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CR combines take “Machine of the year” award

New Holland’s CR line of twin-rotor combines, with new features for 2012, impressed judges at Agritechnica


2011 was a notable year for New Holland. The company raked in an armful of engineering awards. Most notable, though, was winning the “Machine of the year, 2012” prize for its CR Series, twin-rotor combines at Agritechnica in November. Agritechnica, held in Hannover Germany, is the world’s largest farm machinery exhibition.

There were new combines on display at the show from nearly all the brands, so competition for the Machine-of-the-year award in that category was tough. “Many manufacturers launched new products for 2012,” says Nigel Mackenzie, combine and header marketing manager for New Holland. “That was driven by the requirement to go to Tier 4 (engine emissions levels). We packaged the Tier 4 solution on our CR and CX combines with a lot of other features.”

Those extra features combined with the FPT (Fiat Powertrain) Cursor engines scored enough points with the judges to garner the top show award. “The features we put into this machine really resulted from sitting down and talking to customers,” continues Mackenzie. “Understanding what they liked and didn’t like, what they wanted to change.”

One of those options makes the CR combines a little lighter on their feet. For the first time in North America, NH combines are available with tracks as a factory-installed option. Their SmartTrax track system was designed specifically for combines, and it’s different than the SmartTrax systems available on the T9 four-wheel drive tractors. However, customers who own a tracked T9 tractor can remove its tracks and use them on a NH combine. The combine SmartTrax system can also be retrofitted to previous model-year machines.

One of the other things that impressed the judges at Agritechnica was the IntelliView IV monitor, which is also transferrable between combines and T7, T8 and T9 tractors. “The operator can move it to wherever he feels comfortable,” says Mackenzie. “If he wants, he can take it out and put it in his tractor. It’s the same display we have in tractors; the architecture is the same.” The need for consistency when it comes to technology systems was one of the things the company heard from farmers. “Customers have told us they don’t want to relearn everything every time they get into a new machine,” he adds.

NH combines have offered a self-levelling cleaning shoe since 1986, but the system gets an improvement for 2012. The entire cleaning mechanism including top and bottom sieves and cleaning fan still remain level during operation. But now the Opti-Fan system automatically changes fan speed based on the slope the combine is operating on to minimize losses. “We’re still the only ones that have a system as innovative and complete as that,” says Mackenzie. “Nobody else has been able to match us with it.”

The operator can adjust the spread pattern of the Opti-Spread straw chopper from the cab and even get a rear-mounted camera view of what’s going on behind on the IntelliView IV monitor.

Up front, the Varifeed straight cut headers have an adjustable knife position; it can be moved forward or back from the operator’s seat as well. With the knife extended forward, the header is better suited to cutting tall crops or canola. “If you push the knife a long way out, you can handle tall or bushy crops,” says Mackenzie. “We’re seeing a small but distinct move toward direct cutting canola. This head is primarily designed for that. It’s unique to us. No other manufacturer offers this type of head in the marketplace.”

And getting a CR combine down the road will take a little less time than it used to. They now offer a top speed of 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour). “Combines are expected to do more and more and be able to travel faster on the road,” explains Mackenzie. “We are uniquely able to offer a higher road speed on this range of combines as well.”

NH also intends to make a little more noise over its line of combines this year. “Our focus in North America over the years has been predominantly on our hay and forage and tractor products,” says Mackenzie. “Combines have taken a back seat within the brand.” That, however, has changed. “We’re raising our profile with combines. We have the products,” he adds. †

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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