Same Deutz-Fahr took top honours at the Eima Show in Italy last month when the company's Deutz-Fahr TTV 7250 tractor won not only the prestigious Tractor of the Year prize, but also the Golden Tractor for design award.
The winning tractor beat off stiff competition from six other models, namely Massey Ferguson's 7626; Case IH Farmall's 115U; John Deere's 6210R; New Holland's T5.115; Claas's Axion 950 and Valtra's N163.
The competition celebrates the latest innovation in tractor design and technology from the world's leading tractor manufacturers.
The judging panel evaluates the performance of tractors under field conditions and takes the following features into consideration before deciding on a winner: engine, transmission, standard electronics, hydraulics, cab comfort, innovative technical features, design and the ration between horsepower and price.
Launched earlier this year, the Series 7 TTV range, which has the 263hp 7250 as its flagship model, is designed to meet the needs of contractors and large-scale farmers.
During its design process, SDF worked with farmers, contractors and Giugiaro (a leading design company in the Italian automotive industry), resulting in a totally new-look tractor.
The Series 7 range employs a new six-cylinder Deutz TCD 6.1 litre engine which meets the Stage IIIB emissions requirements and uses a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converter and Adblue.
Maximum power is delivered at an engine speed of 1,900rpm and maintained at 1,600-2,100rpm.
A ZF continuously variable transmission provides a top speed of 60kph and allows a 40kph transport speed at an engine speed of 1,300rpm. Control is via a joystick which is used to create a seamless speed increase or decrease along with directional changes.
In the PTO department, the 7250 employs an electro-hydraulic clutch to provide a soft start for 540, 1,000 and 1,000E speeds.
A 44 litre/min oil pump powers auxiliary hydraulic circuits but for the main system there is a load-sensing pump rated at 120 litres/min.
Lift capacity for the rear linkage is an impressive 10,000kg, while the optional front linkage is 4,500kg. The operator is provided with the new MaxiVision cab which offers a high degree of comfort in terms of climate control and suspension, and has its primary controls located on the new armrest along with a joystick speed control.
Now meet the other six contestants...
Massey Ferguson 7626
Massey Ferguson's 7626 is now the flagship model for the firm's 7600 series. The top model in a range that extends from 140-280hp is being pitched as the ideal all-rounder by its manufacturer. At 255hp, the 7626 is powered by an Agco Power 7.4 litre engine equipped with advanced SCR technology.
With a maximum horsepower including engine power management of 280hp, the MF 7626 turns out an impressive torque level of 1,049Nm.
The internally redesigned Dyna-6 is a well-proven transmission that offers completely clutch-less operation via the steering column-mounted power control or right-hand armrest levers. This provides a total of 24 speeds, with six powershift steps in four gears.
Auto drive is standard and is proven to increase work rates and cut fuel consumption during both field and transport work. This makes the 7626 suitable for a wide range of tasks, from mowing and foraging right through to planting and construction work.
There are two transmission modes that enable the operator to choose the most appropriate setting for the application and his/her own personal preference.
Case IH Farmall 115U
The Farmall 115U was the Case IH finalist selected by judges. The 115U is a completely new development and has been designed as a premium package, all-round performer that is equally at home on livestock or arable farms.
Readers familiar with the popular but outgoing JXU series will know the size of tractor we are talking about here – very much at home on an average Irish farm. In addition to a new design, the Farmall U series features a 3.4 litre common-rail engine. There is a choice of models ranging from 95-115hp.
The standard transmission for Ireland is a 24x24 power-shuttle with a two-step powershift. As an aid to driving comfort, the driver can select the response speed of shuttle via a three-stage rocker switch located on the cab's B pillar.
On loader-related activity, the fastest response setting enables quicker direction changes for short cycle times and more productivity. In addition, a 20x20 power-shuttle with creep speed is an option.
Maximum lift capacity for the electronically controlled linkage is 5,400kg. An external PTO start/stop switch extends versatility in static pumping or slurry mixing operations.
