Tractor Makers Roll Out the SCR

Farmer Iron

All major tractor makers cinch up their final Tier 4 standards, and there's DEF in your future.

Published on: July 18, 2012

This industry is chock full o' abbreviations and acronyms and for the future you'll have to add two more - SCR and DEF. With Agco's recent announcement it would rely on selective catalytic reduction in its final Tier 4 engine designs, the company joins the rest of the majors in confirming this strategy for the future.

Of course, Agco was there first rolling out SCR in its interim Tier 4 e3 engines in 2009. So it came as little surprise that the extra tank of diesel exhaust fluid would be part of the design going forward. That DEF will be used in all new machines above 175 horsepower starting in 2014. And while some of my loyal readers will grouse about this change, these new engines offer enhanced performance, and the companies are working hard to boost fuel economy too.

However, if you've been timid about investing in the interim Tier 4 engines from Case IH, New Holland or Agco with SCR because you weren't sure about the approach or the future. Now's the time to start figuring out your choices. John Deere final Tier 4 machines will join the fray in 2014 and all will rely on DEF as part of the emissions control system.

Your local dealer can help you put together a plan. The DEF is added into the exhaust stream and through a catalytic reduction it cleans up what comes out of the engine. However, DEF will freeze and for those of you in the north, where winter work is part of the mix, you'll want to make sure you have a storage area that stays above 32 degrees F to have DEF on hand.

No worries about the DEF in your tractor tank, however. While it might freeze, the industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have set a standard for operation that means your DEF has to be free flowing in a specific time period. All major manufacturers have worked that out.

For example, in current SCR engines, our Agco friends have a system that runs a coil through part of the DEF transfer system. Inside the coil is coolant fluid that can warm DEF in the chamber. A simple solution that works just fine to keep those bigger loader tractors moving feed at the dairy or beef operation in mid-January.

The technology offered by these new engines including quieter running, smoother operation and enhanced fuel economy will be big benefits that outweigh the added tank to fill.

Holdout caves

Outside of agriculture, there was one vocal opponent of using SCR tech to meet emissions standards. The over-the-road truck engine maker Navistar had publicly said it could meet that standard without adding DEF. And for quite some time the company got by even as over-the-road truck emission standards tightened. One key for the company were credits it could use to "cover" for engines it was selling.

But recently, Navistar gave in and has announced it will incorporate SCR into its engines to meet the tighter particulate and oxides of nitrogen standards. Apparently, the company just couldn't come up with the tech to hit the significantly tighter standard without DEF.

Your equipment buying plan will likely include new machinery in the next decade. Talk to your dealer now about the best approach to DEF. If you're already running over-the-road trucks with the technology, you may have worked out a system. You can always comment below to tell readers what you're doing as SCR and the use of DEF increases.

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