Case MaxxFarm 60
Mark Fouhy went in search of an alternative to his wheel buggy. One option was a Case MaxxFarm 60hp tractor. Read on to see how this tractor performed under the conditions.
After battling mud and rain while moving feed troughs from paddock to paddock, and with one of our four wheel buggys away for repairs with a broken universal on the driveshaft, I decided there had to be a better option for this type of workload.
Knowing that one of Giltrap Agi Zone's (GAZ) dealerships had a late-model 60hp MaxxFarm tractor with low hours, sunshade, and a high-quality loader already fitted- all for a similar price to a new 50hp MaxxFarm without a loader - we got in touch with Frank from GAZ Otorohanga. Frank had the MaxxFarm delivered within days, allowing us some time to put the little tractor through its paces.
The tractor has a simple set-up: forward/reverse shuttle on the dash, range shifter to the left of your seat, gears and joystick for loader operation with three-point linkage on your right hand side, as well as rear service valves and PTO operation controls that are colour coded and mounted to the right of the seat, where you can see what is happening. It's all on a flat operator platform and it doesn't take long to become familiar with your surroundings in the MaxxFarm.
You don't get mudguards fitted on the MaxxFarm 600, but there is glass in the front two corners of the platform. Although the tyres are relatively small, their grippy tread still throws about some mud, which you don't really want on the operator platform, making it wet, slippery and dangerous.
Under the wet conditions, the 2265kg tractor didn't seem to make any more mess across the paddocks than the buggys did - maybe even less, given the tyres of the tractor just gripped in, rather than spinning faster and faster.
The fact that the tractor is twice the weight of the feed and troughs it was towing means there is less chance of the unbraked troughs pushing it around in slippery conditions.
Travelling along our tracks, I initially found the Maxxfarm 600 to be a bit bumpy (partially because I need to spend more time in the summer using the blade and trailer, metalling and grading). But once I dropped the tyre pressure from 15psi back to 12, it made quite a difference to the smoothness of the ride, and gave me a bit more traction on the wet paddocks.
With a separate pump for steering functionality, you have plenty of flow for hydraulic functions at the two remote valves; pretty good, I thought, for a tractor in this class. The little Case worked well operating the Hustler Chainless 2000-bale feeder I put on it. Its hydraulics are capable of lifting 1750kg. With the bale feeder at 490kg, plus baleage at approximately 650kg, the Case was within its limits. But given the size of the tractor and the bulging of the tyres under the load, I wouldn't recommend it as a regular activity.
The 2.5-litre engine fitted to the 50-60hp MaxxFarm models are not Case-made engines. The engines are LS Mitron, made by Mitsubishi, so if they're anything like the little Mitsubishi tractors, they'll go for years. Aside from blowing a bit of smoke on start-up (if you haven't glowed it), the tractor seems to have plenty of get up and go, with a speed range between 1.2-28km/h. The Maxxfarm happily operates in third gear in the fourth range unloaded along the farm raceways, and fourth gear was fine too - until you hit a hill.
Pulling a road train of four troughs full of feed requires you to drop between second and fourth gears in the third range. Not fourth gear up the hills, however. The Maxxfarm allows you to pull the four troughs at the same speed as a buggy can pull two, and having no issues getting them in and out of the paddock is quite a time saver. The empty running on the Maxxfarm is a little slower, but you will have already made up that time by only having to do it once.
The MaxxFarm 600 I tested was fitted with a self-levelling Case front-end loader, designed and made to suit each of the models in the MaxxFarm range. You don't get fancy soft ride kits on loaders in this size, but like loaders for the big machines you do get a Euro hitch with third service valve for bale cutters or soft hands. Operation of the loader is also like the 'big boys', with a convenient joystick to control your tip and crowd and up and down, with the button for the third service valve located on the bottom side of the joystick.
If I had the choice of either a tractor with a loader or one without, I would always take the one with the loader as they are just so useful on the farm - even if it's just carrying your smoko bag! However, the downside of having a loader mounted is that the stoppers have been screwed out to prevent the wheels rubbing on the loader/frame, which decreases the super-tight 55-degree steering angle.
The test tractor also came with a Warrior sun shade fitted to the ROPS structure. This is great as it'll prevent you getting sunburnt while topping a paddock on a hot summer day. However, it won't keep your seat dry on a rainy day. The MaxxFarm 600 is the only model in the range that comes with a cab option.
The MaxxFarm did suit our purposes and excelled in the areas of efficiency, ease of operation and reliability. But in the end we came to the conclusion that we still needed the buggys even when we're not feeding, and given that we already have a loader tractor, we can use this to pull the troughs - although, unlike the MaxxFarm, our current tractor can be a bit messy on rainy days.
The MaxxFarm 600 proved to be great for transporting feed to stock, but handling baleage bales really is a job for a bigger machine.
Although this agricultural tractor is perfect for farmers requiring a smaller, more nimble machine, the real target market is small block owners, horse studs or perhaps landscapers and park and field maintenance. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the MaxxFarm and although it doesn't have a Case engine under the bonnet and is made in Korea, rather than Germany or Austria, I wouldn't be put off buying one as it still has the Case dealership and warranty behind it.
So after completing this test, I still have a bit of a dilemma - first, there's all the metalling and grading I need to do in the summer and second, I may still have to test a newer and more powerful buggy.
But, if you are in the market for a smaller tractor, low hours with a front end loader, I know of a good one for sale!
- Good specification level in a small tractor, two RCVs, quick pick-up ball ends.
- Solid, well-made loader, with third service, and joystick operation.
- Smooth, easy-to-operate gearbox.
- Exhaust mounted down below the operator platform, keeping fumes away from the operator and not obstructing the vision of the operator.
- Performance of the hydraulics, easily lifting all I asked of it, and capable of running the likes of a bale feeder as well.
- One-piece bonnet, easy to open and check coolant/fluid levels.
- Having to wait to glow the engine, after about an hour of being turned off for an easy start, avoiding a large amount of smoke from the exhaust.
- No neutral/direction indicator in the dash for the forwards/reverse shuttle .
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