The 100-200hp power bracket is the most popular in the UK and, as such, is full of activity when it comes to tractor developments.
James Rickard reviews the last 18 months of updates...
The brief slowdown in UK agricultural tractor (over 50hp) registrations recorded in February and March seems to be well and truly over, according to the Agricultural Engineers Association.
Registrations in May were more than 20 per cent up on the year and the highest May figures since 2014.
The 1,222 machines registered in the month bring the annual total to 5,343, about 240 (4.5 per cent) more than in the first five months of 2017.
Case IH Puma 140, 150 and 165 tractor models are now available with a new base specification designed to offer an alternative to customers seeking a simple-spec tractor in the 140-165hp (rated) power bracket. Respective maximum power outputs for the three models are 175, 190 and 210hp.
The new models, which feature a six-step semi-powershift transmission, will be called Puma X, differentiating them from the higher-specification Puma Multicontroller tractors with full powershift, and the Puma CVX models with continuously-variable transmission.
Many of the key changes are to be found in the cab, where they have a basic operator interface with digital information display and a base seat offering. The cab has been equipped with a low-profile roof to aid access into buildings and an opening right-hand door, in addition to that on the left of the tractor.
At the rear, the standard mechanical remote valves are non-configurable, while the rear wheels are fitted with narrow fender extensions. A two-speed 540/1,000rpm pto package is the standard offering.
Thanks to a new 660 model, Claas’ third generation Arion range now boasts power over the 200hp mark. At the other end of the spectrum, a new 510 model takes the range down to 125hp.
Under the bonnet, the four-cylinder 500 and six-cylinder 600 Arion ranges stick with John Deere engines which meet Stage 4 engine emission standards via the additional use of diesel exhaust fluid.
The new top-of-the-range 660 model is the only tractor in the Arion range to feature a boost function, which offers up to 205hp for transport work.
Thanks to revised power curves, the firm says both four and six pot engines offer maximum torque at 1,500rpm, allowing revs to be dropped for improved fuel consumption. Similarly, engine idle speed has been reduced to 650rpm.
While 510 to 650 models are available with Gima’s Hexashift 24 by 24 speed transmission or Claas’ Cmatic continuously variable transmission, the new 660 model only gets the latter.
Following on from the introduction of large four-cylinder 6 Series tractors, which mirror the power levels of its six-cylinder machines, Deutz-Fahr has launched several additional smaller models.
These include the 6120, 6130 and 6140, with power ratings related to the last three digits of the model number.
All are powered by 3.6-litre, four-cylinder Deutz engines, with power transferred to the wheels via the manufacturer’s own 30 by 30 powershift or its TTV continuously variable transmission – both 50kph.
The latter features an engine braking system which sees a foot pedal pressed to restrict the flow of oil in the transmission. This in turn puts resistance on the engine.
The cab frame is based on the old 5 Series tractor, which features a new joystick design for the TTV models, incorporating all primary tractor functions along with assignable buttons to configure controls to your liking. For further tractor set-up and automation, the firm’s new eight-inch iMonitor can also be specified.
Following customer demand, 300 Series Fendt tractors, ranging from 100 to 138hp, can now be specified with a fully integrated automatic steering system.
Offered on the new ProfiPlus specification level, automatic steering receiver choice includes NovAtel or Trimble. Both can be specified with various levels of guidance accuracy from Fendt’s entry level VarioGuide Standard (+/-20cm) to its VarioGuide RTK (+/- 2cm).
As Fendt’s most popular tractor series, it says guidance is not just for large-scale arable farms, bringing benefits to jobs on livestock farms, such as grassland, muck, slurry and fertilising applications.
Courtesy of ZF, main updates to Kubota’s latest generation 130-170hp M7002 range of tractors is the switch to a new five-range, six-speed semi-powershift transmission, offering 30 by 15 gears as standard or 54 by 27 if equipped with a creeper.
This previously featured six ranges with only four powershifts in each range.
Improvements have also been made to the operation of the main control joystick and the headland managements system, making driving easier, says the manufacturer.
Physically, the tractor gets an increase in maximum permissible weight, now up to 11,500kg, offering a greater payload. Maximum tyre sizes have also been boosted to 600/60 R28 for the front and 710/60 R38 for the rear.
Featuring an all new semi-powershift transmission, the Landini 7 Series Robo-Six replaces the current line-up. Starting at 151hp with the Landini 7-160, the new range comprises five models with up to 206hp for draft work from the new flagship 7-230 Robo-Six.
