having all the passes dead straight and perfectly matched, it really makes the job look professional. Combined with TELEMATICS, it also means that every time you go into the field in the future, all the information you need and the A-B lines are there ready for you. “ISOBUS also makes it so easy to set-up machinery such as the forage wagon or our 4-rotor LINER rake. It saves a lot of clutter in the cab and having umpteen control screens. You just plug it in and away you go. “Overall I have been very impressed with the AXION. It’s an operator’s tractor. The visibility is excellent and the whole of the cab layout is good. It’s obviously designed for the operator who is going to be sat in it.” Pick another tractor model

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AXION 960 TT - Ed Salmon & Daniel Edwards, Summer 2020

“It’s easy to forget that it’s on rubber tracks rather than wheels” THE BEST TRACS ON THE MARKET A new AXION 960 TT with half-tracks was delivered to the farm in August 2019, just in time for autumn cultivations and drilling. “It is just what we have been waiting for,” confirms Ed. “We put it on our 7f semi-mounted plough and we couldn’t fault it. Then, as soon as we started drilling, it was used on our Vaderstad 8m drill and it’s excellent. Having this much power in this configuration makes it incredibly versatile so we will be selling one of our twin-track crawlers and using the AXION for ploughing, cultivations and drilling.”

IMPRESSED FROM THE START “I hadn’t used a CLAAS tractor previously so didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as I drove it for the first time I was impressed. It performed well and the comfort amazed me. The cab was excellent, I liked the controls – including the CMOTION joystick which is the same as our combine. The new CEBIS display is easy to use – I couldn’t fault it,” says operator Daniel Edwards. “One thing I really like is its ability to follow the ground contours. Along the full track length it’s obvious that the weight is evenly applied as the tracks and rollers mould around every undulation. Its ability to put the power to the ground is excellent and even while ploughing the slip indicator didn’t move from zero. It’s just as comfortable on the road as it is in the field and at almost 50kph it doesn’t ‘nod’ as most large wheel tractors would and feels far more stable. It’s easy to forget that it’s on rubber tracks rather than wheels.”

SUCCESSFUL DRIVE SYSTEM “I think the drive system is a key part of its success,” continues Ed. “Unlike conventional crawlers which disconnect the drive to one track while turning, the CLAAS design uses electronic power distribution maintaining drive through both tracks during the turn. This helps maintain traction and reduces slip and scuffing.”

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AXION 960 TT - Martyn Hall, Ramsbury Estate, Summer 2020

“Floats over the ground” BEHIND THE WHEEL “I am very impressed with how well it puts the power down,” says Martyn Hall, Assistant Farm Manager. “We are not working in ideal conditions. You can see by the amount of mud on the drill that we’re pulling around a considerable amount of additional weight yet the TERRA TRAC has no problem achieving a target speed of 12.5kph.” “With a wheeled tractor the transmission would be waiting for the wheels to catch up in order to find traction. Even in these conditions, with the half-track it’s the transmission that has to adjust itself to cope with the grip of the tracks. Yes, you can see some track slip by the way in which the tread pattern is distorted, but there’s no significant footprint left behind and I have the wheel mark eradicators set so they’re barely tickling the surface.” “I am also impressed by the ride comfort,” adds Martyn. “The independent track suspension provides a very smooth ride and the tractor seems to almost float over the ground.” “The turning circle is surprisingly good for a tracklayer and you certainly don’t get any of the scuffing you do with a conventional twin-track machine,” says Martyn. According to his figures, the AXION TERRA TRAC is burning around 54 litres an hour on the seed drill, while the XERION 3800 previously used around 55.5 litres an hour.

ONGOING ASSESSMENT “Much of the land we farm is full of flint, which is notoriously hard on tyres and tracks,” states Martyn Hall. “The shorter overall track length of the TERRA TRAC units could potentially increase the amount of wear and reduce the service life of the tracks. With previous experience of using rubber tracks in this environment we will be monitoring this very closely. “The new CLAAS AXION 960 TERRA TRAC is potentially the best tractor we’ve seen for some time from the German manufacturer. CLAAS appears to have done a really thorough job with the development of this tractor.”

