Higher horsepower tractors are beneficial to large farms and agricultural contractors for many reasons. This goes far beyond getting ‘more done’ in ‘fewer passes’. Not all higher horsepower tractors are equal, and there are several factors to consider when purchasing a tractor in the 200 to 300 hp range. In this blog, we set out some of the things that you should consider when looking for a high-horsepower tractor, and how you can put that power to the best use to increase yields and profit.
More than horsepower
Greater horsepower means you can work with larger implements at lower revs and save fuel. The old advice about three important things to consider in a tractor - horsepower, transmission, and wheelbase, still has a lot to offer. Applying the greater power from a higher horsepower tractor requires the right transmission to ensure efficiency and prevent slippage and hopping. The right wheelbase length means better traction without compromising on manoeuvrability. It’s a fine balancing act.
Protecting the soil to increase yields
Higher horsepower tractors are often heavier. This extra weight can cause soil compaction. However, higher horsepower needn’t mean a massively larger, heavier tractor. The Valtra Q Series has an operating weight of just 9200 Kg and a max gross weight of 16 T. The weight is well distributed between the front (41%) and rear (59%) axel meaning better contact with the ground for improved traction. The Q Series’ 3050 mm wheelbase is perfect for a higher horsepower tractor as it improves traction and reduces slippage. Slippage can be detrimental to soil health, impeding surface drainage, lowering gaseous exchange, and ultimately reducing yields. One tactic for reducing soil compaction from larger tractors is to use the correct tyre pressure. Valtra Unlimited offers a Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS) that is controlled from the Q Series’ SmartTouch terminal. This system will lower the tractor’s tyre pressures to widen the surface area of the tyre that is in contact with the soil. This effectively spreads the weight, reducing point loading on the soil to minimise soil compaction.
Higher horsepower tractors can suffer from poor manoeuvrability due to their larger size. With a turning radius of 6.75 m, the Q Series can handle any turning pattern and minimises difficult turns on the headland that might compact the soil. Of course, the Q Series is equipped with SmartTurn which eliminates turning errors and with Auto U-Pilot and Valtra Guide, fully automates the entire field driving experience.
One of the great benefits of higher horsepower tractors is their superior pulling power. Tractors in the 200 to 300 hp range will often be put to work using trailed implements. When working tough or compacted soil having enough power to plough deeply or work the subsoil is crucial. With up to 1280 Nm of torque, the Q Series has enough power to work with any implement, ensure long-term soil health, and avoid drainage and aeration issues that can affect yield volumes. With the 7.4-litre engine employing Valtra’s ECO Power concept the maximum torque is achieved at low revs, saving fuel and wear on the engine.
Higher horsepower and larger implements
Another benefit of working with higher horsepower tractors is their ability to work with larger implements. This can mean working with wider implements to manage tasks in fewer passes or working simultaneously with front and rear-mounted implements without compromising on fuel efficiency. Higher horsepower tractors often come with greater hydraulic capacity. The Q Series has separate hydraulic and transmission oil systems. The load sensing hydraulics are powered by a 200 litre per minute pump with 75 litres exportable. This is enough to work with even very demanding implements.
How to benefit from a higher horsepower tractor
A higher horsepower tractor is perfect for large farms and farming contractors where the tractor is going to be used for long hours. It will have the power to work with demanding implements efficiently and economically without stressing the engine. Powerful, responsive hydraulics allows the tractor to work with a greater range of implements. However, to maximise yields it is essential to look after the soil. For that, it is best to choose a high-horsepower tractor with a low own weight to reduce soil stress. The right length wheelbase will also improve traction and reduce slippage that can smear the soil. Valtra’s Q Series answers these requirements perfectly with its powerful 7.4-litre engine, efficient CVT transmission, economical yet powerful hydraulics, and 3050 mm wheelbase.