Zetor is celebrating a milestone of sorts; its Forterra tractor has now been around for  20 years.

Since 1998, a total of 21,500 tractors from this range have been sold to 55 countries.

The Forterra tractor line-up first appeared in late 1998. The name originated by merging two words: 'FOR' and 'TERRA' (terrain) - to suggest a "robust" tractor suitable for difficult terrain.

The Forterra was a follow-on from the Unified Series III design, the first prototypes of which go back as early as 1974.

These tractors evolved over time. For example, the metal bonnet was replaced by a plastic one in 2000. The original engine was compliant with Stage IIIA emission standards; then a Stage IIIB unit was fitted - all the way to the current Stage IV motor.

"The creation of Forterra meant covering the demand for tractors on worldwide markets. The jubilee is good proof that the decision was right: Forterra has been with us for 20 years," explained Marian Lipovsky, managing director of Zetor Tractors AS.

"As a birthday gift, the Zetor Forterra has gotten a number of innovations. The CL and HSX models were launched early this year; the new HD willl be launched in early autumn.

"The new Forterra tractors have more effective braking systems. However, the biggest innovation is the ECO 40 transmission, which keeps the engine (HSX and HD models) at optimum revolutions (1,750rpm) at higher speed (up to 40kph).

The models are further equipped with a new dashboard. As an option, the Forterra HSX can be equipped with a suspended front axle.

For the anniversary, Zetor is running a competition on Facebook: Fans and owners of Forterra tractors are being invited to send in their stories (with photos) by May 5.

On May 6, Zetor will publish an album with the 10 most interesting stories. Fans will then have the chance to vote for the five "most interesting" tales; the authors will apparently win "valuable" prizes.

Apart from the Forterra milestone, Zetor is getting ready to celebrate 50 years of the existence of the Crystal range. Celebrations will kick off this autumn with the launch of the Crystal HD.

At the same time as the Czech tractor manufacturer's celebrations, the Czech Republic celebrates 100 years of its independence.