Big and powerful, and slow and steady, don’t ordinarily go together, but then again Case IH makes it with the Steiger CVT tractor.
Case IH parent company CNH Industrial offers the only articulated 4WD tractor with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) on the market, and the Steiger CVT brings some particular features to the table.
Since it was launched three years ago, it’s received high praise from the farmers who have put it to work across a variety of tasks and conditions.
Farmer Shane Eising, who with wife Emma farms more than 3500 acres just west of Condamine, in Queensland, bought his 500hp Steiger CVT just after it was launched in 2018. He admits the timing could have been better given the more than two years of brutal drought the region was plunged into later that year, but the decision to go with the added versatility of the CVT option is one he’s never regretted. Shane said:
“It’s really nice to drive, and easy, because the CVT means you’re not having to worry about gears all the time, and not worrying about what speed you’re doing – you just set your speed and it goes. It does all the planting and chisel ploughing, we use it with the chaser bin; we use it for everything really – it’s pretty versatile and its proved very reliable.”
Jason Wood is the Steiger Product Manager for Case IH Australia/New Zealand and he agrees the versatility of such a big and powerful tractor can’t be underestimated. He said:
“One of the beauties of the CVT is that it can run at really slow speeds in certain applications, which means the Steiger CVT is capable of doing things that couldn’t be done before, which is an enormous advantage. Basically, there’s infinite speeds from 0.19 up to 40km/hr.”
The ease of use was another big advantage, Jason said of the Steiger CVT, where a less experienced operator finds it easier to use than a normal power shift. When set up correctly, the tractor will adapt to loads by adjusting the engine RPM and transmission automatically to optimise fuel efficiency in every application. He said:
“So, even if someone less experienced is in the cab, there’s no concerns about them operating the tractor incorrectly – it’s going to do what it needs to do for optimum fuel efficiency. If it senses a reduction in load it can drop engine rpm back to as low as 1400rpm.”
Walter Brosnan has an 8000ha dryland cropping operation at Thallon in Queensland and bought his Steiger 500 CVT last year, with the tractor immediately showing off both its efficiency and adaptability. He said:
“We’ve used it mainly for laser bucket work and planting, and we’ve certainly noticed a difference. On the scraper it’s a lot better and more efficient, because it just gears itself down, you’re not having to change gears all the time. I’ve found it really user-friendly.”
Jason said customers also appreciated the safety features in the Steiger CVT, particularly active hold, which allows the tractor to be in gear, and unless the propulsion lever is pushed forward, it will remain stationary. Jason said:
“Even on an incline and with a load on, it will just sit there – it makes it very safe to operate.”
The Steiger CVT is available in 400, 450 and 500hp variants, either tracked or wheeled. And Case IH also offers a 500hp scraper version, with CNH Industrial again offering the only CVT transmission in a scraper application.