Tractor à la Carte

February 26, 2010 10:38 AM

There are farmers who are so loyal they won't buy a tractor unless it's green, red, blue or yellow. Those loyalists now have an option to keep their farmsteads color-coordinated: Valtra tractors are available in green, red and blue, as well as orange, yellow, black and gray.

"We call it ordering a tractor à la carte,” says Rawley Hicks, marketing specialist, high-horsepower tractors, AGCO Corporation. "We can tailor each tractor to the specific needs of a customer. Valtra offers dozens of options for operator controls and two different transmission options matched to the engines [in various models], as well as the different colors.”

Fuel economy is one of Valtra's bragging points, and that potential caught the eye of Earl Morris, a dairyman, hay grower and custom fertilizer applicator near Chickasha, Okla. In 2007, Morris bought a 150-hp Valtra N141 after comparing fuel economy with his John Deere 4430.

"Running side by side, using the same size equipment in the same field, the 4430 used 38 gal. or 39 gal. of fuel, while the Valtra only used 18 gal. or 19 gal.,” Morris says. "I projected that the annual fuel savings alone would make the payment on the tractor.”

Kyle Kennedy, Morris' salesman at Livingston Machinery Company in Chickasha, says Valtra tractors are challenging to sell the first time. The initial response of a lot of guys is, "What's a Valtra?” he says. "But after they've owned one, it's not only easy to sell a previous Valtra owner a new one but there's a lot of demand for the used unit he trades in because other guys in the area have learned to respect what those tractors offer.”

A subsidiary of AGCO, Valtra tractors are manufactured in Finland and are sold and serviced through AGCO dealers in the U.S.

"Many of the maintenance parts and filters are similar to those used by Massey or other AGCO brands,” says AGCO's Hicks. "If they need emergency parts, you can't beat a centrally located warehouse like the one just outside Chicago in Batavia, Ill. [Dealers] can have most emergency parts
in 24 hours. ”

Power options. Valtra offers tractors in a variety of horsepower and frame sizes. Valtra's A-Series, ranging from 74 to 98 engine hp, are designed for small farms or utility work on large farms. Like other Valtras, the 88- to 160-engine-hp N-Series are built with Sisu diesel engines, famed for durability and fuel economy. Valtra's T-Series tractors provide 139 to 221 engine hp for big equipment.

One tongue-in-cheek "complaint” Kennedy has heard when selling Valtra tractors is the sheer number of options. He says buyers can be overwhelmed trying to select from options that include various types of cab controls, auto or manual transmissions, front suspensions, cab suspensions and
TwinTrac, which allows the driver to reverse the operator station 180° and run the tractor backward.

"We've found it's best to ask the customer what he wants to do with the tractor and then help him select the model with the engine, transmission and control options to match his needs,” Kennedy says.

Modern computer technology is integrated into every Valtra, such as automated equipment control on end rows and engine revolutions per minute management for increased fuel economy. Morris notes that beneath all the technology, his Valtra tractor is a solid and straightforward workhorse.

"I still don't know what all the buttons on the armrest do,” he chuckles. "My son has them figured out and likes all the things he can make the tractor do. I'd be satisfied with just the fuel economy, but I plain like the whole tractor.”

You can e-mail Dan Anderson at

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