As emissions regulations continue to drive the development of tractors, we take a look at some of the latest introductions to the market. Geoff Ashcroft reports.
The UK tractor market is currently awash with the prospect of many new models. Though increasingly, makers are starting to report extended delivery times, and prices are being held on a short-term basis as a result of the rapidly increasing cost of raw materials.
Fendt recently announced it was temporarily suspending production at two of its production sites in Germany, as supply chains and distribution networks buckled under the ongoing strain of the pandemic.
During 2020, there were 10,380 new tractor registrations compared with 12,040 in 2019. And after those depressed sales last year, the market is now showing signs of recovery. Figures published by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) show that the year-to-date figures for the first quarter of 2021 are up by 12.7 per cent. March 2021 revealed 2,085 units over 50hp – the highest monthly total of any month since March 2012.
In the big power stakes, Deere has upped the ante with its 9R series, bringing some intelligence to go with the brawn of a range that tops out with a 691hp peak with the Cummins-powered 640 models.
In a nod to GPS theft prevention, the StarFire 6000 receiver is now integrated into the cab roof, and included as standard across the 9R series along with the 4600 display, is IsoBus compatibility and AutoTrac activation.
Increased connectivity and automation extends to AutoSetup, where jobs that have been pre-scheduled, will appear on the in-cab display when the machine enters the field.
All 9R models now have additional ballasting options that allow a gross weight of 30.4 tonnes.
Case IH has introduced new versions of its long wheelbase Puma models, spanning 185-240hp. The models feature updated cab designs, with new styling inside and out, and an LED light pack to improve night-time illumination.
Said to have been developed with operators in mind, the new Puma features include illuminated steps, a hand-wash tank adjacent to the cab steps, multiple in-cab USB sockets and compressed air connections around the tractor to simplify cleaning.
All Puma models are powered by 6.7-litre FPT six-cylinder engines, with Hi-eSCR technology to tackle emissions.
New Holland continues to expand its T6 Dynamic Command line-up and, against recent down-sizing trends, has brought in the DCT option for this six-cylinder model, offering just 135hp, but boosting to 160hp.
Called the T6.160, it has the same footprint as the T6.180, but stands out for its six-pot power and dual clutch transmission, as an option to the ElectroCommand transmission.
Larger T7 models have a change in front windscreen wiper design, from top mounted to lower mounted, producing a better sweep across the glass, at 175 degrees.
And the T8 Genesis includes the 400hp T8.435, with a 21 by five Ultra Command full powershift transmission, available on wheels or half-track format. Across the T8 series, changes have been software-led to improve functionality, and is achieved without the need for a laptop or dealer visit, using ‘Firmware Over The Air’ technology, similar to smart phone updates.
Fifth generation updates from the Finnish maker have recently reached the four-cylinder N and six-pot T series.
Spec changes are subtle, with T series power outputs unchanged, though all powershift transmissions now gain automatic shifting from B range, with faster changes. In addition, as soon as the tractor starts to move, the engine uses the boost engine map to develop more power.
In the N series, the three lowest powered models have been dropped, reducing cross-over with the G series models.
Biggest changes for N and T are cab-derived, with the main dashboard display now fixed to the A-pillar, making way for a new steering column with integrated storage, and easier steering column adjustment.
Expected to arrive later this year, Claas’ Arion 400 tractor series will include seven models, topped off with a new 470 model boasting 155hp. Power comes from a 4.5-litre FPT four-pot, while SCR and DOC after-treatment means Stage 5 emissions are met.
Arion 400-420 models get the Quadrishift 16 by 16 powershift gearbox, while 430 upwards feature the 24 by 24 Hexashift transmission.
All models get a brake-to-neutral function, and with more than 50 per cent of Arion 400 models being equipped with a front loader, Claas has given the tractor range a 150litres/min hydraulic pump, with loader controls managed through a multi-function control lever.
Expect to find front axle suspension and two-point mechanical cab suspension across the range.
