On December 1st, Case IH announced it had just shipped the first production tractor that meets the U.S. EPA’s Tier 4A emissions standards—a 180 Magnum, as it turns out. Officially, tractors over 175 horsepower manufactured after January 1st must comply with that regulation if they are to be sold in the U.S.
Although Canada’s federal regulation governing off-road vehicle emissions has not yet been formally updated, it is expected it will fall into line with the EPA’s in the next few months. That will harmonize regulations in the U.S., Canada and all of the European Union. So manufacturers will begin supplying tractors with the new technology to the Canadian market at the same time other countries get them.
That means farmers here will have to ante up for higher purchase prices because of the new technology, just like their U.S. and European counterparts. Generally, the January changeover date has had farmers in the U.S. moving their buying plans forward to snap up the last of the lower-cost, Tier 3-equipped models. Sales figures down there have been soaring in recent months because of it.
Paul Fortkamp, left, chats with Jim Walker, Case IH’s North American VP, at the tractor assembly plant in Wisconsin. Fortkamp is the first farmer to purchase a Case IH tractor that uses Tier 4A engine emissions technology. Photo: courtesy Case IH.
But Paul Fortkamp, a Fort Recovery, Ohio, producer who farms poultry, corn and soybeans decided to buck that trend and buy Case IH’s first Tier 4A tractor. Instead of getting one of the last Tier 3 engine designs, he went for the new technology. Part of the reward for that decision, according to Case IH, is he gets the title of “world’s first” farmer to take delivery of a tractor with Tier 4A technology. Despite the likely higher purchase price, Fortkamp says he’s taking a long-term view of costs and wants the new engine in order to save on operating expenses.
“The SCR technology makes the 180 more fuel efficient, which is important for me as I try to reduce my input costs,” he said through Case IH’s press release. “It’s also the perfect size for my operation. It’s narrow enough for my rows, but big enough for a grain cart.”
At a ceremony at the company’s Racine, Wisconsin, assembly plant, Fortkamp was introduced to his new workhorse as it stood at the end of the assembly line. It, like all of Case IH’s new high horsepower tractors, uses selective catalytic reduction technology to meet emissions standards, which means adding a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to reduce NOx emissions.
Executives in charge of marketing at Case IH have been emphasizing that despite the need to use DEF, the new engines—designed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies—are capable cutting operating costs by 10 per cent. Depending on the number of operating hours per year, that could be a substantial saving.
In fact, all the manufacturers are claiming their new Tier 4A engines are thrifty and cost effective, even when compared to previous Tier 3 designs. It would be nice if farmers could save operating costs while saving the planet at the same time. Now that he has his new tractor, Mr. Fortkamp will be one of the first to find out for himself if that can really be done.