Many of the machines unveiled this year will make their UK debut at the Lamma show in January. We round up the biggest, best and quirkiest new arrivals of 2023.
January – New Holland T7 Methane Power
The new year kicked off with New Holland’s unveiling of a prototype T7 Methane Power tractor that runs on a liquefied version of the gas to give longer working times to a fill.
Thanks to the greater density of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the new model has four times the fuel storage of the firm’s existing methane-powered T6, which uses compressed gas (CNG).
The main piece of technology responsible for this is a temperature-controlled fuel system developed by Cornish firm Bennamann.
This keeps the volatile liquid at a constant -164C to prevent it boiling and venting to the atmosphere.
Cleverly, the cryogenic storage unit has been designed to fit in the same space as the original diesel tank, so there’s no need to festoon the tractor with additional vessels.
Having 270hp on tap sees it deliver the same power and torque figures as its diesel equivalent, meaning future buyers shouldn’t have to compromise on output.
February – John Deere ExactShot
A new starter fertiliser placement system for John Deere’s US drills arrived in February, offering the potential to reduce application rates by more than 60% without hindering crop performance.
Rather than a constant flow of product, the ExactShot uses factory-fitted sensors and robotics to spray about 0.2ml of fertiliser directly onto individual seeds as they are placed in the ground.
This has significant environmental benefits, preventing emissions-heavy fertiliser from encouraging weed growth and reducing the risk of leaching or run-off into waterways.
However, the system is currently only compatible with a handful of John Deere planters sporting electric drives, none of which are sold in the UK.
March – Big Bud 700
The iconic Big Bud tractor made an unlikely return to full production after its Montana-based manufacturer blew the cobwebs off the mothballed design – more than three decades since the last behemoth rumbled off the production line.
It is being assembled by Big Equipment Co, a Versatile dealer and rebuilder of original Big Bud tractors, in partnership with Georgian outfit Rome.
They intend to replicate the blueprint of the original models, of which 500 were produced from the mid-1970s through to 1991.
As such, it remains an old-school beast, propelled by an 18-litre Cat engine that is good for 640hp.
Allied to that are Cat’s TA22 18-speed powershift transmission and 988 HD axles, reckoned to be the heaviest used in the agricultural industry, while on top sits a modern Agco cab.
April – Ford Ranger Wildtrak X and Tremor
Ford’s revamped Ranger line-up gained a brace of new models in April, taking the total to seven.
Both the Wildtrak X and Tremor are specced for keener off-roading, with longer travel suspension and Bilstein’s high-performance, position-sensitive dampers.
The powertrains are identical, with Ford’s 2-litre EcoBlue bi-turbo engine, tuned to produce 205hp and 500Nm of torque, running through a 10-speed automatic transmission and new full-time four-wheel-drive system.
However, the Wildtrak X is slightly plusher inside, with suede-trimmed seats, fancier dashboard stitching and a mix of soft-touch materials.
A few months later, Ford announced it would be launching a plug-in hybrid Ranger.
May – Vervaet Quad XL
Slurry applicators get no bigger, in Europe at least, than this Quad XL combination from Vervaet, the Dutch maker that specialises in all things supersized.
It sees the self-propelled Quad 550 married with a secondary trailed tanker to take total carrying capacity to a whopping 40cu m (22cu m up front, 18cu m towed behind), meaning it can swallow an artic tanker load with room to spare.
May – Case Optum 340 CVX
Case IH beat stablemate New Holland to the UK launch of their shared 340hp tractor platform, though the two appeared on neighbouring stands at the Cereals event a month later.
The Optum 340 CVXDrive and T7.340 HD now top their respective ranges, with both featuring the same 6.7-litre, six-cylinder FPT engine as their smaller counterparts.
To deal with the extra firepower, the hydrostatic unit and control software in the CVT transmission – known as CVX Drive in the Case and Auto Command in the New Holland – have been upgraded, as have other driveline components, the rear differential and rear pto.
Crucially, weight and proportions have stayed the same, meaning there’s little penalty for having the extra oomph.
June – Munro MK1 pickup
The UK’s first electric pickup was swiftly followed by its second, with Scottish start-up Munro Vehicles joining Chinese maker Maxus in offering a battery-powered option.
However, it’s a very different beast, with its big motor, full-time 4×4 system and ultra-utilitarian interior starkly juxtaposing the more conventional-looking, rear-wheel-drive T90EV.
In “Performance” guise the imaginatively named MK1 Pickup has an electric motor capable of producing 280kW – about 375hp – and 700Nm of instantly available torque.
This comfortably trumps the Maxus’ comparatively feeble 150kW/201hp and delivers a jet-like 0-60mph sprint time of 4.9sec.
There are more modest options though, with workaday “Utility” and “Range” variants putting out 220kW (295hp) and still capable of carrying 1,050kg and towing 3.5t.
All are paired with an 82.4kWh battery pack reckoned to be good for a maximum range of 190 miles, or up to 16 hours on a single charge when operating off-road. This takes just 36min to replenish from 15% to 80% when using a 100kW DC charger.
Beyond the electric powertrain, most of the running gear is pretty conventional, with the drive motor directly bolted to a two-speed transfer case, regular prop shafts and solid axles.
June – JCB 403E
After enjoying strong sales of its diesel-powered 403, JCB introduced an electric version with the promise of similar performance, minus the noise and fumes.
The 403e’s 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds a 33.4kW (45hp) drive motor and a separate 20kW (26hp) unit to power the hydraulics.
Continuous working times of five to six hours are possible, and depleted cells can be replenished in eight hours using the built-in mains charger, or just two hours with JCB’s optional external rapid charging station.
July – Makita battery-powered microwave
Makita came up with a solution for anyone who finds themselves hankering after a piping-hot lasagne in the middle of nowhere – a battery-powered microwave.
