Senior management at Versatile had a
lot to talk about on the 26th of October. The Clarence
Avenue assembly plant in Winnipeg celebrated completion of the
100,000th tractor built there since it began production in
1966. The milestone model, a 305 MFWD, along with the dealer that
sold it and the customers who bought it were present for a special
ceremony as the tractor rolled off one of the plant’s two assembly
With all the pomp and pageantry you’d
expect on such an occasion, media, plant employees, customers and
dealers were present as the keys were handed over to the new owners,
who are longtime Versatile customers from the U.S. midwest.
The 305 was given a custom paint job
along with an ample serving of chrome accessories, to make it a one
of a kind.
But the company had other big news to
share. It has updated the models in its articulated four-wheel drive
lineup. For 2012, the big tractors will use either a QSX 11.9-litre
or 15-litre Cummins Tier IV-compliant engine, depending on the model.
The current 305 horsepower articulated tractor will be dropped, and
the new line will include six models in the 350 to 550 horsepower
range. Versatile’s largest model, the 575, will stay in production;
but it will continue to use the existing Tier III engine for the time
A Caterpillar powershift transmission
modified specifically for Versatile’s application will now be
available in all the new large tractors. It offers eight,
closely-spaced gears in the critical working range, which gives
operators a lot of choices when selecting the right field speeds.
And if two major announcements wasn’t
enough, management also gave the media a glimpse of its prototype
combine, which is currently undergoing field trials in North America.
The fact a combine will soon wear the Versatile name is possibly the
worst-kept secret in the farm equipment industry today. But for the
first time we had a chance to take a few photos of it behind the
Winnipeg factory, as long as we kept our distance. With 485
horsepower, the Torum 760 fits in at the high end of the Class IIX
Everyone in Versatile management was
tight lipped about the details under the sheet metal, but they did
say the rotary threshing mechanism uses a counter-rotating concave.
When will the company officially launch it? “Sooner rather than
later,” was the official response. I’ll keep you posted.