Farm focused innovation.

It is likely that the Trantor® farm transport and low-draught-focused tractor will ‘come of age’ when farm managers begin to understand Zero-Tillage and Direct-Drilling – key parts of Conservation Agriculture.

The Trantor® farm transport tractor was conceived in the University of Manchester when the Faculty of Technology embraced the Manchester School of Management (now the Manchester Business School). It was this important coordination of the Engineering (Design Manufacturing and Technology) and Business-focused market research, that was encouraged by the “Action Learning” approach to education and training in that special part of academia, which was then known as Manchester’s “Tech”.

Work task analysis in farming. In the 70s, Graham Edwards and WSH (Stuart) Taylor, were fortunate to be interested in Engineering Management and, in the Trantor® tractor project they introduced some fundamental analysis into the farming industry of the UK (See PDF – Brochure E). The various analyses of farms in the UK and Africa show that transport work, with trailers for workers, and the trailed and mounted farm implements (taken together), usually absorb more time and effort than the soil-engaging duties of ploughing and sub-soiling coupled to the work of power-take-off (P.T.O) driven rotovators and power harrows. The original prototype TRANsport-first tracTOR (Trantor®) was progressively developed into a transport and P.T.O tractor for spreading and spraying that was eventually to become the world’s first transport and low-draught tractor, with some useful advantages because of its light weight!

Crop Transportation – 7000 million tonnes of crops were transported in 2009 and 14,000 million tonnes are expected to be transported by 2050. Farm transportation has, since 1970, not been one for educated reasoning or scientific analysis. As fuel costs rise, farm transportation becomes a serious issue for all farmers.

The PDF Brochure H, along with PDF Brochure E, explains the importance attached to farm transportation and how, by designing for farm transportation (from harvester by tractor and trailers), massive savings can be made across the world.

Low draught work in farming. In field and out-of-field work tasks abound in modern-day farming as farms get bigger, more widespread and with more varied arable crops, but also when grass and livestock is considered. Mowing, hedge-cutting, baling, hay-raking, spreading, topping, spraying and scratch tillage, for example, do not need to be conducted by those gas-guzzling, heavy, ploughing-first tractors. A light in weight transport tractor with a good P.T.O is, of course, required in such circumstances.

Revolutionary changes that Conservation Agriculture (Zero-Tillage & Direct-Drilling) mean to farmers. The realisation that ploughing damages the soil, the loss of natural elements in the soil, the emergence of conservation and sustainable agriculture, the reduction of the worldwide water table, the emergence of peak-oil and the increase in the price of diesel-fuel, have all contributed to make the future in Agriculture so different from the past. By 2011, fuel costs had risen sharply to equal or surpass the level of labour costs as the main cost of worldwide food production. More fundamentally however, ploughing should NOT be conducted if the soil is to be preserved.

Prof. M. Dobre of Romania, the Sulky team in France, Theodor Friedrich at FAO and Amir Kassam have shown, by their practical research and publications, that “The farmer must manage his soil” now and in to the future!

Just as these dramatic changes are occurring, the Trantor® project has reached the stage where its PDF reports (shown in the articles section of this web-site) can be useful to those seeking increased efficiency and lower costs through the adoption of Conservation Agriculture (Zero-Tillage and Direct-Seeding).

Whilst Brochure A outlines the value of the Trantor® Tractor in Conservation Agriculture, Brochure E asks farmers to analyse their calendar of work tasks. Also, it is Brochures H and K that address the transportation costs involved with the 7000 million tonnes of crops produced worldwide.