The MW001GZ oven is the latest in a run of cordless catering products from the Japanese firm that includes a coffee machine, kettle and fridge, bringing it one step closer to offering a fully fledged off-grid kitchen.
Power is provided by two of the firm’s 40VMax XGT battery packs and its eight-litre capacity is large enough to accommodate most microwave containers.
July – Ineos Grenadier Quartermaster pickup
July saw Ineos Automotive unveil the first prototypes of its debut pickup, the Grenadier Quartermaster.
The design is almost identical to that of the Grenadier Station Wagon 4×4, except with an extended ladder frame and lopped-off back end to accommodate the load bed.
Buyers can have a BMW six-cylinder engine in either petrol (286hp) or diesel (249hp), married to a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox with two-speed transfer case.
Towing capacity is rated to 3.5t, but quoted payload ratings are an underwhelming 835kg on the petrol version and 760kg on the slightly heavier diesel.
While this is unlikely to be a major impediment for most owners, it does have cost implications in that they won’t be able to reclaim the VAT.
July – Claas Xerion 12-series
The Claas Xerion 12-series broke cover among its principal competitors at the three-day Ag in Motion event in Canada.
With peak outputs of 585hp (12.590) and 653hp (12.650), the newcomers are outgunned only by John Deere’s biggest 9-series models and the Case IH Quadtrac.
But, unlike the competition, they run through a C-Matic stepless transmission, put their power to the ground via a new triangular-format Terra Trac undercarriage and have a rigid chassis complete with selectable steering at both ends.
Mounting the massive 1,400-litre fuel tank centrally aims to maintain 50:50 weight distribution as the 15.6-litre MTU Mercedes-Benz engine sups its juice.
The availability of a three-pump load-sensing hydraulics system delivering up to 537 litres/min should mean even the biggest air seeders are not starved of oil.
August – Toyota Land Cruiser
A redesign of Toyota’s venerable Land Cruiser was revealed in August, featuring a stronger chassis, an eight-speed automatic transmission and the option of a hybrid powertrain.
Looks have been improved too, with the Japanese maker ditching the previous generation’s gawky, angular tinwork in favour of sleek retro panelling inspired by its iconic 60- and 80-series models from the 1980s and 1990s.
For now, power will continue to come from a 2.8-litre diesel engine that develops 201hp and 500Nm of torque, but in 2025 this will be available with the option of a 48V mild hybrid system.
Both examples will send drive to the axles via a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission, which should offer slicker gear changes than the old six-speeder.
September – Case IH Quadtrac 715
The battle for high-horsepower tractor supremacy took another twist in September with news of a 778hp Steiger Quadtrac 715 from Case IH.
It is powered by a twin-turbo 16-litre FPT Industrial engine coupled to a PowerDrive transmission.
This full powershift unit provides 16 forward and two reverse ratios and an increased top speed of 40kph.
To help get the power down, the familiar triangular track units at each corner have a larger drive wheel and longer ground contact area.
This helps distribute the considerable weight of the tractor – more than 27.7t in base spec form, with a permissible maximum weight of just over 32.6t.
September – Valtra S-series
A new cab, more powerful engine and a welter of previously unavailable optional extras are highlights of Valtra’s revamped S-series.
But the biggest change to the Finnish firm’s flagship range is its provenance, with production of all six models of the sixth generation returning to Suolahti, ending a two-decade build run at Massey Ferguson’s facility in Beauvais, France.
The move means the 8.4-litre Agco Power engine, Fendt-derived stepless transmission and five-pillar cab are all manufactured and assembled in Finland, and the tractors can now be sent through Valtra’s trademark Unlimited customisation studio.
Outputs range from 280hp to 420hp, with the power channelled through an uprated version of the two-range, 50kph ML 260 CVT.
September – Fendt 600 Vario
Fendt raised the bar on how much power can be squeezed out of a four-cylinder tractor engine by cranking its new 600 Vario up to more than 200hp.
The move came after the German brand beefed up its popular 700-series tractors, creating a yawning gulf between it and the smaller 500s.
Traditionally, an extra two cylinders would be required to successfully cover this 150-200hp-plus bracket, but a new 5-litre Agco Power Core50 engine claims to make this unnecessary.
In the top-of-the-range 620, max power output is 209hp and, thanks to Fendt’s “dynamic performance” boost arrangement, it can call on as much as 224hp when required.
In the same vein as the firm’s larger tractors, the old Vario transmission was dropped in favour of the single-range VarioDrive setup, which continuously measures slip on all four wheels and dishes out power to those with the most grip.
October – New Holland CR11
New Holland revealed the first details of its biggest-ever combine in October, a month before its official Agritechnica launch.
The acre-eating, twin-rotor CR11 promises to bring far greater output than the current CR10.90 flagship, putting it in direct competition with John Deere’s X9 models.
October – John Deere See & Spray
In the same month, John Deere announced that its weed targeting See & Spray system would finally be made available on trailed R-series models.
The setup is designed to hit weeds on stubbles, offering buyers the chance to drastically reduce their post-harvest/pre-emergence chemical costs.
November – Massey Ferguson 9S
Massey Ferguson’s new 9S tractor range was one of the chief headline-makers at November’s Agritechnica show in Hanover.
Highlights of the six-model line-up, which runs from 285hp to 425hp, include the square cab of the smaller 8S and its claimed “best in class” visibility, stepless Dyna-VT transmissions across the board and the firm’s Exclusive spec as standard.
Power comes from the same 8.4-litre six-cylinder Agco Power engine as featured in the September-launched Valtra S-series – a tractor with which it also shares its high-output hydraulic system rated to a maximum of 400 litres/min.