"Very, very nice," he says slowly and with sincerity. "This tractor is so easy to use. The controls are easy to use and I like the idea of a manual gearbox instead of a semi-automatic type."
At the heart of the T5060 is a New Holland NEF four-cylinder 4.5litre turbocharged Tier 3 diesel engine with intercooler. The intercooler means hot air is cooled before it goes into the engine. The cooler the air, the better is the combustion - giving more power and torque. Access to the intercooler is quick. It has easy-to-clean guards and by removing two clips the cooler will slide out for servicing.
There are two air filters on the T5060 - a main filter and a safety filter. The safety filter detects falling pressure caused by dirt and alerts the driver via a flashing light on the dash. We like the idea of two fuel tanks - the main one holds 127 litres, and a separate reserve has 40 litres.
In terms of power and torque, the engine in the T5060 develops maximum power at 2,300rpm and maximum torque at 1,300 - it's a good lugging engine, good on pulling and it also means you don't have to change gear so often. Another advantage of the NEF 4.5litre engine is that it will run on 100 per cent biological fuel, making this an ideal tractor for anyone wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. It also has instant access for daily checks; there's no need to lift the hood to check the oil. Best of all, it has a whopping 600hour service interval - an industry best.
The T5060 looks like a big tractor - by grounds care standards anyway - and is full of big-tractor features. But it has the agility and manoeuvrability of a compact. A new high-spec driven front axle on this series gives a 60 degs turn angle. What's more, the mudguards don't get in the way. New Holland has developed "dynamic fenders" that turn with the tractor wheel so that this model has a turning circle of 405cm.
There's a choice of transmissions for the T5060. We use the 24x24 with selectable slow, medium or fast shuttle to help with Dual Command Hi/Lo shifting. A power clutch allows the driver to do all the gear shifting on a clutch button rather than pedal - ideal if you are turning to watch a rear-mounted attachment.
At the back of the tractor we find the T5060 has lower-link sensing hydraulics - just what you need for operating implements with a low headstock. As standard there is a single assist ram, giving a lift capacity of 4.5tonnes. An optional second assist increases capacity to 5,060kg to enable reversible ploughs and drainage equipment to be run.
We particularly like the attention to detail, which New Holland seems to have mastered to perfection. There is even a collection device and bottle to catch those annoying drips of hydraulic fluid that tend to spill when making or breaking a connection.
The PTO can be run at 540, 540E and 1,000. It has a selectable "soft start" for winding big mowers into action. In addition, there are safety stop buttons on the tractor wings so there's no need to reach in through the window.
The seat is not only air suspension and adjustable up, down, back, forward and for weight, it also swivels if you need to keep an eye on a rear implement and it has an adjustable lumbar support and adjustable arm rests. The steering wheel is moveable and this cab has thermostatically controlled air conditioning - making it more like climate control - as well has having opening windows and roof hatch.
"There's no denying this is a very comfortable tractor," confirms Mitch, admitting that he should perhaps have tried New Holland before. "I especially like the swivel seat so that you can work to left or right in comfort. And the lumbar support is excellent. With the adjustable steering wheel, there is absolutely no reason why you should feel any strain driving this one.
"Visibility is also very good. The big wing mirrors mean you can see everything that is going on. And you can see what is happening with the implement via the rear mirror."
Pressing Mitch for anything criticisms he might have, he eventually replies: "I did bang my head on the air conditioning knobs as I got into the cab."SPECIFICATIONS
Engine: 4-cylinder 106hp New Holland NEF turbocharged
Transmission: 24x24 Dual Command
Max travel speed: 40km/h
PTO: 540, 540E and 1,000rpm
Fuel tank capacity: 167litres
Ground clearance: 48cm
Dimensions: 4.12 x 2.35 x 2.53m
Lift capacity: 4.5t standard (5t with second assistor)
Price ex VAT: £37,030 (entry level with creep)
Contact: CNH 01268 295268
- Alan Mitch, machinery workshop technician, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus
- Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Bridgwater College, Cannington Campus