This week thousands of exhibitors and more that half a million punters descended on Hannover, Germany, for the biennial Agritechnica show. Here’s our pick of the newest and most noteworthy tractors on offer.
With John Deere’s crawler and Fendt’s 1000-series already out in the open, it was left to McCormick to launch one of the few never-been-seen tractors at this year’s show.
The new landmark X8 means the Italians have finally breached the 300hp and can genuinely compete with some of the biggest names in tractor manufacturing.
It uses the same six pot, 6.7-litre Fiat block as the smaller X7s, but this time around it’s tuned to deliver a healthy-sounding 264, 286 or 310hp, depending on the model you choose.
Transmission options are limited to McCormick’s new stepless VT gearbox, but it comes with virtual ranges and cruise controls that can be set in the tractor cab. Cab and front axle suspension are also part of the package, and there’s the option of fitting extra-wide 900mm rubber at the back for some extra flotation.
On paper, hydraulic output looks fairly generous at 157 litres/min, though this can be upped to 212 litres/min if you’re willing to part with a few extra quid.
Both outside and inside the X8 looks nearly identical to the 7-series, which means there’s the same simple-to-use operating system and big 12in touchscreen.
Prices haven’t been announced yet, though they’re likely to be pretty competitive, and it’s going to be the second half of next year before we see them on UK farms.
Massey Ferguson 4700
Massey Ferguson has finally launched the cabbed version of its multi-market 4700-series to suit countries where the sun doesn’t shine quite as often.
Power outputs of the three models kick off at 75 ponies on the 4707 and climb up to a useful 95hp on the biggest 4709. They all use small, serviceable three-cylinder Agco Sisu blocks that drive through a simple two-range, six-gear box. The shuttle is also a bog basic mechanical arrangement.
Other key stats include a 3t rear lift and 61 litres/min hydraulics, all yours for £30,000.
Massey was also showing its replacement for the 5600-series. The 5700 range runs from 100-130hp and includes four models with the option of Dyna 4 or Dyna 6 gearboxes. Tractors aren’t due on to UK shores well into next year, though.
Russia’s answer to high-horsepower power units proved to be a crowd pleaser, if only for its old-school approach to artic tractor design.
The 15t Steiger lookalike is built in St Petersburg and, at €190,000, is the affordable alternative to household names like Deere, Case and Versatile.
A six-bore, 12-litre Merc powerplant pumps 428 horses through the Russian-made 16-speed powershift box, while the hydraulics come courtesy of Bosch Rexroth.
Chinese manufacturers are making a beeline for the lucrative markets of Western Europe, but Zoomlion is one of the few able to offer tractors with power outputs beyond 200hp.
It only established its ag-division last year after a merger with fellow Chinese firm Chery products.
According to the company’s brochure, buyers will get “the strong feel of modern science and fashion inside the cab”. Bold claims indeed, but the lime green colour scheme is probably an acquired taste. It also seems to have oddly small 36in tyres at the back.
Like a lot of foreign imports, there are some familiar names on the list of component parts. It includes Deutz, which provides a 210hp block on the biggest ZL2104 and drives through a 40-speed powershift gearbox that comes with the option of auto-shifting.
Ursus might have last sold a tractor in the UK way back in the early 1980s but in the mean time the Poles have been busy cultivating new markets across eastern Europe and Russia.
One of the crudest members of the family has to be this haulage tractor destined for the sugar cane fields of Ethiopia. The Deutz block pumps out 250hp, which is surprisingly little given how absurdly big the blocky-panelled bonnet is at the front.
The simple six-speed auto transmission is imported from US firm Allison and has a top speed of 45kph. In-cab controls are limited to a small blister pad, which probably suits the basic demands of Ursus’ target market. Familiar names continue with the axles, which are sourced from ZF and Carraro.
Surprisingly, the £65,000 spec includes air conditioning and LED lights, but no rear linkage – just a ball-type pick-up hitch to drag trailers about.
Deutz-Fahr is the latest tractor maker to jump on the renewables bandwagon. With the help of some university geeks it has built a 120hp 5120C tractor powered partly by methane gas stored in canisters tucked behind the rear cab pillars.
New Holland was the first of the big names to really push methane as a viable alternative to diesel. It hopes to have its version on sale to farmers within five years and is currently conducting extended trials with the technology fitted to a 179hp T6.175.
Steyr’s Terrus tops 300hp
Steyr is the latest maker in the CNH line-up to launch a new heavy-duty tillage tractor.
We’ve already seen the Optum from Case-IH and a beefed-up T7 from New Holland, but now the Austrian brand has been given its own version called the Terrus.
The model being unveiled at this year’s show was the flagship 6300 CVT. Unsurprisingly, this comes with the same 6.7-litre Fiat engine as its blue and red siblings, which generates a peak power of just over 300hp.
The models are only available with a CVT transmission and as usual won’t be easy to get your hands on one in the UK.
However, the Case Optum and New Holland’s T7 HD are almost identical, so unless you’re a particular fan of the red-and-white livery there’s no need to worry. For those that don’t need that much grunt, there’ll also be a slightly detuned 6270 version that tops out at just over 280hp.
It’s not often that you get a new tractor brand bursting on to the scene, but this year’s Agritechnica saw the birth of a new collaboration between Italy and China.
Arbos tractors are the lovechild from a deal between a group of Italian business partners – which also owns precision drill maker Matermacc – and China’s biggest tractor brand – Foton.
At the moment most of the cream-and-green tractors are only suitable for selling to the Chinese market, but there is one 130hp tractor that is destined for European and UK soils.
This is fitted with a 3.5-litre turbocharged Kohler engine that’s similar to the block JCB uses in some of its machines.
The biggest model built so far is fitted with a 270hp Deutz engine, but it will be a good while before we see one of these trundling around on European soils because of our tighter emissions regulations.
All models are being built in China by Foton, which is currently bolting together 110,000 tractors and 70,000 combines every year.
New look for Zetor
Zetor was showing off a fresh new look, which it plans to roll out across its tractor range over the next few years.
The sleeker design was penned by famous Ferrari designer Pininfarina and in an attempt to spice things up the tinwork has been given lick of cherry red metallic paint.
The Czech maker plans to incorporate the design into its upcoming models, one of which is likely to be a tractor with as much as 200hp under the bonnet.
Turkey seems to be brimming with small tractor makers looking to migrate their machines across the rest of Europe.
Istanbul-based Basak is one of the latest to set its sights on the potentially money-spinning markets of Germany, France and the rest of the EU, and it had a surprisingly large stand at this year’s Agritechnica.
As with most of these smaller eastern brands, the tractors are a built from a kit of well-known parts. That means the flagship 90hp machine has a Perkins engine with Carraro transmission and front axle.
Despite its simple looks there’s a decent-sized options list that includes an in-built air compressor and a hydraulic top link.
At the moment Basak doesn’t have a machine that will meet the EU’s stringent emissions regulations, but it will only be a couple of years before it does.