The 8S from Massey Ferguson is a tractor currently dividing opinion. This four-model range replaces the outgoing long-wheelbase 7700S, and extends from 205-265hp using 7.4-litre Agco Power six-cylinder engines. Revised model numbering now sees the last three digits represent the tractor’s maximum power.
A four-post cab with steeply raked front windscreen gives the 8S a striking silhouette, with a deliberate 240mm gap between cab and bonnet is part of a move towards reducing noise, heat and vibration.
Currently, transmission choices include two new powershift gearboxes; Dyna-7 a 28 by 28 format, or Dyna E-Power offering a dual clutch system and a 50kph road speed capability at 1,500rpm. A CVT option is expected to arrive this year in the guise of Dyna-VT.
Lift capacities are increased at both ends, boasting 4.8t up front and 10t at the rear. A closed centre, 150 litres/min hydraulic pump is standard, with 205-litres being optional.
As Stage 5 compliant tractors continue to filter through, McCormick’s latest is the 75hp X5.085.
Using a 3.4-litre FPT engine, the X5.085 uses EGR, DOC and DPF technology, but avoids the need for SCR after-treatment to achieve the latest emissions requirement.
A 3.9t category 2 rear lift capacity can be supplemented by an optional 1.7t capacity category 2 front linkage, while a dual pump hydraulic system can manage up to five spools.
Cab comfort is provided by a four-post cab design, which incorporates a new joystick design for transmission controls. The tractor also features true four-wheel braking, having oil-immersed brakes integrated into the front axle to compliment those in the rear axle.
After redeveloping its smaller-framed 900 Vario MT tractor’s Fendt has moved up the power bracket and overhauled its flagship rubber-tracked machines. Badged 1100 Vario MT, these four new models get a significantly different powertrain to their predecessors, spanning 511-673hp.
Out goes the Agco Power V12 engine and in comes a MAN 15.2-litre six-pot, and with it comes a Fendt Vario CVT. Like the 900 series tracked models, it works with one pump and two motors, but is rated to 600hp, which is all that goes to the drive wheels on the flagship 1167 MT model. Surplus power is directed towards pto and hydraulic performance.
Larger mid-rollers with polyurethane roller coatings and the use of springs and dampers brings improved ride comfort too.
Deutz-Fahr has bridged the gap between its 7 and 9 Series, with the introduction of an 8 Series. Currently, there is only one model, the 287hp 8280 TTV.
The 8 Series is aimed at large farming operations and contractors looking for a machine that is as capable with high power pto and transport work, as it is when ballasted up for heavy draft cultivation duties.
Its 6.1-litre Deutz engine features twin-turbochargers, which help to create more usable power and torque across a wide rev band. The 8280TTV produces maximum power from 1,700-2,100rpm, with its maximum torque figure of 1,226Nm available from 1,300-1,500rpm.
This particular model gets Deutz-Fahr’s own CVT ‘box, forsaking a ZF unit, to allow more the firm to more accurately tailor the transmission build to suit engine characteristics and tractor size.
Kubota is introducing an all-new tractor series to the UK market, slotting in between the flagship M7003 and the lower-powered MG-X models.
The three-model range includes the M6-122, M6-132 and M6-142, with power from the four-cylinder 6.1-litre engine following model numbers, at 122hp, 132hp and 142hp respectively.
An eight-speed powershift transmission uses three robotised ranges to provide a 24 by 24 push-button gearbox, with a creeper option extending ratios to 32 by 32. Auto-shifting and speed matching are key features.
Kubota’s portal front axle with bevel gear drive makes this a nimble combination, creating a 4.5m turning radius, with a 55 degree maximum steering angle.
A category 3 rear linkage provides a seven tonne lift capacity, while pto speed choices include 540/540E and 1000/1000E. An optional 3.25 tonne front linkage and pto is available.
One of the newer names in the UK is Farmtrac, and the Cambridgeshire-based importer Reesink Agriculture has been building its dealer network. A range of tractors covers 22 to 115hp, and the tractors are built by India’s third largest tractor manufacturer, the Escorts Group.
