Aebi TT 241⁺: indispensable on slopes as well as wide open spaces
Andi Lampert breeds Black Angus cattle in the Engadin, a high Alpine valley in eastern Switzerland that is often compared to the west of Canada. Andi’s new Aebi Terratrac is the most important vehicle on his farm, but he deliberately didn’t go for the model with the most powerful engine.
The Engadin is a wide, long, cold valley that climbs to almost 2,000 metres above sea level at Lake Sils. Very few other places in Switzerland feature a landscape so similar to that of the cold Canadian West. But Andi Lampert speaks the Prättigau dialect from the area at the other end of the Vereina Tunnel to the Engadin, where farming is steep and fragmented. When his parents lost the lease on a small farm in St. Antönien at the end of the 1990s, they applied for the lease on a farm in St. Moritz that had just become available, even though they held out little hope of getting it – yet out of 50 applicants, they hit the jackpot. Since then, Andi has put down deep roots in the Engadin – with family, animals, farms and machinery. While his latest vehicle may not be the biggest, it’s certainly the most versatile: the Aebi TT 241+.
In 2011, Andi Lampert was able to lease a farm in Celerina with his wife Flurina and their three children. Finally, in 2016, he bought a business in La Punt Chamues-ch. There, right on the first twisting turns of the Albula Pass, he now has a space for breeding his Black Angus cattle – a large barn with a state-of-the-art timber construction. He operates a suckler cow business and owns around 50 cows and their many calves. The Lampert family currently runs three farms in the Engadin – the one belonging to Andi’s parents in St. Moritz, whose lease will be handed over when his father, Andres, retires, the leased operation with the house in Celerina and the owned business in La Punt Chamues-ch.
The machinery wasn’t enough for the Engadin
The Lamperts’ new home is just under 50 kilometres as the crow flies to the south of their old one in St. Antönien, but the landscape couldn’t be more different: cold, vast and with long winters that last until May. “Our old machinery lacked the capabilities required for this new environment,” explains Andi Lampert. “Here in the Engadin, we only have one harvest a year.” In order to keep the same amount of livestock as they had in Prättigau, they need at least double the amount of land. The distances are long, and the yield per hectare is low. Andi Lampert farms 70 hectares, his father Andres has another 35, so together they have over 100 hectares – the average Swiss mountain farms have only around 19 hectares. The usual mountain machinery just doesn’t do the job. Father and son share their machinery, meaning they clock up an above-average number of operating hours and achieve efficient usage. They do around 90% of all their work together.
Since spring 2021, the Aebi TT 241+ has been part of their fleet of vehicles, maintained by the Lamperts’ preferred supplier, Kohler Landmaschinen in Zizers. Two tractors, an Aebi transporter and an Aebi Terratrac – a total of four machines, therefore – are a moderate mechanical workforce for dealing with an area this large. The Terratrac is the machine that’s compatible with the most attachments, including the disc mower, belt rake, mulcher, snow blower, snow plough, rotary tedder, bale tongs and harrow. Most importantly, all of the attachments are driven by the axle. This avoids cases of attachments like mulchers, mowers and snow blowers digging into the ground because they are unable to compensate for any unevenness.
Minimal machinery, many operating hours
Andi Lampert’s Terratrac operates for around 500 hours every year to deal with all the many jobs he has to get done. “We didn’t choose the most powerful engine; we chose the most powerful hydraulics,” he says. Another deciding factor was that they could continue to use all their existing attachments, as the rotational direction on all Terratrac models can be defined. After all, replacing the many attachments all at the same time would not be financially viable.
The Engadin isn’t just wide and flat. The full length of the valley is scattered with ancient terracing that was heaped up by hand. To the sides of these terraces, the land is extremely steep. Andi Lampert therefore appreciates the unbeatable off-road capability of his Terratrac, which allows him to work on steep slopes that would be dangerous even for people on foot. The Terratrac can do this because in many respects, it is built like a racing car, with a wide track width, extremely low centre of gravity, powerful brakes and optimal weight distribution. Plus, the more pleasant and comfortable a workspace is, the more ergonomic the design of all the controls and the better the cabin is protected, the safer and more efficient the work will be.
A comfortable cabin for improved health and safety when working
In this case, comfort doesn’t mean luxury, but rather safe working and increased productivity. Andi Lampert comments on this: “We spend so much time sitting on these machines and working with great concentration on difficult terrain, so anything that can improve well-being is a win for our health and safety when working.” Andi Lampert would therefore never get rid of his TT 241+. It’s ideal for the steep slopes of the Engadin, for the expanse of the Engadin and for the cold of the Engadin – where the life of a farmer is a little bit like it is in Canada.