Test: Massey Fergusson 7724S Dyna-VT

By: Mark Fouhy, Photography by: Mark Fouhy


A well-kitted-up Massey Fergusson 7724S Dyna-VT is the newest addition to Klaus Ag’s line-up of tractors, which is impressive to say the least

There’s a certain colour theme running through the fleet of Matamata contractors Klaus Ag, with the well-established yard boasting a solid line-up of Massey Ferguson tractors. Pride of the collection, however, is the newest addition – a well-kitted-up Massey Ferguson 7724S Dyna-VT.

Being based in Matamata myself, I must admit that this very same machine had caught my eye a few weeks ago as I drove past Matamata Tractors. It’s an impressive looking unit, and I did wonder who the lucky new owner was.

As fate would have it, the opportunity came along for me to have a test drive of that specific tractor – newly arrived at Klaus Ag as a replacement for a similar spec and horsepower high-hour machine in their fleet.

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The new rig ready to get to work

First impressions

A quick glance around the Klaus Ag yard, and it doesn’t take long to work out that there’s obviously a favoured brand of tractor for the father and son duo of Rob and Jacob Klaus.
All four frontline machines are 180hp plus from the Massey Fergusson stable displayed in the yard, along with a compact loader tractor (used in the calf rearing business) and even a ride-on mower.

Jacob’s knowledge of the brand is also second to none, and after getting to know him a bit, the reason is clear. The keen operator went straight into an apprenticeship at Matamata Tractors after finishing school and completed his diesel mechanic/technician qualification there, predominantly on Massey Ferguson tractors. It’s fair to say that he has a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the brand.

During his nine years at Matamata Tractors, Jacob and his father Rob began Klaus Ag as a sideline business. While the father and son team originally started out with an old McCormick and Claas baler, the business soon took off and became a full-time proposition.

Today, Klaus Ag has three full-time employees and usually a couple of extra seasonal workers (and neighbours) helping out through busy times. The fleet has grown to four modern Massey Fergusson tractors, getting through 9000 odd round bales each season with a Kuhn combi baler and around 4000 conventional bales (because they are so fun to pick up). Then there’s usually around 200 hours of silage on each of the Strautmann loader wagons.

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Jacob Klaus and Kyle Selman next to the new MF 7724S DVT

As well as silage, Klaus Ag also takes care of full cultivation and planting needs with the addition of a maize planter to their growing list of machinery and services offered. While now is exceptionally busy with high demand, quiet times are also taken care of with local chicken and goat sheds to clean out and manure to be spread on a regular basis through winter (and the rest of the year). Digger and truck work fill in any time left after this.

Test time

The Massey Fergusson 7724 is one of the larger frame tractors from the 7700 Series. Before I arrived on-site, Jacob had been out in the new tractor with the Strautmann spreader behind – one of the tasks it will spend quite some time involved in when not busy with silage. Having not long had the new tractor, it was just about ready for its 50-hour service and likely to clock somewhere around the 1000-hour mark over the next 12 months.    

Transmission

Available in Massey’s Dyna-6 24x24 (Fwd Rev) powershift or Dyna-VT (like our Klaus Ag test tractor), Massey Dyna-VT tractors have two ranges: 0–28km/hr field range and 0–40/50km/hr on road, depending on the spec.

The continuously variable option for contractors for these higher horsepower machines definitely adds to ease of use for operators spending long days in the cab. For Jacob and the Klaus Ag team, uniformity across all of their tractors keeps things simple for different operators through the season. Another key feature of the Dyna-VT transmission is being able to set the transmission to provide a form of transmission braking, to prevent the tractor from running on so much, especially under load.

The only difference here over the other tractors in the fleet is the inclusion of a new safety feature that requires you to press a button on the back of the control pad, then the button to shuttle between forward and reverse.  

Engine

AGCO Power engines are the power plant of choice (the same as Valtra that’s also owned by AGCO). The smaller framed 7700s run 6.6-litre units, with 7.4-litre units used from the 7722S up. These engines are Tier4 final compliant. AGCO has been able to achieve this using an SCR AdBlue system.

Engine noise within the cab is minimal as you would expect in a tractor this well designed. A single-piece high-lift bonnet provides easy access for servicing. Better still, the engine filter is easily removed from ground level for cleaning, with the cab filter accessible from the stairs on the left side. The radiators are also easily cleaned from the ground. The dipstick has access from the ground. There’s a rear sight glass for hydraulic oil and filler around by the right door.

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Easy access for maintenance means less downtime

These engines are designed to have a flat power curve, meaning power and torque are available at lower revs, which saves fuel. Engine Power Management will also automatically engage over 0.1km/hr for hydraulic and PTO tasks and for traction/transport requirements over 15km/hr with the Dyna-VT transmission. With fuel-efficient engines, the 430-litre diesel and 40-litre AdBlue tank should get you comfortably through a full day’s work. A 600-hour engine is pretty common now and helps keep the overall day-to-day running costs of the tractor down over the life of the machine. Something else I was unaware of until I got a closer look is that the solenoids for the likes of PTO and 4WD are at the back, on either side of the PTO, and not hidden away so should they need repairs, it’s a much faster process and not 10 hours of service time. 