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XERION 4000 - Adam Metcalfe, North Yorkshire, Winter 2019

Smooth spreading XERION ‘It’s a hell of a machine’ states operator James Allison of AWSM Farming’s new XERION 4000 SADDLETRAC. AWSM are responsible for uploading, hauling, storing and spreading around 350,000 tonnes of digestate a year from six AD plants ranging from Hull up to Gateshead. Supplied by CLAAS EASTERN at Sinderby, a 435hp XERION, which is fitted with a 16m3 Kaweco tank and 18m Bomech trailing shoe, replaced a 2015, 6,000-hour XERION 4000 SADDLETRAC.

MORE THAN UP TO THE JOB “The advantage of the XERION is that it is a one-man machine that can be used all-year round,” explains Adam Metcalfe. “I initially changed to the XERION because the old self-propelled machine was just not up to the job and I didn’t get the support, which was one of the reasons for buying the XERION as CLAAS EASTERN are excellent.” The XERION was specified with an S10 terminal for auto-steering using Egnos and Glonass and is set-up for auto shut-off at the headland using the headland control function. “The auto-steering seems a lot better and more accurate than the old system, and its very easy to map an 18m boundary around fields to automatically shut off half or all the trailing shoe to avoid any over application, and then lift it at headland,” states James Allison.

SIMPLE SET UP “Everything is just so much smoother and the hydraulic system is also far more reactive. Even though I am now typically travelling at 10kph instead of up to 20, it seems to cover the ground quicker. Cab comfort is spot on, but having touch screens for CEBIS and the S10 makes it so simple to set everything up or to call up your stored information and change it. The CMOTION control is so easy to use and being able to use it to access functions such as the headland control and CRUISE PILOT makes a big difference.”

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XERION 5000 - Hay Farms, Perth, Spring 2020

Power efficient XERION 20% MORE LAND FARMED The Hays’ tractor fleet consisted mainly of mid-range 200hp tractors, but today of the eight tractors in the fleet, six are over 300hp. “We now farm 20% more land than we did in 2014 with one less tractor,” comments David. Until last year, the fleet included two articulated tracked tractors, one for the farm’s 8.0m Vaderstad drill and a second 620hp machine for ploughing and cultivations, and it is this machine that has now been replaced by the wheeled 530hp XERION 5000.

POWER TO THE GROUND Looking to change back to a wheeled tractor, the choice was narrowed down to the XERION and one other conventional 517hp tractor. “Both are good tractors, but the factors in favour of the XERION were the ability of the four equal sized wheels to get power to the ground, and that it could be operated in crab mode to spread the load. We never felt the other tractor fully got all its power to the ground,” states Finlay. One feature in the other tractor’s favour was a variable tyre pressure system. However, after discussing this with CLAAS UK, the XERION was taken to Saxham where an after-market variable pressure system was fitted which, says Finlay, has transformed the tractor. “Having the ability to travel at 1.6 bar on the road and then drop pressures in the field to 0.8 bar has made a considerable difference to traction. Even in last autumn’s conditions it was impressive where the XERION could still go. Even though we have dropped from 620hp to 530hp, on our heavy soils traction is the ultimate problem as the XERION never dies for power.”

CLAAS STEERING To fully maximise tractor performance the Hays’ have been using an Agleader RTK steering system for the past 10 years. However, for the XERION they have stayed with the CLAAS steering system due to its compatibility with the XERION’s crab steering modes. “It’s very, very good and extremely clever how it compensates for crab steer. We have been really pleased with the steering system. It does what it needs to do and we don’t need to worry about it as its all integrated.”

