They’re not the first to offer a compact tractor with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but the folks at CASE IH have embraced the technology big time. The new CVT transmission option is now available in the company’s Farmall 40, Farmall 45 and Farmall 50 compact cab-tractor models.
The CVT is more efficient than most hydrostatic transmissions and it is designed to precisely match engine rpm with load and ground speed requirements – which essentially means it has an infinite number of forward and reverse gears, up to a fixed maximum ratio. “It eliminates the need for clutching or shifting which means operators may prefer a Farmall with CVT to their car. In fact, pulling a load with a CVT equipped Farmall is easier than driving a pickup with an automatic transmission,” says Greg Lucey, Case IH Farmall marketing manager.
While CVT is becoming more common in high-horsepower tractors, it is a technology not commonly found in compact tractors. “As a full-line equipment company, Case IH is able to utilize technology developed for larger tractors and integrate it into the Farmall line,” Lucey explains. “When Farmall tractors were first introduced in 1923, they featured a revolutionary narrow design and higher ground clearance – and more than 85 years later, they continue to lead the industry in innovation.”
If you are looking for a tractor that is less intimidating to operate than one with a manually selectable, sliding-gear transmission and more fuel efficient under load than one with a hydrostatic drive, then the CVT-equipped Farmalls might be just what you need. Before taking the plunge, be sure to drive them all – and if you want to compare CVT compacts of different colors, check out the CVT-equipped Boomers at your local New Holland dealers.
I have driven CVT-equipped compact tractors and I regularly operate hydros and standard-shift tractors. I am impressed with the CVT for its engineering and performance innovation – check them out yourself at a local CASE IH dealer and see what you think.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.