21 December 2016, 12:56
“It’s all about safety,” says Ruthin hill farmer Huw Smith as he fires up ROBOPOWER, his 140hp unmanned remote control tractor. “You can’t put a price on a human life so ROBOPOWER is an ideal tool for the terrain I work in.”
30 years ago, Huw was a survivor of a serious incident in which his tractor slid down a steep escarpment and then rolled over. He believes that for those working in challenging environments remote control tractors are the future – protecting operators and opening up steep-sided land for farming.
Featuring a powerful Deutz diesel engine; a unique low-centre of gravity design; and responsive controls with a working range of 150m, ROBOPOWER has been designed specifically for farmers and contractors - delivering safe and effective working in hazardous and hard-to-reach areas.
“I’m surprised more farmers and contractors aren’t using remote control tractors,” Huw says. “They may not be the cheapest solution but farming can be a dangerous job and you can’t compromise on safety. I’ve lost a few friends to farming accidents over the years and that’s when you realise a machine like this is definitely worth the investment.”
Previously Huw had used helicopter-mounted sprayers to tackle the most inaccessible areas of his land on the Clwydian range above the Vale of Clwyd, but with ROBOPOWER able to operate safely and effectively on slopes of up to 45 degrees, he can work areas previously inaccessible to mechanised farming.
“It’s a grand machine,” Huw says. “I’ve wanted something like this for years because it’s safe and stable, it makes the land more productive, and it’s highly versatile with front and rear 3-point linkage and PTO.”
Huw purchased the machine from his local McConnel dealer, Mona Tractors in Ruthin, where sales manager Lloyd Hughes worked with McConnel’s sales team to arrange a demonstration of the machine clearing vegetation on a slope that had never been worked by a conventional tractor.
Impressed by the performance, Huw chose the machine over its smaller sibling ROBOCUT because of its greater productivity and its universal compatibility with three-point linkage attachments.
He uses the machine with a heavy-duty mowing attachment for trimming back dense overgrowth, and also uses it for spraying and post driving when fencing. He is currently working on adding lime and fertiliser spreaders for next season.
Huw says: “I have been impressed with the potential of ROBOPOWER. It is a very specialist machine so it’s not going to be for everyone – but it’s safe, productive and it’s very adaptable so in the right environment I would definitely recommend it. “