John Deere, Case IH show off new products designed with efficiency in mind at the World Ag Expo.
• By Vicky Boyd,
With acre upon acre of outdoor and indoor exhibits, the World Ag Expo near Tulare, California, offers growers three days to see manufacturers’ latest wares as well as proven products.
John Deere and Case IH were two of the numerous exhibitors at the show, which attracted more than 106,000 visitors this year.
Among Moline, Illinois-based Deere’s new offerings are the 8RX family of fixed-frame four-track tractors.
“Everybody’s excited about the 8RX,” says Ken Rosckes, Deere senior marketing representative based in Waterloo, Iowa. “Clearly, customers like our two-track 8RT because of its greater pull and power to the ground. It has lower compaction than a wheeled tractor but still drives like a wheeled.”
Although Rosckes admits that wheeled tractors remain the best choice for many farming activities, track vehicles have their place.
“This doesn’t fit everyone, but it’s just another option we’re adding to the portfolio,” he says of the 8RX. “It’s all about protecting the soil and helping the plants.”
With 40% more ground contact than a wheeled tractor, the 8RX helps reduce compaction by spreading the unit’s weight over a much larger area. And because of the expansive contact with the ground, the four-track vehicle provides more traction under tough conditions.
The 8RX was designed from the ground up with features, such as the more robust 1700 pivoting beam axles, to better handle the tracks.
“It wasn’t just a bolt-on kit,” Rosckes says. “The whole back of the tractor is nothing like our wheeled or two-track machines.”
With the four-track units, the power comes directly from the transmission to the drive, creating more ground clearance. The four tracks operate independently, providing a tighter turning radius and allowing the machine to handle more like a wheeled vehicle.
Following the two-track 8RT tractors last year, the 8RX has four-post cab suspension to reduce vibrations and offer more operator comfort.
As with the 7 and 8 series tractors this year, Deere simplified the 8RX cabs, reducing the number of hydraulic and electrical connections. Inside, the frame is wider to allow for more visibility. The air conditioning and heating unit also was moved behind the seat to create more driver headroom.
The 8RX comes in multiple tread-spacing options ranging from 76- to 120-inch wide front axles. Three belt widths are available and include 18- and 24-inch wide front belts and 18-, 24- and 30-inch wide rear belts.
The machines also come with a choice of 310-, 340-, 370- and 410-horsepower engines.
Case IH acquired the Speed-Tiller high-speed disk as part of a deal when it purchased Australian manufacturer K-Line Ag in 2019.
“We did a lot of research and interviews with customers and tried to find out what was the best product on the market for efficiency and something that was always reliable,” says Nicholas Andrejuk, Case crop production and sprayer product specialist.
That led the Racine, Wisconsin, equipment company to K-Line, which developed machinery for tough Australian conditions.
The blade mountings on the Speed-Tiller, for example, are 2-inch rubber, Andrejuk says. The frame is built of 4-inch square steel tubing. The Speed-Tiller helps boost grower efficiency by completing two field activities with one pass — it digs like a disk and finishes like a soil conditioner.
The units also come with Case’s exclusive constant-level hitch, which offers improved weight distribution, reduced bounce and more uniform ground penetration — especially on the wings.
In addition, disk gangs can be adjusted laterally to work the entire soil profile, eliminating compacted valleys and humps.
Case offers two models: the 475 is a pull-type fixed width while the 468 is three-point mounted with a trailing configuration.
The 468, which is a rigid frame, is available in widths from 6 to 18 feet.
The 475 is available in three widths: 21 feet, 31 feet and 41 feet. The 21-foot model comes in two sections, while the 31- and 41-foot models are three-section machines, making for easier transport even in narrow situations.
Both models can run either 22-inch shallow concavity blades or 24-inch standard concavity blades.
Depending on the time of year, the operator can set the Speed-Tiller to aggressively run 6 inches deep for crop residue incorporation under hard soil conditions in the fall. Or they can run it at a shallower depth in the spring, along with one of three soil conditioners, to prepare an optimum seed bed.
The overall size of the tractor needed to pull a Speed-Tiller will depend on the implement’s size, soil type, soil moisture level and tillage depth. But Andrejuk says typically growers will need at least 210 to 240 hp.
“The bigger (width) you get, the more horsepower you’ll need,” he says. “The faster you want to go, the more horsepower you’ll need.”