Increasing workloads and running wider implements usually means buying a bigger tractor. Alternatively, engine remapping software from Avon Tuning, can be utilised for extra performance from the existing machine as one farmer has discovered ...

After investing in a bigger silage trailer, Louis Ford faced a dilemma as he needed more output than his New Holland T6080 could offer him but couldn’t justify the expense on a new tractor at the 300-acre Redhill Farm in Olveston.

“We don’t have the money to invest in new tractors every couple of years and when we buy, we like to shop around to get the best model we can within our budget,” says Mr Ford. “This usually means we purchase good condition second-hand New Holland tractors, with a few years of warranty still intact.”

However, with the purchase of a larger 16t Richard Western silage trailer to match the contractor’s forager, and the subsequent arrival of a New Holland BB9080 large square baler, the T6080, which from factory registered 160hp, was starting to get bossed around by the implements.

After doing his research, Mr Ford found tractor remapping specialist Avon Tuning offered solutions for him to safely increase the power and torque of his New Holland within the safe limits of the engine, for a fraction of the cost of a new tractor.

“The turning point with the T6080 came in a really wet autumn when I was hauling maize for a local contractor but struggling to pull the full 16t trailer up the slopes,” explains Mr Ford.

“At times it was touch and go if I would make it to the top, which was starting to worry me from a safety perspective.

“The next morning it took a couple of hours for Avon Tuning to put a stage 1 remap on the engine and I was back hauling maize that afternoon. The remap has increased my T6080’s power output from 160hp to 200hp, which is still within the safe operating limits of the engine and running gear.”

Part of the process before Avon Tuning carries out a remapping install, is to download the original map from the tractor’s ECU and save it to a secure server should the tractor ever need to be restored to its original factory settings.

Avon develop a new map by calibrating the boost data tables and torque delivery areas alongside aspects such as fuel injection duration and quantity, all of which contribute to safe improvements of power and torque. It is then tailor made for the individual tractor model, and Mr Ford cites this as a key reason in choosing the service.

After the success of the first remap, the arrival of another 100 cows meant workloads increased and a 2017 New Holland T7.210 joined the farm. This is the largest model available with a Power Command gearbox in the smaller framed T7 tractors.

“Although we wanted a bit more power, we didn’t want a bigger tractor as it would’ve been too large for some of our field gateways and too heavy, especially during maize harvest. We also wanted to stick with the powershift gearbox, as we favour these for getting the power to the ground,” Mr Ford explains.

The purchase of the New Holland also coincided with the arrival of a Bunning Lowlander 120 muck spreader and a McHale Fusion 3 baler/wrapper, both of which enabled the Fords to undertake more of their own work.

“The Bunning Lowlander is a great bit of kit but does test the standard T7.210 when we are spreading some well-rotted manure. The same is true with the New Holland big square baler, which required me to drop down through the gears when baling up hills,” comments Mr Ford.

The T7.210 was fitted with a tailored Avon Tuning map, which increased power from the standard 166hp up to 208hp, and the boosted output from 196hp to 246hp.

Mr Ford says that one of the unknowns with remapping is how it can affect the fuel use of the tractors, but pleasingly it is only work rates that have increased across the 1000 hours per year: “We’re still using the same amount of fuel but now have the ability to operate larger and wider machinery or save time by increasing working speeds.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to remap our next tractor but getting specialist advice on the modification is essential. I believe there are big financial savings and logistical benefits for us not having to buy a greater horsepower machine, but we are only realising this as the remapping work has been professionally carried out.”