The march of progress is constant. Even with farm equipment sales softer than a goose down pillow, the engineers and developers at companies that make products for farmers keep moving forward.
That's the basic conclusion I get from major rollouts I attended this year at farm shows (and before). And while you might say "of course those guys have to keep working" you might think development would slow down a bit. It doesn't.
John Deere's rollout of the 9RX four-track tractor was almost expected by the market, but new forage harvesters, a new windrower and other new tools showed that the company continues to invest in the ol' product line.
Over at Case IH, the company launched the Optum tractor, offering you a hint at what their next models across the line will look like. And they beefed up the 140 series combines with a range of upgrades designed to make them easier to maintain, and boost productivity.
Agco rolled out several machines, perhaps most significant is its first new corn head in some time. The Command corn head, which comes in both 8- and 12-row configurations and in regular or chopping designs, has a range of key features. Interestingly, it is designed to fit Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger combines, and can be retrofitted to older models.
Over at New Holland, the T7 HD tractor line is hitting the market, including the use of Class 3 ISOBUS tech that allows implements to not only talk to the tractor, but have control for improved efficiency. The folks at New Holland point out that the T7 HD series is close in size to the original, and still popular, Genesis tractor.
In essence, the march of progress continues. The industry has done its best to contract intelligently, trimming costs where necessary and shutting down facilities for now. The equipment sales slump continues, but a trip to your local dealer will show you that the move toward greater innovation doesn't take a break. It's kind of refreshing.