New STX series offers 4-wd power to handle all farm tasks.

In the heart of flood-stricken Fargo, ND, this past July, Case IH gave journalists a sneak peak at its new 4-wd tractors to be launched this fall. Dwarfed in our folding chairs, we sat and watched as a tractor of enormous scale and 21st century styling barreled under the open door of the company's production plant to the beat of music group Snap's, "[I've Got] The Power."

The company built the STX series, which will replace the Steiger 9300 series, in response to customers' demand for power and performance, versatility and comfort, says Mitch Kaiser, Case IH's product planning manager for large tractors. "This new series will change the way people think about 4-wd tractors," Kaiser declares.

Power and performance. The four-model series, which ranges from 275 to 440 engine hp, features industry-leading drawbar and engine horsepower, up to 43% torque rise and up to 40-hp power growth to pull heavy loads faster. Kaiser says, "Customers are pulling bigger implements and want to be more efficient. That takes more horsepower. The question is, How do we get the horsepower in the engine down to the ground?"

To achieve that power transfer, the tractors feature the longest wheelbase in the industry for stability, tri-point oscillation for a strong and stable chassis design, optional tracks instead of wheels on the two largest models, a center-pull drawbar and a unique 16-speed full powershift transmission. Transmission speeds can be spaced at 1/2-mph increments in the critical 3- to 8-mph range to match gear and horsepower to load and to give farmers the ability to start in higher gears. "The bottom line is, you can go 1/2 mph faster and get more acres covered," says Kelly Kravig, Case IH marketing manager. The company also claims that the tractors are the first 4-wds to meet 23-mph road speeds.

Versatility. Unlike traditional 4-wd tractors that are used almost exclusively for heavy fall tillage work, these 4-wd tractors are claimed to be maneuverable enough for in-row applications, such as planting and cultivating, in place of a 2-wd. "Customers want one machine to do tillage, cultivation and plowing," Kravig says. "They want to spread the tractor over more applications to make that unit more productive."

Lending to that versatility is a unique, patent-pending feature called AccuSteer, which is a double articulation design available on the 275- and 325-hp models. The front articulation joint allows the front frame to pivot an additional 10ΓΈ to the left or to the right, independent of standard articulation steering, to allow the tractor to stay in the row with minimal implement swag.

Adding to their versatility is the fact that the four models come in 13 versions tailored to three market segments: row-crop farmers, large cereal grain growers and commercial applicators who do scraping and land leveling.

So which configuration is right for you? If you are a Midwest row-crop farmer and do moderate tillage, the ideal models are the STX275 and STX325 AccuSteer, according to the product experts. These models feature AccuSteer, a 55-gal/min. hydraulic pump, performance monitor and group speed radar, narrow- row-crop tires, a 3-pt. hitch and power takeoff.

If you do heavy midwestern tillage, or if you are a cereal grain producer, the better choices are the two larger models, STX375 and STX440. These models feature a straight pull-drawbar as opposed to a hitch or PTO to pull one-pass air seeders or 50- to 60-ft. chisel plows; optional performance monitor; and the option of extra-large dual or triple tires or Quadtrac, Case IH's patented four independent track system.

Comfort. Another factor driving the design of these tractors was farmers' demand for comfort. "Farmers want the comfort features to keep them going over all of the acres they need to," Kaiser says.

All models feature a cab that is 23% larger than competitors' cabs, a narrow sloped hood and 67.9 sq. ft. of panoramic glass for better visibility, elevated foot rests, heated seat, map light and a right-hand service window. A performance monitor and ground speed sensor are optional.

The tractors will be on display at farm shows this fall starting with this month's Husker Harvest Days in Nebraska. Suggested list price: $127,000 to $240,000. Contact Case IH, Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine, WI 53404, 262/636-6011 or circle 207.