Review: JCB 457S

The JCB 457S delivers on everything from performance and power through to the all-important ride quality

Fold-up/push-off forks are a useful addition to the JCB 457S

This month, we’re upsizing one of our familiar favourites — the JCB 435S — and looking at its supersized big brother, the JCB 457S.

Unlike a lot of other new machinery from around the globe where New Zealand is often at the tail end of the delivery list, thanks to the fact that some of the initial design and concept was considered from input from New Zealand contractors, Aotearoa is lucky enough to be at the front of the queue for this impressive new JCB model.

This particular machine we spent some time with is number two off the production line. It’s the first of the agricultural 457S models to be purchased and has gone to its new home of Finch Contracting in the Waikato, where it was put straight to work on spring silage and proved its worth already, rapidly ticking all the boxes for power, efficiency, and reliability.

Making easy work of rolling duties with a 19,551kg operating mass

Test time

Although we only had a relatively short stint on the JCB 457S as a test drive, it took next to no time to be impressed by the ride quality. I think the move from the 710 rubber they had on prototype models to the 800 fitted on the Finch machine really finishes this unit off, along with giving it a bit extra weight that goes with the bigger tyres, which can help improve traction on dryer material silage stacks. Even equipped with the larger tyres, it still comes in at under three metres, keeping within road regulations and avoiding the hassle of being an over width machine.

Traction and a solid grounding thanks to the 800 wide tyres
The operators of this mighty new machine have also enjoyed being behind the wheel, as the Finch team has already gotten through 1000 hours of work since it was delivered, mainly focusing on grass silage and maize.

The new machine has gone like a dream for Finch Contracting, with no niggly issues that are often the case with new models. Large, high-capacity harvesters have been available for a while now, allowing the harvest crews to cover ground with increased efficiency — essential as harvesting windows seems to keep getting tighter and more challenging. The extra capacity of the larger JCB 457S means this workflow and output continues out of the paddock, as the JCB can keep up with the high-capacity harvesters while getting the required compaction to produce quality silage. Despite its size, the JCB 457S is still manoeuvrable and smooth to operate.

Cleaned up and ready to head out to the next job with the Finch Contracting team

Finch Contracting has had its new JCB set-up with a 14-foot folding MDE fork. It could easily handle a 16-foot fork. However, in the Waikato, as elsewhere, most silage bunkers, gateways, and races despite being growing over time to cope with bigger machinery, may need to expand further to cope with the capacity now available at the pit.


Although JCB has already successfully developed and produced a 457 model for the construction industry, this agricultural machine is all new to suit the needs of farming and contracting situations.

New rear bumper/weight with heavy-duty tow hitch

Most of the 5000kg added weight (compared to the 435) is spread evenly across the machine, with a rear weight block and an all-new frame with added steel to handle the extra load stresses of the larger machine.

Both diesel and hydraulic oil tanks are built into the frame for strength and protection. Dual hydraulic pumps, both 153 litres per minute variable displacement pumps, ensure hydraulics speed is not an issue, with cycle time being a key to efficiency for this type of machine.

Larger hydraulic rams just one of the noticeable beefed-up components of the new JCB 457S

Also, quite noticeable when compared to the JCB 435 is how much larger the hydraulic rams are on the 457. JCB has been building machinery for decades, and the many older machines still in operation demonstrate the build quality that goes into JCB-manufactured equipment.

Powering the JCB 457S is a Cummins engine, running dual high-flow rate hydraulic pumps. Connected to a six-speed ZF transmission with lock up in each gear, heavy-duty ZF axles are used front and rear, with the choice of either Limited Slip Differential or open differential, with auto-locking front — all of this is fitted on quality Michelin 800/65R 32 tyres.

In the cab

Auto reversing camera built into the in-cab monitor

The popular JCB Command Plus Cab offers fantastic visibility around the machine. Should work carry on into the night (commonplace these days), the 360-degree LED lighting package extends daylight hours. JCB has stuck with parallel loader arms for greater control and visibility of the variety of attachments used in agriculture.

Unlike some other construction machines, which have gone with a left-hand joystick for steering, JCB has opted for a set-and-forget steering system to suit different operators and provide extra room when getting in and out of the cab.

The loader boom control is joystick operated, mounted on the right-hand armrest. Also incorporated are third service functions, with control for up to two different functions. This allows you to control a folding push-off buck rake, for example. Push button control allows valve changeover to remove attachments with ease. The cab and monitors have had quite an update. The rear-view camera is standard, automatically coming up in the screen monitor when reverse is selected. This particular machine had an aftermarket camera fitted for easy trailer connection (which will come as a factory option for new machines). Also built
into the 457S is Livelink, delivering real-time monitoring and helping minimise any downtime.

Dream team: the JCB 435 and JCB 457S


JCB powers this beast of a loader with a Cummins 6.7-litre, six-cylinder turbo stage V engine. For those with diesel running through their veins, these engines sound fantastic. Fuel efficiency is also a key feature, with standard mode producing 224hp/167kW and an extra 58hp available at the flick of a switch in Dynamic Power Mode for an impressive 282hp/210kW when needed for full operating capacity.

Another fuel-saving feature is the ability to drop back to a super low idle speed of 700rpm at set time intervals after stopping activity. This adds up to considerable fuel savings over a season.

With a 400-litre diesel tank and 75-litre AdBlue capacity, there’s enough fuel to get through a mountain of work between fills. The optional 20,000kg tow hitch offers the capacity to tow a fuel tanker or silage covers.

The hydraulic auto reversing fan is a great feature

Service has not been forgotten either. A hydraulic reversible fan can have time intervals set in the new in-cab monitor. Cooling packs at the rear pivot out for extra cleaning. When it comes to accessing the engine for servicing, there’s a useful isolator switch under the step with a button to raise/lower the engine with an electric motor.

Convenient rear steps on each side also make it easier to access the engine bay for servicing, which is well clear of the ground on the 800 rubber. Auto greasing keeps the many pivot points of the loader greased.

Standout features

  • Almost 20T operating weight for compaction and
  • best-in-class power-to-weight ratio at 14hp/T
  • Dynamic mode (full power) or Standard mode (fuel-efficient mode) at the press of a button
  • Auto reversing camera in the monitor, optional hitch camera
  • Great visibility from the Command Plus Cab
  • Auto, hydraulic reversing fan
  • Smooth ride, rubber-mounted cab

JCB 457S Specifications


Cummins Stage V, 6.7L, 6-cylinder, turbo
Power 282hp, 210kW
Transmission ZF 6-speed powershift with lock up

Top Speed

Hydraulics Dual Variable displacement pumps 153L/min
Fuel Tank 400L (with auxiliary tank)
Hydraulic oil 240L
AdBlue 75L
Weight 19,551kg excl. attachments
Axles Front and rear ZF MT-L 3095 MK2, Limited Slip Differential or auto-locking front
Tyres Michelin 800/65 R32

Height x width
x length

8380mm x 2969mm x 3505mm
Inside turn radius 3048mm
Payload 8000kg forks, 5633kg bucket 

Find new and used farm machinery for sale in NZ

Photography: Mark Fouhy

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