All models get a boost feature for pto and transport duties, and for the top three models, boost will still kick in when carrying out stationary pto applications. This sees the flagship achieve a peak power of 225hp.
The new ZF-built gearbox increases the number of forward gears to 30 via five ranges and six powershifts in each, as opposed to the old six ranges with only four powershifts in each, improving flexibility, says the manufacturer. With creep option, the new transmission offers up to 54 by 27 gears.
All gear changing is fully robotised, allowing the tractor to be driven manually or fully automatic. A new brake to neutral function also enables the operator to bring the tractor to a stop using just the brake pedals, then move off again by releasing them and applying the revs.
First introduced on its 6700 tractor series, Massey Ferguson is rolling out the ‘S Effect’ across the rest of its high specification tractors, from the new 95hp 5709 S up to its most powerful 400hp 8740 S.
S Effect tractors can be identified by new bonnet and interior styling, including a new layout for switches on the multifunction joystick. Inside, the tractors get a new darker seat cover, instead of the current grey, and a black armrest frame, while the Datatronic 4 console becomes silver, grey and black.
The new models can also be fitted with the firm’s latest IsoBus-compatible Fieldstar 5 touch-screen terminal. Customers can also choose from a wider choice of receivers for more accurate guidance and auto-steering.
Depending on model, payloads have been increased, more transmission options are available and a new mechanical cab suspension has been introduced.
Expanding its X6 range of tractors, McCormick has added three new models from 110 to 126hp.
These slot in under the current X6 range, which will now be called X6.4.
Using the cab of the X5 and the transmission of the current X6, the company says it wanted to create a more compact tractor.
Power for the new models comes from a 3.6-litre, four-cylinder Deutz engine. A power shuttle transmission is standard, with simple 12 by 12 (16 by 16 with creep) manually selected gears, or 36 by 12 (48 by 16 with creep) with three-speed powershift. An economy version is an option, delivering 40kph at lower engine revs.
A 66 litres per minute gear pump for hydraulic services is complemented by a 30 litres/minute pump dedicated to steering and control functions. Rear linkage lift capacity is 6,000kg, while an optional front linkage can handle 2,250kg.
Cab suspension is available for the first time on a McCormick of this size, and so too is a touch-screen monitor, IsoBus implement control and GPS steering.
Adding to its transmission choices for its 115 to 145hp (125 to 175hp maximum) T6 range tractors, New Holland has introduced a new 24 by 24 semi-powershift transmission.
The new Dynamic Command transmission will complement the firm’s 16 by 16 Electro Command powershift transmission with four shifts in four ranges, and its Auto Command continuously variable transmission.
At the heart of the three-range, eight-step semi-powershift transmission is a dual clutch concept, similar to that used to shift ranges in the firm’s Auto Command transmission. All range shifting is fully robotised with no mechanical shifting of gears.
Features of the transmission include speed matching between ranges, auto-shifting, ability to set target speeds, transport power management, kick down and a brake to clutch function.
More power and new controls are the latest developments for Valtra’s four-cylinder N Series.
Described as a double-boost function by the Finnish firm, top N174 models now have up to 201hp available for transport and pto operations, depending on task.
More significantly, replacing the existing console on its Versu and Direct specification N Series models, the firm has introduced its new SmartTouch console. Bringing all primary controls into one location, it features an ergonomically designed multifunction joystick and nine-inch touch-screen terminal.
Controls on the joystick include consent switch for shuttling forward/reverse, range change buttons, two spool controls, linkage raise and lower, two memory functions and scroll wheel to adjust cruise speed.
A hydraulic joystick with top auxiliary spool is also available as an option, and all spool controls are proportional and can be set to control any of the tractor’s spools, front loader or front and rear linkages. All other controls, including ones for lighting and radio, are neatly grouped in two banks of soft-keys on the armrest, either side of four spool switches.
Celebrating 20 years of production of the range, 2018 sees Zetor’s Forterra tractor series gain a few updates.
On top of a more efficient braking system, the biggest new feature is the firm’s Eco 40 transmission for the Forterra HSX and HD variants. As the name suggests, this sees the tractors achieve 40kph at a lower engine speed of 1,750rpm.
This is said to make better use of available power and torque curves offering up to a 20 per cent reduction in operating costs, depending on application. Wear and tear and noise is also reduced, says the manufacturer.
Increasing comfort, customers can also order the Forterra HSX with a suspended front axle. The Forterra also features a new dashboard and the cabin pressure has been raised.
During its 20 years of production, more than 21,500 Forterra tractors have been produced, selling to 55 countries around the world.