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EASY - A&S Eggleston Contractors, Nottingham, Autumn 2019

Hedgecutting using RTK Hedgecutting may not immediately spring to mind when you think about RTK, but its ideal for the job. Contractor Carl Eggleston explains that for a job that requires you to ideally look in two directions at the same time, using RTK is both safer and far less stressful. Setting an A/B line leaves the tractor to follow that line, allowing Carl to concentrate on the mower head or on approaching traffic when on roadwork. “It’s probably the last job that the designers thought the S10 terminal would be used for,” concedes Carl. “But in fact it’s fantastic and so much easier being able to leave the tractor to look after itself. On grassland, because the left hand wheel which carries all the weight is not following the same wheeling on each pass, farmers have been very surprised by how little damage there is, despite the wet ground, and I have actually picked up additional work because of that.

KEEPING IN-LINE “However, on arable where the ground has been cultivated, I set it to exactly follow the same wheeling for each pass, so then it’s easy for the farmer to go back through and pull the wheeling out. Also this autumn, I was doing clearing work for HS2 where for some reason I was not allowed closer than 2.0 metres to the hedge line, which was easy to do having set an A/B line. Likewise, I did some motorway verge mowing last year so again it ensured I stayed safely in the coned-off hard shoulder.”

RTK ADVANTAGES “I am a great believer in the use of technology and the benefits this brings. Having the S10 terminal I now try and use it for every job I can. What I like about the S10 is that it’s so easy to set-up, use and save jobs. It’s also very simple to save favourite settings for things like drop markers, A/B lines, path adjust, borders or A/B Contour. “But also as a contractor, by using RTK it means the work you do looks professional, that you care and that you take a pride in the work you are doing for your customers. Customers respect that and our drivers also appreciate that we are providing them with the technology to make their job easier and enable them to be professional.”

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EASY - James Biggar, Dumfriesshire, Summer 2019

EASY accuracy “We are prepared to invest and make full use of technology across the whole business, partly because of the benefit it provides the business, but also to make life easier and less stressful for those who work in the business,” explains James. The Biggar’s have run CLAAS tractors for a number of years, the latest being an ARION 660 CMATIC with touchscreen CEBIS, with a maximum boosted power output of 205hp. The tractor has full auto steering, using CLAAS’ new SATCOR correction signal controlled through the latest S10 terminal with full ISOBUS compatibility.

GREATER ACCURACY WITH AUTO STEERING “Having full auto steering on the tractor allows us to apply products far more accurately, which is not only environmentally beneficial, but also saves money. It’s very easy to set-up and store the A-B lines. Since the arrival of the ARION 660 we have changed our fertiliser spreader for a new Kverneland Geospread, which we run using ISOBUS through the S10 terminal for both variable rate application, but also for section control and shut-off at the headland using the ISOBUS TC SC function on the terminal,” explains James. The new ARION has been specified with the CMATIC CVT transmission. “Collin Dodds, who uses the ARION, had never used a CVT before but now really likes it. The ARION spends a lot of time on the road, so it’s ideal for that, but also with the diet feeder because the feed out is far more consistent.” “He really likes the CMOTION control and the fact that everything is at his fingertips. The new touchscreen CEBIS screen is also very user friendly and intuitive to use. It’s very easy to alter things like the hydraulic flow or engine settings, which is important, because if it’s not easy then the functions won’t be used, so is a complete waste of money. Collin certainly finds it far more relaxing to use, especially for jobs such as slurry injecting.” “The reason we run CLAAS tractors is GORDONS. We don’t buy CLAAS tractors, we buy tractors from GORDONS. We obviously look at other makes, but the support is second to none and we have an excellent working relationship with the whole team there. We are not in the habit of changing tractors regularly and tend to run them to about 8,000 hours, but the new ARION has full warranty and service, so we know it’s covered and what our costs will be.” Pick another tractor model

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Turn desire into reality

Jump in, close the door, relax. Put on your favourite sounds. Sit back. Start work. With a range of 75 – 530hp machines, CLAAS has a tractor to suit every application. Contact your local CLAAS dealer for a demonstration and turn desire into reality. claas.co.uk

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