Last year, we experienced what was called the “Year of the Tractor.” And what a year it was!
Case IH came out with its new Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect Magnum Tractor Series with 11 models ranging in horsepower from 180 to 380 hp. New Holland announced its Genesis T8 Series tractor with Precision Land Management (PLM) Intelligence.
Kubota introduced three new models as part of the second generation of M7 tractors and announced an agreement with Buhler Industries to begin offering larger tractors under the Kubota badging.
The past year was also important for John Deere, which updated several families of tractors throughout 2019.
In addition, Bobcat reentered the compact tractor business, while Deutz Fahr, Massey Ferguson, Fendt and CLAAS brought new models to the market, as well.
So what will 2020 bring?
I would wager that introductions of new tractors and combines will continue, as well as new technologies that will help improve efficiencies.
For example, John Deere is now offering the industry’s first fixed-frame, four-track tractor, the new 8RX.
In addition, Deere is expanding the top end of their combine model line-up with the all new rotary X9 combine and matching draper, specifically designed and developed for tough small grain and high-moisture corn harvesting conditions.
The company notes that the S790 will remain in the lineup. However, the upcoming X9 combine and draper will deliver some increases in performance and productivity, while at the same time offering a significant increase in efficiency. The X9 is scheduled for release during the summer of 2020, with a limited number of machines available for demonstrations during the harvest season.
Last fall, Versatile introduced its new Nemesis tractor lineup. The series, launching in the 175 to 210 hp range, is a more fully featured offering that will have limited spring 2020 production, with full production expected this coming fall.
New products for 2020 certainly will not be limited to tractors and combines. Your options for planters and tillage tools will increase, too.
At AGCO’s Precision Planting 2020 Winter Conference, Fendt offered a sneak peek at its new Momentum planter which will be introduced to U.S. and Canadian farmers in February 2020 at Commodity Classic. The planter features the latest exclusive Precision Planting technologies and will be available in 24-, 30- and 40-row models, with and without fertilizer units.
This spring, HORSCH will launch the all-new Maestro SV row crop planter platform featuring 12- and 16-row planters with 30-inch row spacing. Engineered and built at the company’s Mapleton, North Dakota, facility, the SV series will showcase many of the planting innovations pioneered by HORSCH, including the HORSCH weight transfer system that takes the weight of the chassis and distributes it evenly across the toolbar.
Jeremy Hughes, product manager for HORSCH, points out the Maestro SV includes many other standard features for precision farming: “The proven HORSCH electric meter drives ensure pin-point accuracy with seed singulation, individual row shut-off eliminates double-planting, and curve compensation maintains row-to-row population around curves.”
Case IH is expanding its tillage lineup with the new Speed-
Tiller high-speed disk. Designed to create a high-efficiency, agronomically correct seedbed, the Speed-Tiller is a true dual-season tool for primary and secondary tillage. The launch of the Case IH Speed-Tiller high-speed disk comes as a result of the company’s acquisition of the Australian agriculture implement manufacturer K-Line Ag, the No. 1 tillage manufacturer in Australia.
No doubt, company acquisitions such as this will continue throughout 2020, with some very familiar products being sold under new brand names and through new or expanded dealer organizations.
For instance, just this past December, Vermeer Corporation purchased Schuler Manufacturing, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of feeding solutions based in Griswold, Iowa. The current line-up of Schuler-made TMR mixers and feed wagons will continue to be produced in Griswold and sold through existing Schuler and now select Vermeer distribution partners focused on feeding solutions expertise. Products will initially be sold under the Schuler brand, with an intentional transition to Vermeer as the two companies fully integrate.
The ag equipment industry is ever-changing and improving. While 2019 was designated as the “Year of the Tractor,” 2020 may well be the “Year of Agricultural Equipment” in general.
Michael Gustafson has written for and about farm equipment companies, their products and dealerships for more than 40 years, including 25 years with John Deere. He lives on a small acreage in Dennison, Ill.