Alpine Tractor AGT 850

When we moved here we were hoping that we could use a normal second hand tractor like an old Massey Ferguson 35 or 135. Failing that a small 4 wheel drive might have been suitable. However, our land (17 acres of pasture and 6 acres of wood) really is very steep. The farmer who used to own it told us that he had had a few ‘incidents’ with a tractor on the land! John thus decided that buying the special tool for the job (even with the extra cost) was the better part of valour! Working a tractor on steep hills is one of the biggest causes of fatalities on the land and he has no plans to shorten his retirement unnecessarily.

AGT 850
At least the brakes work!

This led us to undertake a lot of research an eventually we settled on buying an ‘Alpine tractor’. This type of tractor with it’s low centre of gravity and with the engine weight over the front axle is very popular on small hilly family farms in Italy and Switzerland. They are not used much in the UK and indeed many farmers have advised us not to buy one as ‘they are an unknown quantity’. Actually their mechanical simplicity was a plus point for us in that any decent mechanic should be able to repair it without needing to plug his computer in or have access to the service error codes.

The downside is that they are very expensive (for what they are) and second hand ones do not come on the market very often. Thus our new AGT 850T was delivered today. This is the ‘non articulated’ version of the tractor; i.e. it does not bend in the middle (although the two axles can pivot in the horizontal plane for better traction). We’ve also specified wider and lower tyres and set them as wide as possible to give maximum stability. The engine is a 48 hp Lombardini engine. It has 12 gears and a shuttle box. The driving position is reversible so that you can swing the seat and controls round to face the other direction. This means that you can face forward with some implements. It has a single and a double spool valve on the hydraulic side of things.

As there is not much user information on the internet we are hoping that this blog will become a little review over time. As we use it more we will add information and give details of it’s performance and reliability etc.

Anyway we unloaded the red tractor today and  after filling it up with red diesel John took it for a spin up some of our ‘lesser’ slopes. It seemed to cope with things pretty well. We’re hoping to get a pasture topper, transport box and set of chain harrows in due course.

Another reason for choosing this tractor is that we will need to get up into our wood to start pulling out fallen trees. This tractor will hopefully be ideal for working in such an environment on the side of a slope. A number of people use them with a forwarding winch for extracting wood out of forestry land.

As said we’ll keep the blog updated with how we get on with this machine.


13 thoughts on “Alpine Tractor AGT 850”

  1. Good luck with your new tractor. I have a hill farm in Dublin, Ireland and am considering a secondhand machione. I have a very large tractor at present but am afraid of the hills as I had one frightening experience already.

  2. Really great to see some information on these tractors on the web. Very much looking forward to hearing how you get on as I am think something like this would meet my needs in the Shropshire Hills (40 acres) once I get back from Tokyo.

  3. I am considering one of these. Our place is in Italy and is on the steep side. Our neighbours all have a vareity of machines but the conventional ones don’t look at all stable on our land and the tracked ones, though stable, crawl at a snails pace and chew the ground up when turning. I only want a single machine if I can get away with it. I am really interested in your opinions. Looking forward to what you have to say on the subject.

  4. iI would be very interested in any further comments on the tractor as this is the sort of thing that myself and my partner Sue are looking at.

    In fact if all goes well we might be moving in to your area or fairly close to it. We are out viewing more properties this coming weekend and hoping that one of them is ‘THE ONE’

    Regards John and Sue

  5. Just purchased a Godoni alpine tractor from CTM in Yorkshire to replace a Zetor 4 wheel drive tractor that was churning up our land due to the wet weather. I am amazed at the Goldoni it will go any where does not sink in and handles slopes with ease great little tractor.

  6. Hi John, thanks for your blog! I saw you wrote this in 2011 I’m considering buying a Agromehanika AGT 850 I have seen one on special sale. It’s with the rotating chair. I have 50 acres of land mainly wood. Now 2 years after your purchase do you still like the tractor or would you buy something else? Is it reliable?
    Greetings from Belgium

    1. Hi Timo (sorry for the delay). So far the tractor has done all I required and I’ve had no problems. So far so good!

  7. Hi All, Iam on steep hilly property with mixed requirements for tough little tractor.
    Flail mowing, finish mowing, gradeing 1km steep driveway, forest plantation work, 4in1 loader work and forklift…etc.
    I need a tough reliable compact hillside tractor thats super reliable & not to expensive.
    Do you think the Agromehanika 850T / 860 are up for the job ??
    Any feedback from those that have used them would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks for reading Drew. I’m going to try to get round to writing a more detailed update soon. I’ve had no problems so far until recently when I found I had a cracked exhaust manifold. Nothing serious just needs welding. Tractor starts fine works on my steep hills ok and feels very safe on them. It probably isn’t the best built machine in the world and the engine isn’t the sweetest but so far so good. Whilst it can handle most of the jobs you mention I’m not sure how good it would be with a loader; it might try and bend in the middle (if you see what I mean). I quite often use it with a hydraulic transport box in the reverse driving position for grading and carrying stuff around.

      Transport Box

      1. Hi John! I purchased an AGT850 based on your comments/review. I have found that its a great machine so far. My land is pretty steep and the tractor copes well, in fact my ‘bottle’ goes before the tractor starts to slide or tip. I agree that build quality is lacking in some aspects and also design is perhaps a little more ‘Lada’ than ‘Ford’!! Interesting that you have had a cracked exhaust manifold. I have had a sheared exhaust stud leading to the exhaust coming loose, luckily I spotted it before any damage done. I wonder if this could have led to your problem? Other issues- The radiator gets blocked when topping dry grass, leading to overheating if not cleared. The safety switch that prevents the engine starting unless the brake pedal is pushed is easily disconnected if you catch it with your foot. This will then prevent the engine from starting. The top link on the 3pt linkage is prone to striking and smashing the number plate lamp. Apart form these minor niggles I have found it a reliable safe machine. (Touch wood!!). I run a INO 1.5m flail on the machine for topping and brush cutting. This is a very well matched tool and being able to drive it in the reverse position make it a much easier/more comfortable to use. Many thanks to Riko for advising on that. Thanks for the advice John!! Craig

  8. Hello John (et al), I have a small avocado farm in Australia, with relatively steep slopes. Whilst the gradient is good for drainage (get good rainfall), it’s challenging for tractor work between the trees, especially if you are not overly experienced!

    My neighbours have an Antonio Carreras tractor which handles the terrain very well, but comes at the price of a Lamborghini. Given I only weekend farm, my tractor needs are relatively limited to slashing and use with a forklift for lifting and carrying bins. With itinerant workers helping pick the avocados, it’s also important that it’s easy and safe to use.

    I am looking into the AGT 850 which is smaller than my current Deutz but likely safer on the slopes and more manageable. So to my questions, has Liz used the tractor, or to others have you had less experienced operators on the AGT 850s and how safe have they felt?

    I would appreciate your thoughts and views.

    1. Hi, thanks. Liz hasn’t used the tractor on the slopes. Merely on the lower levels; purely and simply because it’s not really her thing! I was brought up on a farm so have driven tractors all my life. That said it isn’t hard to drive and certainly easier than the tractors (Massey Fergusons from the 1970s) that I grew up with on the family farm.

      As an update it still has not done big hours (compared to a commercial tractor); probably around 500 hours now. There have been no major mechanical issues so far – just 2 solenoids have failed that control the hydraulics (but I think that these are fitted, depending on specification, locally by the dealer not the manufacturer and the hydraulic oil filter had to be replaced as the power steerng was getting sluggish). It still does what is asked of it on the steepest land and I never feel unsafe on it.

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