By Chris McCullough

IT’S pretty obvious when a tractor range has excelled in various markets for decades that the manufacturer continues to develop it and relaunch.

That’s exactly what has happened with Case IH’s Magnum range of tractors, which for more than 30 years has been its flagship conventional tractor, selling around 5000 units globally each year.

For almost the entire market, the Magnums are built in Racine, Wisconsin, just north of Chicago USA. However, there are a few models built in Brazil for that country's own market, plus Argentina.

The Magnum seventh series has just bee launched on to the market and the newcomer's nomenclature tells you the big changes ahead – the Magnum AFS Connect is loaded with new features and designs particularly in the cab and with the latest precision based technology all built in.

There are nine models in the range, some with additional variations, in the full range but five are destined for the European market – the Magnum 280, Magnum 310, Magnum 340, Magnum 380 and Magnum 400, with respective max-power outputs of 351, 382, 409, and 435 hp.

The daddy of the range, the Magnum 400, is available with 21/5 PowerDrive transmission only, offering 40 and 50kph at reduced engine speed.

All, though, feature the same 8.7-litre FPT Industrial Cursor 9 six-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled engine tweaked to deliver the various ratings. These use the latest FPT Hi-eSCR2 technology to meet EU Stage V emissions legislation, with 13 patented developments, including a new catalyst, which results in much cleaner combustion.

The 340, 380 and 400 models can also be specified in rear-tracked Rowtrac configuration – which would be handy under current Scottish conditions. As before, the tractors have a rear lift capacity of up to 11,700kg, while lift capacity of the front hitch, where fitted, is a tad more than four tonnes.

To cater for modern front and rear working configurations, there are six remote valves available at the rear and three at the front. The upshot of that is that specifying a front linkage does not now limit the number of rear spool valves and hydraulic pump capacity options are 160, 221 or 282 litres per minute.

Brad Lukac, Case IH global product manager for Magnum, said: “The new Magnum development began when we set out to research and understand what users today are looking for in this class and size of tractor, spending time with farmers across the world to maximise our understanding of their needs and requirements.

“It was an exercise that involved manufacturing, marketing and quality standards staff not just from the Magnum plant in Racine, USA, but also from Case IH around the world, enabling them to exchange and compare ideas around what was important in different countries and global regions, from North America to Europe to Australia and beyond. From this we tested concepts both in the 3D design facility at our Burr Ridge research and development site in Illinois, USA, and out in the field.

"The result is a new range that recognises the broad needs of farmers across those regions, and while it meets the requirements of those innovative, forward-thinking farmers who are exploiting the potential of new precision technology, it does so in a way that retains ease of operation for those who may be less technology-minded,” he said.

With accurate data from field to farmer of vital importance these days, that’s exactly what the Magnum AFS Connect delivers. All relevant data can now be recorded and transferred securely in real time on the move with the new telematics technology inside the new Magnums.

This is based on proven Case IH Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) precision technology, but takes it a step further with new hard and software, including a new display, operating system, receiver and completely redesigned hardware environment, allowing for remote display viewing, remote support capabilities and more. The new technology is contained within a redesigned cab interior equipped with new controls and displays.

New developments provide a two-way link between the new AFS Pro 1200 display in the cab and the Case IH AFS Connect portal, which is available through the website.

This provides the gateway to management of data generated by the Magnum series and the activities for which it is used. It allows farm managers to manage with precision their farm, fleet and data from their office or mobile device, monitoring current field operations, fleet information, agronomic data and more, with these activities recorded in real time.

Secure wireless data transfer means no requirement for manual movement of data using USB memory sticks, eliminating the associated risk of loss or damage.

The cab interior of Magnum tractors has been revised and refined throughout to create a new operator environment. The familiar Case IH concepts, such as pillar information displays and the Multicontroller plus its armrest controls, are retained but rethought.

Enhanced levels of intuitive operation have been at the core of the development of new operating controls and data displays, said Hans-Werner Eder, Case IH's product marketing manager for the Magnum in Europe. He said: “The new Multicontroller armrest now has four configurable buttons on the new joystick and a further four on the armrest, plus a turn-and-press encoder dial for selecting functions on the AFS 1200 monitor, and industry-exclusive configurable remote valve switches to allow drivers to set their tractor up the way they want to operate it.

“Key tractor operating data, such as fuel level and coolant temperature, can be gauged quickly on the new compact VIS2 smartscreen display on the right front cab pillar, which replaces the former individual displays in the pillar.”

On driver comfort, the tractors gain a new ‘light wheat’ colour interior and new seat with 40-degree right and five-degree left swivelling. Performance of the tractors’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems has also been improved, and these functions are operated via a new car-type control system on the right-side cab headliner.

Storage and connectivity have been enhanced with the addition of a new arrangement of compartments and cup holders plus charging and data ports, while a full glass door with no centre pillar and a wiper option improve visibility.

An industry-exclusive is an access management key fob, with automatic door lock and unlock feature and programmable functions, while the driver is also supplied with an in-cab torch at the base of the left wheel arch.

Also new fis a brake-assisted steering system, managed via the HMC II headland management centre, which is aimed at Rowtrac rear-tracked models in particular, but also available for wheeled Magnums. A further option is variable-rate steering, as established on Case IH's Optum tractors.