Alternative tractor power
Fiat-owned New Holland has been developing alternative power sources to diesel for some time, testing both methane and hydrogen. Thanks to the ability to potentially produce it on-farm from biodigestion of plant material, and the requirement for relatively minor engine changes, the former is rated as showing most promise, with the potential to create energy-independent businesses. New Holland’s second-generation methane-powered tractor, developed between the brand’s factories in the UK and Italy, made its UK debut at LAMMA, following 2017 displays in the US and Germany. Its radical styling includes not only cleverly-styled fuel tanks, but a futuristic cab containing new technologies likely to be gradually incorporated into forthcoming machines from the firm.
Other tractor news included the launch of the industry’s first rubber-tracked tractors with continuously-variable transmission (CVT), in the form of Case IH’s Quadtrac 470/500/540 models and the Fendt 900 MT tractors. Already well-established in wheeled tractors, CVT brings about greater fuel efficiency, allowing the tractor’s electronics to maintain machine operation at a defined engine or forward speed.
Agronomy company ProCam’s stand focused on helping farmers looking to use ploughing as part of a blackgrass control strategy, with emphasis on ensuring the plough is set up correctly for full weed seed burial. Advice centred around how basic settings, such as ensuring skimmers are operating at the correct depth and angle to completely bury trash, can easily be forgotten in the pressures posed by autumn workloads, negating much of the benefit rotational ploughing can bring. Ensuring tractor tyres fit furrow width is another common oversight, suggested the firm. ProCam’s guide to plough set-up for effective grass weed control is at www.procam.co.uk/plough-set-up-key-in-effective-blackgrass-management .