As Fendt gets set to launch the all-new 300 series range of tractors, The Scottish Farmer met up with a dairy farmer from West Kilbride to share his experience of the outgoing 313 model.

David Campbell is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. His father, Tom, purchased Low Ballees Farm 16 years ago having previously been a tenant. Since buying the farm, the family has developed it significantly, increasing the acreage from 100 to 310 acres. “We have 110 Holsteins, plus followers, which we zero graze and milk with two Lely A5 robots to supply Graham’s The Family Dairy. There’s also 130 ewes and we drill about 40 acres with winter barley and spring cereals for whole crop,” said David.

He has two Fendt tractors, a 514 Profi and a 313 Profi. “The 514 is better for road work because it has a higher top speed but, in many ways, the 313 is the better all-rounder. It’s a really gutsy little tractor and we have found far more uses for it than we expected,” he said.

The 313 has 133hp with Vario transmission and Variotronic headland management and the cab has won many awards for its ergonomic and intuitive design.

The 313 is used mainly as a loader tractor. “Its perfect for loading. The Vario means I don’t have to use the brakes because the transmission holds the tractor, there’s no run back, even if I’m on a slope, it just stays in place,” David explained.

Three rations are mixed each day, a total of almost 12 tonnes so it does get a bit of work. “The 313 is nice and fluid. The throttle allows for smooth handling of materials and the hydraulic flow is the best I have come across. There is no lag, it’s a decisive machine and I would argue that it’s as quick as a telehandler at the clamp."

David switched to a zero grazing system and invested in a Zero Grazer ZG 75 wagon. The two drum mower on this makes it a sizeable machine and when fully loaded is approximately 10 tonnes.

“The Fendt pulls it well, even on our undulating and often wet land. We also use it to pull a 2500-gallon slurry tanker with a 7.5m dribble bar, which it handles with no bother at all,” added David.

The versatility of the 313 has also been tested with ploughing, spraying and fertiliser spreading. “The cruise function for spraying really helps with accuracy and efficiency. Somehow its gutsier than the 514 and seems to have more get up and go. We’ve had it on the four-furrow plough and it handled that brilliantly too."

The farm can experience very wet conditions and in parts has some steep gradients to test machinery. “In the wet, it seems to float and when we are cutting grass the stepless drive, tight turning circle and headland management protects the turf.

"Being able to set the pto speed independent of the engine speed is a great feature. When I’m fertiliser spreading it means I don’t over rev going downhill or under rev uphill,” he explained.

The lighter footprint of the 313, coupled with the consistent power delivery, makes best use of the 133hp via the Vario transmission. “It’s capable of fulfilling tasks that other tractors I have driven with similar horsepower wouldn’t have been able to. It’s a gutsy wee tractor that really punches above its weight,” he said.

“It’s comfy on the road, I wish it went a little faster, but we have the 514 for longer distances. The stepless drive and anti-bounce set up makes the ride really smooth.

"Everything is to your right hand, including the windscreen wipers and lights – they are all on one side and easy to access. Being able to slow down using the joystick rather than footbrake is great. It reduces wear and tear on the brakes too,” added David.

The digital screen also helps: “Using the screen to adjust the flow allows for more gentle adjustment of ploughs and sprayers, it’s a really good feature that means we can use it for a wider variety of work,” he said.

Fuel economy is a strong Fendt selling point. “I've found the 313 to be extremely fuel efficient. I noticed that when pumping slurry, the fuel efficiency through the pto means I’m only using three to four litres per hour, which is next to nothing."

Some have suggested Fendts use more AdBlue to achieve the fuel efficiencies, but David disagreed. “I’ve been running Fendts since 2014 and with two machines, doing 1800 hours a year, I’ve used less than 400 litres of AdBlue,” he pointed out.

The latest 300 series gets a new cab which connects to a new management system, with the Fendt One concept offering software capable of managing a fleet or simply improving the efficiency of a single tractor. Data collected from tasks can be fed back to the owners and used to compare or evaluate farm performance.

The 300s have been a remarkable success for Fendt and it has sold in excess of 140,000 300 series tractors since they were released in 1980.

“I’ve not really had any problems with either of our Fendts. We bought them from McNae’s in Ayrshire and the support has been brilliant. On the odd occasion I have had a technical query, there has been someone to discuss it with me straight away so I can get back out and keep working,” added David.

“I change tractors every five years, or 5000 hours and I would have another 313 – no questions asked,” concluded David.