Last week Case IH invited us ag media types down to Iowa to see what they had in store for 2018. Using their pavilion on the grounds of U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, the marketing staff not only let us see what machines they were introducing, we actually had a chance to drive them. And not just through a winding course set up with flags, as is often the case with many of these types of events held by various brands. This time, we could operate the tractors under load, which really provides the best opportunity to see what they’re capable of.
So what exactly did they show us? Well, to start with, there is the all-new Trident combination sprayer-dry spreader. Marketers emphasized this isn’t just a tinkered-with Patriot. The Trident was designed as a completely new machine, even going so far as to offer a suspension system that has little if anything in common with the Patriots’.
But what really made news for the brand this year is a pair of new transmissions. The Maxxums get a 24 x 24 power-shift that seems to come close to a CVT in the way it can be controlled.
And CVT is, in fact, the other transmission introduced by the brand this year, but this time it debuts in the Steiger line of four-wheel drives. It will be available in the 370 through 540 models, and marketing staff claims those tractors will be the first on the market with an articulated chassis to offer a true CVT. I think they’re right about that. The only other tractors with comparable horsepower that offer a CVT are Claas’ Xerion models. And they are a rigid-frame design.
Back at Boone, I and all the other editors had a chance to get behind the wheel of a Steiger and work at one of four different field jobs, actually making the tractors grunt a little.
Pushing around a very large pile of compost, a job similar to packing a silage pit, it was clear having a CVT with a shuttle shift in a tractor that size would be a real advantage.
And that new power-shift in the Maxxum tractors with the brake-to-clutch feature brings them up to speed with competing brands that offer similar technology. One of the things I was able to try out on the Maxxum was handling large round bales, loading and unloading them onto a trailer. That transmission provides a lot of nice features for the task.
One thing is clear from spending a day with those machines: operating today’s new equipment is getting much easier and much more convenient than it used to be. Although no matter which machines from which brands I get a chance to operate, it does take a bit of explaining to understand what all those controls and buttons do.