Big power for the big show

by Andy Bryenton

Field Days always means a big event, and the modern trend in farming is definitely toward more and more powerful, technologically accomplished machines. As implements become larger and demand more power — not just to deploy in the field but to move on the road — tractors have kept pace. And while we aren’t seeing the vast, building-sized edifices on wheels, which grace America’s plains, the horsepower battle at farming events through the country this year will not be restricted to the automobiles and quads.

Noteworthy, even among the largest tractors in the market is Fendt’s new Vario 1000, which proudly claims to establish a new horsepower segment of its own. Check the maths and on the surface it certainly isn’t kidding around — Fendt’s engineers are talking about a 12.4 litre six cylinder engine built by MAN — a name often seen on buses and freight trucks. This colossal mill delivers efficiency for all its bulk, churning out up to 55 horsepower and enough torque to upend the Houses of Parliament. In fact, all 2,400Nm is available down at 1,100rpm, for heavy work pulling big machines and heavy loads. On the open road, however, this big — and there’s no getting around the presence of the big green and red monster — tractor can achieve a sprightly 60km/h, rock solid.

All that power under the hood — just over two litres per cylinder, if you care to imagine it as bottles of soft drink — has required Fendt to deploy clever gearbox and cooling solutions as well. Vario has long been a byword for smooth transmissions, and this latest offering is no exception. Thanks to some engineering black magic, the Vario 1000 has a ten per cent smaller turning circle in the field than many of its contemporaries. And that cooling setup is obviously thought-out by real farmers, too. The fan faces upward to stop harvest chaff and debris being sucked into the system. It can reverse to blow out any rubbish, which does clog the vents.

And thanks to the under hood design, it’s able to keep all six cylinders at just the right working temperature, even on days like we’ve sweated through this summer! Speaking of which, there’s plenty of room for bottles and boxes in the cab of the Vario 1000 — even a chilled area to make sure you’re comfortable as well as hydrated. Add in well thought out places close at hand for tablets, phones, paperwork, and the other minute of day-to-day farming life, and the static elements of the cab begin to look as cleverly devised as the controls. Which is really a term that sums this imposing machine up — clever. Fendt seem to have been unsatisfied with simply playing the ‘bigger is better’ card, and they’ve let attention to detail do the talking.