New Holland offers new mid-range tractors and telehandlers.

Recently New Holland un-veiled its plans to take a bite out of two markets: 90- to 140-hp tractors and telehandlers.

TM tractors. The company is introducing a brand-new series of 92 to 135 PTO hp tractors, called the TM series, to compete with the John Deere 7000 Ten. This mid-range category of tractors, which replaces New Holland's Gemini 60 series, is designed to fill a hole that existed between the 70- to 90-hp and the 145- to 200-hp ranges, according to Paul Trella, product manager for ag tractors.

"The industry segment between 90 and 140 PTO hp has remained strong and sees growth," Trella says. "The 60 series tried to fill that niche, but the expectations of customers in this buying category are changing. They want performance and comfort."

The new TM series will offer several key features that the 60 series did not. First, they are available with a SuperSteer axle, a feature present in New Holland's Genesis tractors, which allows for a 30% shorter turning radius than that offered by the 60 series. Not only do the tire and wheel turn when you move the steering wheel but the axle pivots, too, providing a turning diameter of 22_1/2 ft. (with 14.9R28 tires at a 60-in. setting). The company claims that this ability eliminates lightbulb-shaped turns at the end of rows and replaces them with U-turns to save you time in positioning implements.

Another key feature of these tractors is their suspension system. The front axle floats 4 in. up or down to keep tires on the ground and the operator comfortable. The cab also is suspended with back springs and shock absorbers to take the jarring from the drivetrain out of the operator seat, allowing you to drive faster while still maintaining control.

A third new feature is a full Powershift transmission on the two largest models, the TM150 and the TM165. It allows you to smoothly shift from 1st through 18th gear with a touch of a button regardless of draft load and without the risk of stalling. Without it you would need to move a lever between the three major ranges. A patented torque sensing system on the tractor flywheel looks at engine speed, engine load and ground speed to determine when to switch gears.

The TM series features new cab comforts as well. "Farmers are getting out of their pickups and stepping into the tractor cab and want to see some of the same features there," Trella says. For example, an air ride seat, the same technology used in luxury buses, comes standard to help ensure a smooth ride. Two doors provide access from either side of the cab. Other cab features include extendable mirrors, steerable fenders that turn at a different radius than the wheel so you don't have to remove them to make a tight turn, cup holders, storage space and an adjustable heating and cooling system.

Suggested list price: $60,000 to $91,000 base.

Telehandlers. Telehandlers, a grown-up version of the skid-steer loader, are common fixtures on construction sites. But New Holland thinks they have high market potential in agriculture and could replace many tractors with loaders currently used on farms.

"This could be a 10,000-unit market in 10 years for the ag market," says Gregory Emmanuel, product marketing manager for telehandlers. Currently, 13,500 units are sold in the United States, but nearly all are sold to the construction industry.

In Europe, half of all telehandlers sold go to agricultural applications. "What farmers realize in Europe is that they can do a lot more in less time to feed cows, clean pens, build a bunker silo and pull silage out of the feed bunker," Emmanuel says. "It increases their productivity, and that is what this machine is about."

Emmanuel says that, compared with a tractor, telehandlers have * More durability, with a heavier front axle and one-piece frame * Higher lift capacity: 6,000 versus 4,000 lbs. * Longer reach (12 versus 3 ft.) and higher lift height due to a variable versus fixed radius * Better visibility: A glass roof in the cab allows you to see all the way up to the load. * Larger bucket: 13/4 versus 1 cu. yd. or less * Four-wheel versus two-wheel steering for quicker turning * More versatility when changing attachments. A quick coupler system in front of the unit is operated hydraulically so you can switch among 12 attachments without getting out of the cab.

New Holland introduced its telehandler, the LM430, a year ago after signing an agreement with Manitou, Europe's leading telehandler manufacturer, to build one. Suggested list price: $75,000, depending on options.

Competitors in this market include JCB, Gehl and Caterpillar. Em-manuel says New Holland has an advantage over these companies because of its established distribution channels in agriculture. For more information, contact New Holland North America Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1895, New Holland, PA 17557, 717/355-1371.