Editor's Note: Thanks to John Vogel, editor, American Agriculturist, for the photos that accompany this story. We double-teamed this rollout.
Breaking through the competitive tractor business challenges companies to step up to meet a rising set of customer needs. But how does a company set itself apart? For New Holland, the answer was to reach back to a name that was a hallmark for innovation at the company, and in the last quarter of 2013 the company will roll out the Genesis T8.
That's right, the Genesis is back. The new Genesis T8.420 will feature an engine with 419 peak horsepower and 367 drawbar horsepower. And it features a pack of innovations that will help it cut through the clutter.
"The original Genesis tractor was a groundbreaker for New Holland," says Abe Hughes, vice president, North America. "It made a statement and put New Holland on the map in the row crop business." Back in 1993, New Holland had recently acquired Ford's tractor division - and in fact the first Genesis tractors had Ford on the side. The company had to make a statement about its intent for the future.
Hughes outlines the fact that the first Genesis tractor was designed in three years and came in ahead of schedule and under budget. It was the first tractor the company produced that used a design team concept. Gary Wojcik, marketing segment leader high horsepower tractors and precision land management, says that early team "had full decision-making power" over the engineering and design of the tractor.
Readers will recall that the Genesis was the first tractor whose flip up hood provided full engine access without added panels to remove. It featured the Sidewinder console that could be moved back and forth to meet the needs of a wider range of users. And it offered the first Super Steer axle, an axle that not only turned up front but actually pivoted farther to further reduce the tractor's turning radius.
New Genesis steps up
The new-generation Genesis T8 offers the industry's longest wheelbase at 140-inches and can accommodate those new Group 49 tires on the rear for improved traction. That longer wheelbase comes with a 5-inch rear axle that can handle the bigger load this tractor will be asked to manage.
Power from engine to axle travels through a new AutoCommand CVT (standard on the Genesis T8.420) that offers speeds from 64 feet per hour to 31 miles per hour. And at four key operating points the transmission is fully mechanical. "At those points it is a direct drive transmission providing the user with pure engine power," Wojcik says. "Those are at lower speeds for tilling and planting where the user wants to get the most traction efficiency."
Control of the tractor is easy for a first-time user, once you get the hang of that controller. The control has a forward and reverse toggle. The user can also set specific speeds - three in fact - so perhaps one for transport speed, another for initial tillage speed and a final for end-row turns. Then it's easy to step through those speeds using plus or minus buttons right on the control. And a thumbwheel allows you to increase or decrease speed in 0.1-mile-per-hour increments.