Versatile marks half century of prairie power

The Winnipeg company celebrated the milestone with an anniversary limited edition 550 h.p. Delta Track

The era of truly simple, low-cost four-wheel-drive tractors has come to a close, but Canada’s only tractor company continues that tradition in the modern world.

The first Versatile four-wheel-drive tractors coughed to life in 1966 at a newly constructed factory in Winnipeg.

With a sticker price of less than $10,000, the bright red D100 diesel and G100 gas units soon earned a reputation for giving farmers a lot of power for the buck, with simplicity and reliability thrown in as part of the deal.

To mark the 50th anniversary of those first cab-less four-wheel-drives, Versatile built 50 Legendary Limited Edition (LLE) 2016 tractors, available only to farm families with a tradition of buying Versatile machines.

The buyers officially took delivery of their new tractors at a special event July 6 at the Versatile test track near Sanford, Man.

The first LLE is a 550 horsepower Delta Track wearing serial number 5001. It was purchased by John Kutz of Elrose Sask.

He farms 7,200 acres with his sons Blayne and Jordan and his father, Leonard. Leonard bought his first Versatile 835 Series 2 about 40 years ago.

“We kept that one probably eight or 10 years. It was our only big tractor,” said John.

Summerfallow put a lot of hours on everybody’s main tractors in those years, he added.

Kutz said they still get all their work done with just one big tractor, pulling a 56 foot air drill at five m.p.h., working on average 18 hours per day.

“I think we’ve had a total of six Versatile tractors altogether. That includes our first 550 Delta Track machine we bought last spring before we could buy this anniversary edition,” he said. “We’ve stayed with the Versatile line all along. They’ve been reliable. We’ve always got good service. They’re not overly complicated.”

Kutz said the days of truly simple tractors are long gone. Creeping complexity has made them less reliable in many situations, another reason he sticks with the Winnipeg-built machines.

“I think it (Versatile) still is a simpler tractor compared to the other big tractors out there. That’s why we stay with them.”

Visit producer.com for more photographs of the Versatile coverage. As well, look for an upcoming story about the engineering of the Delta Track machines.

About the author

Comments

explore

Stories from our other publications