Farmers now ride tailor-made tractors
LARGE land holdings and a relatively irregular labour force has made the country’s farmers look out for tractors tailor-made for their needs. This has prompted players like Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), Pun-jab Tractors Limited (PTL), Eicher Motors and HMT Limited to roll out tractors looking at the specific needs of the sector. The tractor business group of HMT Limited has two crop-specific trac-tors currently in the market for orchards and paddy fields. “Wine consumption is increasing every year and there are more com-panies in Pune now. Bangalore and Punjab are also becoming hot beds for wines. We have introduced a model ‘2522 Orchard Special’ target-ing orchards and vineyards that need tractors that are shorter and can go through the orchards. We had been selling a small number of this 25 HP tractor till now but from January, we will be selling this aggressively. Kinnow farmers from Punjab are also interested in this tractor, which is priced at Rs 2.5 lakh, and we are supplying it to them,” HMT (tractor business group) executive director Prakash Sharan told ET. The company has also come up with a 35 HP coastal special tractor called 3522CS for rice and paddy cultivation. This model has become very popular in Andhra Pradesh and other southern states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and the company sells about 750 units in a year. HMT is also bringing out a new 25 HP tractor targeting cotton farmers soon. “Very soon, we will be launching a tractor for cotton farmers. Cotton has hard soil and this tractor will cater to that. We had a trail launch in Andhra Pradesh and will be going for an all India-launch in Febru-ary,” Mr Sharan added. Apart from addressing the needs of farmers for specialised equipment starting from ploughs, harrows, diggers and handling equipment M&M will launch a tractor of 30-35-horse power with a strong hydraulic, specific wheelbase. “The trial launch for this tractor is currently going on in Agra,” sources in the company said. “A 35 horsepower and 45 horsepower tractor, especially for potato cultivation, is what PTL plans to roll early next year. Better hydraulic speed controls of the various components of harvesting like digging (depth control), adjustable front axle and clear visibility path are the key requirements of the farmers, which will be met,” said PTL MD & CEO Bishwambhar Mishra. “We have already made tractors with specific requirement for grape farmers and we will now be catering to potato growers,” he said. The cost of the tractor will vary from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The research and development team of Eicher Motors in Mandideep near Bhopal is working on a tractor primarily for apple and orange growers. “Farmers and corporates from Nagpur, Jammu and Kashmir and even Punjab were asking us to make compact tractors with 15-25 Hp. Another requirement of the farmers was to have a compressor fitted to the tractor to run a spray machine. We plan to bring out a tractor with small dimensions, small turning radius and low weight for productive normal operations in the year ahead,” said a company source.