Kubota was clear at the M8 tractor launch that the new machine was an extension of existing work already done for the M7 Series, asking dealers to consider the M8 a “big brother.” The new machine has familiar lines compared to the smaller M7, but comes in at 190 engine hp for the M8-191, and 210 engine hp for the M8-211. There’s more than simple “power” here; this series is fully teched up with ISOBUS compatibility and more.
ROOMY ROLLING OFFICE
From a fold-flat training seat that can be a place for a laptop, to an abundance of cupholders and cubbies for your coffee, water and cellphone, operators will have plenty of space. In fact, the cab has 148 cubic feet of space. The operator console will be familiar to M7 owners as well, with the floating console and the same control layout. Operators will also find a standard air-ride seat but can upgrade to semi-active suspension for a smoother ride. You can also option leather seats and optional heating and cooling. The cab offers panoramic views, and even with a large diesel particulate filter stack just right of the front post, visibility is not obstructed. There’s even a window in the roof that’s standard, boosting visibility when using a loader.
The standard K monitor features a 7-inch touch screen with buttons for initiating actions. There is an optional 12-inch full touch-screen monitor (both are already offered on the M7), too. The monitors can also be linked to optional cameras, and ISOBUS implement control is standard. The smaller 7-inch K monitor (shown) leaves room for a second monitor for a guidance system. The Kubota M8 is designed to work with all brands of autosteering and GPS control systems. On-site, the company had tractors set up with Trimble and John Deere guidance systems.
With the M8, the operator can modulate the PTO to match the implement being driven. This modulation can ease wear on implements by managing the power available at PTO startup. Got a smaller implement you’re running with the machine? Set the PTO for “light.” But if you’re firing up a bale tub grinder with higher power requirements, set modulation to “heavy.” Controls are located in the center of the dash.
FAMILIAR ENGINE SUPPLIER
Courtesy of Cummins Engine
Going bigger meant that Kubota needed to consider engine options. Currently, the company does not make larger six-cylinder engines. That meant turning to a supplier that was familiar to the market, but also offered features the new tractors needed. The choice is the Cummins B6.7 liter engine which features an integrated single module aftertreatment system combining the diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and the selective catalytic reduction in a single unit. This system meets the latest U.S. standard for Tier 4 as well as the new European Stage 5 standard. The engine includes a variable-geometry turbocharger to get power density and responsiveness.
The Category 3 hitch offers the lift farmers need for bigger equipment. A lower link ball are standard, and there is a hook option. For hydraulics, there are a range of options. The company offers three valves at 32 gallons per minute, and five valves at 42 gpm, which can handle a lot of powered equipment. There’s also a front three-point hitch option.
The M77 loader, shown here outfitted with a grapple, has mechanical self-leveling, the Kubota Shockless Ride accumulator, a third function valve to use grapples and hydraulic valve quick couplers. The maximum lift height is more than 181 inches to the pivot pin. Maximum lift capacity is 5,200 pounds to the pivot pin maximum height. Capacity on the pivot pin at ground level is 6,940 pounds. This is a new loader designed to work with the M8.
Land Pride, a division of Kubota, makes compatible attachments to the M77 loader. The grapple offers added versatility when handling big bales and picking up other materials.
WORKHORSE IN ACTION
The M8 is designed to do the heavy lifting in a livestock operation. Add in a shuttle shift that smoothly moves the machine from forward to reverse and loader and material handling work become easier. The M8 comes standard with both a left-hand lever and right-hand multifunction handle control, which offers increased shuttle flexibility. The machine also features an all-purpose four-speed PTO that includes an Eco mode for better fuel efficiency.
Transmission options for the new machine include a semi-powershift with 30 forward speeds and 15 gears in reverse. This fully electronic-controlled transmission can reach speeds up to 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph). There are six powershift gears in each range, with two-gear overlap, to reduce the need to make range changes. The second option is the Kubota Variable Transmission with infinite forward and reverse speeds. If you want to hit 50 kph (like the sign says), add the optional suspended front axle to hit that 31-mph travel speed with either transmission.
The machine also features an all-purpose four-speed PTO that includes an Eco mode for better fuel efficiency. The operator can customize modulation to match the load using controls mounted in the center dash. You can use faster modulation for lighter rotational loads, or slower modulation for smoother PTO engagement for bigger machines. There are rear PTO controls for operator convenience.
MADE IN CANADA
While the little-brother M7 is made in France, the new M8 is being built by Buhler Versatile in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The original equipment manufacturing deal was first discussed five years ago, the official agreement entered in 2016, and the official announcement made earlier in 2019 — ahead of the M8 launch. The point was made repeatedly during the media event that this is a Kubota-designed tractor being built by Buhler. The point was clear: This is not a rebranded existing tractor, it’s a totally new machine.
NEW TEXAS HOME
It’s been just over two years since Kubota moved into its new home in Grapevine, Texas, after being based in Torrance, Calif., since the company entered the markets in the early 1970s. The new U.S. headquarters of the company — which with land costs, represents a $50 million investment — is the flagship for the company. It’s only one of several development projects underway around the country. There’s a new Midwest division office going in near Kansas City, Kan., that features two 1-million-square-foot buildings. Kubota is making a significant investment in the North American market (Kubota Canada is building a new headquarters, too.)
WHERE IT STARTED
Parked in the new corporate headquarters building is this L200, the first tractor Kubota came to market with in the early 1970s. With the launch of the M8, the company aims to further expand its market share in North America.