The harvester that had its beginnings in the Queensland cane fields is about to enter a new chapter with the launch of the Austoft 9000, a machine with the power, performance and technology to help farm businesses tackle the challenges of an increasingly competitive global market.
The highly-anticipated Austoft 9000 offers a more powerful engine, intelligent hydraulic system and a raft of other innovations that allow for greater harvesting capacity at a lower operating cost. Australian cane farmers can now order one of the new Austofts, with the first machines expected to arrive in Australia early next year. Lawrence Polga, Case IH Australia/NZ Product Manager for Sugarcane Harvesters said:
“We refer to the Austoft as the ‘King of the Cane’ and this latest 9000 Series not only reinforces that reputation, but redefines the expectations when it comes to harvesting efficiency and performance, machine reliability and ease of operation.”
The Toft brothers invented and sold the first commercially-viable cane harvester in Queensland in 1944, with the predecessors to today’s Austoft manufactured in Bundaberg for many years. The Austoft company was acquired by Case IH in the mid-90s and today the Austoft is manufactured in Brazil.
Lawrence said Australian cane farmers were still closely involved in improvements to the harvester and the development of new Austoft series, and provided considerable feedback on the new 9000 Series. A prototype of the 9000 has been in Australia since last year’s crush in North Queensland, with the feedback from customers being relayed back to the development team in Brazil. Lawrence said:
“Customer feedback has been so critical in the evolution of the machine we’re preparing to launch into our local market. The 9000 represents more than 30,000 hours of field and bench testing, further improving the reliability of the Austoft and delivering major reductions in the total cost of ownership for customers.”
“The contribution of the Australian field testing and feedback can’t be overstated. Case IH has always taken a lot of pride in the input of customers because we want to offer them machines that meet the needs of their operation, do it in the most efficient and effective way, while adding value to their business and offering the reliability and performance our customers deserve.”
The Austoft 9000 offers several technologies to increase efficiency in the field, including the renowned AFS Autoguidance system and a new telematics system that allows 4G connectivity on the machine. The Austoft 9000 cane harvester is also the first Austoft to offer this feature, allowing the operator to connect the harvester to the AFS Connect telematic portal, which offers tools for fleet monitoring, agronomic management and data management.
Other key features include:
- A new 420hp engine and redesigned hydraulics system that equate to up to 10% higher harvesting capacity, 10% lower fuel consumption and 50% longer engine life;
- Simplified access to machine components and a new bolted modular chassis to ensure enhanced serviceability; and
- Industry-leading auto crop feed that provides for the automatic adjustment of harvesting functions based on operating conditions, optimising fuel consumption and preventing ‘chokings’.
- Enhanced operator comfort with improved ergonomic design, more intuitive layout of commands and best-in-class cab visibility.
“All the features that have made the Austoft and its predecessors such pioneers remain, but the 9000 supports a raft of enhancements and technology advances that put it in a class of its own and present sugar producers with so many opportunities when it comes to the operation and potential of their businesses.”
“We’ve given customers the horsepower they’ve been asking for, on-demand hydraulics in line with other Case IH machine ranges, better serviceability and improved reliability to minimise downtime at critical times of the season. And, there’s the data systems that can provide agronomic and machinery information to guide decision-making and allow for the sharing of this information with approved third-parties such as the local dealership or agronomists.”
“The Austoft 9000 is something very different, representing a new generation of cane harvester for Case IH and creating a lot of anticipation for its launch into our market.”