The advanced technological specifications of Massey Ferguson 7495 series tractors are proving to have significant advantages when hauling sugarcane trailers, with a net payload of 26t, in sandy, muddy and hilly terrain, often with serious slopes. Joe Spencer reports.
Raymond Moodley, a sugarcane grower and contractor at Darnall on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, was so impressed by the performance of a 149kW MF 7495 demo tractor, used both in haulage and land preparation operations, that he bought the demo model.
He also placed an order for five further units to be used on a five-year contract awarded to his specialist haulage company, GR Cane Haulage CC. “We have been very pleased with the haulage performance of the MF 7495, both in-field, where it’s coped admirably with extremely difficult conditions, and on the road, where it’s shown its ability to handle longer distances,” says Raymond.
Natal Mechanised Farming, local dealer for Massey Ferguson distributor Barloworld Agriculture, supplied the tractors, which are required to perform equally well in-field and on the road. They haul the 26t payloads 28km from the field to the mill, at a road speed of 40km/h.
By the end of the 2007 season, the MF 7495s had clocked 3 200 hours, each without a single failure relating to tractor performance, says GR Cane Haulage CC transport manager Paul McCarter. “In addition, fuel consumption averaged only 9,5ℓ/hr, which is excellent considering the payload, distances and often difficult in-field terrain during a particularly wet season,” Paul adds.
Fuel consumption was an important consideration in choosing Massey Ferguson above other haulage configurations or brands of tractors, as at least 30% of operational costs are fuel-related. “We were also impressed by the versatility of these tractors, which perform equally well in agricultural applications,” says Paul. Of major importance to the performance of the MF 7495 in haulage is its class-leading Dyna-VT continuously variable transmission (CVT) engine and transmission control system. Massey Ferguson tractors is manufactured by AGCO and Fendt. Fendt is another brand in the AGCO stable, which pioneered its CVT technology.
This means the MF 7400 range utilises the most proven CVT technology in the world today, fitted to more than 50 000 tractors. Dyna-VT has two variable speed ranges: 0km/h to 28km/h for field applications and 0km/h to 50km/h for transport. This enables the precise matching of engine and ground speed for maximum productivity, fuel consumption and efficiency. The engine/transmission combination has more than proven itself. Another plus when doing both in-field and road haulage is the four-wheel drive system, which automatically disengages at 14km/h if the driver forgets to switch it off. “During heavy rains in April, when haulage trucks got stuck in the zone, the MF 7495s not only tiptoed through the mud but were also able to pull out the trucks under load,” says Paul. |fw
Comfort and safety
Driver comfort and safety was a key consideration. “Ergonomics makes all the difference to achieving productivity and efficiency in haulage,” says Paul McCarter, “The comfort levels of the MF 7495 cab bring out the best in a driver doing a 12-hour shift.” The MF 7400 series cab offers full climate control and a pneumatically controlled suspension system, on-hand instrumentation with all hydraulic switches at the operator’s fingertips, and 360º visibility. Noise levels are only 71dB(A) under load, which means that working long, hard hours becomes less stressful and more productive.