In the course of a month, Case IH has beefed up its tractor line in some very competitive areas. From the new AFS Steiger at the high end to new Farmall A models, the company's engineers and designers have been hard at work.
What follows is a look at all three model series and what they bring to the market: the Steiger line here, and the Vestrum line and expanded Farmall line in a separate story today.
When farmers attending Commodity Classic last week first saw the new AFS Connect Steiger tractor, chances are, the biggest change to notice will be the new decal on the hood. “You have to get in the cab to experience it,” says Mitch Kaiser, global product manager, Steiger tractors, Case IH. “We redesigned the cab, and the big message is that all the tech is at your fingertips. It’s easy and simple to use.”
The list of control enhancements in the cab mirrors the changes of the AFS Connect Magnum launched in 2019, but farmers will find more ways to customize this bigger machine family. From managing hydraulic controls to fine-tuning steering response, this machine is carving new tech territory. Yet the heart of the Steiger line remains.
“We wanted to keep what farmers liked and add new features,” Kaiser says. “The big message is that all the tech is at your fingertips, and all the data is available from your farm to your dealer, if you want to share. And Steiger owners are often fleet owners; they want to send prescriptions out to the field. They’re working with bigger farms where they want to share information.”
The new machine has a host of tech features from Remote View Display, allowing a manager to see what's happening with a machine, to telemetry to keep track of the tractor and its performance. But there’s more; the new tech builds on ideas started in the previous model. For example, the steering software of the Steiger had been updated. Kaiser explains that now there are three steering modes from which users can choose, based on their skill level.
“There's a slow, medium and fast setting on how fast you want to make the turn,” Kaiser says. “You can set those speeds based on your comfort level. If you’re pulling a 2160 planter and set the turn mode to fast and take seconds off that turnaround time, it can increase productivity.”
That’s further evidence of the programmability of the new machine.
ALL IN THE CAB: There are few outward changes to the new Steiger line. In the cab, however, users will find plenty of new tools, including the new AFS 1200 12-inch monitor, and customizable systems on the control arm and the console.
Enhancing a transmission
The Steiger offers two transmission options: the CVX and the PowerDrive. For the new AFS Connect Steiger, farmers opting for the PowerDrive will also get Automatic Productivity Management – and once they understand it, Kaiser says users like what they see.
“Say you’re planting at 10 mph with a high-speed planter. You just set the speed, and the machine does the rest to maintain 10 mph,” he says. “The APM will ram up the engine and talk to the transmission to shift down and power up to maintain the speed. If you hit a hard or soft spot, the machine may power down and the transmission speed up.”
Kaiser explains that the clutch packs are more efficient and provide full response, like a continuously variable transmission. “And another thing we did is we made it easy to self-calibrate the PowerDrive and CVS transmission,” he says.
With this innovation, the user doesn’t need a service manual or a service tool. The system will self-calibrate the transmission back to factory specifications – and it’s easy to do. Kaiser recommends doing that once a season. The system reads the clutch pack pressures, and it can calculate the transmission lockup pressure to meet factory specs. He says it takes about 20 minutes, and you get the performance of a new transmission without leaving the cab.
It’s difficult in this story to quantify all the custom tools available for a user. One look at the control arm and you can see there are multiple systems where, with a few minutes of planning, you can set the machine up just the way you want.
“We’ve always had headland management, but it can be hard to configure,” Kaiser recalls. That’s changed. It’s possible to program 30 functions to work with one button for that headland turn. Adds Kaiser: “You can go on a screen to go through all the steps you want.”
As for tractor operation, Kaiser says they were surgical in the changes a user will find there. The Steiger 500 and 540 get increased fuel capacity – increased to 455 gallons from 310, which means much more cab time before a refill. The Quadtrac 500 and 540 will see fuel capacity rise to 470 gallons from 310. Learn more at caseih.com.