New models, new fuels and a burning desire to become a full-line manufacturer are the key agricultural projects at New Holland.
After its failed attempt to take over Kverneland two years ago, which was eventually bought by Kubota, New Holland is still seeking a partner as it strives to be a full-line equipment manufacturer.
It is an aim which is still being pursued, and brand president Carlo Lambro expects it will ‘announce something’ about this in the medium-term.
He says: “New Holland’s DNA is to be full-line. I believe being able to serve all customers is beneficial.
“Our business has evolved from tractors and combines, and we are recognised in North America and Europe as a hay and forage business.
“We have tried to align with other manufacturers, such as Kverneland, so our strategic vision is there, and we are in discussion with some partners. The answer is yes, we will be full-line.”
Mr Lambro has a long history with New Holland, having been with the company more than 25 years, joining after completing a Masters degree in agricultural engineering from University of Bologna
Within its tractor range, new launches are planned, with a new line which will sit between its current T7 and T8 ranges.
The T7.HD - with the HD standing for heavy duty - will fill a noticeable gap in the range, says Mr Lambro. It will fit at the upper edge of the T7 range and lower part of the T8 line.
“We know this part of the market has grown in Europe, and our competitors have benefitted from that, but we were not ready for that segment.
“We will be looking to fill that gap with the T7HD. It will combine the best features of the T7 such as auto command, and those on the T8, like the cab.
“We plan to be in the market with this in Q4 of 2015, and will present it at the next Agritechnica.”
The T8 is also likely to appear as a tracked version at some point, he says. A rear tracked version was launched at the Farm Progress Show in the US last month, and it is something the company is looking at for the European market, he says.
The US launch, The T8 Genesis SmartTrax tractors include purpose-developed high torque axles which match large-diameter front wheels with the rear tracks. This enables full power to be delivered between the front wheels and rear tracks for optimum performance, says New Holland. Sister company Case IH already offers its Magnum as a tracked option in Europe.
A 200hp four cylinder tractor should also be available from New Holland in the next few years, with Mr Lambro saying it will be here in ‘one year plus’. He says with Stage 4 emissions regulations coming in the USA, the smaller six-cylinder models will start to be phased out
in favour of equivalent four-cylinder versions.
The manufacturer is also continuing its work on alternative fuels, concentrating on methane power rather than hydrogen, which it initially looked at as a new sustainable fuel source with its NH2 project.
Despite producing a working tractor using hydrogen, the high cost of fuel cells has meant the company has decided this is not currently a viable option.
New Holland believes this is a better option as methane can also be produced on farms with anaerobic digesters.
Its latest alternative fuel tractor, in the guise of a 140hp T6, runs on methane. It has a four-cylinder, three-litre engine produced by FPT Industrial, New Holland’s powertrain plant, and develops a maximum power of 135hp and 620Nm torque.
Its emissions are 80 per cent lower than a standard diesel engine, says the manufacturer, and it offers cost savings of 25-40 per cent compared with conventional fuels.
Methane is not a new technology for the company, as its sister brand Iveco already produces commercially available methane-powered
Daily vans and buses. It introduced its methane-powered van in 1998
The prototype tractor has been working at its test farm in Italy, where it already runs an anaerobic digester. The compressed methane is stored in nine tanks, and the 50kg capacity delivers about half a day of work, with an auxiliary 15 litre tank providing back-up.
The tanks have been integrated into the tractor’s design and it has the same ground clearance as normal tractors, but the cab’s rear corner posts are much thicker than normal.