Based in Curracloe, Co Wexford, Michael Cloney grows a mix of winter and spring crops alongside an agricultural contracting business. Work for hire is predominately of the tillage kind, entailing all operations from cultivations, planting and crop care through to harvesting and straw baling. The team also mow bale and wrap grass silage/ haulage for local farmers.

In April 2023, a full spec Q305 model joined the fleet, becoming the 18th new Valtra bought from local dealers, Kilkenny Agri Machinery. Since then, it hasn’t been idle either, clocking up over 1,250 hours.

Tractor background

Michael was an early adopters of the Valtra brand having purchased his first model, an 8100 in 1995. “Before Valtra we had ran Fiats and Deutz. There were practically no Valtra’s in the area at the time but the reports were good. They were simple and well built. I then bought an 8450 then in 1999. You could say I’ve been hooked since,” Michael laughed.

Skip forward almost 29 years and five 50 Series, five T Series and two N series models have all passed through the yard. The current fleet comprises an N154, T194, T234 and Q305. However, there is one outlier in the fleet, a Claas Axion 870.

Reminiscing on the tractors that have come and gone, it was agreed that comfort and performance improved with every generation.

One of the key likes of the Q Series is its compactness. / Maurice Allen Photography

The arrival of the 4th generation was the largest leap forward, Michael and the team said. Particularly in terms of the new cab and SmartTouch armrest. It was at this point Michael made the leap to CVT transmissions and GPS.

The need for more power

The need for a tractor knocking on the doorsteps of 300hp has been wanting since the early 2010’s and in a nutshell explains the reasoning behind the arrival of Claas into the yard.

Working a vast variety of soil types from sandy soils, to heavy clays and marl type macamore soils, results in the need for ample power for certain tasks.

One of the primary jobs for the Q305 is pulling the 6m Horsch Pronto seed drill.

With Valtra’s T Series topping out at 255hp and no real S Series presence in Ireland at the time, Michael turned to a Claas Axion 850 to undertake the heaviest of work such as subsoiling etc. In 2019, the 850 was upgraded for the range topping 870 model.

“When we heard that Valtra were on the cusp of launching the Q we were intrigued to find out more,” Michael explained. With a T174 out of warranty and up for replacing last year, Michael opted for a full spec range topping Q305 model.

The Q305 has an unballasted weight of 9.2t.

“What instantly drew me to the Q was its compactness and power to weight ratio. I don’t need a tractor in the region of 12t.

"With the way working windows have gone and machinery getting larger, there was a need for another tractor in that power bracket.

"The Q has an unladen weight of 9.2t which can be ballasted up to 16t. This was much more practical than carrying around unnecessary weight.”

The current tractor fleet comprises a N154, T194, T234 and the Q305.

The Q Series bridges the gap between the 255hp (271hp with boost) T255 and the large frame S Series. However, the T255 is only available with the firms Versu powershift transmission while the Direct CVT option only available up to the 235hp T235 (250hp with boost).

Although not in Ireland, the previous S Series was an outdated platform. This has since changed with the arrival off the new S Series last year too, beginning the firm’s 6th generation.


“Engines have always been a strong point for Valtra,” Michael said. The Q305 shares a lot of similarities with its smaller T Series sibling in its engine department.

Valtra has stuck with the same six-cylinder 7.4l AGCO Power unit that is fitted in the T175 upwards.

The Q305 shares the same 7.4l AGCO Power engine witht he T Series albeit with a single non-variable geometry turbo setup.

The additional power is achieved from a larger, single, non-variable geometry turbo. Subsequently, there is also a larger cooling pack.

Unlike the four smaller Q Series models boosting in the region of 20hp, the Q305 churns out a constant 305hp, all of which is available at 1,850rpm.

Meanwhile, maximum torque (1,280Nm) is available between 1,000 and 1,500rpm.

“Over the course of 16 days sowing with the 6m Horsch Pronto we clocked up over 200 hours and burnt a total of 5,594 litres of diesel.

"This works out at an averages fuel consumption of 28l/hr. Not only is this less than what the T234 was burning at the same work, but we’ve been able to increase our forward speed by 3km/hr.

"On our best day we sowed over 150 acres with 5% idle time. As a result, work rate and productivity has increased while burning less fuel which is a win,” Michael outlined confidently.


It was agreed by the team that the CVT transmission is one of the Qs main party pieces and what Michael described as a ‘true’ CVT unlike the unit fitted in Finnish manufacturers other Direct models.

The Q is equipped with the tried and tested, popular ML260 gearbox that is shared among the AGCO suite of brands. This is currently the only transmission offering for the Q Series.

