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Yard work transformed by Massey Ferguson compact tractor with shuttle box

The dedicated yard tractor used by Martin Dairy Ltd gets very little respite during the time that it is working for the Martin family partnership, which farms 650ha of grass and arable land near Bodmin, Cornwall.

Currently changed every year with more than 3,000 hours on the clock, the tractor responsible for keeping the 800-cow dairy unit’s yards and cubicle passages scraped clean is a 46hp MF 1547 with air-conditioned cab and DynaQPS transmission, the latter incorporating both PowerShuttle and Power Shift functions.

Purchased for the first time by Martin Dairy Ltd in 2012 on the recommendation of local dealer, Alan Snow Ltd, the MF 1547 sits at the top of Massey Ferguson’s 1500 Series compact tractor range, which spans the power band from 19.5hp to 46hp.

Although the MF 1547 can be specified with a foldable ROPS frame, business co-partner, Richard Martin, pointed out that a cab provides a more comfortable and quieter operator environment, an important factor due to the long hours that the tractor is asked to work.

“Having established that a cabbed MF 1547 could pass safely beneath our lowest door openings and roofs, there was no likelihood that our new yard tractor would be specified without a cab,” he said. “The business uses a further seven Massey Ferguson tractors ranging from 90hp to 255hp on its forage production and arable cropping operations. Of our eight Massey tractors, the MF 1547 does easily the highest number of hours, often in the worst of weathers, so needs to be as highly specified as the rest. It also has to shift large amounts of solid and liquid manure every day, so reliability is essential.”

That requirement has been answered, said Richard, by the tractor’s DynaQPS transmission which combines clutchless forward/reverse PowerShuttle and four-speed Power Shift functions within a 12 forward,12 reverse speed mechanical gearbox.

Electro-hydraulically activated, PowerShuttle enables the driver to change instantly from forward to reverse, and vice versa, by moving a hand lever positioned to the left of the steering column. The system is ideal for tasks carried out in open or confined spaces involving constant changes of direction, such as yard-scraping, buck-raking or front-end loader work.

The DynaQPS transmission’s Power Shift function is actuated by a pair of push buttons on the range-change lever, enabling the driver to shift up or down through all four speeds in each of the tractor’s three main ranges without touching the clutch.

“In the past, our yard tractors have been somewhat of a compromise, being either elderly or a bit on the large size,” explained Richard. “As herd numbers steadily increased, so did the time spent by the tractor cleaning the yards and cubicle passages. This led inevitably to clutch issues, causing big problems when the tractor was out of action for a day or more.

“We needed a cost-effective, sensibly-sized solution and Massey Ferguson dealer, Alan Snow Ltd, came up with the answer in the shape of the MF 1547 with DynaQPS transmission. At a stroke, clutch use was eliminated for all yard-based operations. The only time we ever need to touch the clutch pedal now is when changing between high, medium and low ranges.”

To protect the front of the tractor, Martin Dairy Ltd has fitted a modified loader grille guard. Other than that, the tractor is to standard specification, equipped with optional cleated agricultural tyres instead of the low-profile turf tyres normally associated with tractors of this size, commonly seen working within horticulture and on golf courses and sportsgrounds.

“From our viewpoint, the MF 1547 tractor has proved a success,” commented Richard. “We work all of our tractors hard and, size for size, no tractor works harder or for longer hours than our current yard tractor. We are now onto our second one and have had no issues with reliability or its ability to do the job. The fact that it’s a Massey Ferguson supported by a first-class local dealer simply provides added peace of mind.”

“From our viewpoint, the MF 1547 tractor has proved a success”