Agrico tractors: Built for Africa in Africa
Few people know that Agrico, the leading centre pivot irrigation manufacturing company headquartered in Cape Town in South Africa, also manufactures tractors and implements. They are the only indigenous tractor manufacturer in Africa and have already produced more than 700 tractors locally. Agrico Tractors have been around the block and are some of the best tractors on the African continent.
In 1985, Agrico drove their first tractor out of their plant in Lichtenburg in the North West, Province of South Africa. These robust tractors are all 4×4 and designed to make short shrift of tough work under African conditions. This entails predominantly primary cultivation such as soil preparation, ripping, ploughing and harrowing.
“Our tractors are simple, straightforward and easy for a farmer to maintain and repair. They are designed with the minimum of electronics, and therefore very reliable,” says Paul Burger, Tractor & Implement Manager.
An Agrico tractor will cost you 25% to 28% less than their equals from overseas. Agrico’s 4+ (4×4) range consists of models with five different kilowatt ranges from 160 kW to 400 kW. They are the 4+160, 4+200, 4+250, 4+320 and the 4+400. They can accommodate rear and front three-point linkage systems.
“Our three-point linkages are among the strongest on the market and they can also lift the highest. Our 4+320 and 4+400 models can lift up to 1 250 mm in the air. This will allow you to turn with ease on an uneven headland with large three-point mounted implements,” Paul says.
Although the tractors are not equipped with power take-offs (PTO’s), they are perfectly capable of handling many implements like air seeders, sprayers, trailed cultivators, front end loaders, grader blades, scrapers and trailers. Agrico decided to use the latest engine technology in terms of fuel consumption and performance. They install only engines of the Mercedes Benz group of companies, ZF or Allison gearboxes and ZF-axles which will ensure long and reliable service. Apart from the imported engines, gearboxes and axles, Agrico has a strong local component in their tractors. A tractor consists of more than 6 000 parts and sub-assemblies. Parts manufactured by Agrico account for at least one-third of the value of the tractor.
Agrico’s drivetrains are very efficient, resulting in substantial fuel savings of up to 23 per cent. Nowadays all the tractors are fitted with radial tyres. This tyre design reduces diesel consumption by a further 8 to 10%. Depending on the tyre configuration, the 4+160 has a road speed of up to 45 km/h, which makes it an excellent transporter between farms and silos. The 4+320 can travel between 32 and 36 km/h. When your front and rear wheels, and axles are the same sizes, a different approach is required when heavy equipment is drawn. In order to keep a 50/50 weight balance during operation, Agrico designed the tractors with 66% of the weight on the front axle. This configuration can be fine-tuned further with weight packages at the front.
One huge advantage of an Agrico tractor is that a farmer with a reasonably equipped workshop and technical know-how can keep his tractor running. If necessary, Agrico can facilitate the rebuilding of axles, gearboxes and engines.
“Currently there are 25 of our tractors in Zambia and a number in China and Zimbabwe. Agrico manufactures, ships, sells and service all our products as one company. This means that you only have to work with one entity, which makes it much more convenient for a farmer,” Paul says.
Agrico can fit your tractor with a GPS system, which is a vital component in precision farming. Agrico also manufactures yellow industrial tractors for road construction and general work on mines.
“The flexibility, high power output and narrow working width make the 4+series tractors ideal for large farms,” Paul concludes
Acknowledgement: This article was first produced for Agrico by ProAgri
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