With up to 295hp, the tractor is the most powerful of a four-machine fleet operated by Ancaster Estates which farms the in-hand land owned by Grimsthorpe Castle. This includes approximately 1,600ha of which 1,000ha is arable cropping. The rest is mainly parkland ad conservation grassland grazed by suckler cows, plus SSSIs used for grazing the estate’s Longhorn cattle.
The 8730 S is the only Massey Ferguson currently owned by the farm, but it is the fifth consecutive tractor of the same brand chosen for the primary field work role, and it replaced an 8730 two years ago. “Until a switch to a competitor 20 years ago, the estate used only Massey Ferguson tractors,” explained Farm Manager Alastair Hall. “However, the role of our biggest tractor has always been quite challenging. It needs plenty of power and traction for heavy field operations, but it also has to be nimble for yard and transport tasks.
“Our soils range from stony brash to heavy clays and the 8730 S copes easily with cultivation implements including our 4m TopDown, a 5-leg subsoiler, and a mole plough. Crops are established using a 6m Dale drill, and this year a 6m Great Plains Centurion drill was used too – and the 8730 S handles both effortlessly. Competitor brand models of similar power have been trialled in the past, but they couldn’t match the Massey Ferguson for versatility and ease of use – especially for tasks such as manoeuvring trailers. Our operators prefer the Massey Ferguson too.”
The tractor’s display confirms that 29,681 litres of diesel plus 1,407 litres of AdBlue have been consumed in 1,393 hours worked from new.
Although fuel consumption isn’t routinely monitored, it has been obvious to the team that the 8730 S is very efficient. “Because different tractors perform specific tasks, it’s difficult to make direct comparisons,” continued Alastair. “However, the 8730 S has always seemed to use less compared to the other tractors - especially considering that its work is typically much heavier.”
When the Massey Ferguson was at local main dealer, Chandlers (Farm Equipment) Ltd for a routine service this spring, its visit coincided with an enquiry regarding fuel consumption from another farmer. “He was considering purchasing a similar tractor and asked about real-world fuel consumption,” explained Area Sales Manager Shane Lowe. “As we had the Ancaster Estates tractor in our workshop, I checked the operating data and was amazed to see that it had used only 21.3 litres of diesel plus one litre of AdBlue per hour on average, over the 1,393 hours it had worked from new.
“That’s an impressive statistic for any tractor of this size, but when one considers that the Ancaster Estates 8730 S is used mainly for heavy cultivations, it’s even more surprising.”
The tractor’s main user is Tom Maddigan, who started work on the farm as a student and is now the Lead Arable Operator. “I like the Massey Ferguson as it’s comfortable and quiet, and the systems make it easy to set-up to get the best from it,” he explained. “I usually just let the Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) system look after the engine and Dyna-VT transmission settings for the application and working speed. The performance is excellent, and the engine revs are always impressively low.”
Ancaster Estates Farm Manager, Alastair Hall; Lead Arable Operator, Tom Maddigan (in the seat); and Chandlers Area Sales Manager, Shane Lowe with the economical 8730 S which is soon to be joined by two more Massey Ferguson tractors when they replace another brand.
Return to MF fleet
“I don’t believe that many tractors could match our 8730 S in terms of diesel and AdBlue consumption doing similar work,” continued Alastair. “We have been extremely impressed with the back-up and professionalism of the Chandlers team too, and had already decided to replace two of our other tractors with Massey Fergusons this year. These fuel consumption figures confirm that this is the right move.”
The new tractors on order include a 245hp 8S.245 which replaces an existing 200hp machine, and a 7S.165 with up to 175hp available which will replace a 150hp model. “Farming heavy land means there is often pressure to get cultivations and drilling done at the same time, and the new 8S will be able to take over drilling when the 8730 S is needed for heavy cultivations. However, like the 8730 S, it will be just as suitable for general farm and estate tasks throughout the year.
“When the new tractors arrive there will be only one tractor of the other brand remaining, and that’s due for replacement next year. It seems very likely that we will have an all-Massey Ferguson fleet again, backed-up by the excellent team at Chandlers,” he confirmed.