elcome to the largest and most significant product launch in AGCO’s history.” With those words Jason Marx, vice president of marketing, North America, began his address to the more than 1,700 people in attendance at AGCO’s 2011 dealer convention and product launch in Kansas City, Missouri.
With the company introducing new machines in 15 equipment categories, executives later told members of the farm media that they believe it is, in fact, the largest single product launch the industry in North America has ever seen.
During a question and answer session with farm writers, members of AGCO management said — more than once — they intend make the company a leader in the industry by focusing on routinely developing leading-edge technology for its products. The new machines introduced this summer certainly get that process off to a good start.
With so much equipment debuting, it’s impossible to talk about everything, but here’s a look at some of the machines that will be of interest to most broad-acre, Prairie farmers.
SUNFLOWER 9800 SINGLE-DISC AIR DRILL AND 9900 CART
Last winter AGCO announced it had partnered with U.S.-based Amity Technologies to bring that company’s air seeder into the AGCO fold. As a result, the drill Amity had been selling on its own is now the Sunflower 9800, and the air cart is the model 9900. When a prototype model rolled into view during the parade of new products in Kansas City, it generated a spontaneous round of applause from enthusiastic dealers.
Canadian farmers may have seen this drill at the Western Canadian Farm Progress Show last year at Amity’s display. According to Jack Oberlander, product specialist for the 9900 and 9800, the Sunflower drill’s design is basically unchanged from the original Amity product. However, it’s now backed by AGCO’s warranty, extensive dealer network and parts support service.
For 2012, the 9800 will be available in 30, 40 and 50-foot widths. With down pressure adjustable on the go, the drill is capable of seeding into firm, no-till seedbeds or loose cultivated soil. Each gauge/ packer wheel is designed to minimize sidewall compaction on the seed trench and covers a pair of rows, which are six inches apart. Each pair of rows are spaced nine inches apart, giving the drill an average seven-inch row spacing. Changing seeding depth is done with shims, and it takes less than two minutes to set any working depth up to three inches.
The long opener arm ratio gives this drill the ability to work at high field speeds. “It was called the speed drill when it was first produced (in Australia),” says Oberlander. “We’ve had farmers seed at 13 miles per hour and had them report back to us that there was no difference (in placement accuracy).” The drill can be equipped with optional mid-row fertilizer openers.
The model 9900 air cart is built entirely of stainless steel. “It’s not the cheapest route to go, but it’s the best,” says Oberlander. Available in three sizes from 280 to 525 bushels, the cart has up to three compartments and is capable of triple shooting product. The fluted meter is available in four different configurations, making it capable of handling any size of seed from canola to sunflowers.
Eventually, the cart will offer an additional 32-bushel small product compartment, but that won’t be available on the initial 2012 models.
9500 SERIES MASSEY FERGUSON COMBINES
The 9500 Series combines replace the existing 9600 models. There are three versions in the new line up. The 9520 is the smallest, with 313 horsepower. The two larger models, the 9540 and 9560 use AGCO’s new 7-cylinder 9.8 litre diesel which puts out 370 horsepower in the 9540 and 460 in the 9560. The 9.8 is based on the same block as the six-cylinder 8.4 version in the 9520. That means the two engines share many of the same components.
“The 9520 is relatively unchanged form the previous model it replaces, the 9695,” says Kevin Cobb, product marketing manager for MF combines. But the story is much different for the two larger machines. They use a redesigned processor called the Trident, which includes a segmented rotor, new rotor-inlet design and processor cage. A spring-dampened, “H”-frame support linkage protects the concaves from overload.
To keep dust out, the cooling systems are protected by the “V-Cool” air intake system, which uses a thermostatically controlled, hydraulically-driven fan that shuts down when not required. It can work through a reverse cycle to purge itself automatically when airflow restriction is sensed. (The 9520 now uses this system, too.) The engine intake pulls clean air through the V-Cool system as well. “(Because of that) our engine air filters are lasting easily 10 times longer,” says Cobb.
