With the introduction of two new high horsepower Fastrac models and a growing dealer network, is it possible that U.K.-based equipment manufacturer JCB is poised for gains in the North American tractor market? Recent developments, in high-speed attachments, may be making the top-end field capabilities of farmers’ tractors the limiting factor in obtaining maximum productivity, which favors JCB’s Fastrac, touted as “The Fastest Production Tractor in the World.”
In October, the company unveiled its new tractors at JCB headquarters in England. The Fastrac 8290 develops 272 PTO horsepower and the 8330 takes the top end horsepower of the tractor line to 310. Both tractors utilize a SISU 8.4 liter 6-cylinder Tier 4 Final power plant with twin turbochargers. Behind the engines are Fendt-designed CVT transmissions and, like the rest of the line, they feature the JCB-exclusive full suspension and braking system that allows safe high-speed travel on the open road and across uneven fields. General Manager of JCB Land Power, Max Jeffery, when asked by Farm Equipment about noticeable changes to the new tractors, said weight distribution improvements are at the top of the list:
Fastrac tractors, with enough horsepower for row-crop work, may benefit from the development of high-speed implements that have been arriving on the market in the past couple of years. Planters capable of travelling at 10 mph may stress the operator in conventionally sprung tractors, even those with cab suspension and floating front axles. High speeds across rough fields may prompt farmers to search for alternatives, such as the Fastrac, capable of comfortable field travel at over 20 mph. The tractors would also have an application pulling vertical tillage implements and grain carts where higher ground speeds could benefit productivity. Jeffery says that in designing the new high horsepower tractors, JCB has its sights set on areas with large row-crop farmers:
One challenge for JCB is distribution. The company acknowledges they need more dealers in critical areas to grow their market share and that’s a top priority. They currently have 60 dealers in North America and are actively striving to increase that number by 5-10% annually over the next 5 years. With new tractor offerings capable of high speed row-crop work, coupled with farming practices that demand faster field travel, JCB is hoping it’s future in North America will attract more dealers and, in turn, more customers to its Fastrac product line.