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Shropshire tractor winners make the most of their prize The Morris family of Clun, Shropshire says having an extra tractor this season helped them keep up to date despite catchy weather. David Williams reports. Trading as SJC Morris & Sons, the busy mixed farm is mainly improved and permanent pasture on which sheep and cattle are grazed, as well as arable crops on the uplands, mainly above 1,300ft. When the family entered the Farmers Guide and Case IH competition offering the use of a Maxxum tractor and loader for six months, they had little expectation of winning. More than 150 farmers from across the UK entered, but the Morris family’s entry was pulled out of the hat in the March draw, ahead of the tractor’s handover in May. “We still find it hard to believe we won from so many entrants,” explained Graham Morris, who entered on behalf of the family. “We have enjoyed reading Farmers Guide for many years finding its mix of editorial and advertising useful for all areas of our farm business, and when we saw the tractor competition advertised

we decided to enter just because an additional modern tractor would be such a useful addition to our fleet. We were so surprised when we received the call to say we had won.”

Busy fleet The farm’s own machinery fleet includes a telescopic handler, a loader tractor and four other tractors all of which are kept busy throughout the year. The 169hp (max) Maxxum 135MC with an LRZ120 2.3t loader was a useful addition with power for arable and transport tasks, lifting capacity to rival the telescopic handler and manoeuvrability for yard work. Since its arrival it has been used for pasture topping, fertiliser application with a KRM 2,000-litre spreader, cutting silage with a Kuhn 302 mower conditioner, tedding, raking and baling as well as transport tasks with a selection of trailers.

“The cab is comfortable and one thing which really stood out as a benefit is the superb passenger seat. As a stock farm, much of the time we need two people to carry out tasks and with multiple sites up to seven miles apart, being able to carry a passenger safely and in comfort is important,” explained partner Vic Morris. The Multicontroller version includes a main control joystick, through which the speed, transmission and hydraulics are controlled and a large touchscreen used for settings and automated functions such as headland management sequences. “This was our first experience of a comprehensive screen, but we quickly got used to it although most information we need is on the front cab pillar displays anyway,” explained Neil. “The cab is well equipped with two access doors, and for our situation operating with livestock, being able to use the right hand door would be more useful than the large display which obstructs it.” The Multicontroller joystick is described as excellent, allowing gears and ranges to be changed at the touch of a button. “It’s a great feature for every task,” said Neil.

Versatility essential

Loader cycle times are superb, easily rivaling the farm’s telehandler for most tasks, said Graham Morris.

Good visibility is essential for the farm, operating on narrow but busy main roads, single-lane back roads and farm tracks, as well as spending most of the time in the yard. Buildings are a mix of modern and traditional and space is tight at times. “The visibility all around is really good,” said Graham, “although directly down in front to the loader bucket is obscured by the engine hood. This is more due to the attachment bracket we are using for compatibility with existing implements and if it was our own tractor we would

Engine oil checking is made awkward by the loader bracket, commented Neil Morris.

probably look for something different which would cure the problem.” The extending rear hitch is great for coupling trailers and used several times each day. “It’s difficult to see close to the tractor as the PTO guard obscures it,” said Graham. “However, we found that folding the guard up when the PTO isn’t in use allows us to see much better. Also, when lifting the pick-up hitch it is hard to see when it has latched. However, by looking at the release handle and cable it’s easy to tell, as it becomes tight when the hitch is secured.” A feature liked by all users is the driver’s seat’s pivoting back-rest, which moves to the side allowing improved vision across the rear close to the tractor. “That is great for baling,” commented Neil, “as it allows full view of the pick-up without having to lean back to the rear window.” The powerful LED lights have also impressed. The tractor spends a lot of time working in sheds and the all-around work lights are noticeably better than the standard halogen lights of the farm’s other tractors, improving continued over...

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Farmers Guide Magazine November 2017 Issue