THEY'RE BACK! In the 1970s and 1980s, the spring-green Deutz tractors were popular here in northwest Ohio. At one time three dealers were selling the German-built tractors within 20 miles of my farm. When I heard that Deutz is making a comeback, I was eager to try out a new machine.

The tractor delivered to my farm for test driving was the new Agrotron 210. Also available are the 235 and 265 models, which are outwardly identical but have higher horsepower ratings. The 210 is factory rated at 200 hp, so I was disappointed when I found it could barely pull my five-shank DMI ripper that my old air-cooled, 193-hp Deutz-Allis 9190 tractor can readily pull. Rated at 34% torque rise, the tractor lacked steady pulling power. Company officials said higher-torque engines are in the manufacturing pipeline.

European design

The controls can be confusing. I had to skim the 300-page owner's manual just to get the tractor running. A lot of the complexity of the controls is due to the many uses that Europeans have for these tractors, such as to run front-mounted-PTO-powered tillers or hay mowers and front-mounted loaders with grapples. The tractor has 40 forward gears: six gears in regular range with four powershifts each, and four gears in creeper range with four powershifts each. A stepless, infinitely variable transmission is currently under development and will be an option soon.

The tractor I tested had a gooseneck trailer hitch between the cab and drawbar. It totally blocked my view of the drawbar, making tool hookup a two-man job, but because the Europeans use the gooseneck hitch a lot for silage and grain trailers, it is hard to be too critical about that.

One problem the tractor has is that it can't be used to straddle two 30-in. rows. That's not a design consideration in Europe because little corn is raised. I remember hearing how upset some folks were years ago when they bought a Deutz tractor, either new or at an auction, and later found it couldn't be used to cultivate corn. I mentioned that to a company official; he said special rims are available but are not recommended because of the high speeds that the tractor is capable of achieving (32 mph).

Style and comfort

The best feature of this tractor is the “airy” curved glass cab with a sunroof. Even my John Deere salesman liked it when he got in. The whole tractor is extremely stylish and has perfect fit and finish. Company officials said an Italian design studio is hired to design all of their tractors.

If I owned the tractor, I would definitely use it to haul grain to use its 32-mph road speed. It has front axle suspension and cab suspension plus an air ride seat, and it floats down the road. It has a remote air brake line that can be hooked to a semi-style grain trailer.

For an interesting history of Deutz-Fahr, see Daryl's review of the book Four Wheels Ahead: A Biography of the SAME Group at www.farmindustrynews.com.

PROS CONS
Smooth ride, stylish Won't straddle 30-in. rows
Fast, fuel-efficient Lacks pulling power
Automatic functions Confusing controls