We’ve come a long way from the good old days of farming, where the only brand you had to worry about was the one you stamped on your horse’s rear end. Tractors have taken over the role of workhorses and, with every passing year, there are more brands and models on the market.
To make life easier for you, we’ve rounded up Australia’s top 10 brands based on performance, consumer popularity and how well they’ve tailored their machines to our unique Aussie environment. We even pegged two brands against eachother to see which machine won out.
1. Massey Ferguson
Winner of Trade Farm Machinery’s 2015 and 2016 Top Tractor Shootout, Massey Ferguson has proven its worth in the Australian landscape. As part of global farming corporation, AGCO, Massey Ferguson has access to quality engines and cutting-edge technology. This combo allows them to build tractors that combine hard-to-beat efficiency with user-friendly operation and comfortable cabs. Fuel-efficiency keeps running costs to a minimum while clever design makes them versatile for working with a variety of attachments. As part of AGCO, Massey Ferguson tractor owners also have access to Agcommand, a wireless agriculture management tool perfect for larger operations with a fleet of machines.
2. John Deere
John Deere is one of the most recognised tractor brands in the world, having been a prime manufacturer and seller of farm machinery since 1837. While they are a US company, they have factories all over the globe to ensure their products and services suit the land you’re in. This is a big deal in Australia where our climate is like no other place in the world. The company produces powerful tractors with excellent traction and stability. Their price range tends to run a little higher than the competition but the quality of their machines is uncompromising.
3. Case IH
As a brand, Case IH looks like a newcomer, having been established in 1985. However, their youth as a company certainly doesn’t denote inexperience. The brand is an amalgamation of two companies that have been operating since the 1800s. And its namesake, J.I Case, built the first ever steam engine tractor, way back in 1869. The company also acquired Steiger Tractors in 1986. Nowadays, they are pioneering driverless technology. Their sleek, cabless tractor looks like something out of a sci-fi movie but won’t be in the hands of farmers for a few years yet.
See how Case IH stands up against New Holland and John Deere mid-range tractors.
4. New Holland
This agricultural giant has a range of tractors from compacts to crawlers and larger builds. The company has produced a hydrogen-powered NH2 tractor that is virtually noiseless and emits only steam. While the tractor is not yet on the market, it is evidence they are at the forefront of farming technology. The machines they do have available cater for every need with simple, entry-level machines right through to larger, complex beasts. And their focus on environmental preservation has the flow on effect of minimising operating costs for their customers.
Kubota may be based in Japan, but the company understands that different countries have different requirements for their machines. The tractors they supply on their home turf are different to the ones they make for Europe which are different again from the ones we get in Australia. They have a range of models which feature unique additions like armrest driver controls and advanced performance monitors. Their turning circle is a stand-out above other brands, even in the larger models, and their cabs tend to be a tad roomier.
Another German company, Claas are experts at creating intuitive controls that make operation a breeze. Their latest models feature an advanced operating system with an auto-turn feature that precisely follows your specifications, allowing you to make accurate, repeatable turns at the touch of a button. Customers love the comfort and power-to-weight ratio of their Claas tractors. And the company is pure class when it comes to maintenance and support with a widespread service network throughout Australia.
Deutz-Fahr, as you might’ve guessed from the name, is a German company. And they certainly perpetuate the German efficiency stereotype. Their machines offer superior noise-reduction and a greater range of gears and controls than most other brands. Deutz-Fahr engineers have also developed an engine control system which allows you to get maximum power while still maintaining fuel-efficiency. They specialise in tractors and offer a range of machines to suit anything from small farms to major operations.
Fendt are tractor specialists and innovators in the field. Their Vario series offered the first ever stepless transmission in a tractor (although credit must go to Leonardo da Vinci for first coming up with the stepless transmission concept way back in the 15th century). They were also the first to introduce an IVT/CVT gearbox. All of their modern machines feature VarioGrip, which gives you control over tyre pressure and weight distribution. They also feature low vehicle weight, high payload and more bars on the tyre. These features combine to give you more grip while protecting the integrity of your soil.
India’s top tractor-maker, Mahindra, are well known for building tough machines with a reasonable price tag. The durability of their tractors makes them popular in the Australian market. They have won numerous awards and are the only tractor company to have won the Deeming Application Prize and Japanese Quality Medal. These awards take into account how a company’s performance advances have benefited their customers.
Iseki is backed by agricultural heavy-weight, AGCO. And their focus on the compact end of the tractor spectrum has seen them create innovative, user-friendly machines. While the grass-collection system in most other tractors forces clippings up over the transmission, Iseki created a clever design that emulates the process employed by rice paddy tractors. Their machines are quiet and comfort-focused with an insulated operator platform and suspension seat to create a smoother ride.