What if you could have a tractor that combines the overall versatility of a wheeled tractor and the traction and flotation benefits that come with rubber tracks? New Holland says it is making that possible with the Genesis T8 SmartTrax. One of the drawbacks of having a twin-track machine is the need to slow down in turns, increasing the chance of scuffing or even damaging the soil. With the Genesis T8 SmartTrax, that concern is attacked with wheels up front that offer tighter turning, more ride comfort and less damage. The purpose-developed axles are built with the strength needed for high power and torque to carry heavy loads. Plus there’s the advantage of the T8.410 which boasts 409 hp and the T8.435 with 435 hp maximum. And by offering a choice of undercarriage, the Genesis T8 SmartTrax tractors can provide a choice of working widths — from 76 to 152 inches.
Photo: New Holland
Claas Xerion Series
It was last August that Claas of America introduced its latest entry, this time into the all-purpose tractor market. Claas is widely known for its Lexion combines and, with the Xerion tractor series, the company is forecasting it will achieve the same success in the high-horsepower market. Not only is the Xerion series powerful, it also provides speed for efficient transport, plus reduced compaction and overall enhanced manoeuverability. The company says its designers have worked hard to create something new specifically for the needs of North American farmers, which includes improved power transmission, dual wheels and enhanced hydraulics. The Xerion design includes three different models, all with a Mercedes-Benz engine: the 5000 and 4500 are equipped with a 12.8-litre engine and the 4000 comes with 10.6-litre engine, capable of running at 530, 490 and 435 hp, respectively. In spite of all that power, the Xerion line is still easy to operate, with six steering modes and three driving programs.
Massey Ferguson (AGCO) 8700 Series
Billed as the most powerful Massey Ferguson tractors ever built, the 8700 series is said to provide more power, more torque, more versatility and more comfort and control. Two of the five new models in this series fall into the 325 to 500+ hp class — the 8735 (with 350 hp) and 8737 (with 370 hp). Their six-cylinder, 8.4-itre engine can generate up to an additional 30 hp when needed, and it’s still nimble and responsive, with higher performance at lower RPMs. With its Dyna-VT transmission, you also get a flexible and fuel-efficient ride, with no clutch packs, no shifting or clutch burnout. There’s also the capacity to control engine speed and ground speed independently, and the Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) feature means the engine and the transmission can work together, increasing fuel efficiency.
John Deere 9R/9RT Series
Bigger farms can be a challenge to farmers, with more to do and more that needs to get done in a day. That’s why John Deere says it is aiming its 9R/9RT Series tractors at durable four-wheel-drive and track tractor designs, complete with higher horsepower, improved traction and hydraulic capacity. In all, there are 10 wheeled models and six with tracks, making selection one of the bigger advantages. Power is not an issue, with a range of 370 to 620 hp. According to Deere, its new e18 PowerShift transmission (with Efficiency Manager) offers the smoothest power shift in the marketplace, plus an automatic mode to increase machine fluid efficiency and productivity. Also available on the 9520R, 9570R and 9620R is the HydraCushion suspension system on the front axle, helping ensure all your horsepower goes to ground, instead of being lost to power or road lope.
Photo: John Deere
Case IH Magnum Rowtrac Series
Case IH has 18 years of leadership in independent-track technology, but now the company says it is upping the ante with the Magnum Rowtrac tractor. Two new models are featured in this series — the 340 and the 380 — which also happen to be the horsepower rating of each. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on the Magnum Rowtrac 380 and is optional on the 340. The company says that although traction and flotation are often priorities for growers, this latest design from Case IH may be good to go with single wheels on the front as opposed to duals, thanks to a redesigned tire exclusive to the Magnum Rowtrac with the capability to fit any row width. From corn, soybeans and wheat to specialty crops like sugar beets and potatoes, Case says these two new tractors provide power and precision — and performance.
Photo: Case IH
There’s really no telling how much bigger these machines will get. Just when it appeared that 500 hp was a safe upper limit, manufacturers pushed right through. Below, Machinery Guide looks at five big tractor series, some with tracked technology and others with cab or transmission enhancements for 2015. All boast big horsepower, which in an era of tight operating windows and large acreages, seems a trend we’ll never see the end of.
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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.