JCB has just taken the wraps off its new 173hp, 50km/h flagship Loadall telescopic handler. The 542-70 Agri Pro is the fastest and most powerful Loadall the company has built since it introduced the range 45 years ago.
Last week, the Irish Farmers Journal travelled to JCB headquarters near Rocester in England to catch up with new pocket rocket in the flesh.
Similar to the other Loadall 542-70 models with the DualTech VT transmission, the Agri Pro model has a maximum lift capacity of 4.2t and a full-height lift of 2.75t to 7.01m.
While the Agri, Agri Super and Agri Xtra models have 109hp (81kW), 130hp (97kW) and 150hp (112kW) outputs from their 4.8-litre JCB Diesel Max engines, the new Loadall 542-70 Agri Pro comes with 173hp (129kW) on tap.
The newcomer boasts a 24hp or 16% advantage over the current most powerful Loadall model, and features a 15% increase in peak torque output of 690Nm at 1,500rpm. JCB said this, together with the performance of the hydrostatic drive element of the DualTech VT transmission, generates 22% more dynamic tractive effort when digging into compacted muck or scooping up grain, for example, with a large-volume bucket.
The Loadall 542-70 Agri Pro features a new high-speed version of JCB’s proven DualTech VT hydro-mechanical transmission. For those unsure, DualTech VT is a hybrid between a hydrostatic and mechanical transmission. It provides precise hydrostatic drive control up to 22km/h, (versus 19km/h with the standard version). Meanwhile, the direct mechanical drive element kicks in past this speed, and continues up to a top speed of 50km/h, instead of the previous range-topping 40km/h.
In development for almost two years, JCB said this evolution has come in response to customers looking to reduce journey times between field and farm, and keep pace on the road with contractor lime and muck spreading teams.
To handle the added power and speed, JCB has fitted a new hydraulic braking system and heavier-duty 10-stud front and rear axles.
JCB noted this meets the requirements of European T1b tractor homologation for road-going agricultural vehicles, while air trailer braking is a factory-installed option.
In addition to running in rear-wheel drive on the road, the Agri Pro also automatically engages four-wheel drive when the brakes are applied for the shortest stopping distances.
Once on site, operators can make best use of the DualTech VT transmission’s Eco and Power settings, and use the Flex mode to separate control of engine and ground speeds for easy foot pedal control. This allows the machine to work at low speeds while using sufficient engine revs to power a hydraulically driven attachment, such as road sweeper or straw chopper etc.
The 542-70 Agri Pro also comes with a higher-capacity hydraulics package, which features a 72cc variable output piston pump delivering up to 160l/min. This is a 14% increase in output that makes for quicker responses to joystick control inputs, especially when using more than one function at a time.
JCBs Smart Hydraulics technology also features regenerative cylinders that allow the boom to be lowered and retracted faster for faster loading cycles, cylinder end-stroke damping on the boom lift and retract rams, and automated bucket shake.
There is also a new auto-engage smooth ride system boom suspension setup with optimised accumulators and hydraulic counterbalance valves for increased boom oscillation, isolation from vehicle movements, reduced risk of loads being spilled or dislodged, and a more comfortable ride for the operator.
Buyers can opt for a standard or climate-control air conditioning cab, a half-leather heated and ventilated air suspension seat, and the Command Plus cab with its new shock and vibration-damping rubber spring and polymer damping mounts.
The new model is just entering production, while pricing starts from €135,000 plus VAT.
Loadall 542-70 Agri Pro
Engine: 173hp JCB Diesel Max.
Transmission: DualTech Variable Transmission (hydrostatic and mechanical drive).
Travel speed: 50km/h.
Lift height: 7.04m.
Lift capacity: 4,200kg.
Lift capacity at full height: 3,000kg.
Lift capacity at full reach: 1,750kg.
Forward reach at max height: 0.48m.
Reach with 1t payload: 3.71m
List price: €135,000 plus VAT.