World’s biggest fixed-frame tractor on its way

HANNOVER, Germany — Agco will deliver its new 500 horsepower Fendt Vario 1000 tractor to North America next year, says company head Martin Richenhagen.

Richenhagen, who was commenting well ahead of formal announcements about the North American release, said the big machine was designed to meet the needs of that market.

The tractor was selected as this year’s European Tractor of the Year and drew large crowds of farmers at Agritechnica, where Richenhagen was speaking.

It debuted last fall, and a few machines have reached the European market this year.

The Fendt tractor will be delivered to Agco dealers under that brand, but in a first for the company, it will also appear in Challenger yellow. The move is expected to make the tractor more widely available because there are far more Challenger dealers than Fendt.

The German tractor maker de-veloped the high horsepower machine with large row crop and reduced-tillage drill operations in mind, engineers said at its debut last year.

Fendt is known for its front and rear suspension systems, operator comfort and use of the latest engineering and technology.

However, it has often been overshadowed in North America by domestic competitors or even its own transmissions and other technology that appears in sister brands such as Massey and Challenger.

The tractor’s Vario Drive puts a second CVT output on the front axle to help manage all the energy that the big machine produces.

Most CVT designs use a mix of mechanical and hydrostatic motor systems to optimize output, but this one has a second motor. The rear one feeds a set of planetaries, while the front one is connected directly to the axles.

Fendt says the system can balance the power fore and aft, and left and right through all speeds, from creeping up to its road gear’s peak of 60 km-h.

The 1000 will need to show its value in the field if it is to displace articulated four wheel drives. It features fixed frame engineering, continuously variable transmission, a focus on operator comfort, a smaller footprint and lower fuel use and improved utility powering large augers, grain carts and manure tanks.

The company has said the big, fixed frame tractor has the potential to meet the needs of a wider group of farmers than a similarly powered articulated machine, while offering a stronger and larger secondary, trade-in market than an articulated sibling.

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