Featuring everything from conventional tractors to systems tractors, crawlers to artics, the 300hp-plus tractor market is awash with choice for consumers.
Alex Heath rounds up what is on the market today.
Though a relatively uncommon sight in the UK, Versatile does have a presence in the form of JPM Agriculture, Lincolnshire.
The biggest range the Canadian firm produces is the DeltaTrack, available in three models, covering 572hp, 626hp and 650hp.
One of only three four track designs operating in the UK, well-known components include a Cummins 15-litre engine, with variable geometry turbo, Cat 16-speed powershift transmission and Camso track units.
Track units feature the larges drive sprocket on the market, according to the firm, with 6.5 lugs engaged at any time. It also features just two mid rollers, for better shock dissipation and double axis bogies.
Cab controls remain simple, but functional, and a seven-inch screen can be used to adjust tractor settings, such as hydraulic flow rates. The screen can also be used to view auxiliary cameras.
The striking livery is also new, giving a nod to the company’s earliest models.
In the conventional tractor sector, the company’s MFWD series also feature a Cummins motor, this time a nine-litre unit capable of producing 290 to 400hp and linked to a 16-speed powershift transmission.
Versatile says this tractor should appeal to those after affordable high horsepower, with low operational costs, because of its simplicity relative to other brands.
Several makes of guidance systems can be fitted, along with multiple precision farming systems.
CASE IH now offers a CVT in five of its Steiger wheeled articulated machines, ranging from 435 to 613hp and three of its Quadtracs ranging from 525 to 613hp.
Identified by the CVX designation, the firm’s MultiController armrest is also present, keeping the ranges in-line with the rest of its offering.
Power comes from several sources for the Steigers. The smallest Steiger 370 uses an FPT 8.7-litre engine, while the three middle models use an FPT 12.9-litre with single turbo and the largest Steiger 540 receiving a two stage turbocharger.
It is a similar setup for the Quadtracs, with the two smaller models getting the 12.9-litre engine with single turbo, while the largest gets the twin turbo.
The CVX transmission is built by ZF and said to be able to handle just over 600hp, meaning it is
currently at its limits.
Case IH and its sister brand New Holland have exclusivity on the transmission for the time being.
The Steiger and Quadtrac ranges top out at 692hp and are available with 16 speed power shift transmission.
The 9 Series from Deutz-Fahr is available in power options of 295hp, 312hp and 336hp.
Power comes from a Deutz 7.8-litre engine with a two stage turbocharger.
All models feature a continuously variable transmission capable of speeds up to 60kph. During transport work the firm says 90 per cent mechanical drive delivers power to the wheels.
Inside the MaxiVision2 cab, colour coordinated buttons allow for quick identification, according to the company.
And the firm’s iMonitor 2.0 allows for precision farming programmes as well as guidance systems to be run through the screen.
A multi-functional joystick can also be programmed to perform various tractor functions.
The tractors are IsoBus certified and come tractor implement management (TIM) ready. This allows implements to communicate with the tractor, to automatically change factors which influence work rate, or quality of work.
The range topping 9340 is available in the firm’s Warrior livery. Features include black paintwork, extra LED work lights and various other bits of bling to make the machine stand out.
With the unveiling of its MT tracked tractor ranges, Fendt has been busy in this sector.
Having been gifted the rights to sell the green and red livered track layers in the UK and Europe from Agco sister company Challenger, the German firm wasted no time in fitting one of its Vario continuously variable transmission into the smallest 900MT range.
The 900MT Vario range covers power requirements from 380hp to 431hp, while the rebadged 1100MT range goes from 492hp up to 646hp.
Very little on the larger range has changed from its Challenger days, including the 16-speed powershift transmission.
The much-talked-about Vario transmission fitted into the 900MT is shared with the firm’s 396 to 517hp 1000 Series tractors, as is the cooling pack layout at the front of the machine.
New to the 900MT is a redesigned track carriage with suspension. The firm’s ConstantGrip feature sees the middle three rollers oscillate on a bogie system to negotiate undulations.
The cab also features suspension in the form of a two point system.
Power is supplied from a 9.8-litre, seven-cylinder Agco Power engine, which is tuned to run at a maximum operating speed of 1,700rpm, with maximum torque coming at 1,200-1,600rpm.
On the wheeled tractor front, Fendt is reportedly happy with the reception of its 1000 series, boosted by its acceptance in the US.
The four model range is powered by a 12.4-litre, six-cylinder MAN engine.
The company has thrown its entire toy box at its flagship range in order to handle the power and make operators lives’ easier.
This include VarioGrip, Fendt’s central tyre inflation system, VarioActive, its variable ratio steering and Variotronic, the in-cab screen and operating programmes.
Spanning 300 to 405hp, the S4 series from Valtra comprises six models. Power comes from an 8.4-litre Agco power engine, with two sequential turbos.
The S Series shares several parts from its Agco stablemates, including Fendt’s Vario Transmission and Massey’s cab frame.
What separates the three brands is the SmartTouch control concept in the S series as tested by Farmers Guardian in October 5. Simple and intuitive, the whole armrest has been designed to make setup and operation easier.
In addition, multiple programmable buttons and joystick allow for customisation of the operation of implements.
Another feature different from all other tractor manufacturers, bar Fendt, is the option to have reverse drive fitted ex-factory. Called TwinTrac, the firm says it is popular for contractors running triple mowers and wood chippers.
