John Deere 4720 tractor

We take the John Deere 4720 tractor for a test ride and discover there’s a lot more to this small tractor than meets the eye

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  • There’s a large market all over the country for this sized tractor, including small farm operations, larger lifestyle blocks, horse stables, orchardists, councils, and more.
  • The tractor’s eHydro drive system reduces gear changes and clutch use
  • The cab offers tonnes of operator space and all-round visibility
  • True Speed’ cruise control and a LoadMatch feature maintains efficient power output
  • Forward/reverse foot pedals allow for an easy, quick change of direction
  • Quick and easy loader removal and replacement

While attending a Walsh Motors mini-field day near Morrinsville I took the opportunity to drive its 66hp 4720 Compact Tractor, a model that has been on the market for several years already.

It was the easiest of tractors to drive, thanks to the John Deere eHydro drive system where I didn’t have to change gears all of the time, or use a clutch.

After getting on and sitting in the softly sprung seat (due to a unique linkage system) I noticed there is tonnes of space around the operator on this smaller sized tractor, especially the extra wide flat platform floor.

All of the regular operator controls are easy to work, and there’s good all-round visibility thanks to the slightly noisy muffler exiting on the lower left hand side of the engine, instead of in front of the driver.

I reckon driving the 4720 in paddock was more like driving my 4WD than a tractor. This model has a three range electronic hydrostatic transmission drive system, called eHydro. Gone entirely is the clutch!

Fed under pressure from a Sauer-Danfoss motor and pump system, the hydraulic fluid transmits the engine power to the drive wheels. This works as a clutch and transmission system to offer good engine torque when pulling away. Probably the biggest benefit from this drive system is you can match the engine revs to your chosen ground speed. And, if you need it, there’s even a ‘True Speed’ cruise control button for precise speed setting, leaving the operator to better concentrate on the task at hand.

John Deere has what it terms ‘LoadMatch’. If engine torque demand increases significantly on a job, when selected, the eHydro system will automatically reduce the drive speed to maintain a constant and efficient power output from the motor.

The forward/reverse control differences have the brake pedals on the left (like a car) instead of the right, there is a hand-only accelerator located by the steering wheel and, a pair of drive pedals on the right side – where the brakes would normally be.

I quickly found the forward and reverse pedal system a lot easier and more natural than using the forward/reverse lever on a typical wet clutch tractor. I could go from forward to reverse in no time just by pressing one of the accelerator style foot levers – each has a basic arrow pointing in the direction of their travel.

I could control the speed of the tractor just by varying the pressure on the foot pedal – yes, just like an accelerator. Although it was a bit harder to control in this way, I felt it was a little less accurate than an accelerator would offer, if anything. Having said that, if you want to go faster, you can move the hand accelerator for more engine revs, and therefore greater speeds.

When I was driving along at speed and took my foot off the ‘forward’ pedal, the tractor just stopped. Because there is so much slowing force from the eHydro system, from most speeds on the flat I didn’t need to apply the wet disc brakes at all.

It wasn’t much different on a small slope either and, when I did haul up on the brakes from speed down a hill, all it did was lock the wheels and skid. So, stopping power is not a problem on the John Deere 4720.

The engine has a broad spread of power across the rev range and is pretty grunty too, as on a slope I couldn’t get the 2.44-litre engine to load up and loose revs, from anywhere in the rev range. Likely the result of the on-board turbocharger combined with a lower-scale 1679kg weight factor, remembering this is a Compact Tractor.

The four-cylinder John Deere PowerTech engine pumps out a maximum of 66hp at 2400rpm, although the engine will happily spin slightly past 2500rpm.

I couldn’t believe the steering lock the 4720 had, so impressive that the turning circle wasn’t much bigger than some of the larger ATVs I’ve ridden. That will be so handy for many people with some difficult gateways, tracks, and even yards or pens because the 1812mm wheelbase is fairly small.

As standard on the rear there are no auxiliary hydraulic outlets although Walsh Motors sales representative Don Luxton says it is no problem to fit one, or two if required, although that would be more expensive. The 64 l/m pump has enough power to run anything that will fit onto this sized tractor. JD advertises 56hp available on the 540rpm (only) PTO drive.

Changing the front end loader was super simple too, taking Luxton less than two minutes to remove it and little more to attach the loader with its unique quick-attach system.

To read more in-depth farm machinery reviews, see the latest Farm Trader magazine, on sale now.

See John Deere tractors for sale here.


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