THE advent of new tillage and seeding practices such as deep banding, and the shortage of labour in the industry, have combined to drive demand for higher horsepower tractors.
³Farming practices are changing, farm sizes are increasing while employee numbers are declining due to a labour shortage in the industry," Case IH product manager Adam Gatenby said.
³So farmers need machines they can rely on to meet the capacity of this increased workload.
³We¹re also seeing constant improvement in farm management techniques as farmers look for new and better ways to increase their crop yields and profits.
³Methods such as controlled traffic farming, minimum till, and deep banding are on the increase for compaction reduction and moisture conservation reasons.
³Many of these practices require a tractor with high horsepower and excellent load-lugging ability to pull wider implements, in a range of very demanding conditions."
WA farmer John Greay and family manage a 6400ha property at Hyden, on which he grows wheat, barley and oats and runs 5000 Merinos for wool and 2500 lambs for meat.
He¹s always on the lookout for improved farming practices and recently replaced two 224kW (300hp) tractors with a 373kw (500hp) Case IH STX Steiger to increase his efficiency and improve his deep banding techniques.
The STX500¹s extended wheelbase, position of the centre-pull drawbar and tri-point oscillation chassis design, efficiently transfer engine horsepower into balanced pulling power, evenly distributed over the front and rear wheels, which is ideal for John¹s operation.
³The STX500 gave us the horsepower to pull a 52 foot bar, which means we get more work done in fewer passes,² John said.
³Plus, a lot of our country is very hard soil, so power is vital.
³We¹re also capitalising on the Steiger¹s engine to improve our deep banding techniques.
³We¹ve been into deep banding for six years and with our other tractors we were only able to deep band at four inches.
³The STX has the power to deep band at six inches which allows more space in between the plant root and fertiliser.
³We direct drill urea and potash at six inches and seed at 1.5 inches so a deeper band gives the root system more room to develop and leads to improved moisture conservation.³
The STX500 has allowed John to increase his productivity by 30pc.
³It¹s a12 foot wider bar which means less passes and more productivity,² he said. ³Plus, the tractor gives a 39pc torque rise and a boost of up to 50HP when you need it, which is ideal in our tough country.
³It gives us the boost we need to get through the tough spots and then it settles back down.²
The STX500 boasts the largest volume cab in the industry ‹ 23pc larger than the closest competitor ‹ and an industry-leading 67.8 square feet of tinted glass.
Case IH STX series Steiger engines are electronically controlled to ensure peak power growth without burning unnecessary fuel. Combined with rated engine speeds of 2100 rpm, this feature provides maximum engine efficiency and fuel economy.
Downtime is kept to a minimum with just five daily service checks. With up to 500 hours between oil changes, less time is spent on maintenance and more time can be spent in the field.
The STX series is available in wheeled and Quadtrac versions for agricultural applications, and the new 500HP wheeled unit expands the STX Series line to 10 models.