Hydraulics/PTO

With a lift capacity of almost 10 tonnes (9950kg) on the rear Cat III linkage ball arms and 4000kg on the front linkage (if fitted), this is at least equal to or better than similar brands in the mid to high horsepower range.

With another tractor already assigned to baler duties, the MF 7724S will probably do a good portion of mowing, along with operating the Strautmann spreader. With four-speed PTO, there should be a speed suitable to keep RPMs down while maintaining PTO speed, with Engine Power Management functions to add up to 20 to 25hp additional as required.

Rear spools can also be fitted: up to a total of five with front linkage. Depending on transmission type for the large frame tractors in the 7700 range, you’re looking at 150 litres per minute hydraulic pump with Dyna-6 or 190 litres per minute pump with Dyna-VT.
One feature of the Massey Ferguson that I particularly like is the decompression levers for the hydraulic spool valves. I think more tractor brands should be fitting these, as they are extremely useful and handy.

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Several hydraulic and PTO options available

While not a standard feature, the addition of the Dromone hydraulic push back hitch, which has been a feature of tractors in the UK/Europe for years, is an extra option on this particular tractor. Fitted from the factory, this was only an additional $1500 (it costs quite a bit more to retrofit) and in my opinion, is money well spent. Mounted directly to the tractor end, it utilises the weight of the tractor to aid stability and eliminates the need for manually lifting implements onto drawbars.

As well as hydraulic functions, there’s a compressor for air brakes and associated connections for implements, along with tyre inflation and filter cleaning and ISOBUS and all the other Power Beyond and load sensing functions you would expect from a high horsepower, high spec tractor.

Cab

Throughout the MF 7700 Series is a functional cab. While four- and five-pillar cabs seem to be the norm now with most other brands, a four-pillar version is the design of choice for Massey’s new 8 Series tractors. Electronics in the cab consist of Datatronic 4 to manage all tractor functions. Jacob has spec’d this new tractor with the Fieldstar 5 terminal, which can be used for auto steer as well variable rate and TaskDoc – ideal for contractors managing fleets of machines and operators. There’s also ISOBUS control and video capability.

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Massey’s Dataronic 4 screen

Depending on the chosen specs, you can have T-bar transmission control with joystick to control two of the hydraulic functions or front end loader. Next spec up is the control pad (as fitted to this tractor), which is quite a few steps up in terms of functionality. And then there’s a revised version, which is another step up again in the 8 Series collection, which will most likely filter down through the ranges over the next few years.

Comfort

Although I was only driving with the front end loader on and nothing on the back, comfort was pretty good. Correct weight on the front and rear wheel weights coupled with good tyres at the right pressure all make a difference. Having both the older style linkage front suspension on the 7600 tractors in the yard and new design of the 7700 machines, the operators at Klaus Ag have noticed the difference in ride quality of the two and know which they prefer. The new model also has fewer moving parts to grease or wear out.

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Excellent visibility for a large frame tractor

The 7724S also has hydraulic dampening on its cab suspension. In the cab, there are plenty of air vents for heating and cooling and an air-adjustable seat to keep the driver happy. Plenty of glass and split mirrors allow close and distant viewing. Another box ticked is the heated adjustable mirrors – always nice to have.

Given the hours this tractor is likely to work, it’s kitted up with plenty of LEDs – six rear and 10 front work lights, so the sun going down won’t hold up any progress. Better yet, one set on the side work as headlights, which nicely gets around the issue of front-mounted implements and road travel after dark.

Loader

Fitted with an MF FL.5033 front end loader, this tractor is ready for some serious loader work. With a lift capacity of 3.3 tonnes and a lift height of five metres, it’s comparable to a telehandler lifting ability. While admittedly not quite as manoeuvrable as a telehandler, for a large-frame tractor with a three-metre wheelbase, it isn’t as clumsy or awkward as you may initially expect.

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Huge capacity loader

With shed cleaning and truck loading being an important part of the Klaus Ag business, this capacity and reach will definitely come in handy. Having air brakes will also come in handy for towing the truck trailer or loading bales at the paddock for carting. The assignable hydraulic function for third service makes operation easier, and also, this rig has H3/H4 buttons on the joystick set to open/close the grabs or use the high tip bucket.

Summary

I’d be more than happy to park the Massey Fergusson 7724S Dyna-VT in my shed (hint hint Santa Claus). It’s a comfortable and easy machine to operate, with the Dyna-VT (vario) transmission making life for the operator pretty cruisy. Some of the extras such as the Dromone hitch are just a no-brainer in my opinion. Anything that makes the working day safer and easier has to be worthwhile.

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