The most woman-friendly tractor was elected yesterday during Ladies Day at the 72nd edition of Agribex, the biennial fair for agriculture, livestock, garden and green areas. An all-female jury judged no fewer than 22 entered tractors on ergonomics, appearance and “feminine touches.” The New Holland T5.140 was chosen in the under 150 hp category, and the Fendt 728 was the winner in the over 150 hp category.
Although the agricultural sector has a tough, masculine image, we often forget how many women work in agriculture. Just in Belgium, 20.000 women work in our industry. In Flanders, about 11 percent of farm and horticulture company managers are women. The tractor is a crucial implement on farms. But are tractors made for women drivers? 7 women, 3 Flemish, 3 from Wallonia and 1 from Brussels, made up the jury who searched for the most women-friendly tractor during Ladies Day at Agribex . All registered importers nominated 1 or 2 tractors, 22 tractors in total were judged on ergonomics, appearance and practical elements.
In the <150 hp category, the New Holland T5.140 was voted the most woman-friendly tractor. According to the judges, this tractor deserves the award because of its wide upward visibility and the light in the cabin, which is also spacious in proportion to the size of the tractor. The cabin also has room for a child carrier, an important feature since many women take their children with them to work on or around the farm. The New Holland’s controls are simple and easily accessible. The tractor’s interior has a nice finish with color accents, which also appealed to the judges.
In tractors >150 hp, the Fendt 728 won the pink ribbon. This tractor scored well on ergonomics, with a comfortable armrest and easily accessible controls grouped by function. The cabin is easily accessible and has a good rear visibility. This spacious cabin has room for a child seat and a large cooler, according to the judges.
The idea for this playful contest came from Kim Schoukens, editor-in-chief of Women in Ag Magazine, an international magazine for women in agriculture. “The agricultural sector still is very much male-dominated. In recent years, however, women have become increasingly prominent. During conversations with women farmers, I regularly hear them mention non adapted or ill-fitting work equipment, clothing and the like,” she explains. “Tractors are still mainly designed from a male point of view. Just think about the design of control levers or adjustability of the driver’s seat: too big, out of reach, requires too much physical strength. With this contest, we wanted to point out, in a playful manner, that women also have their place in the industry. We don’t expect clichés like makeup mirrors or pink details in the cabin, but female input could absolutely be taken into account more often while designing agricultural equipment.”
“This is the third edition of Ladies Day at Agribex. We as an organisation and many other actors of our industry feel that there is insufficient awareness and respect for all the work women do in our agriculture and horticulture sector,” says Gracienne Geenens, the driving force behind Ladies Day at Agribex. “By choosing the most female-friendly tractor, we want to playfully remind manufacturers that not only men drive tractors. We don’t mean to cause hostility, but a fun little reminder that we are here and we’re not going anywhere couldn’t hurt!”