“I am grateful to sit here on my deck after a day’s work, look down the valley and know that I did my best to make a difference in this world today,” says local farmer, Rassie Erasmus.
Farmers, irrespective of the sophistication or simplicity of their farming practices, are the salt of the earth. They live off the land, and close to the land, with all its intricacies and challenges – everything supported by faith in the Universe and God to grow seeds, emotional and physical.
Rassie and I were discussing, among other things, his Kubota M8540 tractor. As part of Rudaman’s move to their new premises, I was invited to lead the tractor and truck convoy in a M9540 Cab Kubota. It was an enjoyable experience as the last time I drove a tractor was while picking fruits in the Langkloof during school holidays.
Kubota Corporation was established in 1890 with the products entering South Africa imported are still active today. Smith Power Equipment, established in 1969 became the sole importers of Kubota in 2000 and offers a full range of diesel engines, generators, and utility vehicles. Since the introduction of larger tractors, Kubota has grown steadily as it not only serves agricultural demands
but also that of landscapers, construction and private owners.
The M9540 which I drove during the move, offers a large comfortable cab with air conditioning galore, and despite the bouncing ride on tar, the hydraulic seat made it a comfortable drive nonetheless.
This model employs a tough four-valve V3800-DI Kubota diesel engine with a turbocharger that delivers excellent power at low revs. It also offers a 90L fuel tank. A limited slip diff is standard. I found the gear changes on the F12/ R12 transmission, a lot less challenging than I thought it would be – in fact, I never missed a single up or down shift. I felt really chuffed with myself.
In tight farming conditions, the no clutch forward and backwards operation, achieved by simply moving the lever to the left of the steering accordingly will, in my mind, be a lot less tiring for the operator. At the rear, all those hydraulics and link points are somewhat of a mystery and I thus did not venture there.
Be that as it may, feedback from many happy customers concludes that it is durable, safe and easy to use.
The instrument cluster offers an electronic LCD read-out, the steering is tilt-friendly and all the various controls around the cab are within arm’s length. Although Rassie has lost the use of his legs, his zest for life and farming is all his other tractors and trucks, slightly enabling him to still be productive in the daily tasks on the farm.
I was allowed to drive the M8540 Narrow with a sprayer in tow, to get a feel for what its comfort and manoeuvrability will be within the narrow lanes between the macadamia trees. Despite sporting an extra heavy-duty licence, I became a bit anxious when I realised that turning this combination is going to be a challenge in the tight space at the end of the rows.
And I was certainly not dressed for sweating. Then I remembered Rassie telling me about the Bi-Speed button, and I engaged it. It increases the speed of the front wheels as soon as the steering is turned 30 degrees left or right. Phew, awesome, it turns on a dime – no egg on my face today! Turning circle – 3,8m!
“This tractor is exceptionally practical for what we do – the power distribution allows the use of various implements and the cab offers excellent protection during spraying. Only thing is that you will not hear if a pin comes loose. But then again, it offers good all-round visibility. Fuel consumption, in terms of what we do, is about eight litres per hour. And with a tank capacity of 76L, there is no Rassie. So I would imagine that those quick power naps during lunchtime, is of the past also?”
Rassie farms right next to the Rest and spent his life, before retiring to full-time farming, selling agricultural chemicals. The latter, to an uninformed person like myself, sounded quite intricate and thing to do before spraying or even buying a trustworthy tractor, is to consult a trustworthy source.
The Kubota, or Koos Botha tractors as it is often lovingly referred to, is as tough as it is attractive and comfortable – its turning circle is legendary and so is the diesel consumption. And, it presented would do it again – soon. Any offers?
Rudamans – Nelspruit
- Address: 1 Plankie Street
- Telephone: 013 753 3631
- Fax: 013 752 6282
- E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact: Wayne Jackman
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For more information please contact Smith Power Equipment on 011 284 2000.