While channel surfing with the TV remote control this week, I noticed that the American Music Awards were on. And now the news, and the other fashion programs my wife watches, are busy doing a forensic analysis of the gowns worn by all the celebrity women attending it. I’m sure just some of the shoes worn on that red carpet had a retail price higher than my old pickup truck.
As an aside, I wasn’t even sure who half of those “artists” were. I guess I’ll have to switch the satellite radio stations I usually have playing in my workshop away from classic country and 60s or 70s hits once in a while.
There is certainly no shortage of awards shows these days. There’s the Junos, the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and the list goes on. Even we farm journalists have our awards night once a year in Canada, although it doesn’t exactly make primetime television. Did you know there are awards nights going on in the farm machinery sector too?
For those who follow the machinery industry closely, it won’t surprise you that the Tractor of the Year Awards were handed out last week. A panel of machinery journalists from 24 European media outlets get together once a year to pick a winner from the list of entrants. Brands are free to enter one of their production tractors in each of the categories: Tractor of the Year (field), Best Utility, Best of Specialized, and Best Design.
The TOTY Awards were started in 1998 by an Italian publication, and the idea has become very popular in Europe. Winners are announced at the Italian EIMA show and Agritechnica in Germany on alternating years.
Judges are supposed to look at the technology packed into the tractors and pick a winner based on its features and capabilities.
So who won this year?
Tractor of the Year (field) goes to the Case IH Optum 300 CVX. Best Utility went to sister brand New Holland for its T5.120. In the specialized category (think vineyard tractors and the like) the prize went to Italian builder Antonio Carrero for its odd looking Tony 9800 TR. And Best Design was snagged by Deutz-Fahr for its handsome looking 6215 RCShift.
Although there are virtually no Deutz-Fahr dealers west of Manitoba, the 6 Series tractors will be available in Canada by spring 2017, according to the brand.
And you have to remember these tractors are picked by Europeans based on farmers’ needs and expectations over there. Would we pick the same tractors on this side of the Atlantic? Maybe, but I suspect there would be a couple of differences. The categories might not even be the same in North America. For example, we might be better served with splitting the field tractor category into articulated and rigid-frame segments.
Do we need a similar competition over here? Good question. If you’re a company that wants to sponsor such an event, let me know. I’d be glad to round up some machinery experts and sit in judgement on the current crop of machines. But given the kind of impressive technology I’ve seen in tractors of all colours over the past couple of years, picking a winner wouldn’t be easy.