John Deere and New Holland Agriculture picked up three of four Tractor of the Year Awards given this week during EIMA International in Bologna, Italy. EIMA is the world's largest exhibition of agricultural and gardening machinery.
From among 14 European finalists, here are the winners in four Tractor of the Year categories:
-- Tractor of the Year: John Deere's 7R 350 AutoPowr. The tractor was recognized for its on-board technology, automation package, cab room and comfort. Its sustainability also was taken into consideration in the form of a fuel guarantee program. The 350's Active Command Steering is an example of how the driver can adjust operations to preferences and needs, judges noted. The tractor's EZ ballast system makes it possible to automatically install and uninstall ballast weight.
-- Sustainable Tractor of the Year. New Holland Agriculture's T6.180 Methane Power. The first commercially produced tractor of this kind, New Holland's T6 Methane represents a step forward in sustainable farming, the judges said. The six-cylinder compressed natural gas-powered engine (175-horsepower maximum power output with boost) is rated to perform equally with its equivalent diesel cousins. The T6 Methane reduces fuel costs and CO2 emissions. Running costs are up to 30% lower. A key change in the T6.180 Methane is the replacement of the fuel tanks with a combination of 10 tanks arranged around the center of the chassis. The tractor holds sufficient fuel for about eight hours of road haulage or PTO work, rising to 14 hours in lighter operations such as feeding cattle.
-- Best Utility Tractor: John Deere 6120M AutoPowr. Judges pointed to the 6120M's continuous variable transmission, short wheelbase, and its precision farming technology package. Judges gave credit for its versatility to perform a range of tasks, from front loader work to soil cultivation or transport.
-- Best Specialized Tractor: Reform Metrac H75 PRO. Specialized farming applications require specialized tractors, judges said. This distinctive-looking "slope implement carrier" tractor was recognized for its low center of gravity, hydrostatic transmission, and its ability to manage two implements at a time. The tractor performs well on slopes, giving it working advantages in buffer zones and marginal lands.
The annual Tractor of the Year award is judged by a panel of agricultural journalists and given to the best European tractors. The awards have been given since 1998 and were sponsored this year by BKT.
Dan Miller can be reached at email@example.com
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