Following on from the Cereals 2018 preview in the May issue of CPM, there are many new developments you won’t find among the event’s machinery lines and one or two that have been recently announced. CPM picks out a few to look out for at other shows and demonstrations.

Claas, although a Cereals absentee, nevertheless continues to roll out a stream of combine developments.

By Martin Rickatson

While Cereals 2018 is an opportunity to see the latest models available from many of the manufacturers, there are number of major players who have now pulled out of the event.

That’s not to say, however, they haven’t been busy upgrading models and bringing new options to market. What’s more, many will be offering other chances this summer to see them on display or even at a demonstration event – local dealers are the best point of contact to find out where and when.


Case IH’s new ActiveDrive 8 transmission for its Maxxum Multicontroller tractor range is a semi-powershift offering eight powershift steps in each of three ranges, to provide a total of 24 speeds in both forward and reverse. It joins the existing four-speed semi-powershift and continuously-variable transmission options available on Maxxum tractors, which respectively have been renamed as ActiveDrive 4 and CVXDrive.

Case IH now offers a new eight-step semi-powershift transmission option for its Maxxum tractors.

Covering speeds up to 10.2 km/h, range one of ActiveDrive 8 covers the primary draft work speed range, while range two, the main working range, is claimed to encompass nearly 90% of all field requirements, with a speed range of 1.6-18.1 km/h. An additional creep speed range is available.

For road travel, the transmission is designed to start in range three, with a skip-shift function to hasten progress through the powershift speeds. An auto shift feature means the tractor can be set to progress automatically through any set of eight speeds in the field, and through all 16 gears in the top two ranges on the road, while a pedal kick-down function can be used to over-ride the transmission automation and downshift on gradients.

Further transmission features include a ‘brake to clutch’ feature, alleviating the need to use the clutch when inching or stopping temporarily. Both shifting and shuttle can be modulated for a faster or slower response according to the task in hand.

Meanwhile, a new 175hp (max) six-cylinder Maxxum 150 will join the top of the Maxxum line this autumn, bringing an alternative to the four-cylinder Maxxum 145, which offers the same output.

A release date is yet to be confirmed for the half-tracked version of the Axion 900 series tractors from Claas, revealed in prototype form back at Nov’s Agritechnica. The track arrangement used in place of the rear axle is similar to that offered on Lexion combines, but the drive system differs to that used on the hydrostatically-driven combines.

A release date is yet to be confirmed for the Terra Trac version of the Claas Axion 900 series tractors.

There’s a suspended front axle with track undercarriages that feature individually suspended rollers, helping to maintain ground contact. Claas says the Axion 900 Terra Trac models are the first half-track tractors with full suspension. Maximum road travel speed is 40km/h.

Kubota’s M7002 tractors succeed the M7001 models for 2018-19, with the same three power outputs of 130, 150 and 170hp, but a new six-step semi-powershift transmission. With five ranges, this offers the operator 30 forward speeds and 15 in reverse. A creep option extends this to 54F/27R. Payload has been boosted thanks to an increase in maximum permissible weight to 11,500 kg, and there are new, larger tyre options, up to 710/60R38 at the rear and 600/60R28 up front.


Claas, although a Cereals absentee, nevertheless continues to roll out a stream of combine developments, some of which were announced at Agritechnica in time for this harvest, with others still under wraps until new launches for the 2018-19 season begin this summer.

The firm was awarded a gold medal in the DLG/Agritechnica 2017 awards scheme for its CEMOS Auto Threshing system on its larger Lexion 700 combine models. This software aims to overcome the compromise combine operators are faced with in attempting to find out by trial which settings strike the best balance between optimum drum speed, optimum concave gap, thorough threshing and grain quality, which means combines are rarely set up optimally to suit the prevalent harvest conditions.

Depending on the strategy entered into the in-cab terminal by the operator – minimum losses, maximum output, minimum grain damage, or a relative blend of all three – CEMOS Auto Threshing sets drum/rotor speed and concave gap for optimum results according to harvest conditions such as overall crop moisture. Each individual sensor in the system communicates with the others so that, for example, the throughput controller operates via a special communication module to control the throughput relative to the threshing controller, as well as the separation and cleaning controllers. Claas claims the result is more harvested grain, a cleaner sample, and fewer volunteers in following crops from grain leaving the back of the combine.

AGCO’s decision to separate the sales channels for its Fendt and Massey Ferguson business units means they now exhibit as independent brands, and while Fendt will be at Cereals, as covered in the last issue, Massey Ferguson won’t. However, the red brand’s dealers are able to offer much of the same new AGCO equipment, including the Ideal rotary combine line and round and big square balers, all new for next season.

While the brands’ tractors remain distinctly different, the balers and combines are exactly the same models regardless of livery. On the combines this extends as far as the livery itself, with the Massey Ferguson Ideal – or Ideal by Massey Ferguson, as the marketing department titles it in this case – employing the same graphite livery but with MF badging. That means, just as in the Fendt line, there are three Ideal models in the MF range, which supersede the Delta models.

Unlike the Delta, there’s no drum and concave, a beater/feed rotor being the first element after the elevator, transferring crop directly to the leading impeller element of 600mm diameter/4.8m-long rotor – or two on the two larger models. Further along the rotor(s) a series of rasp bars then take care of threshing, while ‘Dual Helix’ fingers follow up to separate chaff/straw from grain.

