An Oxfordshire farmer has taken delivery of one of the first Mercedes-Benz Unimogs to be fitted with the company’s Comfort Steering option.
Supplied by Arthur Ibbet, the UGE U430 implement carrier features a power-assisted steering system, which adapts automatically to the forward speed and driving conditions to create a more comfortable drive.
The electronic architecture also means that, for the first time, the Unimog can be integrated with aftermarket RTK GNSS automated steering.
Ralph Castle, the owner of Home Farm (Charlton) Estates, traded in his first Unimog which he had been running since 2017. The business grows combinable crops across 175 hectares around Wantage.
“Before placing my order I tried versions with and without Comfort Steering. It was immediately apparent that the system would make working with implements on rough ground much easier, but we could also fit an automated steering package was even more important to me.”
Mr Castle chose the Topcon XD+ system, installed by LH Agro. This offers automated steering to a margin of 2cm, as well as control over implements via an ISOBUS connection.
“When you run a Unimog, the more you use it the more you realise there are extra things it can do,” said Mr Castle. “We bought the first one just for transport around the farm – our land is spread across quite a few miles, so we needed a vehicle that would allow us to get around reasonably quickly.
“The Unimog performs very well on the road – it has a much higher cruising speed than a tractor, and it offers far better fuel economy as well. It’s perfectly capable of working in the fields too. At harvest time, for instance, we might use ours to collect a trailer full of grain and bring it back to base much faster than could be done with any other vehicle, so the combine harvester is kept working with fewer interruptions.
“The new Unimog offers the same, multiple talents as its predecessor, but can also perform a wide range of arable farming tasks under automated guidance, which gives us the precision and efficient use of materials that modern agriculture requires. It’s a fantastically versatile tool, and will be worked hard all year round throughout the growing cycle.”
The machine was sold by Arthur Ibbett sales executive Nick Suddes, who said: “As soon as Mr Castle told me about his operation and the type of work he wanted to do with the Unimog, I realised the Comfort Steering option in conjunction with Topcon guidance would fit the bill exactly. I’m delighted that with the help of LH Agro we were able to deliver a vehicle that’s perfectly specified for Home Farm (Charlton) Estates.”
Mr Castle added: “I was very impressed by Nick’s knowledge, proactive approach and determination to ensure that our Unimog can do everything we want. Of course, it’s possible to retrofit extra systems and equipment to any vehicle, but far better to make sure it has the required capabilities from the outset.”
Standard equipment on the U430 also includes a central tyre inflation system, improving performance and grip in the field.