It was a little surprising. The green brand usually keeps its cards close to its chest—so to speak—when it comes to future product developments. So in August when John Deere chose to give dealers and the media who were at the brand’s Milwaukee convention a quick look at what is likely its most anticipated machine in a long time, a 9R tractor wearing four tracks, it certainly generated some discussion among farm journalists.
Although it won’t form part of the brand’s lineup just yet, the four-track, articulated tractor designated the 9RX will before long, said a senior executive. But it is officially just a prototype at this stage.
A couple of years ago, the company also provided a similar teaser when a pair of its race-oriented Gators roared across the stage during the official presentation show a year before their official introduction. That was in Indianpolis, if my memory serves me correctly. This year’s brief appearance of a four-track 9RX was almost as fleeting. But it seemed to have a much grater impact. The 9RX prototype was greeted like a rock star by dealers during its cameo appearance.
“They (customers) have been asking for it for a long time,” said a friend who is John Deere salesman when we spoke a few days ago. But it was the HydraCushion front axle suspension system for 9R tractors that really impressed him. “To me, that made the whole trip worthwhile,” he said. The ability to deliver more power to the ground by improving traction, one of the key benefits of the HydraCushion, means he can sell lower horsepower models to farmers, he explained. That has the affect of reducing purchase prices and helps make the green brand’s tractors more competitive.
The HydraCushion will be available on the 9620R, 9570R and 9520R, which share the same large chassis. It will have a retail cost of about U.S.$9,000 and debuts on the 2015 models.
Watch for a pair of videos on the new 9R tractors coming to Grainews.ca in the next couple of weeks, including a look at the 9RX. They’ll be posted under the e-QuipTV heading. Just click on the Videos link to get there.