More than 2,500 exhibitors from across the globe shipped their machinery into Hanover, Germany this week for the biennial Agritechnica machinery show.
Here the Farmers Weekly Machinery team pick out some of the tractor launch highlights from the Europen show’s 26 exhibition halls.
Claas Axion 900
Claas surprised Agritechnica visitors with a tracked version of its Jaguar 900-series foragers. Although pictures have been floating about of the company’s new Axion 900 half-track tractor, until now the harvester has been kept under wraps.
Based on the TerraTrac units used on Lexion combines, the variant that gets bolted to Jaguars has the ability to lift the front wheels for headland turns and transport.
This is said to reduce the force required to swing the machine round and limit scuffing as well as improving road ride.
And it’s a similar story with the TT version of the firm’s flagship 325hp – 445hp Axion 900-series tractors.
The tracks are once again modified versions of those used on Lexions but to cope with the extra power and torque being put through them they have larger rear drive wheels.
Initially, the firm’s test bed machines were smaller Axion 800s and kitted out with standard TerraTracs straight off the combines. Although they apparently performed well at these lower power and torque ratings, it was identified during testing that to get up over the 350hp mark and retain a friction drive, beefier running gear would be required.
Claas says the key advantages of such a set-up over a twin- or four-track machine are traction is maintained in cornering, scuffing is reduced and by retaining a sprung front axle, road and field transport is better.
Pricing is not yet finalised for TT versions of either foragers or tractors but, thanks to their extra mechanical complexity, it’s fair to expect you’ll pay more than the £20,000 premium that Lexion customers shoulder for the privilege of running crawler combines.
Given the UK has the highest proportion of TerraTrac combines anywhere in the world, the German firm has high hopes for its similarly equipped tractors and foragers on our little group of islands.
Fendt twin-track crawlers
A change of clothes was enough to get visiting punters crawling all over Agco’s twin-track tractors.
The company revealed in August it would be dropping the Challenger brand in Europe and switching its machines to Fendt livery, including all of the tractors and Rogator sprayers.
Three models fill the smaller 900MT crawler range that runs from 380hp to 430hp using the same 9.8-litre, seven-cylinder Agco block as before and they will all be fitted with Fendt’s stepless Vario transmission.
The old cab has been replaced with a carbon copy of the wheeled 1000-series’ cockpit and includes a big touchscreen, fridge and steering-wheel-mounted radio controls. Prices start at £376,000.
Larger 1100MT crawlers are identical to the outgoing Challenger 800 series, so they get a powershift gearbox and 16.8-litre, 12-cylinder Agco-built engine.
The Vario gearbox can’t cope with the power, but Fendt reckons it will soon be able to offer the highest-horsepower CVT tracked machine on the market so it’s likely the makeover given to the 900MT range will soon work its way up.
The company has also developed its VarioPull drawbar system, which can adjust the gap between the tractor and its implement to shift weight between axles.
Once ballast weights are added and the implement is attached, the weight distribution rarely changes when in the field, says Fendt. This can lead to unnecessarily high fuel consumption and more compaction due to the weight being in the wrong place.
Instead, VarioPull can change the implement’s attachment point and will bring it within 80cm of the tractor’s rear end for better stability on the road, or push it away for tighter headland turns.
Versatile 610 DT
Often viewed in the UK as the poor relation in the four-track pack to the Case Quadtrac and the John Deere RX, the introduction of a new 610DT range-topper from Versatile has seen it gain a promotion into the 600hp-plus league.
The Canadian firm has a rich pedigree of four-wheel-drive tractor building at its Winnipeg base and the company sticks with the same Cummins six-cylinder, 15-litre engines seen in its smaller 520 and 570 models. However, the new tractor peaks at a whopping 650hp.
There are similarities in the transmission area too, with the Cat T22 gearbox still putting the power down via 16 forward and four reverse powershift gears, while improved planetary track gearing gives a 15% increase in drawbar pull, we’re told.
Tipping the scales at more than 26.5t, the new model meets Tier 4 emission laws, while the company also maintains its faith in the Camso track units it reckons offers one of the best rides on the market.
To boost this claim, an upgrade from the 570 model is the addition of four-point cab suspension along with a new air-suspended seat. Also new in the cab is a 10in touchscreen housing all the machine features.
Louth-based importer JPM Agriculture has a demo 610DT doing the rounds in the UK already, but you’ll need to scribble a cheque of about £267,000 to land it.
Belarus 450hp tractor
Fendt might lay claim to the highest-horsepower wheeled tractor on the market, but Belarus is giving the Germans a run for their money with its highest-horsepower tractor yet.
The hulking 4522 gets its muscle from a 9.2-litre Caterpillar engine that develops an impressive 450hp.
This is no modern clean-burning powerplant, though – at the moment it only meets Stage 3 emissions regs, meaning it’s off the menu for most EU countries. However, we’re told a less smutty version will be on the way in the next year or so.
The semi-powershift transmission comes courtesy of Belarus’ in-house engineers and has four ranges with four powershift stages in each. A full powershift version – similar to the one used in its 350hp model – is also in development.
