M7 Kubota tractor central to Smith Power’s NAMPO 2018 exhibit

The AUSA dumpers also made their debut at NAMPO.
The AUSA dumpers also made their debut at NAMPO.

At this year’s NAMPO Harvest Days, Smith Power Equipment marked its 18th exhibit at the premier agricultural show with a host of new solutions that speak directly to the needs of the farming community. However, it was the Technology Showcase of the gigantic Kubota M7-172 tractor that stole the limelight.  

New products and solutions are always at the centre of exhibitions of Grain SA’s NAMPO Harvest Days’ stature, the largest show of its nature in the southern hemisphere. At this year’s show – which took place at the usual Bothaville, Free State base, from 15-18 May – South African importer and distributor of specialist machinery, turf maintenance equipment and off-road vehicles, Smith Power’s stand was a hive of activity with new brands in the stable making their debuts, complemented by a host of new products and solutions suited for the farming community.

General Manager Tom Bloom says there were several highlights at the company’s stand this year. However, it was the launch of the new Kubota U15-3, a 1,5-tonne compact excavator that further highlights Smith Power’s compact approach, as well as the gigantic M7-172 tractor that will give the company a huge step into the bigger league of the agricultural equipment sector once it is commercially available for the local market. The Technology Showcase allowed Smith Power to give a glimpse of what’s to come, and according to Bloom, it will take two years before the M7 is available for retail in South Africa.

“These two new products are very much in line with the current trends in the agricultural sector. The market is going towards compact equipment, and the U15-3 is a solution that speaks directly to that need,” says Bloom. “Meanwhile, at a time when the sector is battling so many challenges, such as incessant droughts and resultant poor yields, the term ‘Precision Farming’ came up several times at the show. Farmers are looking at ways to make every part of their farming activities as profitable as possible, and they are starting to question how capital equipment goods can add value to their operations before they make any buying decisions. With the display of the M7 we showed the farming community that we have the technological prowess to help them prevail over some of their challenges.”

M7 in focus

By far the M7 was the centre of attraction at Smith Power’s NAMPO stand, says Bloom. Understandably, the M7 is “massive”, in every aspect of the word, both its size and feature offering. It comes with several improvements and updates compared with its predecessor.

A key talking point is the higher performance with lower fuel consumption, which is music to every farmer’s ears. This is achieved through Kubota’s engine optimisation, with maximum power now available at a lower level of 1 900 rpm. This results in improved performance, particularly during PTO work. “Fuel consumption is significantly lower thanks to the engine update, which makes the M7 more efficient and less thirsty. The maximum torque is reached at 1 500 rpm, resulting in improved fuel efficiency,” explains Bloom.

The M7 series is equipped with a new 6-speed Powershift transmission with 30 forward and 15 reverse gears (F54/R27 with creep speed). This results in an improved shifting performance. There are two Powershift overlaps between each speed, which makes shifting gears easier.

Meanwhile, the K-monitors have received an update with new features. The memory for the headland management system, HMS has been increased in order to save more variations –you can now save up to 20 different implements in one setup. In addition, you can now store individual driver profiles, so that all important tractor settings are saved. The automatic steering technology has also been improved in the M7. You can now use a “nudge” function to correct your A-B line with the push of a button. The distance of the A-B line is now also shown in centimetres, to better detect deviations from the line.

Debutants abound

Apart from the M7, the new Kubota U15-3 was shown for the first time to the farming community. With its powerful, yet smooth operation, this machine is a perfect fit for farmers looking to keep a lid on their operational costs and getting the better of space-constrained working environments. It is the ultimate solution in confined spaces, thanks to its compact body and adjustable track width function. According to Bloom, a key feature of the U15-3 is its hydraulic track that can adjust the track width from 1 240 to 990 mm. At the touch of a lever, operators can reduce the width, to allow for navigation through narrow spaces, or increase the width, for better stability.

Meanwhile, the AUSA dumpers also made their debut at NAMPO. Compact wheel dumpers are replacing smaller trucks on many sites and they will definitely come handy for the farming community. Due to their compact size, they are now the preferred solution to transport material in particularly difficult terrain and where space is at a premium. “We showcased the AUSA 2,5 and 3,5 t articulated dumpers at NAMPO. There are 4WD, 2WD, mechanical, hydrostatic and torque converter transmissions available in combination with front loading and swivel unloading hoppers. We also have available options for self-loading shovel, backhoe and sweeper,” says Bloom.

There was also a lot of interest in Smith Power’s newly-launched EGO Power+ system, a cordless, effortless way to get the better of gardening and landscaping tasks. Powered by a 56V Arc Lithium battery, the EGO Power+ system delivers petrol-matching power, but without any of the downsides of petrol-powered units. It’s simpler, cleaner and quieter, and with less vibration, it is more comfortable to use. With lower running and maintenance costs, customers are assured to make greater savings.

“We showcased a comprehensive range of EGO’s outdoor, lawn and garden tools. These included lawnmowers, domestic string trimmers, brush cutters, as well as a multi tool system which provides a powerhead on which one can attach a host of attachments such as telescopic hedge trimmer and pole prunners, lawn edgers, brush cutters and string trimmers, all driven by a single power unit,” concludes Bloom.

Smith Powers newly-launched EGO Power+ system.