The team are fond of the cab layout and comfort.

For years the ML260 transmission had been built by Fendt but Valtra has since extended its tractor production facility in Suolahti, Finland to look after production in house.

The main characteristic of the unit liked by the lads is the fact it’s stepless right the way up to 50km/h whereas the Direct unit incorporates four range changes.

The ML260 has two ranges, one for the field (0 to 28km/h) and one for the road (0 to 50km/h).

The transmission can be operated in two modes – manual or automatic.

The Q Series is equipped the extended SmartTouch display and all the latest guidance technology.

In automatic mode, the transmission selects the lowest possible engine revs to maintain the lowest fuel consumption.

"The driver sets the speed using the drive pedal, drive lever, or cruise control.

The team tends to work in automatic mode, drilling at speeds of up to 16km/h while engine rpm sits comfortably around 1,700rpm.

“The ideal scenario would be if Valtra could offer the ML260 transmission in the T Series, particularly the T255 which is powershift only,” Michael outlined.

Chassis and backend

As standard, the Qs come fitted with a 205l/min LS hydraulic pump while the whole back end is uprated to offer a lift capacity of 10t while the front is rated for 5t in comparison to 9t and 5.5t on the T Series.

A small but time saving feature the lads pointed out is the addition pressure release levers on the spools for easier coupling/uncoupling.

The Q has a wheelbase of 3,050mm, marginally longer than the T Series at 2,995mm. It weighs in at 9.2t which is 1.1t heavier than the T Series.

However, it can be easily ballasted up to 16,000kg. Michael said: “For our heaviest work, the weight of the Q is pretty much ideal. From a distance you’d mistake it for a T Series.

The return-to-centre shuttle lever is a small but welcomed feature.

“It’s seriously compact and versatile and doesn’t look out of place on a Fusion baler if there’s a pinch point where we don’t have the N or a T free,” Michael said.

The notable differences inside the 5th generation cab which the lads welcome is the LCD corner post display and the return-to-centre shuttle lever.


The Q305 is equipped with the extended SmartTouch display.

This allows guidance and all tractor related information to be displayed on the primary terminal with the second terminal used Isobus implement such as the Pronto drill.

Michaels’s Q is also equipped with Valtra SmartTurn automated headland turning, Auto U-Pilot and section control.

The Q305 is equipped with five rear spool valves and a 200l/min load sensing hydrualic pump.

Auto U-Pilot is a feature whereby the tractor creates a virtual headland boundary, and once the tractor passes it, the headland management system automatically engages to perform the turning sequence and continue the next bout without the drivers input.

Keen to monitor running costs, Valtra Connect is up and running across the fleet so that both Michael and the team along with his dealer, Kilkenny Agri Machinery can monitor real time usage and maintenance data.

At a glance the Q Series could be mistaken for a T Series.

Having operated modern Fendt’s, Massey’s and Claas tractors, both Michael and the team describe the SmartTouch platform as being one of the most intuitive and easy used platforms available, especially when it comes to getting a casual operator up and running for the first time.


After 29 years with the Valtra brand and 18 tractors later, Michael continues to be more than happy with both machine and the service provided from his local dealer.

“The earlier 50 Series were great dependable workhorses. The second and third generation T Series were great tractors too.

“However, like anything, some models had their issues. We had a T190 which was probably the most unlucky out of all but between Valtra and Kilkenny Agri Machinery we were looked after.”

The Q305 is fitted with 710/70 R42 and 600/70 R28 Trelleborg VF tyres.

“All in all, the Q305 has so far really impressed us. We’ve ran it alongside other brands of similar horsepower and it hands down is ahead on fuel economy. I really think Valtra has hit the nail on the head with it from start to finish. There is genuinely little to fault with it. In hindsight I should have looked into a central tyre inflation system to further optimise performance and economy,” Michael said.


  • Transmission.
  • Compactness.
  • Power to weight ratio
  • Fuel economy
  • Dislikes:

  • Lack of valve guards on wheel rims led to a puncture.
  • The Spec

  • Engine: 7.4-litre AGCO Power.
  • Horsepower: 305hp.
  • Transmission: AGCO CVT (ML 260).
  • Hydraulics: 200 l/min.
  • Unladen weight: 9.2t.
  • Rear lift capacity: 10t.
  • Payload: 16t.
  • List price: €326,000 plus VAT.
  • The ML260 CVT transmission is a major selling point according to Michael.

    Denis Dempsey, Mossy Scallon, Hunor Kovacs, Damien Doyle and Michael Cloney.