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What’s new in tractors

A roundup of the recent tractor introductions and updates making news this fall

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Photo: Scott Garvey

There's been no shortage of news this season when it comes to new tractor model unveilings and improvements to existing machines. Virtually every brand had something new to show off this year on that front. Many of those new machines debuted at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, in August.

To help you keep up to date on what's happening, we've put together this summary of introductions and improvements. Of course, we'll have more detailed reports on all these tractors and their features in upcoming issues of Grainews. But for now, here's a rundown of what's new in the tractor world.

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Kioti

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Photo: Kioti

In September South Korea-based Kioti added three new models to its PX Series tractors, the PX9530PC, PX1053PC and PX1153PC. The larger models now squeak this brand up into the bottom of the mainstream ag tractor sector, with machines that could be a fit for some livestock producers.

The PX Series debuted in 2014. Now the Tier 4 engines in these three models push up at the high end of the range, offering 93, 103 and 110 horsepower (79 to 92 PTO horsepower) respectively. They all get a synchronized shuttle shift transmission that doesn't require clutching, something that is especially handy for front-end loader work. And larger 34.3 gallon fuel tanks allow for longer work days.

Kioti is also offering a matching Kl153 loader designed for these tractors. It offers a 4,190 pound lift capacity and a 143 inch light height.

The tractors are now available from dealers.

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AGCO

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Photo: Scott Garvey

There was a lot of unveiling to do at AGCO's display during the U.S. Farm Progress Show in August. The “Global” line of tractors wearing Massey Ferguson red grew with the addition of the 5700 and 6700 Series. These add to the 4700s the company introduced to kick off the Global line at Agritechnica last year. All together these three series include tractors from 70 to 125 rated engine horsepower. The Global machines were six years in development and required a $U.S.350 million investment in R&D.

The idea behind the Global concept is the tractors are built on a common platform allowing them to meet the varied needs of farmers all across the globe. They have a modular design, so different components can be built into the chassis on assembly lines to better meet local market demands. There is then no need to offer a completely different model for different parts of the world.

Either a 3.3 or 4.4 litre AGCOPower diesel—depending on the model—power these tractors and hydraulic capacities run from 17.7 g.p.m. in the 4700s to 25.88 in the 6700s. The two new series get 12 x 12, two-range power shuttle transmissions and 540/1000 r.p.m. PTOs. An optional economy 540 feature is available too.

The tractors are available in open station or cabbed versions, MFWD is standard across all three lines, but some models can be ordered in two-wheel drive configurations. Global Series tractors will be built in France, China and South America. Tractors arriving here will come from the new AGCO plant in China.

Related: Bad news for the Big 3 manufacturers

AGCO

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Photo: Scott Garvey

Offering more power and higher specifications than the Massey Ferguson Global Series tractors, the three new 6700S Series MF models are rated at 140, 150 and 160 engine horsepower. Buyers get a choice of three different transmissions, including the brand's Dyna-VT continuously variable gearbox, a 16 x 16 or 24 x 24 semi-powershifts.

Under the hoods, a turbocharged 4.9 litre AGCOPower, Tier 4 Final diesel provides the muscle. An SCR system takes care of exhaust treatment without a particulate filter or EGR, which allows for a slimmer exhaust system that can hide behind the cab A pillar. The engines have a 600 hour service interval to keep maintenance time to a minimum.

To make things more comfortable for the operator, 6700S models are available with AGCO's SpeedSteer, which provides for adjustable steering ratios to reduce input at places like headland turns. All tractors get both 540 and 1,000 r.p.m. PTOs.

To smoothen out the ride, 6700S models come with an available suspended front axle along with adjustable cab suspension.

Related: Prairie tractor makes a long trip to France

AGCO

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Photo: AGCO

The Challenger brand, alter ego to Massey Ferguson in the AGCO brand lineup, added an updated tractor series to its group in September. Five MT400E models span the 120 to 160 horsepower line in 10 horsepower increments.

Take a look at the spec sheets for these tractors and you'll see they mirror MF's 6700S Series, but there are a couple of extra models to choose from, lowering the bottom end of the horsepower range. The power-train options are the same, with three transmission choices to bolt behind the 4.9 litre AGCOPower engine. But these transmissions are called the PowerTech (for the CVT), the AutoPower VI (for the 31 m.p.h.-capable 24 x 24 semi-powershift) and the AutoPower IV (for the 16 x 16).

These machines, too, are available with suspended front axles that offer adjustable QuadLink suspensions. The cab gets adjustable suspension as well.

Related: AGCO updates its Gleaner combines

AGCO

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Of course, the really big news in the Challenger line this year is the incorporation of the Fendt 1000 Series tractors into the yellow brand. The fact that was about to happen was probably the worst-kept secret in the industry since last November. Nonetheless, its unveiling was the jewel in crown for AGCO at its display during the U.S. Farm Progress Show.

Why do that? Well, consider the fact there are only a handful of Fendt-focused dealers in North America, while Challenger outlets number more than 400 and you begin to see the logic. 1000 Series Challengers will have much broader appeal to farmers on this continent than they would as Fendts.

The four models spanning the 396 to 517 horsepower range pack all that power into a rigid-frame machine, and it's not an exaggeration to say these tractors are in a category of their own. They also fit into that “global” vision the company has for its ag products. All that power in a compact package makes the tractors more versatile, according to company executives. That means it fits into more markets.

The 1000s can do the work of a smaller-framed, articulated four-wheel drive in the field and still have the compact size and form of an MFWD tractor to do other jobs, allowing one tractor to do the work of two on some farms. The company calls it a “do it all” design, with a base price range of U.S.$369,00 to U.S.$404,000.

