Updates, redesigns and new track options. There’s plenty of news in the world of tractors.
John Deere adds new 8R tractor, refines its 9R Series
John Deere announced a change to its 9R tractors this year. The steel fuel tank previously used on these models has been redesigned for better rear visibility and changed to a composite material construction.
“Our new design incorporates a slope that not only improves the aesthetics of the tractor, but also allows us to have better visuals to the rear and the sides,” said Jarred Karnai, Deere’s Prepare marketing manager, as he introduced the new tractors to the farm media at the company’s Des Moines, Iowa, facility. “This design also allows us to have dual-fill capability. The operator can fill the fuel tank from either the right or left-hand side.”
The new tank capacity for the two smaller 9Rs will be 320 U.S. gallons (1,211 litres). The larger 9250R and 9620R will get 400 gallons (1,514 litres) of fuel storage.
And the brand has added more muscle to its 8R line this year, with the introduction of a 400 horsepower model. The new 8400R becomes the flagship model for the 8R range. It brings the total number of wheeled models in this series to seven, all of which now span the 245 to 400 engine horsepower range.
The 8400R uses Deere’s PSS 9 litre Tier 4 Final-compliant PowerTech diesel mated to the brand’s e23 powershift transmission. In the hydraulics department, this tractor is no slouch. A standard 227 l/min flow rate can be upgraded to 321 with the dual pump option. The tractor can push 153 l/min out of a single SCV with the dual pump package.
A premium LED lighting package is available that can provide 40 per cent more coverage than the standard HID package and do it with a 45 per cent lower amperage load. Independently linked front axle suspension is available across the full 8R Series, and front wheel brakes are an option.
Active Command Steering provides a variable rate steering option that can automatically alter the steering input from 3.5 to five full steering wheel turns from lock to lock, depending on the speed of the tractor. When travelling at road speeds, the system will automatically make small steering adjustments to keep the tractor moving in a straight line when necessary. It also helps prevent oversteering if an operator needs to make a sudden correction to avoid a hazard.
Another feature of Active Command that helps make things easier on the operator is the steering wheel resistance automatically changes with ground speed. It will respond to light steering effort at slower speeds for less effort during headland turns, but at transport speeds higher steering wheel torque is required.
AGCO tops up its Challenger line
In August AGCO executives literally pulled the wraps off a 1000 Series Challenger-branded tractor at the U.S. Farm Progress Show. In reality, it was the second major introduction for these tractors, which were first introduced into AGCO’s Fendt line, but seeing them wrapped in Challenger colours was what was new. The Challenger line is AGCO’s most popular North American marquee.
The four models in the rigid-frame 1000 Series offer 396 to 517 horsepower. Under the skin, the 1000 Series Challengers remain essentially the same tractors as the Fendt versions, although their components get Challenger nomenclature. Under the hood, they are one of the few machines in the AGCO stable to use something other than AGCOPower diesels. They get, instead, a MAN 12.4 litre, six-cylinder that puts out 1,770 pound-feet of torque at a leisurely 1,100 r.p.m.
In September AGCO announced the introduction of the MT400E series mid-range tractors. Basically, a sister line to AGCO’s Massey Ferguson 6700S Series, the MT400Es offer 120 to 160 horsepower, but in this colour there are five models to chose from in that expanded power range, growing in size by 10 horsepower increments.
These models use the 4.9 litre four-cylinder diesel with the same three transmissions choices as in the MF along with the same basic specifications.
New Massey Ferguson 5700, 6700 and 6700S W Series tractors
“The (Massey Ferguson) Global Series is the largest product investment in AGCO’s history,” said Warren Morris, AGCO’s tractor marketing manager for under 150 horsepower, as the new 5700 and 6700 Series machines were introduced at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, in August.
“This is a clean-sheet design,” he added. “We started with thousands and thousands of hours of customer feedback.”
These two series join the smaller 4700 “Global” models the brand first introduced at Agritechnica 2015. The 5700s offer 100 and 110 horsepower, while the 6700s are rated at 120 and 130.
“(They are) a series of heavy-duty utility tractors that can be used in a wide variety of applications,” Morris added.
They rely on 4.4 litre AGCOPower diesels and are available with 12F/12R electro-hydraulic or syncro shuttle transmissions with or without cabs.
“The goal of the global platform is to create a (tractor) platform with a lot of commonality that allows us to mix and match components across the series,” said Morris.
AGCO also unveiled its 6700S Series MF tractors at the same show, describing them as “big mid-range tractors”. Powered by an AGCOPower 4.9 litre diesel the three tractors in this series, which offer 140 to 160 horsepower, are available with three transmission options, including a CVT.
The engines use an SCR-only emissions solution, meaning no DPF or exhaust gas recirculation. They also offer an electronic engine management system to help minimize fuel consumption.
The 6700S models are upgraded versions of the previous 6600 Series, according Eric Zimmerman, MF tactical marketing manager for MF and Challenger high-horsepower tractors. “What we focused on was power, comfort, technology and ease of use,” he said.
For the comfort end of things, the 6700S offers an active mechanical cab suspension. “It gives us about a 30 per cent better ride quality,” said Zimmerman. “When it comes to technology, you can get these fully telemetry ready right from the factory. We’ve also got a 190 l/min flow option for our closed-centre hydraulics.”
An economy open-centre system is also available along with four PTO options.
MTZ offers four-track K744
This year MTZ Equipment added to its product line at the high-horsepower end with the reintroduction of the Kirovets K744 four-wheel drive tractor. Powering it is a Tier 3 OM460LA turbocharged Mercedes Benz diesel, so it won’t require DEF or a particulate exhaust filter.
Behind the K744’s German engine is a 16F/8R partial power shift allowing on-the-go gear changes within each of four forward ranges and two reverse. The tractor rides on a suspended front axle and has a respectable 300 l/min. hydraulic flow rate. It comes equipped with a category III and IV three-point rear hitch, which has a lift capacity of 9,000 kilograms. “Self-locking” differentials help improve traction.
Price is this brand’s strong selling point. When loaded with the most popular options (duals, PTO, in-cab hitch control), the K744 is priced at U.S. $227,730.
This fall, MTZ announced the K744 could be ordered from the factory with four rubber tracks instead of tires. The modules, built by Quebec-based Soucy Track, will slightly reduce the tractor’s ground speed, but not significantly according to MTZ. Exact pricing for a tracked model was not yet available at the time of writing.
New Holland T9s: cost-efficient track option
New Holland is now offering a new track module option on its T9 tractors.
“This (heavy-duty ATI track module) is what we announced four years ago,” said Dan Valen, cash crop segment marketing manager at NH, while standing in front of a tracked T9 at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in August. “The high idler design has much better climbing ability, actually much better tractive ability. However, it came at a price premium.”
Those heavy duty modules, built by ATI, were originally designed for mining equipment. They’re so heavily built that NH believes they will actually last for the life of three tractors.
“However, we had a certain customer that said, I don’t need all that capability,” Valen added. “I need something that is a little more price conscious, a little more simple and will give us better turning capability.”
The new T9 SmartTrax standard module he went on to introduce at the show is designed to meet exactly that market demand. “They’ll also do that at about a $30,000 less-per-vehicle price point,” he said.
The new modules are similar to those used on Case IH’s Steiger Quadtracs.