Revamping and renewing a portfolio of tractors is an ongoing process and Valtra has at last got round to its top S Series range which it has catapulted straight from 4th generation to 6th generation, while the smaller machines linger in the 5th generation slot.
Despite this escalation in generations, the new S series remains much as it was, although the power ratings have, unsurprisingly, crept up and the Q Series cab, with all its advanced digital features, has been fitted and the engine fettled.
There are six models in the range, these start at the 280hp S286 while the top model the S416, produces 420hp, all of which can be delivered through the transmission, obviating any need to split the output between the power take-off (PTO) and wheels, so there is no boost on that particular machine.
The engine fitted to all models is now the LX84 TN. This is the latest variant of the 8.4L six-pot unit used in the present S Series and is offered in the following configurations.
There was some expectation that Valtra would equip the tractors with the new Core engine but AGCO, owners of Valtra, has so far only released the unit to Fendt, despite the €1 billon investment in the latest engine and its production facilities.
The engineering team at the factory explain that there is plenty of life left in the older engine and it has yet to reach its full potential, besides which, higher horsepower versions of the Core series are not yet ready for production.
Already having a long stroke design for improved longevity and power band, the improvements made to the engine are said to centre around the head and valve gear, with a 3% increase in fuel efficiency claimed over the outgoing unit.
A heavily revised single stage turbo-charging system, which does away with the necessity of an intercooler between twin turbos, is the main visual difference between the two.
The transmission is the ML 260 CVT unit that is to be built at Suolahti in an assembly area that lies adjacent to the main tractor line; it has been upgraded to cope with the higher horsepower, as has the rest of the drivetrain.
It retains a two-step configuration to ensure that maximum mechanical drive is available at lower speeds, peaking at 28km/h in the lower range.
Hydraulic oil flow is unlikely to be an issue as there are two options available, both of which can deliver up to 400L per minute.
The base system comprises an axial piston pump (swashplate), and a gear pump which can be switched on or off, while the other has twin swashplate pumps which activate automatically on demand.
Cab from the Q
The cab is borrowed from the Q Series, which was launched and sold as the ultimate platform for smart farming with the built-in potential to expand its digital capabilities still further.
There are no great breakthroughs this time round, however, Valtra stresses that the digital component of tractor operation is becoming easier and more intuitive as its engineers begin to appreciate that if systems are to be used, then they need to be user friendly.
Another move being made by Valtra is to expand the role of Tractor Implement Management (TIM) which allows the implement itself to optimise the tractor’s speed and engine settings.
While Kubota already has it on its balers Valtra is suggesting that forage wagons will also benefit from this field of automation, although it will doubtless be applied to AGCO balers as well.
Improvements and upgrades to the S Series are relatively modest, but it was not just the renewed tractor that Valtra was talking about, there was also news of the company’s expanded production capacity and this will be covered in a later article on Agriland.