New Holland’s methane powered tractor a natural fit for dairy farms

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Automation isn’t the only new advancements being made in farm equipment, as proven by New Holland that’s moving forward commercializing a methane powered tractor. The new sustainably-minded T6.180 tractor was on display at Commodity Classic in New Orleans earlier this month.

Mark Lowery, with New Holland, talks about the new opportunities on the horizon for livestock and dairy farms with the onset of methane powered equipment.

“We have done a lot of research and activity around energy independent farms. So completing a cycle of energy and harnessing that on farm, to lessen dependence on other types of fuels. So as we look at the diesel fuel bill, starts to tick up, how do we provide some ROI on the farm and and again, harness that energy that may be produced there, whether it’s a digester activity that may be capturing some of that methane, and compressing it to quality fuel that we can use for a tractor.”

Lowery shares the only difference consumers will find the in the methane-powered T6.180 is the fuel source, stating all other features and specs are on par with the traditional T6 consumers are used to.

The innovative tractor isn’t a concept design with hopes of hitting the market in the future, it is on the market now and is being validated across North America to ensure quality and performance.

“We have three tractors that are being validated in different applications to that will be based here in the US, one in California, because there’s a lot of existing infrastructure in California. And then two, one sort of moving around the rest of the US in different applications and one going into Canada, because there is certainly a fair amount of existing either digester CNG infrastructure in Canada. And so and we know that we want to validate it not just in one geographic area, because everybody does something a little bit different with this type of tractor.”

New Holland however, isn’t immune to inflation and supply chain issues that is – and has been – plaguing much of the industry for several years now. Lowery says that although they are trying to absorb some of those costs in-house, however, due to the higher cost of raw goods, price increases on New Holland equipment is something that’s unavoidable at this time.

As other equipment manufacturers have state, as prices increase farmers and producers will undoubtedly also see a steep incline in regards to value within the machine. With new technologies including automation, farmers are able to do more with less, including highly skilled labourers, as the machinery is now able to regulate many functions and adjustments on it’s own, something that may be worth the higher price tag, to some.

New Holland is looking to be a main player within this realm of technology and automation with Lowery pointing to their combine, which though the use of IntelliSense technology, is able to better optimize quality, while minimizing loss.

Lowery says they will start taking a few orders for the methane-powered tractor now, with regular production being slated for Q4 of 2022.

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