The country needs a new powerful tractor
In 1961, the engineers of the oldest tractor-building plant in the USSR - the Leningrad Kirov Tractor Plant - received a government assignment to develop the first wheeled tractor of the 5th traction class in the Soviet Union in the shortest possible time. The whole campaign was in full swing, and most of the farmers worked in the fields on low-power agricultural machines, mainly caterpillar or the ones on metal wheels. The party and the government, after all, set a task for the country's agrarians to bring the average annual grain harvest to 238-24Z million tons in the coming years. However, how can this be done with old agricultural equipment? A new tractor is needed to meet modern challenges. The developers took the American agricultural machine John Deere as a basis for the new tractor. In a few months, a sketch design of a new generation Soviet K-700 tractor was presented to the government commission. In January 1962, it was time to get approval of the technical project, and in the same year, on 13 July, the K-700 tractor appeared on the field of a rural farm. The machine impressed with its size. It weighed 11 tons, was 7 m long and over 3 m high. The K-700 had a speed of up to 10 kilometers per hour. It was able to pull an eight-plow unit with a furrow depth of 25-27 cm. The speed from which tractor moved along the state farm field, lifting large layers of land, was also astonishing. The first "Kirovets" K-700 passed the tests brilliantly. It was easy and service friendly, it was distinguished by its high reliability; this machinery could be used in a variety of agricultural work, and this includes difficult climatic conditions. The project developed by the engineers of the Kirov plant proved to be successful.
Photo by selhoztehnik.com
K-700 Tractor Characteristics
The engineers equipped the K-700 with a four-stroke eight-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 220 horsepower, turbocharger and two-stage air purification system. It was a revolutionary development in tractor construction. The working conditions of the tractor driver were not neglected either. The cabin of the K-700 was all-metal, airtight. Ventilation and heating system, as well as spring-loaded seats were also provided. On the front wall there was a special panel with control devices, toggle switches and warning lights. Other new features were rear-view mirrors, wipers, sun visors, interior lighting, turn signal lights, parking lights and brake lights. The tractor driver always had a first aid kit at hand. There was even a special tank for drinking water.
Production rate of Kirovets K-700 tractor
However, mass production of the new tractor was not in discussion yet in the early sixties. In March 1963, seven more Kirovets of the K-700 made their way to the Leningrad Region fields. A few months later, about fifty more. Only the following year, 1200 units of new agricultural machinery were produced. Then, as they say, it took off from there. Already in 1963, the Kirov plant supplied the farmers of the country with 3,820 new off-highway agricultural machinery, and ten years later, one hundred thousand "Kirovets" were already working in the Soviet Union fields. These production rates did not slow down until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thus, in 1980, the country already had two hundred thousand K-700 tractors, in 1985 - 300 thousand. The record-breaking year was 1987. Then 23,003 tractors were produced in the shops of the plant. The global tractor-building industry did not see anything like this yet. Incidentally, the new Soviet tractor was appreciated almost immediately abroad. In 1968 in Germany "Kirovets" was awarded a gold medal at the exhibition of agricultural machinery, and a year later in the French capital at the 40th Paris Salon - an exhibition of tractors and agricultural machinery, it was marked as the world's most powerful agricultural wheeled tractor. In fact, its developers claimed that the K-700 was ahead of its foreign counterparts for almost 30 years.
Different models of the K-700 tractor
It was this powerful tractor that accounted for up to 40% of the main agricultural work in the USSR in the 70-80s. This machinery allowed to increase the efficiency of agricultural works by 2,5-3 times in comparison with other tractors. The improved model K-700A with the motor of 235 horse powers became the most popular among agrarians. Its production was launched in 1975. At the same time, the second generation tractor K-701 was produced. It was equipped with a powerful engine of 300 horsepower. In addition, it served as a basis for the next tractor modification - K-701 and K-702. The K-700 tractor of different models was produced in the shops of the Kirov plant up until 2002. Then it was taken out of production and modern agricultural machinery "Kirovets" K-744 began to be assembled.