New Crop of Machinery

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Fendt's IDEALDrive steering system replaces the steering wheel in its IDEAL combine with a left-hand mounted joystick. (Photo courtesy of AGCO)

Manufacturers are set to release a crop of new equipment designs and enhancements this year. Here is a look at some of those new products and features.


AGCO Replaces Steering Wheel With Joystick

AGCO Corp has introduced its new Fendt IDEALDrive steering system to North American producers. IDEALDrive is the first joystick steering system on a combine from a major manufacturer.

"IDEALDrive takes away a lot of the physical stress and reduces fatigue because the operator can see the entire header feeding and control everything from a comfortable position in the cab," says Zach Stejskal, product specialist at AGCO.

With IDEALDrive, the left hand steers the combine by moving the joystick left or right. Force feedback guides how far to move the joystick for the desired effect. "The joystick turns a headland, 180-degree turn into light work," Stejskal said. "Compare that with spinning a steering wheel four or five times -- joystick steering will definitely reduce operator fatigue."

Because IDEALDrive steering is responsive, AGCO said, it requires only a slight movement of the hand to make steering adjustments. Steering sensitivity adjusts based on the speed of the machine.

Controls typically found on the steering wheel or steering column are now on the joystick. Control buttons on the top of the steering joystick operate turn signals in road mode and row-finder lights in field mode; buttons on the back are for dim and high-beam lights, the horn and track guidance.

IDEALDrive is optional and can be ordered as the steering solution on Fendt IDEAL combines in midsummer 2020 for delivery in 2021.


Case Announces New Features to Its Precision Air 5 Air Carts

Case IH has launched a series of enhancements for its model year 2021 Precision Air 5 series air carts. The new carts are equipped with individual tank weigh scales designed to tell the operator how many acres they will cover until the product tank is empty. The feature is available across the entire lineup of Precision Air carts, with capacities from 350 to 950 bushels.

A new curve compensation option available is designed to help ensure proper plant population across the drill in tight turns and corners. The AFS AccuSection modular metering system controls each individual meter independently, allowing each section to apply the correct amount of product as sections speed up or slow down through a turn.

Case's Precision Air carts also include two new, three-tank air cart configurations, ideal for fertilizer application or broad-acre seeding -- Precision Air 3725 and Precision Air 3915. Both tow-behind models, these configurations deliver the largest three-tank configurations in the lineup.


Kinze Offers SureFire Liquid Fertilizer Solutions

SureFire Ag Systems and Kinze Manufacturing have reached an agreement that will allow SureFire to install its liquid fertilizer planter solutions on Kinze planters before they leave the factory.

Beginning with the 2021 planting season, SureFire will work directly with Kinze dealers to install its systems within Kinze's manufacturing facility in Williamsburg, Iowa.

Surefire says its liquid fertilizer systems meet many customer application needs, including multiple product applications, high-speed planting, row monitoring and application rates from under 1 GPA to over 50 GPA.

Kinze will continue to offer its own factory-installed systems, but with the ever-changing custom fertilizer application methods, the company believes it is not possible for it alone to offer all solutions.


John Deere Adds Four Models to L-Series Utility Wheel Loader Line

John Deere has expanded its L-Series Wheel Loader lineup with four new utility models: the 444L, 644L, 644L Hybrid and 724L. The new wheel loaders include a redesigned Z-Bar loader linkage; an updated, ergonomically designed cab; electrohydraulic (EH) controls and a more robust heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Horsepower has been increased from the previous K-Series models on the 644L, 644L Hybrid and 724L, boasting 249 hp, 231 hp and 268 hp, respectively.

The redesigned Z-Bar linkage provides improved visibility to the front attachment and near parallel lift, which is now 8 degrees. This improves load leveling throughout the lift cycle.

The all-new cab includes increased functional storage, durable seats and an improved HVAC system. Customers can choose one of two cab options -- standard or premium -- to ensure their needs are met. Both options deliver 3 inches more of room between the pedals and the seat compared to the previous models.

A single-lever hydraulic joystick control with an ergonomically designed grip is equipped with a standard forward-neutral-reverse switch as well as two multifunction buttons that can be programmed to control any of 10 different functions.

The optional seat belt minder monitoring system sends an alert to JDLink if the seat belt is not latched within 30 seconds of releasing the park brake. A seat belt indicator beacon on the cab will illuminate green when the seat belt is in use.

Dan Miller can be reached at

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