Open air farming – working around the weather on a Landini platform tractor.
There is one simple reason for Dennis Bartlett choosing a tractor without a cab – anything taller would not fit into the low-roofed Somerset cubicles on the farm at Upottery near Honiton where a dairy herd of 70 Holstein Friesian cows are housed through the winter.
“The roll-over hoop only just scrapes under the doorway as it is,” he notes.
A tractor able to fit in the sheds with a cosy cab protecting the driver would have to be a lot smaller than the 85hp Landini 5-090D and would not have the mass or muscle to cope with the machine’s busy year-round workload.
“I need a proper tractor, not a toy,” Mr Bartlett declares. “I use it for everything from yard scraping and trailer work to hedge cutting, putting out heavy silage bales and buckraking silage into the clamps, so it has to be up to the job.”
The tractor, which clocked up 500 hours in its first five months, is used across two farms where Dennis Bartlett and his brothers Robert and Edwin pool resources when appropriate.
It meets their needs and expectations with a durable but simple specification that includes a mechanical 24×12 transmission with 40kph gearing and a synchro shuttle.
Manual three-point linkage control also keeps things simple, with a handy ‘one touch’ flick switch used to raise and lower the 4350kg capacity lift arms in addition to the usual quadrant lever.
Up front, emissions requirements are met using electronic fuel injection, exhaust gas recirculation and diesel particulate filter (DPF) on the 3.4-litre Perkins 854E engine, which to some extent contrasts with the simple spec of the rest of the tractor.
But there are benefits: “It’s got more torque at lower revs than my previous tractors, so it pulls really well,” says Mr Bartlett. “And I’ve no concerns about the emissions system, which only occasionally needs to burn off deposits in the filter through an automatic regeneration process.”
This is his fourth cabless Landini sourced from CJ Keitch Engineering at Dunkeswell near Honiton. It follows a succession of three Powerfarm tractors – predecessor to the 5-D Series – in line with a policy of changing his tractor relatively frequently for reliability and to avoid potential repair bills.
“We get 110% back-up from Chris Keitch, he’s always on the ball when you’ve got a problem,” says Dennis Bartlett. “But this tractor is so critical to my daily routine and seasonal work that it’s got to be right all the time.
“The Powerfarm 80 replaced by this new tractor clocked up 4300 hours in four and a half years and only needed a clutch and two front tyres in that time,” he adds. “So you can understand my confidence in the Landini products.”
As for the ‘open plan’ driving position, Mr Bartlett says driving the cabless Landini is no different to getting around on a quad bike: “I can work around wet weather to some extent and in winter you have to wear waterproof clothing anyway, so being outside on the tractor isn’t really a problem.
“What it does mean is that visibility around the machine is 100% perfect and in the summer, the ‘air conditioning’ is just great!”