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Agritechnica ag show one of largest in Europe
 

ALL ABOUT TRACTORS

By PAUL WALLEM 

Based in Germany, Agritechnica is one of the largest ag shows in Europe. This winter’s show was larger than ever and has become the place for manufacturers to reveal new products and ideas.

Autonomous equipment on display showed significant growth since the last show, as European farmers face the same labor shortage as U.S. producers. In response to new federal regulations, precise spraying equipment also showed up in significant numbers.

Electric tractors gained floor space since the last show. Small horsepower tractors have always been used in larger numbers than in the U.S. due to smaller farms.

Sales of electric tractors are multiplying throughout Europe. Farmers’ attention is also increasing to alternative fuel sources, such as methane and HVO. HVO stands for hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is more commonly called renewable diesel in the U.S.

Willie Vogt, of Prairie Farmer Magazine, visited this show and described HVO as the drop-in replacement for fossil-fuel-based diesel instead of biodiesel. Most manufacturers in attendance discussed the capabilities of their engines to use HVO.

In a recent column, I described this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville as showing a considerable increase in technological development compared to just a few years ago. Agritechnica appeared to be the same at this time. A common link keeps showing up in product development throughout the U.S. and Europe – the need for equipment to answer the labor shortage.

 

Sublette Antique Tractor & Toy Show

 

This 42nd annual event in an Illinois town of 450 residents drew folks from everywhere. I have often commented that with no major roads nearby, “You can’t get there from here.” Yet many find it every year. An incredible selection of toys for sale is on display in five different buildings.

I recall we sold toys over the parts counter in our IH dealerships, and the top price was $15. At this year’s Sublette Show, many sold for $250, and some were much higher! Times (and prices) have sure changed since the 1980s.

Adding to the show was this year’s Classic Green John Deere tractor displays with green all over town and a semi-truck display. It’s always a great show to attend.

 

IHC’s first mass-produced tractor

Following their Auto-Buggy in the early 1900s, the International Harvester Company committed to producing farm tractors in 1907. Inventor Edward Johnson created a monster called a 20-horsepower Friction Drive. This tractor was their entry into the farm market.

Governing was accomplished by using a flywheel governor. Cooling was an evaporative system. 1908 production came out of three plants: 208 units from Upper Sandusky, 321 from Akron Works and 100 from Milwaukee Works, totaling 629 in all.

Increased power demands required something bigger and better in drivelines. The friction-drive mechanism needed upgrading, and Harvester solved that with a refined gear-forward friction reverse gear train in 1912. Gear-forward reverse transmission went into production until 1917 and was used in the type C Mogul 20 HP tractors. The constant demand for greater horsepower then brought out the Mogul 45 HP.

The Mogul 8-16 was the most popular during this period, selling 14,000 units. It was followed by the Mogul 10-20 with slightly more horsepower. Nine thousand units were sold.

During this period, IHC Deering dealers were selling the same tractor but called Titan. Competition was heating up rapidly, and tractors had begun seriously replacing horses pulling implements.

 

Certain 2024 used tractor value changes?

As recently as 2023, surveys showed the average age of the farm-equipment fleet as 7-10 years, the lowest average since the 1940s.

Supplies have been short from 2020, ending in 2023. New prices increased sharply due to the shortages. During this same period, farm income reached all-time highs, and high commodity prices motivated producers to buy new tractors quickly as they finally became available. This was particularly true with larger row-crop tractors. All of this created a significant increase in the used late model low hour tractors (particularly row-crop) with high asking prices.

This information is courtesy of Casey Seymour, movingironllc.com, and might be helpful if you are contemplating a purchase during 2024. Predictions are that this particular category could decline in value as the year progresses.

 

Paul Wallem was raised on an Illinois dairy farm. He spent 13 years with IH in domestic and foreign assignments. He resigned to own and operate two IH dealerships. He is the author of THE BREAKUP of IH & SUCCESSES & INDUSTRY FIRSTS of IH. See all his books on www.PaulWallem.com. Send comments to pwallem@aol.com. 

4/19/2024