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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

Field tested: John Deere 7280R Tractor


A review by farmers for farmers


ed tollenaar             jeff van loon            dave vandewalle
MONKTON, ON              DUBLIN, ON                  DUBLIN, ON

technology is everywhere
today – including out in your field. Making technology easy to use is John Deere’s goal with their 7280R tractor.

automatic features
Ed Tollenaar, a cash crop farmer near Monkton, Ontario, sees the benefits of their technology. “Having the GPS and the AutoTrac™ is definitely a handy thing,” he says. “It makes your day a lot easier; you’re not tired at the end of the day. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly simple to operate.”

“It was neat to see the AutoTrac™ components demonstrated,” agrees Dave Vandewalle who has a cash crop and hog finishing operation near Dublin, Ontario.

There are several other automatic features on this model.  “This tractor incorporates our new steering system, ActiveCommand Steering™, which controls the steering rate dependant on speed,” describes Steven Reynolds from John Deere ULC.

The 7280R can reach speeds up to 50 kilometres per hour. “But due to a technical problem, today they couldn’t change the speed ranges in the tractor, so we were kind of limited to the low speeds in the field,” explains Vandewalle. However, he adds, “that would be the normal range we would operate at if pulling an implement, but we probably didn’t get a fair test of the transmission capability.”


“The tractor had no problem pulling the tillage equipment,” adds Jeff Van Loon, a grain farmer south of Dublin. “However, the tractor was set for where it turned itself at the end of the field and I don’t know if it’s because the implement we were pulling was narrow, but it seemed like it made a real wide turn. I think I could probably turn it faster myself.”

According to a John Deere representative, the quickest, most efficient turn was not in use during the field test. The turning radius can be adjusted for a shorter and quicker turn.

While supporting the benefits of the new technology, Vandewalle is concerned about potential downtime. “As they get more technology and computers and electronics, the technicians have to come out with a laptop to fix the tractor, so that’s a bit of an issue. The electronics on board are very useful, but at the same time they can cause some problems.”

John Deere is helping to reduce downtime through its Remote Display Access. This system gives farm managers and equipment dealers (with permission) the ability to remotely view the operator’s GreenStar™3 2630 display screen to see exactly what is being seen in the cab. This allows them to quickly troubleshoot problems and provide solutions without the operator waiting for a technician to arrive on-site.

space and visibility
Not only is the technology in the 7280R designed to make the job easier for the farmer, so is the spaciousness and visibility of the cab.

“Overall there’s a real focus on the size of the cab,” notes Vandewalle. “Visibility is pronouncedly improved over some competitors. It was a nice open cab and the displays were where your eyes rest comfortably so you don’t have to search for the information you’re looking for.”

“I wonder if they couldn’t go down to one display instead of two,” suggests Van Loon. “They’re in a good spot, I just think if you could do it with one, it frees up space in the cab, right?”


Reynolds isn’t surprised the farmers noticed a difference in the cab. “This tractor features a new CommandView™ II cab that has 10 percent increased visibility over the 7030 series and interior comforts include available active seat and available cab suspension as well. The CommandArm™ includes the Command Centre™ – the screen that allows you to adjust the important tractor settings in a convenient and intuitive way.”

“I like what they’ve done with the steering,” says Tollenaar. “It doesn’t turn near as harsh when you’re going quicker and in the field it handles very well.  The steering wheel is smaller, it’s actually pretty tiny, but it handles very smooth, and there’s a nice feel to the controls. It’s nice that you can adjust the aggressiveness of the transmission, and with power shift there’s no clunking, it’s smooth like driving a pickup truck.”

“I think the word the salesperson used was intuitive, and I think they’re correct,” adds Vandewalle about how easy the 7280R is to operate. “It allows the operator to learn quickly the functions of the tractor. In this case, I think John Deere has done this well, to help large operations with employees.”

“I think it’s a very handy, versatile tractor,” says Tollenaar. “ I think its geared towards livestock operators with the flexibility of being able to put it on a haybine and still being able to pull equipment on the road, whether its dumpers or other such equipment.”

Watch a video version of this review here:

In the next installment of Field Tested, we review the Sunflower 6630 vertical tillage. Look for it in January.

spec sheet
Rated PTO hp at 2,100 engine rpm: 232hp (173kW)
Rated engine hp per 97/68/EC at 2,100
engine rpm:  280hp (206kW)
Engine:  john Deere PowerTechTM PVX9.0 L Engine, diesel in-line, 6 cyclinder, wet sleeve with 4 valves-in-head
Fuel tank capacity: 524 L on tractors equipped with IVTTM and Group 47 or 48 tires
Transmission:  John Deere Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVTTM) (40 kph standard/50 kph optional)
Steering:  Hydrostatic power steering (standard) ActiveCommandSteering(ACSTM) (optional)
3-point hitch, rear: 6895kg (standard)
3-point hitch, front: 5200kg (standard lift capacity)

Equipment provided by:
John Deere


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