Team FIN farmer test drives an Italion-made Hurlimann tractor.

Hurlimann tractors are not just for European farmers anymore. The Hurlimann line - born in Switzerland in 1929 and now manufactured in Italy - is being distributed in North America by Amatex, based in Milwaukee, WI. It will be sold by franchised Hurlimann dealers.

The line is made by the Same Deutz-Fahr Group, which purchased the Hurlimann company in 1977. Hurlimann tractors should look familiar to American farmers because AGCO imported tractors built by Same Deutz-Fahr during most of the 90s to fill its small and midsize lines.

Top of the line. I recently tested a Hurlimann Master 6165 for Farm Industry News. The Master series is presently the top of the Hurlimann line with two models: the 6165 with 159 PTO hp and the 6190 with 183 PTO hp. Both tractors are basically the same, except that the higher horsepower model has a modified air intake manifold that allows for more air to be compressed into the cylinders. Also the internal drivetrain on that model has been beefed up.

After driving the tractor for about 40 hrs., I agree with the company's claim that it is a leader in high-technology electronics. The joystick-controlled transmission has 27 speeds - in both forward and reverse - available with a touch of a button. The tractor shifts without jerking thanks to computer-controlled engagement that senses crankshaft and ground speeds, fuel consumption, power demand and wheel slip.

The front wheel assist, when activated, also engages both front and rear differential locks. An electronic control system automatically disengages front-wheel drive above 10 mph.

The transmission, when set in automatic mode, shifts down when power demands increase to 98% when hillsides or heavy ground patches are encountered. When power demand has fallen to 78%, the unit will automatically shift up to a preset speed or the maximum speed possible. The transmission also can be set in economy mode, in which the tractor automatically shifts up, thereby saving fuel, or manual mode, where all shifting is done by the push of a button.

The engine is electronically fuel injected. Using a keypad in the cab, the driver can preset high, low and idle rpm. A cruise control holds preselected speeds by controlling the amount of fuel injected into the engine. The 6-liter engine lacks the torque rise of the bigger Deere, Cummins and Genesis engines used in other new tractors with similar horsepower.

Cab comfort. LED bar graph gauges in the cab instantly and constantly read out percentage of engine output utilized, as well as fuel consumption per hour. A cluster of nearly two dozen dash lights warn the driver of any malfunction.

I liked the cab's Grammer air seat, but I wish the cab were wider (and more "Americanized"). The cab can be quickly tilted backwards for easy servicing and major overhauls.

More power. Another feature of this tractor is that it has more 3-pt. lift power than any MFWD made on this side of the pond. Lift capacity without assister rams is 15,432 lbs.; with the assister rams, it is 18,960 lbs.

At present, 98-in. bar axles are standard, and Unverferth has available hub extenders to mount duals. The tractor will straddle two 30-in. rows using rims from Unverferth. However, in the near future, SDF also will have 118-in. bar axles available.

List prices are approximately $95,000 for the 6165 model and $104,000 for the 6190. Amatex also has low-rate financing programs available and is developing lease plans. Contact Amatex Inc., Dept. FIN, 7075 W. Parkland Ct., Milwaukee, WI 53223, 888/988-4453.