All up, the 4522 tips the scales at 15t, sits at almost 7m long and stands more than 3.5m tall. It’s also just over 3m wide when sitting on 710mm tyres.
All this makes it a little more ungainly than Fendt’s 1050, which boasts an extra 50hp.
The Belarus is also a little lacking in the technology and creature comfort departments.
However, it does come with Trimble-based guidance and auto-steer. It’s not giveaway, but the €220,000 (£195,800) price-tag is a roughly a third less than the Fendt’s.
New Holland methane tractor
New Holland is continuing its mission to pursue gas power with a revamped version of its methane tractor prototype.
First unveiled at the US’s Farm Progress show, this second-generation model is said to cost 30% less to run than a diesel equivalent and offer an 80% reduction in emissions overall.
Its environmental performance is further improved when fuelled by biomethane produced from crop residues and waste from energy crops.
According to New Holland, this results in virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions.
The prototype is based on a New Holland T6 and produces up to 180hp and 740Nm of torque, matching its diesel-fuelled equivalent. With this model, New Holland has also worked hard to tuck the methane tanks out of the way beneath new curvy bodywork.
Lamborghini Mach 230 VRT
Lamborghini tractors are an increasingly rare sight on UK farms, with most SDF dealers concentrating on Deutz-Fahr branded machines.
However, they’re still popular enough in other parts of Europe for the group to keep introducing new models. The revamped 230VRT pictured is the second largest machine in the maker’s line-up and is based on the Deutz-Fahr 6-series platform.
That means it has a 6.1-litre Deutz six-cylinder up front that drives a continuously variable transmission. Power is rated at 214hp and it develops 889Nm of torque. There’s also a larger 250VRT that’s good for 230hp.
Case Quadtrac CVX
Case stepped up the pace in the high horsepower division with a stepless gearboxed version of its all-conquering Quadtrac.
Buyers now have the choice of slotting the ZF-built transmission into the hole that is usually filled by the firm’s powershifter.
As it stands, only three models will be offered with the new gearbox – the smallest 470, along with the 500 and 540. The biggest dogs in the range – the 580, 600 and 620 – will stick with the old gearbox for now, although Case isn’t ruling out the option of a CVT in the future.
There’s no change in the engine department, so FPT’s 12.9-litre block remains the power provider for all the models. Top speed is 40kph, which comes in a spritely 11 seconds, and total weight is 24.5t.
Interested buyers can expect to stump up about £30,000 extra for a stepless gearbox, which takes a 500 model perilously close to the £400,000 mark.
Agritechnica always throws up a baffling number of tractor makers, some of which have never exhibited at the show before. This year it was the turn of Indian manufacturer Mahindra, which was showing off its own-branded tractor range for the first time in its 44-year history.
The 9125P is one of the newest machines in the line-up.
This has been designed specifically for the US market and is built in Korea on a TYM platform. However, it comes with Mahindra’s own 120hp four-cylinder engine, complete with AdBlue after treatment.
This is mated to a 12-speed powershuttle transmission.
At the moment there are no plans to bring this model to the UK as the Mumbai firm is concentrating on pushing Turkish brand Armatrac, which it purchased recently.
Mahindra also owns considerable stakes in Finnish combine brand Sampo Rosenlew as well as Mitsubishi’s Agricultural Equipment division.
This means we should see a lot more of the brand in Europe and the UK in the coming years.
Ursus 150hp tractor
Poland’s favourite tractor maker, Ursus, was showing the latest addition to its rapidly expanding midsize tractor range.
The C-3150V Kubota lookalike decked out in full tiger-print livery comes with a four-cylinder, 4.1-litre Deutz block packing 150hp and 661Nm torque.
Drive is directed through a 32-speed powershifter that tops out at 40kph. The rest of the spec looks pretty generous too, with four pto speeds, 100-litres/min hydraulics and a 7t rear lift.
It’s still a prototype at the minute so there’s no word on exactly how much it will cost, but the manufacturer says it will undercut most of its 150hp rivals.
Deutz 9-series swivel cab
Attracting swarms of punters at Agritechnica was a Deutz Fahr with a funky-looking lifting and swivelling cab retrofitted by German fabricator Paul Nutzfahrzeuge.
It has been designed to offer Deutz users the option of getting higher above static implements such as woodchippers but can also be used in reverse drive for jobs such as running a set of triple mowers at speeds of up to 15kph.
Only available on the Deutz 9-series machines, the cab sits 170mm higher than standard to accommodate the lifting mechanism in road mode.
At full height, the cab is lifted by 350mm and shoved out 750mm to the rear as it rotates through the 200deg.
All cab suspension features are kept in place and it’s connected to the Deutz chassis by a selection of bolts rather than welding, with the drive-by-wire throttle meaning there’s little connection between the cab and the tractor.
If you own a 9-series Deutz already then there is the option to have it retrofitted, while if you choose a new 9-series it’s an extra tick on the options list at the dealership and adds between £49,000 and £57,500.