Cover story: JCB TM320S AGRI

The JCB TM320S offers the best of both worlds: the visibility of a wheel loader, with a roomy cab, while also having telescopic reach similar to that of a telehandler

Making use of the telescopic boom to keep a tidy silage pit feed face

JCB has a global reputation for designing and building quality agricultural and industrial equipment. It’s certainly one of the most highly respected names in the industry and one of the biggest players when it comes to producing equipment, ranging from small mini excavators up to large 20-plus tonne machines, across everything from construction to agricultural industries.

In the New Zealand rural sector, JCB is highly sought after by farmers and contractors looking for a reliable proven brand, with the JCB Fastrac tractors, Telemasters, Loadalls, and wheeled loaders particularly popular here.

This month we’re taking a closer look at the JCB TM320S AGRI, a telescopic wheel loader that’s a versatile dual-purpose machine; in essence, a cross between the Farm Master and Telehandler.

The handy pivot steer design of the TM320 S

Test time

Presented as a brand-new machine being prepared for delivery to Bluegrass Contracting, we managed to get a basic feel of its handling and key features onsite at CLAAS Harvest Centre in Hamilton.

One of the most immediate features to capture attention is the steering system. While a standard telehandler has a four-wheel steer and several other steering modes, the TM models are pivot steer, more like a wheel loader.

The TM320 models have an articulation angle of +/- 43 degrees, giving it a respectable 4.35-metre turning radius to the outside of the tyres (on standard tyres).

Improved visibility when working with attachments at height

What I also found particularly fantastic was the view from the cab. The clever design of narrow cab pillars and the singular central boom provide a great view of the attachment in front of you. I know from experience that using forks on a regular telehandler where you can only see one fork makes things tricky — not the case with the TM320S.

Bound for Matamata where Bluegrass Contracting will use this machine for a range of duties — loading duties will likely be a focus. With two new spreader trucks also added recently to the fleet, the JCB TM320S is well suited for loading solid waste to be spread. Thanks to its telescopic boom, reaching and loading into high-capacity spreaders will be no problem and won’t tie up one of the company’s larger JCB loaders that could be doing something else.

Telescopic boom with a reach of 5.8m

With a maximum lift capacity of 3200kg, it’s more than capable of stacking bales and loading trucks. It’s also better suited to the job than a tractor/loader combination, given the safety features incorporated into the hydraulics and overall design of a dedicated loading machine. Bluegrass has opted for the ‘S’ version, which adds a few extra bells and whistles over the base spec, such as LED lighting and reverse camera, for example. They have also chosen to fit larger tyres than standard, providing extra traction and stability (and also adding to the overall look of the machine, in my opinion).


JCB 4.8L Dieselmax engine

JCB uses its Dieselmax Tier V engines to power the TM320 and TM420 machines. For these models, it’s a 4.8-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, intercooled unit. The standard TM320 is tuned to produce 130hp (97kW) with a gross torque rating of 550Nm. The latest S version is producing 150hp (112kW). These, like most modern engines, are designed to give maximum power/torque at low engine speeds, while keeping noise level and fuel consumption down. External noise of the machine is tested at 104dB, while in the cab is a mere 73dB — a much more pleasant working environment.

The fuel tank of 160 litres offers enough capacity to ideally last through
a full day’s work. The rear-mounted engine has a one-piece cover and is easily accessed for daily checks and routine servicing as required.


JCB hydraulic coupling Q-fit headstock

The 320 in the model name represents the 3200kg max lift of the boom and hydraulic system. To achieve this, it’s fitted with a variable displacement piston pump with a maximum flow of 160 litres per minute. The auxiliary circuit has a flow rate of 90 litres per minute to run third service attachments, such as bale grabs and grab buckets.

Control of hydraulic functions is with a comfortable, ergonomic JCB joystick. The variable flow auxiliary hydraulics allow multiple functions to be completed.

Cycle time to raise the boom is said to be achieved in 5.9 seconds, with
boom full extension in 3.4 seconds to a maximum height of 5.2 metres at the forks. The TM320 is a cross between a wheel loader and a telehandler and is equipped to handle digging tasks when needed. It has an impressive 6260kg of breakout force with a bucket.

