IT'S BEEN in the background noise for sometime ... just who would Kubota hook up with to produce high horsepower tractors?

Now it has been revealed that it has entered into agreement with the Russian-owned, Canadian-based, Buhler Industries for the production of larger output tractors to the North American market, which could pave the way for their introduction to Europe and elsewhere.

Buhler is 80% owned by Rostselmash, a combine manufacturer in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, but was established in 1932 and until 1969 was owned by US-based investors. Its ag-equipment brands include Farm King, Allied, Inland and, most importantly for this deal,Versatile.

It has manufacturing plants in Winnipeg, Morden, Manitoba; Willmar, Minnesota; and Fargo, North Dakota, building tractors, front-end loaders, augers, compact implements and more.

Kubota’s announcement said: “Buhler has a proven track record for designing, manufacturing and distributing large tractors in North America. Kubota has chosen to take this direction with a view toward improving development lead time and optimising product specifications to meet local requirements.”

This agreement means Kubota has access to a horsepower range greater than that of its currently largest 170hp models to accelerate its large tractor business. The new Kubota-badged tractors will be built in Winnipeg.

Versatile's most recent launch was of the Nemesis range from 175-210hp, fitted with 6.7-litre Cummins engines and ZF transmissions. These look like a good fit above anything Kubota produces at its Dunkirk manufacturing facility, in France. The speculation is that the biggest range made in Europe, the M7002s, will get some new bigger brothers later this year/early next year – the 8002s?