As the finishing touches were being put on the Farm Progress Show, Case IH as rolling out new tools to the media a few miles away this week. The farm equipment market is cooling some, but innovation doesn't stop and Case IH proved it this week.
An attention getter is the new Magnum Rowtrac, a four-place machine but with rear wheels replaced by Rowtrac units. It's the latest extension of the Rowtrac line since it was rolled out on Steiger machines two years ago. And the company is making a statement regarding data management, ownership and control as it launches the new AFS Connect 2.0 system.
The Magnum Rowtrac system is available on the Magnum 340 and 380 and will provide enhanced traction and flotation versus a four-wheel machine. In fact farmers looking for more traction but a lighter touch on soil may consider this a solid option. The machine comes with mechanical front-wheel drive that includes a suspended axle option (up to 120 inches wide). A suspended cab is standard and with those rear tracks having the capability to gimbal 10-degrees in either direction, this is a smooth-riding machine.
Tracks for the Magnum version can be set to work with a range of row widths including 20, 22, 30, 34, 36, 38 or 40 inches. Narrow or wide undercarriage options give you the ability to choose from four track widths - 16-, 28-, 24- or 30-inches.
Roger Lewno, who works with the Magnum line at Case IH, made it clear that the company didn't simply swap out rear wheels for tracks. The undercarriage had to be engineered to get the tracks under the frame, yet maintain a similar height as the wheeled version. For the Magnum Rowtrac 340 you can choose form a powershift - in tread spacing below 136 inches - or a CVT. In widths above 136 inches you'll find the CVT is standard. And on the Magnum Rowtrac 380 the CVT is standard.
Updating the Early Riser
Earlier this year, Case IH announced a new agreement with Precision Planting. At the time, industry observers were watching to see where the partnership would go as part of a codevelopment plan for planter tech. The first fruits of the relationship were rolled out this week.
Farmers can order the Early Riser 1255 planter and it leaves the factory "Precision Planting ready." This allows your dealer to add the technology from Precision Planting you want including the vDrive with vSet electric meters at each row. Another part of the system is the CleanSweep residue management system which provides active adjustment of the row units from the cab.
If you add the vDrive with vSet meters you also get the 20/20 SeedSense system which allows you to monitor - in real time - each row unit. And if you plan on planting faster than 6 mph, you'll add active downforce control with the Delta Force hydraulic system as well. It's a progressive package allowing farmers to add just the tools they need to upgrade to electric meters. The system runs on a 12-volt system and 1.5 amps per row unit.
In planters larger than 12 rows, an alternator is added to the planter for electric power. That alternator has a lighter draw on hydraulics than a traditional planter.
Making a data statement
If there's one message Case IH wants customers to get it's that any data they collect they own…period. That's the message delivered during the event even as the company rolled out AFS Connect 2.0 which offers a real-time look at machines operating in the field and a unique operator interface too.
The system is easy to use, and allows owners to check in on how specific machines are operating. The view is like a dashboard (see the image on this page) right from the tractor cab and can show you specific operating parameters as a machine is running. The image I use on this page is from an actual tractor they demo'd for us during the event.
The information in that display updates every minute and you can view a specific dashboard up to 30 minutes per day. In addition, there's a CAN view that allows you to check in on the AFS Pro 700 and see specific operational parameters for any implement hooked up to a tractor (or for a combine too) - and that's for another 30 minutes per day. That way if there's a setup question you'll be able to help the operator diagnose the problem. Or if you're the operator and you give your dealer permission to see your screen, he can help you diagnose a problem.
The system is all web based, but tablet friendly, so it's not an app you have to download.
Case IH is carving out its position on data ownership and any data that's collected is yours. If you want to share it, there are clear systems for doing that, according to the company. In addition, if you give your dealer a look at a machine - say your combine - he or she cannot see yield information. In this evolving data situation, it will be interesting to watch how the Case IH position plays out.