As Europe’s largest farm machinery and technology show, there is no better place than Agritechnica, Germany to check out the latest tractor developments and future concepts. James Rickard reports.
On top of power and torque increases for its flagship equal wheeled Xerion tractor range, Claas has also added a new tracked option for the Xerion.
The new Xerion TS can be ordered from the factory ‘track ready’, with the Zuidberg-made tracks fitted by the dealer. To enable this the tractor is equipped with heavier-duty ‘orbital’ framework around the axles and planetary reduction hubs, additional steering cylinders, and a 4cm increase of space between the front axle and chassis. The latter is important to allow the tractor to maintain a similar turning circle to the wheeled version.
In addition, the smallest model, the 4000, has been dropped in favour of a new model with increased power - the new 4200 now develops 462hp instead of the 435hp.
The two larger models, the 4500 and 5000 have also been given a 100Nm and 150Nm torque increase respectively.
A new armrest has also been included, in line with the rest of the manufacturer’s tractor ranges which houses the latest Cebis touch screen terminal.
Location: Hanover, Germany
Number of exhibitors: 2,800 from 52 countries
Number of visitors: 458,000 from 128 countries
Show area: 394,000m.s of floor space over 23 halls
Falling in-line with the Maxxum, Optum and Magnum’s styling, Case IH has given its Puma models, both long and short wheelbase, a distinctive facelift.
Refining several areas, long wheelbase Pumas also get improved cab steps, more sockets in-cab, an upgraded mounting bar for controllers, a quick start feature for its AFS 700 terminal, additional airline connections, option of an uprated air pump, better top link holder, enhanced DAB radio and hands free kit, new LED beacons and thicker cab roof headline material.
Also, front linkage geometry has been improved which creates a more linear lifting action.
Number of models and power ratings stay the same, with availability spread throughout next year.
Along with Stage 5 emission-compliance, JCB has made a number of updates to it 4000 and 8000 Fastrac tractor line-ups.
For the larger 8000 this includes ride improvements with double-acting suspension used all-round, as seen on the 4000, and an increase in carrying capacity. This sees gross vehicle weight boosted to 18 tonnes and the rear deck upped to a five tonne capability.
Similarly, the 4000’s can carry more, and receive beefed up drivelines and increased steering pressure. Hydraulic oil flow is now up to 200 litres/minute.
Also taking pride of place (pictured), was the firm’s record-breaking Fastrac, with a British speed record of 103.6mph. Find out this Sunday on channel four and FGInsight.com if the company can improve on that as it attempts to set a new world record.
As revealed in last week’s Farmers Guardian, big news for John Deere at this year’s Agritechnica is its new 7R and 8R tractors.
While both ranges have grown in power, now up to 330hp (rated) for the 7Rs and up to 410hp (rated) for the 8Rs, it is the four-track 8RX which has seen the most development. Effectively new from the ground up, substantial work has been done to the structure of the tractor and final drives to accommodate a track unit on each corner.
Designed as a true tracked tractor, JD sees a gap between its current 8R and 9Rs for a versatile tracked machine. Retail starting price for an 8RX 310 is from £320,500.
Though the brand is not officially available in the UK, Steyr’s concept tractor pointed strongly towards what is technologically possible by parent company CNH Industrial (includes Case IH and New Holland).
Focussing on alternative drivelines, a four-cylinder diesel motor could be used, not to power a conventional transmission, but to create electrical power via a generator. This power can then be used to drive individual electric wheel motors, offering the possibility of greater power and torque management, and also four wheel steering.
The PTO can also be electrically powered, and any spare electricity can be used to recharge the tractor’s batteries. This allows the tractor to be run on solely electrical power, possibly for use in buildings to keep noise and emissions down, for example.
As well as a brand new 900 Vario tractor series and the addition of telehandlers to its range (more on this on-line), Fendt revealed to the public what the inside of its tractors will look like in the future, showing a completely new control concept.
However, it is not just the hardware on the tractor the firm is concerned with, the new FendtOne concept is said to offer a whole suite of off-board technology. This sees the interface on the tractor terminal and online look uniform and consistent in their appearance, helping users find their way around.
For Profi Plus-spec tractors, applications include tracking capabilities, task and data management, and report generating.
Following its introduction on the firm’s T6 tractor series, New Holland is now offering its Dynamic Command Transmission (DCT) on its smaller T5 tractors.
The transmission is made up of three ranges with eight steps in each range. Features include brake to neutral, which sees the clutch automatically pulled in when the brakes are used, and ground speed management, which allows a target speed to be set and the tractor driven much like a CVT.
Four models from 100 to 130hp (rated power) can be specified with the transmission. Like the AutoCommand T5, its uses the same 4.5-litre, four-cylinder engine, and effectively offers a replacement for the old short wheelbase T6.
As well as its new consolidated, lower-spec 5700M tractor range and high-spec 6700S series updates, Massey Ferguson showed a glimpse of the near future with a concept tractor which will effectively set the template for how future MF tractors will look and operate.
Decked out in a striking white paint job, the ‘Next’ concept features a brand new four-post cab and features a steering wheel-less operating environment, with primary control via two joysticks. Head’s up displays will take care of machine monitoring, while the tractor will have the possibility to operate fully autonomously.
As for a release date, a commercial version of the concept could be revealed within the next 12 months.
Kubota launched the third generation of its M7000 tractor series, featuring the manufacturer’s latest Stage 5 engine. The M7003 retains the same three power offerings of 130, 150 and 170hp. Boost also remains the same with 20hp for the two smallest models and an extra 5hp for the largest M7173.
