This past July, Case IH offered ag journalists a first look at some of its new products for 2003. After driving some mighty big machines around the CNH testing facility in Nevada, IA, we're happy to report that these new products, despite being bigger, more powerful and packed with new technology, are just as easy to drive as last year's models.

AFX8010 Axial Flow combine

The biggest combine yet from Case IH features an updated axial flow (AFX) rotor, a 375-hp, 10.3-l, 24-valve Iveco engine and a 330-bu. grain tank. In total, the AFX8010 provides up to 40% more productivity than the Class VI Case IH 2388 combine.

Notable features include a 54-in. feeder width, cleaning area at 10,075 sq. in., and a 4,236-sq.-in. “active” grain pan that automatically levels on slopes of up to 14°. The self-leveling also banks on end-of-row turns.

A redesigned, bolt-in rock trap eliminates the chain drive and need for rear ballast weights. An optional “Terrain Tracker” feeder will pivot 5° from side to side to follow ground contours and maximize harvest efficiency. When the tank is full, the machine will unload on the go at an average rate of 3 bu./sec.

Both the header/feeder drive and rotor drive of this combine are powered independently by Case IH “Power Plus Drive” systems. These new drive systems use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) design — an industry first for combines. The hydromechanical system reduces service requirements by eliminating all drive belts, provides efficient power transfer and supplies convenient speed control. Prices range from $212,750 to $261,000, depending on features and equipment.

STX500 Steiger tractor

The Steiger brand has always been about power. The more horses, the better. This year's 500-hp engine gets its extra kick with design tweaks that force more air into the engine. What's different is that the Steiger engineers “souped it up” without compromising EPA emissions standards, fuel economy, comfort or reliability. The electronically controlled engine achieves peak power growth without burning unnecessary fuel at a rated engine speed of 2,100 rpm.

The upgraded STX500 tractor features a new turbulated tube radiator to increase engine cooling capacity. (If you are wondering what that means, try picturing the inside of the radiator with thousands of tiny dimples that increase coolant contact area.) A lengthened air filter delivers the extra air needed for the increased power levels while maintaining long filter life. The STX500 provides up to 39% torque rise and up to 50-hp growth in tough spots. Pulling full loads through low spots, on hillsides and in wet conditions without downshifting is not a problem.

First introduced by Case IH in 1996, Steiger Quadtrac tractors continue to be the industry's only four-track design. Prices range from $227,690 to $260,324 for a wheeled tractor or $255,771 to $290,297 for Quadtrac.

MX285 Magnum

This fall, Case IH expects to produce its 100,000th Magnum tractor. The machine, adorned in special trim, will roll off the line at the CNH factory in Racine, WI. A few features have changed over the years. In 1987, the top-rated horsepower of the 7100 series Magnum was 215 PTO hp. In 2003 the top horsepower for the MX285 Magnum tractor is up to 240 PTO hp.

As with the new Steiger, increased horsepower doesn't necessarily translate to higher fuel usage. New designs and new technologies, including electronic engine management systems, have advanced engine efficiency. The new models also get a 10-hp bump from updated ISO-mounted engines that deliver 46% torque rise at 2,000 rpm. Lower operating rpm at rated horsepower improves fuel efficiency. The MX285 is 3,100 lbs. heavier than the 7150 Magnum, but its footprint is 8% lighter due to improved tires and setup. Prices for the new Magnums range from $101,492 to $196,334.

MXU Maxxum tractor

Three new Maxxum MXU 100, 120 and 125 models range from 80 to 105 PTO hp for use in row-crop, loader and general-purpose applications. Models come in 2-wd or mechanical front-wheel assist, flat-deck ROPS or cab versions, bar or flange axles, and two transmission options.

Producers can choose either the standard 24×24 two-speed powershift or optional 16×16 semi-powershift transmission. With synchronized gears and ranges, the base 24×24 transmission has two powershifts per gear and an 8.9-ft./min. creeper function. A 16×16 semi-powershift has four powershifts in each of four ranges and a 12.3-ft./min. creeper.

The new LX156 loader complements the MXU line with a lift capacity of 3,700 lbs., breakout force of 5,400 lbs. and maximum lift height of 12 ft. 3 in. A sunroof in the cab improves visibility for loader work. The clear roof panel fully opens for natural air circulation, and a retractable sunscreen panel reduces glare. Prices for the MXU range from $33,850 to $77,850. Loader prices range from $5,500 to $8,400.

ADX air drills

The Case IH ADX series air system line just got bigger with the addition of two new models: the ADX3380 and ADX3430. Both offer three integrated, polyethylene tanks in tow-between and tow-behind configurations with 380- and 430-bu. capacities, respectively. Three tanks offer more options to apply seed, fertilizer or granular products in a single pass for maximum seeding efficiency. Prices for the 4480 range from $42,999 to $45,857.

1200 ASM split-row planter

Case's ASM pivot-transport planters get a new dimension with the addition of two split-row models. The machines are for farmers who want to plant corn and soybeans with the same planter.

While a lot has stayed the same on the 1200 ASM, the biggest change is the addition of either a 12/23 or 16/31 split-row configuration. Switching the machine from corn to soybeans takes less than an hour.

Another change is an increase in bulk seed hopper size. Twin 40-bu. tanks now provide constant flow to the row units. Price ranges from $87,645 to $111,100.

For more information, contact Case Corp., Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine, WI 53404, 262/636-6011, visit www.caseih.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin.