Grainews Machinery Challenge: A smaller but versatile telehandler design
One of the two telehandlers Grainews put to the test this year was the Dieci Agri Tech 35.7 VS. It’s a hybrid design meant to appeal to farmers, with a rear PTO, hydraulic remotes (two on our test machine) and a three-point hitch. It comes in at a price point lower than the Merlo, with an as-equipped MSRP of $156,000. But that includes the $8,300 grapple attachment. The base model comes supplied with pallet forks, so at this price buyers get both.
Without the high-end features of the Merlo, judges considered the Dieci to be a more basic telehandler alternative. Maximum lift capacity is a pretty respectable 3,500 kilograms (7,710 pounds) and maximum lift height is seven metres (22.96 feet). And it also gets down the road at 40 km/h. There is a rear PTO as well. So with all that, this machine can get to work in the field for livestock or forage growers.
Power comes from a 141 horsepower FPT diesel that gets routed through a hydrostatic transmission (Fiat Powertrain, the brand behind Case IH and New Holland power plants). That also gives it the ability to power reasonably large grain augers.
At just 2.39 metres (94 inches) wide and 2.49 metres (98 inches) tall, combined with its multiple steering options that includes four-wheel steer, this loader easily made it through the tight turn test on our course, able to make a 90-degree turn through a nine-foot by nine-foot square box. So manoeuvring through a tight corral or through a barn with the Dieci should be a breeze.
Tallying up the features and comparing that to the price point, judges thought this machine offered a reasonably economical way to get a basic telehandler into the farm fleet, and it offers some serious lifting ability well beyond the scope of a conventional utility ag tractor with a loader.
Its size and steering modes make the Dieci a nimble machine capable of navigating some pretty tight spaces.
It offers a substantial lifting capacity and boom reach compared to its compact size.
Just like the Merlo, judges thought it would be much nicer to have a step arrangement to get into the cab rather than ladder-style foot grips.
Driving across rough ground or at higher speeds, the Dieci pitched noticeably back and forth with just the weight of the empty grapple up front.
The side door would not pivot 180 degrees and could not be locked open. It was also very large so opening it on a windy day (which one of our test days was) required keeping a firm grasp on it.
The door also had a power window feature, which was nice. But at its lowest point the window was still about six inches higher than the door frame, and there was no other armrest, so an operator couldn’t rest a left elbow on anything.
Servicing would be a little more awkward than necessary, with none of the filters accessible without removing panels.