The Internet has been blown up by a tractor. Held under embargo for some time, John Deere is launching the latest update to its 8R series tractors with new model designations, styling, an expanded cab and three ways to put power to the ground. But pix of one model leaked out well before the embargo expired Oct. 28.
The most innovative part of the launch and the attention-getter is the new 8RX, which offers an innovative four-track design in four models – 8RX 310, 8RX 340, 8RX 370 and 8RX 410 – which is a subset of the full 8R line that runs from 230 hp to 410 hp. The new 8RT will offer the same horsepower range as the RX.
“This is the true leap forward for the 8R,” says Dave Guetterman, product manager, John Deere. “This is more than an 8R with four belts, it’s anything but that.”
He points to 25 years of 8R tractor development and the company’s history of building high-quality tractors. The cab and layout may be familiar, but these new machines are built from the ground up to be four-track machines. They offer enhanced capabilities for their designed-on-tracks engineering that Guetterman says will out-perform after-market solutions, including higher travel speeds.
The castings for this new machine took some engineering too. For example, the rear track axle casting is the largest casting being made in the John Deere Foundry, it was designed to provide extra depth so drawbar implements stay clear of the tracks. Just an example of the engineering involved to bring this approach to market.
The four tracks were designed in partnership with Camso, which also makes the track system for the 9RX machines.
In operation, the new 8RX offers a much larger footprint on the ground. For example, the 8RX will have a 39% larger footprint on the ground compared to an 8R with duals on front and rear yet have 29% lower ground pressure. The 8RX will have a 23% larger ground footprint and 14% lower ground pressure versus the 8RT.
The new tractor will have a range of track and axle configurations including 76-, 80-, 88-, or 120-inch tread settings. Three belt widths are available including 18- and 24-inch on the front and 18-, 24- and 30-inches for the rear.
And the machine features a new four-post cab suspension design to improve the ride as well, providing what Guetterman says is the versatility and maneuverability of a wheel tractor with the benefits of a track tractor.
Farm Progress got an early look at the machine, as well as some cab time in a ride-and-drive demo and the machine runs smoothly over rough terrain. The four-track undercarriage will get a lot of attention, but farmers will be most happy with the new cab, controls and other features coming to this new machine and all 8R tractors.
Rethinking the tractor cab
Guetterman points out that the first 8R series tractors launched in 1995. “This is complete next-generation styling, the castings have been updated and we’ve improved the styling to optimize performance while also remaining aesthetically pleasing,” he notes.
The new cab is restyled with more glass area and a roomy design. While there are big feature changes, users may find the attention to detail of value too including useful foot pegs position to allow you better operator comfort when turned in the seat during planting and other operations.
The new, roomier, 8R cab comes standard with an integrated Gen 4 4600 CommandCenter display, StarFire 6000 integrated receiver and AutoTrac activation.
INTEGRATING TECH: The new 8R and 7R series machines feature an integrated Starfire 6000 receiver built into the cab. The new machines come with AutoTrac and five years of JD Link in base.
The new cab has a new seat with electronic adjustments, heat, ventilation and even massage, and there’s an increase to the left-hand swivel too. And for added comfort you can get ActiveSeat II or cab suspension for improved ride.
Deanna Kovar, director, operator station, John Deere, points out that customers help design the new cab, which for the 8R series and the new 7R tractors, will include more automotive features. “We’ve added a 6.5-inch touchscreen App radio that will synch with your smart phone,” she adds.
She adds that customers are investing in new pickups and the more automotive features of the new cab are becoming an expectation for buyers too.
On top of the cab, buyers of the 8R and new 7R will find that the Starfire 6000 receiver has been integrated, it’s no longer an add-on device. That symbolizes a change in the industry since more farmers get the receivers and leave them on a single machine, rather than move them.
So many features for two model lines
The 8R is the flagship line for John Deere and will offer a range of tech features which are also offered for the 7R. The 7R now ranges from 210 to 330 hp which includes that new top end model expanding the line to seven machines, gets the available CommandPro controls and many of the same cab and tech features of the 8R.
While the 8R offers a revolutionary new look, Guetterman notes the 7R is more evolutionary, but no less important to the company lineup. He says many farmers like the 7R line because it provides higher horsepower in a more nimble chassis for greater versatility.
The tech features for both are common including:
* Integrated Generation 4 4600 CommandCenter display
* Integrated StarFire 6000 Receiver
* AutoTrac subscription as standard
* Premium or automation activations for added capabilities
* Correction signals to fit accuracy you need -SF2 to RTK
* Five years of JD Link standard
* John Deere Connected Support and Expert Alerts with your dealer
For the 8R, there’s a totally new look to the hood and cab. The machine gets an even tighter fit and finish more car like than in the past.
EVOLUTIONARY CHANGE: While the 8R is all-new, there have been significant changes to the 7R including a new cab. This higher horsepower line is popular due to its power-to-size design.
The 8R and 7R models come in three trim packages, almost like a pickup. The Select trim has a base set of features from 18 work halogen lights to camera ready hookups. The Premium set up has 18 work LED lights, electric and heated mirrors and comes camera ready. The Ultimate package includes 22 work LED and 8 Convenience LED lights; electric, heated and telescoping mirrors; front, right-hand side and rear sunshades; front, right-hand side and rear wipers and front and rear integrated cameras.
There’s even a John Deere Signature Edition for the 8R which offers Ultimate level options, Cab suspension or the ActiveSeat II and Automation 3.0 activation. And this edition carries a special Signature Edition badge.
You can learn more about the new 8R and 7R line by visiting johndeere.com.