Video: ‘It’s not the nicest tractor on the road. But in the field nothing will stand with it’

AgriLand paid a visit to Co. Kilkenny recently to see how one farmer/engineer is getting on with his no-nonsense tractor – a John Deere 7800.

John W Anderson spoke to the tractor’s owner – Tom Carrigan – to find out why he bought it and how he rates it.

Tom started off by explaining that the tractor was busy harvesting kale during John’s visit.

He said: “We tried [this] first with our John Deere 6910 – we also have one of those – and a zero-grazer. Realistically, once the kale got any way heavy, the zero-grazer wasn’t up to the job.

“And with our [McHale] Fusion, we found that it bossed the 6910 a little bit on hills.” Explaining the purchase of the Fusion, he said: “Myself and a friend do some contracting together; we do each other’s work and a little bit of hire work.

“When we first looked at this lady [the 7800] here behind us, she was in her sins. It was there with a John Deere 7700 beside it – both traded in by the same man.

“It was sitting in the dealer’s yard for a long time, so we did a deal with him for what we considered to be relatively small money. I then had to spend €3,500 – not all out €4,000 – on repairs when we got it.

“The front PTO pack had to be done; a new seat; an exhaust – mainly cosmetic stuff apart from the front PTO. The tractor’s been bullet-proof since. It just never gave us a bit of bother.

OK; compared to the 6910 it doesn’t have front suspension. It’s not the nicest tractor on the road. But bring it into the field and there’s just not a tractor that’ll stand with it.

“It’s relatively cheap to maintain; fingers crossed it’ll stay that way.

“Ideally, we would have liked to buy a 7810, but the price of a 7810 [is the problem].”

He explained: “From the day that I bought the 6910 to now, it’s the first tractor that I ever bought that hasn’t lost any value. I’d still get the same money that I paid for it on day one. That’s over eight years ago.

“The popularity of the 10 Series John Deere tractors just seems to be getting more and more; they’re harder got now.

So yeah, definitely, we did look at buying a 7810 but we just couldn’t justify it for what we’re doing with it.

“Granted; the 7800 doesn’t have the refinement of the 10 Series. It doesn’t have the front [axle] suspension; I suppose the gears are a little different. But has it the power? Yes. Has it the weight? Yes. Is it as reliable? I think so.

“We gave €16,000 for it. Where would you get a tractor of that spec for that kind of money?

“If I was going – let’s say – driving a tractor on the road all day, would I pick this? No; I’d go for the 6910 because it’s just more comfortable to drive.

“But if I was doing anything where I needed weight and power, I’d pick this everyday. And it’s just as comfortable as any tractor in the field.”