Like the Fendt Ideal flagship, the MF Ideal 9 features what is claimed to be the largest threshing area available. It’s also calculated to have the largest grain tank and fastest unloading rate, with respective figures of 17,100 litres and 210 litres/sec.

Buyers can specify standard or Powerflow cutterbars of up to 12.2m, and AGCO has developed an ‘AutoDock’ coupling to automatically engage all mechanical, hydraulic and electrical connections, with automatic header recognition that retrieves from the in-cab terminal the last header settings used.


Both Fendt and Massey Ferguson have new round and large square baler line-ups for next year, the latter coming courtesy of an in-house upgrade from the US factory operated by Hesston – another AGCO business unit – and the former a result of AGCO’s 2017 acquisition of Lely’s baler and forage equipment lines.

While Massey Ferguson’s 2270 and 2270 XD big square balers remain unchanged for 2018, the brand has a new flagship in its range, which is also available from Fendt in its green livery. Badged the 2370 Ultra HD in MF livery, it’s claimed to produce bales 20% heavier than previously. In addition to large-scale contractors and arable operations, the machine is said to be capable of producing bales with the density, weight and consistency demanded by the bio-energy sector and other industrial operations.

Constructed on a completely new main frame, the baler has a new heavy-duty driveline and gearbox, with a faster plunger speed and stronger bale forming area.

The 2370’s new Ultra knotters have been re-engineered to handle thicker, stronger twine, developed for ultra-high density bales. There’s also a new look for the machine, with restyled composite panels for easier opening and service access.

Cultivation equipment

The Triton 450 from Farmet is a new trailed primary cultivator which will be among those on display at the J Brock and Sons stand at Cereals 2018. Combining discs and tines, it’s said to be suited to processing large quantities of crop residue into heavier soils.

The implement is equipped with two rows of 560mm or 620mm discs, which work at 12-15cm. Next come two rows of loosening tines spaced at 42cm, working at a depth of up to 35cm to aid residue mixing, water percolation and root development.

For those requiring deep powered cultivation, new from Alpego is the Matrix, a configurable machine which can be operated as stone burier or a rotary cultivator. Available in 6.0m or 7.2m variants, the machine comprises a folding matrix chassis which allows either a pair of rotary cultivators or a pair of stone buriers to be mounted on the frame for operation with tractors of up to 500hp. For smaller tasks, each 3.0m or 3.6m unit can be used individually on a lower-horsepower tractor.


In addition to the new Farmet Triton cultivator it’ll be showing at Cereals, J Brock and Sons also plans to give a first UK outing to the Falcon 600 Pro, a new 6m grain and fertiliser drill from the same maker. Featuring a modular design, the new machine incorporates leading cultivation elements ahead of fertiliser coulters, before the soil surface is consolidated and the seed coulters follow behind. The machine can also be equipped with the firm’s Micro Drill for additionally sowing small seeds when establishing cover crops. With respective seed and fertiliser capacities of 4000 litres and 2000 litres, claimed output is up to 9.0 ha/hr.

Sulky’s Cultidisc 3 is a new drilling toolbar for the French firm’s flagship Xeos Pro combination drill, said to allow faster drilling chiefly via a greater capacity to work through crop residues and challenging soil conditions. The third-generation Cultidisc has been designed to be more robust, says Sulky, with spring-based protection and a steel treatment that helps improve their passage through heavy trash and stony soil. Sulky says the Cultidisc 3 is sufficiently robust to be able to cope without the press wheels running ahead of the coulters, if conditions dictate this is necessary. The 415mm diameter notched discs are set at a four-degree angle to aid trash removal. Up to 100kg of individual coulter pressure can be applied, an increase of 20kg on the previous Cultidisc design.

Meanwhile, Sulky has introduced a new frame to help increase capacity For the Xeos TF front hopper, with maximum load ballast (minus hopper load) now 1500kg. The new frame also improves accessibility, while a special fertiliser performance kit for the injection system has increased the pneumatic fertiliser transport capacity by 40%. There’s also a new folding double disc drilling tool bar for the XEOS TF that offers controlled drilling depth with good soil/seed contact at high forward speeds. The Twindisc sowing line is suitable for folding sowing bars from 4 to 6m wide and is available with row spacing of 12.5 or 15cm. Each sowing unit’s equipped with its own press wheel and an independent parallelogram linkage to aid contour-following.


Bridgestone is expanding its tractor-tyre line with the launch of its new VX-Tractor tyres for 100hp-plus models. Available in versions to fit 24in to 34in front wheel sizes, as well as 38in and 42in rear wheel rims, the company plans to eventually expand the VX-Tractor range to include 15 rear wheel sizes and 34 front wheel sizes. The first size in the new range to be made available is a 710/70 R42 model.

Bridgestone says the VX-Tractor is a premium product, but to keep costs competitive at this lower-power end of the market it features ‘standard’ casing construction technology, and there are no improved flexion (IF) or very high flexion (VF) sidewall options. Lug design is longer and deeper than those on competitive tyres, claims Bridgestone, and to match their ‘premium’ classification the tyres feature a higher rubber content than standard units.