Under the hoods a 12.4 litre MAN diesel with a VGT turbo provide the power that gets routed through a CVT transmission. And those engines hit peak torque at just 1,400 r.p.m. for reduced fuel consumption.

Related: An entirely new tractor

Case IH

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A tractor with no driver? That was the picture of the future Case IH painted with the unveiling of a robotic Magnum tractor at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in August.

After several years of R&D, executives are getting set to introduce a market-ready version of a robot tractor to the farm equipment market. But the future isn't here just yet, it will be at least another three years before the company is ready to turn robots lose. And the reason they showed the tractor now was to get feedback from the farmers who may seriously consider buying one.

The company wanted to know what exactly farmers would use a robot tractor for, and what they expect from it.

New Holland, Case IH's sister company under the ownership of CNH Industrial, also had a similar tractor on display at their exhibit. But the NH version was a regular T8 tractor with robotic capability. The T8 could function either as a robot or conventional tractor. Both versions were part of the same R&D program under the CNH Industrial program.

Related: Case IH offers new guidance products

New Holland

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For those on a budget that want a new utility/mid-range tractor and don't really need the benefits of MFWD, New Holland just introduced a two-wheel drive T6.180 tractor.

The 2WD model can be equipped with an Electro Command semipower transmission, which offers eight push-button power shifts across 16 gears. The 16th gear reduces engine speed at a maximum transport speed of 19 m.p.h.

The two-wheel drive tractor will be available shortly after the new year.

Related: New Holland re-engineers it T5 tractors

New Holland

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Photo: Supplied

Also built on a T6 chassis, NH had another concept tractor to display at the U.S. Farm Progress Show. For the past 10 years the brand has been experimenting with tractors running on alternative fuels. It has tried hydrogen, and it's current focus is on a multi-fuel engine that can run on methane, bio-methane, propane and bio-propane.

The prototype T6 can apparently reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent and meet Tier 4 Final emissions requirements with just an automotive-style catalytic converter. At the same time, the company says the tractor's engine can reduce fuel costs by 20 to 40 per cent while maintaining similar torque and horsepower levels.

NH envisions a future where farms produce their own bio fuels and use this type of tractor. The brand's own concept farm in Italy does just that. But realistically, producing bio fuels on North American farms that can meet the standard necessary for this tractor to use is still some way into the future.

It's a great idea, though.

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New Holland

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New Holland has had heavy-duty, high-idler track modules available on its largest T9 tractors for four years now. However, these modules, built by ATI, were originally designed for heavy-duty off-road sectors like mining. They are so heavy that only the largest T9s can handle them, and company executives say they are so durable they should last the life of three tractors. But they are the most expensive tracks in the ag sector.

Now the SmartTrax II standard track module is available on T9s. Designed with the ability to oscillate over uneven terrain, the standard modules use Cammoplast 5500 Series 36-inch wide belts. Tractors equipped with the standard tracks get an improved turning radius compared to machines wearing the high-idler modules.

Compared to the original high-idler modules, the company says the new standard tracks will chop about U.S.$30,000 off the purchase price of a tracked NH tractor.

Related: New Holland expands PLM Connect

MTZ

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Photo: Scott Garvey

Earlier this year MTZ Equipment, the new importer of tractors built in Belarus and formerly sold under that name in Canada, announced they have grown their product line to include the four-wheel drive K744 Kirovets. Built in St Petersburg Russia, the K744 gets power from an OM460LA Mercedes Benz diesel that delivers 428 horsepower. It's a Tier 3 engine, so there's no DEF or advanced emissions systems to contend with.

Kirovets tractors were sold under the Belarus brand name here back in the 1970s, and low price is once again their big marketing advantage. This time, base MSRP for a K744 is just U.S.$198,000. The “as equipped” models being imported retail for around U.S.$227,730.

In September MTZ announced the K744 would soon be available shod with tracks as a factory option. The track modules are sourced from Quebec-based Soucy Track. The tracked K744 will have slightly reduced ground speeds compared to wheeled models.

Retail pricing for the four-track K744 hasn't yet been announced.

Related: The Russians are coming!

John Deere

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Photo: John Deere

John Deere has pushed up the maximum horsepower ratings on its 8R MFWD tractor line with the introduction of the 8400R. With a rated engine output of 400, the 8400R becomes the most powerful rigid-frame machine the brand offers.

And the 9R tractors get a minor redesign for 2017 with a new composite fuel tank that allows operators to fill it from either side. The tanks use a sloped shape brand executives think not only improves the rear view for operators, but give the tractors a sleeker look.

Tanks for the smallest 9Rs get 320 gallon capacity, while the largest two tractors get 400 gallons of on-board fuel.

Related: New John Deere guidance receiver

Versatile

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Photo: Scott Garvey

Canada's own Versatile had tractor news to announce this fall as well. The brand has added to its MFWD line pushing the horsepower limit upward with two new tractors: a 335 along with a range-topping 360. Power comes from a Tier 4 Final-compliant Cummins QSL 9.0 litre that is mated to a 16 x 9 powershift.

These tractors get a suspended front axle for improved ride and traction, but it is possible to down-spec to a rigid axle version. Standard hydraulic output is 55 g.p.m. (208 l/min.). But that can bet boosted up to 72 g.p.m (273 l/min.) as an option.

For night work, a Halogen lighting package is standard, but that too can be upgraded. The brand will fit a LED package as an option. And inside the cab a new monitor with improved functionality gets fitted to the control console.

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