John Deere 6210R
No surprise to see a green entry, with Deere's 6210R tractor flying the flag this year. The 6210R is equipped with a stage IIIB, 6.8 litre, six-cylinder PowerTech PVX engine rated at 210hp, or a maximum of 240hp with power management.
Employing John Deere's established full-frame design, the 6R series has a longer wheelbase to provide improved stability for loader applications. In addition, a higher permissible weight and payload allow bigger and heavier implements to be carried.
An integrated front hitch with a lift capacity of 4,000kg and a new front pto are also now available ex-factory for the first time on 6R Series tractors. A newly designed 24-speed direct-drive transmission is used, a feature that Deere introduced to the agricultural machinery industry from the car industry.
The tractor giant claims the new transmission combines the handling comfort of an infinitely variable shift transmission with the efficiency of a mechanical transmission.
The 6R cab has more than 20pc more space with a similar increase in visibility. Key features include a 7in full-colour command-centre display with touch screen and video capability, integrated climate and radio controls, Bluetooth connectivity with SIM card access and an optional panorama roof.
New Holland T5.115
New Holland this year further extended their T5 range's appeal to livestock and mixed farmers with the addition of the Electro Command semi-powershift transmission.
The three-model T5 range, developing between 99-114hp, also benefited from a new transmission and an engine upgrade to cater for Tier IIIB compliance.
So why did the flagship model in the range, the T5.115, make it as a finalist in the Tractor of the Year competition? The semi powershift transmission played a big part in the judges' thinking.
It is an optimised version of the transmission currently fitted to New Holland's popular T6 range. It features 16 forward and reverse gears, and enables operators to select up to eight gears via up or downshift buttons on a dedicated transmission lever without physically moving it.
There are plenty of other high-tech features in this modestly sized tractor. For example, the T5.115 is fitted with New Holland's traction management system.
Once engaged, the system automatically controls 4WD and differential lock engagement through continuous dialogue between speed sensors, the brake pedal and the rear linkage. The system will automatically disengage during tight turns, for example on the headland.
Claas Axion 950
The biggest entry would have to come from the Germans. In common with all Claas tractors, the Axion 950 has a long wheelbase (3.15m) for optimum weight distribution and traction, with a compact overall length of 5.56m.
This is a serious tractor. Topping out at 410hp and tipping the scales at 12.5t, the 950 is built around a fully integral frame that incorporates a self-supporting crankcase.
Claas engineers say this robust design provides the possibility to fit a 6.8t front linkage without the need for any additional bracing, thereby maintaining maximum manoeuvrability.
Operators benefit from a new four-pillar cab design. Built into the right-hand armrest are all the main controls needed to operate the tractor.
The main functions are controlled using the C-motion control which fits comfortably in the right hand. Using three fingers, all the main controls such as direction of travel, driving range, cruise control, hydraulics, rear linkage, headland management and GPS steering can be controlled.
The Axion 900 range has a 150litre/min or 220litre/min load-sensing hydraulic system and up to six spool valves can be fitted at the rear and two at the front.
The spools can be operated using either rocker switches on the armrest. Alternatively they can be allocated function buttons. The rear linkage on the 950 has a maximum lift capacity of 11t.
Valtra's N series range is headed up by the N163 which, with 163hp capable of being boosted to 171hp, is available in both Versu and Direct transmissions. Versu transmissions take powershift to the next level with five speeds for each gear – a combination that ensures the right speed for every application.
Meanwhile, Valtra's Direct transmission is a CVT unit based on the Versu with a great many common parts. Developed and manufactured entirely by Valtra, Direct has earned a reputation as one of the smoothest CVT transmissions available on the market today.
Available from earlier this year, the N163 is ideal for mixed farmers, particularly those with awkward yards and building requiring manoeuvrability.
Yet this tractor has the punch to handle heavy cultivation equipment efficiently.
Over the past 12 months, many updates have been made within the Valtra ranges.
Today all but the smallest machines use SCR technology and meet all the latest European directives on emissions.