When Tom Dirom went in search of a 400hp tractor to provide bed forming and ridging services for a carrot-producing customer, he saw established tractor choices as far from ideal.
“The usual suspects just seemed to be big and numb,” says the West Yorkshire based contractor.
“I wanted a 400hp tractor that could be used on trailers in addition to heavy draft work.”
It was a mindset that saw the arrival of a Valtra S394 on demonstration from Brian Robinson Machinery (BRM).
“Everything about the S394 looked right,” he recalls.
“And I just fell in love with the tractor. The cab, the controls, ride comfort, adjustability – everything exceeded my expectations, and the deal was done.”
“It had performance and capability that I needed for my business,” he says.
“It has to do more than just handle heavy work – this tractor must also turn its hand to odd-jobbing and lighter duties, without incurring high operating costs.”
That was in 2016, and since then, the contracting business has added two more Valtra’s to his eight-tractor fleet. A T214 Direct arrived in 2017, and a N174 Direct arrived earlier this summer – both finished in striking metallic blue livery, and both went through the Valtra Unlimited studio.
“I’m not the only one who gets to enjoy a high-specification – my team needs it too,” he says.
“And we all take the trouble to keep our tractors and machinery in tip-top condition.”
Front linkage and front pto is a must-have, as-is Valtra’s Direct continuously variable transmission. RTK steering guidance has also become part of the package, as the firm continues to seek-out efficiency for the benefit of its customers.
But the machinery investment hasn’t stopped with the N174 and T214 models. Remember the S394 that started Tom Dirom’s Finnish adventure? The three-year old, 6,000-hour machine was swapped earlier this year for an identical replacement.
“I also chose TwinTrac reverse drive on the S394,” he says.
“Being able to turn the seat around meant we could make use of this capability on a silage clamp, with a 14ft push-off fork.”
But business growth – silage making is now across 2830ha – meant clamping is now the domain of a wheeled loader.
“It lets the S394 operate with a 10.5m, triple mo-co, dropping a large acreage in a short time, to make the most of wilting.”
While the replacement S394 now has over 1,200 hours under its belt, the older T214 has covered 4,300 hours.
“I’ve been very impressed with Valtra, and the backup,” he says.
“AGCO’s warranty and Brian Robinson Machinery’s ability to back-up the product has been second-to-none.”
“Running Valtra tractors has been a far better ownership experience than any of the other tractor makes I have previously run,” he says.
“The Finnish tractor range is seriously under-rated.”