The seat and armrest spin 180 degrees, allowing the driver to use the steering wheel and pedals situated at the back.
The largest offering from Claas in the conventional tractor bracket is the five model Axion 900 series.
Starting at 325hp with the Axion 920 and rising up to 445hp for the Axion 960, power comes from an 8.7-litre FPT engine, with a variable geometry turbo added for low down grunt. Claas says 70 per cent of maximum torque is available even when the engine is idling.
As standard, in the transmission department is a ZF-supplied CVT, called Cmatic by Claas. A high proportion of the transmission is said to be mechanical, affording an efficient transfer of power, according to the company.
Several software updates are said to allow the driver more control over the characteristics of the transmission and engine.
Control and setup of the tractor is through the company’s new Cebis control interface. This latest generation control features a 12-inch touchscreen terminal.
Leading the charge for Claas in the high horse power arena is the company’s Xerion range.
Featuring models of 435hp, 490hp and 530hp, power comes from Mercedes-Benz engines; a 10.6-litre for the smallest and a 12.8-litre for the larger two.
Power to the four equal-sized wheels is supplied through a ZF CVT, capable of 50kph.
Key to the Xerion’s versatility is the various configurations it can operate in. Three versions are available.
The standard tractor set up is Trac, where the cab is centrally mounted and is permanently fixed.
Where the cab can turn and sit over the rear linkage, ideal for mowing or using a silage blade, this is known as Trac VC.
An option to place the cab over the front of the engine to allow for a large load space, which can be used for mounting slurry tanks, spreader bodies or wood chippers, goes by the name of SaddleTrac.
Massey Ferguson’s offering in this power bracket is the 8700S range of tractors, comprising six models from 300hp to 405hp.
Power comes from Agco’s own 8.4-litre engine, while drive is directed through the company’s Dyna VT, CVT, derived from sister company Fendt.
At just 10.8 tonnes, the machine has a weight to power ratio of 26.7kg/hp. However, the tractor has a maximum permissible weight of 18 tonnes, so ballast can be added for heavy draft applications.
Recently introduced across the entire range of Beauvais built tractors is Massey’s S effect styling. Not only does the S effect change the tractor look, extra safety and operational features have also been added.
In the cab the firm’s new IsoBus compatible Fieldstar 5 terminal puts control of tractor and implement functions via a nine-inch touch screen.
Precision farming programmes are also run through the screen, enabling mapping, section control and variable rates to be controlled through the console.
For operator comfort the company’s active mechanical cab suspension has been taken from the 6700 Series and added to the 8700 Series. Extra LED work light and a multi-functional joystick complete the new package.
Latest updates in this sector for John Deere include the launch of the new 8400R.
Powered by a nine-litre John Deere engine, power tops at 450hp with the firm’s Intelligent Power Management (IPM).
Transmission options for the flagship model extends to the company’s e23 powershift, while the rest of the models in the range have the option of a continuously variable transmission, including the 8RT twin tracklayers.
To handle the extra power the 8400R produces, the rear axles have been upgraded, featuring two flat edges for the wheels to be secured to, making them more robust and offering increased ballasting capabilities.
Redesigned pistons in the tractors engine offer increased fuel efficiency as well as the power hike, says the company.
At the top of JD’s offering are the four track 9RX tractors.
Topping at 670hp, power for the flagship 9620RX and 9570RX models is derived from a 15-litre Cummins unit, while for the smaller 9470RX and 9520RX models, power comes from a JD PowerTech 13.5-litre motor.
Transmissions for the entire 9R Series are limited to the company’s e18 powershift. Putting the power on the ground, the company says its track unit design engages 41 per cent more lugs than rival’s machines.
JD also says its mid roller design, featuring two instead of three rollers, dissipates shocks away from the driver more effectively and has a longer service life from having fewer but larger rollers.
Available since 2016 in two models, JCB’s 8000 Series has power outputs of 309hp and 348hp respectively.
Power comes from an 8.4-litre Agco Power engine, while the transmission is also sourced from Agco.
This is an adapted version to the Fendt 900 Series Vario, capable of 70kph road speeds.
The cab is shared with the firm’s smaller 4000 Series and is suspended in all four corners. It also features the same screen and programable joystick, capable of setting and running tractor functions.
Suspended front and rear axles keep the tractor stable at speeds on the road, and can help with traction in the field. Dot standard air brakes and a hydrostatic dual steering system keeps the tractor in order on the road.
Unlike the firm’s 4000 Series which utilises four equal size wheels, the 8000 Series uses different sizes for front and rear, aiming to get the best possible traction.
Designed with a full length chassis, weight distribution is near 50:50 and the tractor can be weighted up to 16 tonnes.
Similar to sister company Case IH, the T9 Series of articulated tractors can now be equipped with CVT.
These AutoCommand variants are available in power outputs up to 613hp and feature the company’s SideWinder armrest control interface.
Power is derived from the same units used in the Case Steiger line up, and the transmission is identical.
The company’s T8 Series, which includes SmartTrax halftrack variants for the three largest models, now has power outputs up to 435hp. Power comes from the same 8.7-litre FPT block used in some of the artic tractors.
The halftrack system is said to increase the contact area with the ground by 325 per cent, aiding grip, but unlike twin track machines, not scuffing over the ground as it turns.
The SmartTrax option adds considerable ballast to the weight of the machine, approximately five tonnes for the T8.410 and 3.5 tonnes for the T8.435.