JCB’s safety system is built into the hydraulics, with sensors called adaptive load control protecting the operator against forward overloading. Another feature is the auto boom suspension smooth ride system, which engages between four and six kilometres per hour, decreasing the chance of dropping or spilling a load and helping reduce wear and tear on the machine when operating in rough conditions. The machine is standard with JCB Q-Fit implement mounting, which hydraulically locks the pins in place, securing the attachment. If you already have a yard full of attachments, it’s easy to get a Q-Fit to Euro or another hitch to suit without replacing everything.


JCB uses its designed components in this area. The ‘S’ model has had an upgrade, going from a four forward, four reverse powershift transmission to a new powershift transmission, with eight forward eight reverse ratios. The forward/reverse shuttle control on the joystick controller allows you to keep your other hand on the steering wheel.

The ergonomic joystick controller, with a camera display mounted on the front pillar

The front axle is fixed to handle the daily rigours of a loading machine, while the rear pivots +/- 10 degrees to cope with uneven terrain. Axles are also made in-house, with inboard oil-immersed front brakes providing the stopping power. An effective mechanical park brake is located on the left of the driver’s seat.

Being constant four-wheel drive is one less thing for the operator to think about. The base TM320 AGRI has a top speed of 40km per hour whereas the ‘S’ version has a maximum speed of 50km per hour, helping save travel time between jobs without the need to load on a transporter.

Cab and comfort

Visibility is crucial in loading equipment, and this is an area where the TM range excels. With the engine behind the cab and neatly out of the way, this also adds ballast to allow high lift capacity, while not impeding the view like otherwise happens in a standard telehandler, with the engine and boom on the right-hand side of the machine.

Updated in-cab display unit

In the latest model, JCB has tweaked the cab design with a new multi-curve front window, offering 13% more forward visibility and 52% more upward visibility while operating at height. Inside the cab, you’re greeted by dark upholstery, with lighter grey panels, which look and feel well-made. JCB has added splashes of yellow as a highlight (working in with company colours) on air vents, steering wheel, and seat to make it look smart rather than just another plain old work machine.

As well as an air ride seat, there’s an easily adjustable steering position to suit different operators, along with grab rails with good steps providing safe access on and off the machine. Additional storage has been incorporated into the cab, which is great for your lunch bag and daily essentials, without cluttering up the cab.

The right-hand pillar of the cab with an assortment of function buttons

As you would expect, air con, radio, and other operator creature comforts are available to make long days on the machine that bit easier.


Available in four models (if you include the Wastemaster) and with plenty of added options to spec your machine to your preferences, Bluegrass opted for the TM 320S AGRI, which has the highest spec level and includes features such as the full kit of 11 LED lights, reversing camera, and 40km per hour transmission. They also chose to upgrade the standard 15.5 R25 Michelin tyres to wider 460/70 R24.

As a farm machine, for example, the base TM320 with 33km per hour transmission, standard tyres, etc. would probably be more than adequate and slightly more bank-manager-friendly.

A grab bucket is just one of many attachments that can be fitted to the TM320S


The JCB TM320S gives you the best of both worlds: the visibility of a wheel loader, with a roomy cab, while also having telescopic reach similar to that of a telehandler. This makes for a truly multipurpose machine; whether it’s farming, contracting, or more industrial-type work, there aren’t many loading tasks you can’t do with this machine. And if for some reason you’re working in a setting where maximum volume is required all the time, the big brother JCB TM420 offers the same machine with higher capacity.

JCB TM320S top features

  • New eight-speed powershift transmission
  • Spacious cab with great storage
  • Excellent visibility: 360 degrees around the machine and attachments
  • Good hydraulic speed/capacity from the 160 litres per minute hydraulic pump
  • Great combination loader/telehandler, giving the best of both options
  • Hydraulic Q-fit implement connection
  • SRS: Smooth Ride System,
  • boom suspension

JCB TM320S AGRI Specifications

Engine  Dieselmax
Engine capacity

4.8L, 4-cylinder, turbo, intercooled

Power rating (gross) 150hp, (112kW)
Gross torque rating 550Nm
Transmission JCB Powershift
Fwd/rev ratios 8 fwd/8 rev
Max travel speed 40km/hr

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