Powershift models now comes with a ‘brake to clutch’ feature, which should help with loader work, for example. In addition, there is also variable speed steering control, which reduces the number of revolutions the steering wheel needs to be turned from lock to lock.
As for larger tractors in Europe, the firm is still evaluating its options, with the recently revealed M8, built in partnership with Versatile, said to be very much a North American machine.
Bridging the gap between its X7 and X8 tractor ranges, McCormick has updated and extended its X7.6 six-cylinder range, with a number of new higher horsepower models.
Set for a UK Lamma launch, the range now includes five models, all available with the firm’s VT-Drive step-less transmission or P6-Drive powershift, with power now topping out at 240hp with the X7.624. Maximum torque for the range-topper is 983Nm at 1,400rpm.
Power for all models comes from FPT Beta Power, 6.7-litre engines, now Stage 5 compliant. Improvements to cab comfort and controls, a new, simpler model numbering system and X8 bonnet and roof styling completes the range’s major changes.
Following on from the introduction of its Warrior edition 7 and 9 series tractors, Deutz-fahr has now extended the availability of the option to its 6 series. Warrior-spec brings with it a striking black paint job, stainless steel exhaust cover and an enhanced lighting package.
In addition, all 6 series machines above 150hp now meet Stage 5 emissions-compliance, which has brought with it several updates including a new swivel seat and up to four camera inputs that can create a virtual 360 degree image on the terminal’s screen.
New options include a two-speed front PTO option (1,000 and 1,000E) and an integrated central tyre inflation system, controlled via the terminal.
Taking centre stage on Case IH’s stand is its latest generation Magnum tractor, the Magnum AFS Connect.
As the name suggests, it builds on the manufacturer’s suite of precision farming technology with a massive emphasis on connectivity between machine, farm office and third parties.
Five models make up the new range, which spans from 280 to 400hp (rated), and now includes a new 21 by five speed full powershift transmission for the top model.
Inside, the cab has been thoroughly overhauled, with a new right hand console, touch screen terminal and pillar dash design. Expect this new control and connectivity concept to filter down the ranges.
A tracked version of the Axion 900 series dominated Claas’ tractor news. Though previewed at the last Agritechnica show in 2017, the tractor is now ready to go into full production.
Offered on its 445hp Axion 960 and the 355hp Axion 930 tractors, the tracks have been redesigned using similar principles to the firm’s track units used on its Lexion combines. Width options include 635, 735 and 890mm.
Suspension on the tracks, as well as front axle and cab keeps the operators comfortable. Tractive power from the track setup is said to be 15 per cent greater than the equivalent wheeled tractor.
As one of five new Landini launches to grace next year’s Lamma, the firm showed a high clearance version of its 5 series tractor at Agritechnica.
Available as option on all 5 series tractors from 99 to 113hp, the firm sees it as an ideal spraying tractor when equipped with front and rear tanks. As well as larger diameter row-crop wheels, in this case 270/95R44s, high clearance is achieved by rotating the rear axle’s reduction hubs by 90 degrees downwards and the inclusion of a different front axle ratio.
Sounding like a vicar’s changing room, Case IH’s new Vestrum CVXDrive tractor series got its Agritechnica show debut.
Slotting between the Luxxum and Maxxum ranges, the Vestrum is said to be the firm’s answer to a small, high-specification tractor.
Four models make up the range, spanning from 100 to 130hp (rated). All are equipped with a continuously variable transmission. The transmission is derived from the Maxxum, as too is the Stage 5, 4.5-litre FPT engine.
Front axle and cab suspension are on the options list, as are 80 or 110 litre/minute hydraulics, automatic steering, the firm’s AFS 700 touch screen terminal and a wide choice of electronic or mechanical spools.
Massey Fergusson announced the restructuring of its higher horsepower Global Series tractors. Combining the 5700 and 6700 ranges the new five model line-up is called the 5700M, making it easier to differentiate between its more utilitarian/medium-spec and the firm’s high specification ‘S’ models.
Spanning 95 to 135hp, power comes from 4.4-litre, four-cylinder, AgcoPower engines. Transmission offerings include the manufacturer’s Dyna-4, 16 by 16, semi-powershift on the 5709M (optional on the 5710M and 5711M). Alternatively, the two middle models can be specced with a synchromesh 12 by 12 gearbox, which is the only choice on the two largest models, the 5712M and 5713M.
Adding to its brawn, New Holland has been working hard on the brains of its T8 heavyweight tractor. Re-christened the T8 Genesis, engines are now Stage 5, but outputs remain the same as before. The smallest old model, the T8.320 has been dropped, with a new model add at the top of the line-up producing 435hp at max power, without the need to boost.
Transmission options extend to the firm’s Auto Command continuously variable transmission or Ultra Command powershift. As an option the two largest models can be fitted with the company’s SmartTrax half-track system. And while it looks similar on the outside, operators will find an extensive reworking of the cab.
Valtra revealed the final design of its heads up display (HUD) SmartGlass at the show. Positioned in the centre of the tractor’s front windscreen, SmartGlass allows the operator to see information about the tractor without needing to look away from the work at hand.
With a strong focus on front loader work, it can display various pieces of information from a factory-fitted loader, such as tipping angle or load weight; or basic tractor information such as gear, engine rpm or driving speed.
The HUD will be available as an option via the firm’s Unlimited studio. Serial production is planned for later in 2020.