This FT6075E model features a 75hp, four-cylinder, 3.5-litre engine, developed in-house. Power is transferred through a Carraro-built 12 by 12 transmission, with four gears in three ranges. Selectable four-wheel drive and diff-lock are part of the package.
An air-conditioned cab is also standard, while the rear linkage will lift 2,500kg, has draft and position control and features two spool valves, in addition to two pto speeds (540 and 540E) and hydraulic trailer brakes.
But it is not just diesel power that the firm is offering – Farmtrac provides the 25G, a compact, battery-powered tractor.
Kubota’s third generation M7 tractors now include the manufacturer’s Xpress restart, Multispeed steering, an advanced LED lighting package and Tractor Implement Management (TIM).
Meeting Stage 5 emissions regulations, the three-model range – M7133, M7153 and M7173 – offers outputs from 130hp to 170hp from a 6.1-litre, four-cylinder engine.
Transmission options include the step-less KVT or a powershift gearbox that uses six powershift speeds in five synchronised ranges. The powershift also gets a brake-to-stop function called Xpress restart.
All models can be equipped with Multispeed steering control, allowing the operator to select a steering ratio that reduces the number of steering wheel turns required to reach full-lock.
Case IH has extended its AFS Connect offering to include Quadtrac and Steiger models. Following the launch of the Magnum AFS Connect two years ago, this technology has now been extended to the company’s flagship high-horsepower tractors.
AFS Connect is based on Case IH’s Advanced Farming Systems precision technology platform, but takes this a step further with new hardware and software. This includes a new display, operating system, receiver and a completely redesigned hardware environment allowing for remote display viewing and remote support capabilities, for example.
This technology is also contained within a redesigned cab interior, equipped with new controls and displays.
Case IH will continue to offer both powershift and continuously-variable transmission options across its high-power models, along with optional saddle tanks to increase fuel capacity by 44 per cent on certain models.
Claas has continued to rolled-out the Cemos operator assistance system on tractors, with the Axion 900 Terra-Trac the latest to benefit.
Where the assistance system initially focused on ballast and tyre pressure settings when cultivating with wheeled tractors, its integration on half-tracks focusses on the front tyres, while advising on ballast to prevent over-ballasting and its impact on soil structure.
Elsewhere in the range, Cemos gains a mower assistant to help the operator correctly align the mower, set the right cut height and ground pressure, adjust lift height and select a suitable overlap.
Basic settings such as adjusting the lower and upper links, as well as ensuring that the drive shaft is the correct length, are also included in the system.
Hot on the heels of the radical 8S tractor range, MF has started to apply the same design cues to lower powered models. And that sees the 5700S replaced by the 5S.
With five models from 105-145hp, the 5S has been shaped with loader work in mind and features a slim, steeply sloped bonnet to make the most of visibility. It also gets a 10-15hp increase in power over the 5700S it replaces.
Longer service intervals see the 5S reach 600 hours between oil changes, and MF’s all-in-one emissions packaging sees the DPF, DOC and SCR tucked low down, near the base of the cab. Dyna-4 and Dyna-6 powershift transmissions are available, with brake-to-neutral functionality included.
Meeting demand for a high-spec, small tractor, Valtra’s G series drops into the line-up between the low-spec A series and the more sophisticated N series.
The four-model G series covers 105-135hp, and boasts a high level of technology. Versu and Active models in the new G series can be equipped with the same precision farming features as the manufacturer’s larger models, including Valtra Connect telemetry which allows tractor data to be shared with service technicians and farm offices.
A new Wayline Assistant option is available, together with Valtra Guide automated steering, developed to enhance automated steering systems by making it simple to store individual, meandering waylines in the memory. It also makes it possible to create segmented waylines manually, including that of the field edge.
Installation can be executed to any of the firm’s existing SmartTouch tractors by way of a software update.