THE focus on cutting-edge technology in tractors has always centred on the higher horsepower end of the market.
It¹s the bigger-is-a-better story as far as the media is concerned.
But, ironically, the big end of the tractor market is the under 150kw (200hp) power segment and that is now benefiting from the technology changes occurring in the high horsepower segment.
According to Case IH product manager (tractors) Kevin Pritchard, farmers in horticulture, viticulture and market gardens are now getting tractors that can provide them with increased productivity and increased comfort.
So a day in the office, so to speak, is potentially more profitable and definitely a happier chore.
New suspended cabs, suspended axles, suspended seats, variable speed transmissions are linked to more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly engines and there is the potential for much more.
First will be GPS-related additions for such things as guidance, variable rate control, yield, chemical and soil mapping.
Then Kevin predicts, maybe in five to 10 years, robot tractors.
Case IH prefers the term fully autonomous vehicles, or driverless tractors.
³Within the next five to 10 years, driverless tractors are a potential reality,² Kevin said.
³I look forward to fully autonomous vehicles so that veggie growers and orchard farmers will be able to program their Case IH tractors to travel up and down the rows from the comfort of their lounge room.
³Our current aim is to continue to supply products that are designed to give farmers the best productivity while providing cost efficiencies.
³I think our biggest challenge in the near future is to assist farmers manage oil cost pressures, which is why all our engines are biodiesel compliant.²