A tractor might impress with its appearance in a showroom and on the web, but to get the reality of how it actually works and performs, a big field and some implements are required and this is precisely what Deutz Fahr arranged recently.

The company has held two demo days of late, the second being at Dunleer in Co. Louth, which gave both dealers and farmers the opportunity to have a look at the machines in the sticky conditions of this autumn.

Tractors on display

The day had been organised in conjunction with Quail Machinery of Skerries, Co. Dublin, the Deutz Fahr dealer for the area, which also has the agency for Pottinger, which also supported the event.

Deutz Fahr has not always appeared the most ambitious when it comes to marketing in Ireland, although it is always one of the top three brands sold in Germany, along with Fendt and John Deere.

These two days marked a renewed interest by the company in raising its profile here.

3 Deutz Tractors in field
A muddy field gave a far better feel for the tractors’ merits than any showroom could

To hold a successful demo day you not only need the people to attend, but also the product to attract them, and Deutz Fahr did not lack in this department by any means with 13 tractors on display, 10 of them working.

Of particular interest in Ireland are those tractors falling into the 120hp to 200hp bracket and the company has this segment well covered with no less than four different sub groups within its 6 Series range which spans this power segment.

Selection by transmission

To a casual observer, the philosophy of the engineers at Deutz Fahr appears to be that the transmission type is of as much importance as engine size and configuration when it comes to buying a tractor.

This approach has its merits as engine performance and reliability throughout the industry is more evenly matched than it ever was, and so the attention shifts to other core elements of a tractor in a bid to distinguish it from the competition.

Deutz Fahr 5 Series
The smaller farmer is catered for as well with the 5 Series providing lower powered options. It may be fitted with either the PS or RC transmissions

Deutz Fahr has settled upon offering four transmission options, although they are not all available across the board, and these themselves are variations on two gearbox types.

The first is a mechanical five range type which has six splits, or ratios, within each range, giving 30 forward speeds, while the second transmission type are CVT units which come in two different flavours.

The basic transmissions are the Power Shift (PS) boxes which are of mechanical drive and have the ranges selected by gearstick with six powershift ratios in each range.

Move on to the RC boxes and the range change is also operated by powershift.

Virtual gears

Taking another step up brings us to the CVT boxes, the smaller of which is the RV model which is a CVT unit that mimics the action of stepped gearbox.

This arrangement is unique to Deutz Fahr and has attracted mixed reviews from the media with questions asked as to why burden a CVT with the limitations of a fixed ratio gearbox?

6150.4 tractor with front end loader
The 6.4 Series is built totally in-house and is designed as the perfect crossover tractor, from stock to tillage

The answer is better understood when it is realised that this box is only available on the recently introduced 6.4 Series which Deutz Fahr has designed as the ultimate crossover tractor between smaller stockman’s machines and larger tillage tools.

The operation of the box is simple, push the joystick forward and it goes up a virtual ratio, pull it back and it drops one.

This brings the simplicity and familiarity of powershift transmissions to CVT drives, in a sector where tractor driving may not be the main role of the operator.

Joystick on Series 6.4 tractor
The single joystick gear selector (far left) for the RV transmission is situated on the armrest in the 6.4 series tractors

It is this 6.4 Series of tractors, from 127hp to 171hp, that are considered highly suitable to the Irish market where grassland farmers are looking for adaptable machines and tillage customers still want a unit that can handle large mounted implements.

Deutz Fahr tractor with TTV
The Deutz Fahr 8280 is the only model in the 800 series and comes with a TTV transmission as standard

If a full-on constantly variable transmission is required, then the TTV gearbox fits the bill and is Deutz Fahr’s very own design and make of CVT.

It retains a two-range function as the company believes this still gives better economy than a one-ratio unit, especially if field work, rather than transport, is the major use.

The TTV transmission is also fitted to a number of tractors in the 5 Series at the other end of the power scale, although they are aimed more at the continental market.

Deutz Fahr cabs keep you connected

The cab is another core component of a tractor and Deutz Fahr has fitted its medium to larger tractors with a unit that is both functional, comfortable and homely.

Deutz Fahr cab interior
The cabs retain an air of familiarity and have excellent all-round vision although the chrome trim is a little too glitzy

For the time being at least, the company provides a working environment that does not pretend to be something more than just a tractor.

Sat behind the wheel, the operator is still aware that they are driving a tool of agriculture rather than an intergalactic express train.

There is a proper dashboard and a connection with the ground that some other ultra modern tractors lack; it may not be all bells and whistles but you know that you are farming, without the rough edges, and that, for many, is an essential element of the job.

Pinpoint precision

Tractor companies cannot let any opportunity to show off their digital technology pass by and Deutz Fahr is no exception with an impressive display of the accuracy of its RTK satellite system.

Topcon provides the hardware for the tractors while the software is produced by the company, with all the features that we have come to expect from satellite navigation systems, including headland turns and management.

With the A-B baseline set in the system, the tractor located where it was, and where it should be, and locked in on the lines in a very short time.

Coin found in field by GPS
The tractor could be parked right next to the 1c coin (marked by the C) with the use of RTK satellite navigation

The accuracy of its positioning was highlighted by David Jefferson, of SDF (Deutz Fahr’s parent company) placing a 1c coin in the middle of the field and marking its location on the screen.

With careful attention to the screen and some steady driving it was possible to park the tractor right next to the coin and find it in the stubble with very little hesitation.

Being the top end RTK system, this result is repeatable over the years thanks to the use of a base station to correct for satellite drift.

Tractor with Pottinger cultivator
Deutz Fahr enjoys a strong reputation as a premium manufacturer on the continent

There is no doubt that Deutz Fahr designs and builds a premium product and that product enjoys great success in other markets.

By bringing the tractors out into the field, the company has demonstrated not only its competence, but its desire to bring that sales success to Ireland.