John Deere introduced its full 2012 machinery lineup at a dealer convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, in late August. A week later, Case IH chose to debut its new equipment at the U.S. Farm Progress Show at Decatur, Illinois. While they chose different ways and locations to hold their product launches, the two events had a few things in common. For one, both companies announced they ve ramped up the specifications on one or two of their tractor lines that fall into the utility category, which means Case IH s Maxxums got a makeover, as did Deere s 5E Limited and 5M models.
Here s a look at what those tractors have turned into for the new model year.
THE NEW MAXXUMS
With six models ranging from 90 to 120 PTO horsepower, the Maxxum line is at the very top end of the utility tractor scale. And with the introduction of the MultiController version to this line, the Maxxum gets a grownup cab interior to match its bigger brothers. Of course you can still opt for a Value model Maxxum tractor with simpler (read: cheaper) features, if you want. But if you re willing to spring for the extras, you ll probably like what you get.
The design team at Case IH say they used extensive customer input when deciding on a standardized control console arrangement for its product lines. That design debuted on the new Steigers and Magnums, which were introduced last year. Now, buyers of the smaller Maxxums get the benefit of that enhanced control layout if they upgrade to the MultiController option, which also includes an optional electro-hydraulic joystick control for front-end loaders.
The Case IH Maxxum tractor now joins the larger Puma, Magnum and Steiger Series tractors with the latest in Case IH operator control technology, says Dave Bogan, Maxxum marketing manager. This allows the Maxxum tractor to offer the same ease of operation that the larger Case IH tractors have today making it easy for operators to move from one tractor to another.
Tractors equipped with the optional MultiController feature also get a pressure sensitive touch-pad to control functions such as hitch position and Auto PTO. The associated instrument cluster then gets positioned near the operator s natural line of sight on the cab s right-side A pillar.
Under the hood, the Maxxums use 4.5 litre, four-cylinder or 6.7 litre, six-cylinder Interim Tier IV-compliant diesels, which rely on the same selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions technology as all the other Case IH equipment lines. These engines have a spunky, 25-horsepower power boost under load and achieve standard PTO operating speed at relatively low r.p.m. s for improved fuel efficiency.
SCR technology not only meets these (IT4) emissions standards, but also improves fuel economy and overall engine performance, which makes these multi-purpose tractors an even better asset on the farm, says Bogan. SCR allows us to bring in cool, clean intake air, which lets the engine perform at its best.
Naturally, product reps from John Deere beg to differ with that statement, because green machines use cooled EGR for emissions reduction instead. The marketing battle between those two technologies continues to rage.
Hydraulic flow rate on the MultiController versions gets boosted up to 100 L.P.M., compared to the standard 70 on the lower-rent base models. That makes for relatively impressive performance when compared to other utility tractors on the market. That flow comes from an open-centre pump, though.
5E LIMTED AND 5M JOHN DEERES
In the John Deere camp, specifications on its two utility tractor lines, the 5E Limited and 5M, grew as well. Together, tractors in these lines now offer increased horsepower options, ranging from 65 to 115; but those are engine, not PTO, ratings, so they top out a little sooner than the Maxxums.
The three models in the 5E Limited line get a better control arrangement in their cabs, with easier-to-reach hitch, hydraulic and PTO controls mounted higher up on the right side. It s a much better placement than the previous design. The hydraulic system in this line also gets an upgrade and now includes up to three SCVs.
In addition to the cab, we ve redesigned the transmissions and added oil-cooled, self-adjusting wet traction and PTO clutches, says Matt Blaylock, product marketing manager for 5 Series tractors. These tractors now have more heavy-duty components, as well as increased hydraulic functionality, comfort and convenience options.
In the 5M line, Deere focused on the three largest models for a makeover. These three tractors now ride on a five-inch longer wheelbase, get 25 per cent more hitch lift capacity and electronic engine control with common-rail fuel injection. Fuel tank capacity grows, too. They also get an economy PTO and the same heavy-duty transmission upgrades as the 5E Limited.
The 5M cabs move upscale, too, with features like satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The 5M deluxe cab is designed to keep customers in touch with the rest of the world, such as allowing them to make hands-free phone calls, adds Blaylock. This cab is for those people who don t want to settle for less than the premium comfort features like those found in many automobiles today.
If you get behind the wheel of a new Maxxum or 5 Series and all their new high-end features leave you wondering if you re driving a tractor or a BMW, just look at the speedometer that ll remind you!
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These new models deliver more power while meeting new emissions standards