With its 8700 series tractors, Massey Ferguson really is trying to deliver the best of both worlds. The company has two models in this series that run into the high-horsepower class (i.e. above 325 hp) but three models in the 220- to 325-hp mid-size range, including the 8727 (270 hp), the 8730 (295 hp) and the 8732 (320 hp). Billed as “the best engine in its class,” the 8700 series comes with the advanced Engine Power Management (EPM) system, including a six-cylinder, 8.4-litre engine, capable of generating an additional 30 hp when needed. Whether it’s for seeding and tillage, moving square bales or hauling a manure spreader, the company says there’s little that AGCO’s Tier 4-final, Power 84 engine can’t handle. And it comes complete with higher performance at lower r.p.m.s, plus its Dyna-VT transmission, with no clutch packs, and no shifting or clutch burnout. There’s also a new Clyclair cooling package to increase cooling capacity, and with the Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) system, the engine and the transmission can work together, increasing fuel efficiency.
New Holland Genesis T8 SmartTrax
New Holland is another manufacturer with a series that overlaps — from high-horsepower brute strength to something a little leaner (power-wise) that can still push the limits and perform. In all, there are three models in the 220- to 325-hp class, including the T8.300, the T8.330 and the T8.360. But what makes the Genesis T8 series a greater value is the SmartTrax system, a combination of manoeuvrability with front wheels, and traction that comes from the rear rubber tracks. Tracked options are becoming more of a staple on farms, but the one drawback to a twin-track design is that an operator needs to slow down while making turns to avoid berming at the end of rows or even damaging the soil. With the half-track system on the Genesis T8 SmartTrax, the wheels up front reduce that potential for soil damage, and also offer a tighter turning radius. With the half-track system, there’s more balance and comfort, and a choice of belt widths from narrow tracks of 16, 18 and 24 inches to wide-track versions of 24 or 30 inches. The overall track width is also adjustable, from 76 to 152 inches, meaning the SmartTrax system can be used for either row-crop or broad-acre management practices.
Photo: New Holland
New Holland ‘Golden Jubilee’ T7
For 50 years, New Holland has based its production in the United Kingdom, with its plant at Basildon dating back to the days of Ford’s farm equipment lines. Now, near the end of its golden anniversary, New Holland is offering its “Golden Jubilee” models of its T7.270 Auto Command tractors. The T7.270 and a smaller model, the T6.160, are both available in North America. The tractors boast all of the same attributes of the standard T7.270 model, with the only change being a different shade of blue paint with some gold highlights on the grilles, exhaust guards and identification badges. The cab also sports a more luxurious interior, including optional leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Photo: New Holland
With the horses to tackle heavy-going conditions, yet fast and flexible enough to adapt to an amazing range of jobs on your farm, today’s so-called “mid-size” tractors are getting smarter by leaps and bounds, and more capable too. If you haven’t put a new model through its paces in the last two or three years, be prepared for some surprises. Speed and efficiency are better than ever, and so is your ability to call on reserve power. So whether it’s in the field at planting or on the road hauling heavy loads, these models stand out. Plus, they have the value and durability that farming demands these days. As always, however, if you’re in the market, get ready. You’ve got some serious homework ahead.
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As Canada’s oldest farm publication, with roots back to 1886, Country Guide is about the business of farming, providing farmers with strategic business thinking. In each issue, enjoy stories on Profiles, Products and People.