Thursday, 16 April 2020 11:34

Valtra S394 is pick for porkers

Written by  Staff Reporters
Valtra tractors are manufactured in Finland and are popular in North Canterbury. Valtra tractors are manufactured in Finland and are popular in North Canterbury.

Award-winning pig farmer Patoa Farms likely have the only Valtra S394 tractor in New Zealand — but that may soon change given its many benefits. 

Based near Hawarden in North Canterbury, Patoa Farms has operated for more than 20 years.

Along the way, it has scooped numerous awards for its farming operation and environmental performance, including winning the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year in 2014.

Today, the farm runs 5500 breeding sows, living outdoors in their natural environment, a practice that is falling out of favour with many pig farmers 

“Pressure is coming on farmers to have a good environmental profile and we are putting a lot of effort into that,” says owner Steve Stern. “We measure what we do so we are more aware of what we are doing, and we try to use the best science that is available.”

Although Stern stepped back into a governance role in 2013, his daughter Holly oversees the day-to-day running of the business, which in total employs around 60 people.

Like any large-scale operation, to run efficiently, means choosing the right machinery. So, when a new tractor was on the wish-list, with a Valtra N93, a N92, a T151 and an elderly B900 already on the farm, a 405hp Valtra S394 ticked all the boxes.

On arrival, the new Valtra got straight to work powering a rock crusher, turning items removed from hump and hollowing paddocks into gravel for roading throughout the farm. Lately, it’s getting an easier life, mainly towing a 42m3, triple-axle K-Two ejector trailer, which is used to move compost, alongside carting silage.

Valtra tractors are manufactured in Finland and are popular in North Canterbury. However, local Valtra dealer at Northern Tractor Services Simon Moir believes Patoa Farms has the only S394 tractor in New Zealand so far.

The Valtra S range features six-cylinder, 8.4 litre AgcoPower engines, in six power ratings from 270 to 405 hp. Combining the twin-turbo engine and a stepless transmission, which allows it to move seamlessly through speed changes, the manufacturer suggests that operating at lower engine revs, resulting in lower exhaust temperatures, delivers lower fuel usage, increased durability and reduced maintenance.

 A large, spacious cab provides drivers with a comfortable work environment, while also utilising the smart-touch user interface, allowing precise, logical control of all the tractors key functions and preferred operating parameters. 

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