At the rear end, the MAV (maximum air velocity) chopper can spread chaff and material wide enough to work with the widest headers.
A completely new windrower hits dealers’ lots for 2012. The WR9700 Series Hesston by Massey Ferguson line has five models ranging from 100 to 220 horsepower. “It’s been in the making for three years,” says Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for hay and forage, about the line. “We’ve had a lot of customer input. They want to go fast in the field. So in order to do that, we’ve made a lot of changes.”
Among the new features on these machines is the same V-Cool air intake system used by the 9500 combines. They also use an electric-over-hydraulic steering system that allows for “plug and play” GPS auto-steer. All hydraulic, engine and drive functions are controlled through an onboard computer terminal.
To make high-speed field operation comfortable for the operator, the WR9700s offer the new GlideRider rear axle suspension and a more comfortable cab. “We’ve changed the inside of the cab dramatically,” says Morrell. “We got rid of a lot of clutter.”
NEW MID-RANGE TRACTORS
The previous MF 6400 and 7400 Series tractors will soon go extinct and be replaced by the new 7600 Series line, with four models in the 140 to 180 PTO horsepower range. Next year the line will grow to five models. The equivalent line in the Challenger brand, the MT500, will see similar upgrades and be designated MT500D.
The 7600 Series MF tractors will be very similar to their bigger brothers in the current 8600 Series, that includes sharing the same exterior body styling, which means it gets a wasp-waisted hood and shorter steering column for improved forward visibility. And, once again, AGCO POWER engines will take their places under the hoods of these tractors. In fact, AGCO’s own engines will eventually become the exclusive power plant for all tractors in the MF and Challenger lines. When will that happen? “Soon,” says Greg Milstead, director of marketing for high-horsepower, tracked and articulated tractors.
The 7600s will include OptiRide Plus cab suspension systems; inside the cab, operators get a new, more comfortable, right-hand armrest that houses the control array.
The RoGator line gets new features, too. For 2012, there’ll be three models, offering 900-, 1,100- and 1,300-gallon tank capacities with more horsepower than their predecessors.
“We’ve seen a 10 decibel noise reduction level (in the cabs) over previous models,” says David Webster, director of sales for application equipment. And the view from those cabs is now better thanks to a redesigned hood that mirrors those on the Challenger tracked tractors.
The hoods swing up for improved engine access. “We’ve paid a lot of attention to serviceability,” adds Webster. So, most service points are now accessible from ground level.
Track width is adjustable on-the- go from the cab and a change in steering geometry improves handling. The improved overall machine design means the 2012 models now offer better balance between the front and rear axles.
In the TerraGator line, both the three and four-wheeled models get more powerful AGCO POWER engines mated to CVT transmissions for 2012. They also get higher- displacement pumps on the application systems and the same improvement to serviceability. The longer wheelbases make for a smoother ride.
Webster says after TerraGators first offered the AGCO engine- CVT transmission combination last year, customers are now reporting up to a 17 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. The company claims that gives these models a two-gallon-per-hour advantage over their nearest competitors, with the promise of even better consumption rates in the new models. “We’re going to do better than that this year,” he says.
The company will now offer two auto-steer systems. Previously, AGCO dealers only sold the 150 Topcon model. But now, a new 350 version will be available too.
The ISOBUS-compliant 350 uses a 12.1-inch colour touch screen monitor that can show up to three mini screens simultaneously. An operator can view up to two remote camera views as well. The 350 is compatible with the company’s add-on steering wheel kit for auto guidance, and it can easily be transferred between vehicles.
The system will work with the free WAAS signal, but for producers who want RTK accuracy, a snap-in module is available for centimetre accuracy. “It’s positioned in the market to be a solution for just about everybody,” says Marlin Melander, technology marketing specialist. The system is upgradable, and a series of new features will be released to expand the 350’s capabilities in the near future. “Topcon will be releasing new functionalities and we’ll be bringing them onboard,” he adds.
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