REVIEW: Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tractor

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Case IH is on the right track towards better farming practices with its new Rowtrac 450 tractor. Tom Dickson traveled to Emerald, Queensland to try it out.

The Rowtrac bears many similarities to its cousin the Fourtrac; and while it looks similar to its predecessor and shares many of its features, there are some very important differences.

To fully appreciate how the Rowtrac is in a class of its own in today’s farming industry, I took a trip to Emerald in Queensland where farmer Rhys Daniels has just added the Rowtrac to the arsenal of Case IH tractors on his mixed farming enterprise Teresa Downs.

I’m hoping a chat with Daniels will reveal how the Rowtrac is performing on his 12,000-acre (4,856-hectare) cropping operation that produces wheat, sorghum, chickpeas and mung beans over 6,000 acres (2,428ha); with the remaining 6,000 acres used to fatten cattle.

Daniels says the family has had a really good run from of its Case IH tractors but just as importantly, has developed a great relationship with the local Case IH dealership, Milne Bros Tractor and Machinery in Emerald.

"So far we have no intention of changing from Case IH or Milne Bros."

 

Contents

Overview

Tracks

Hydraulics

Maintenance

Comfort and Visibility

Controls

Verdict

Specifications

 

Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 overview

6861_Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Tractor

The 450hp (335.6kW) articulated Case IH Steiger Rowtrac tractor has four individual tracks with adjustable working widths to suit your controlled traffic farm practices.

Its Tier 2 engine requires no annoying AdBlue or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. The 6 cylinder turbo charged 12.9-litre diesel engine provides power to a full PowerShift transmission with 16 forward and two reverse gears, capable of reaching speeds of up to 40km/h.

Enough hydraulic oil flow caters for the most demanding roles and a rear three point linkage is capable of lugging around just over 9 tonnes of weight.

Maintenance has been kept to a minimum and can all be done virtually at ground level. When you do step off the ground and make your way into the cab you enter a luxuriously appointed work station dripping with features to make your time spent behind the wheel as comfortable as possible.

Look up the Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 specifications

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Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tracks

3902_Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Tracks

Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s on tracks it would be just another Rowcrop tractor. The tracks are what make it unique. The key is the new design and configuration.

The Steiger 450’s footprint is longer at nearly 2m and can be run at 80, 88 or 120 inches (203, 223.5 and 305cm) wide. The top drive wheel is much larger than other track assemblies so the contact area between the track and drive wheel is much bigger, and so more effective, which reduces the amount of drag on the lugs of the track under load.

Each triangular track assembly can pivot 10 degrees in both directions to follow ground contours and even out the ride. This tractor has no axle suspension but has three solid rubber blocks incorporated into the track assembly above the idler wheels to help absorb shock. Combined with the sophisticated cabin, the suspension makes the ride really comfortable.

In the past it’s been a two man, time consuming task to check the oil in each of the track roller bearings but not so with this new design because each idler wheel has a clear glass centre cap that acts as a sight bowl.

The two larger outer idler wheels have a constant 10,000psi of pressure pushing against them make sure the track remains extremely tight against the drive wheel. When the tractor is started the hydraulics automatically pressurises the track assembly and return tension to the track.

The wheel base on the Rowtrac 450 has actually been extended by 6 inches to 160 inches (406.4cm), which apparently has helped give a more even transfer of weight to the ground. The down side is it has increased the turning circle a little but I can’t see this as being a huge issue.

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Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 hydraulics

6890_Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 TPL

‘Future proofing’ is the way Rhys Daniels describes the options included in the package.

He says he decided to get both the high flow and twin flow hydraulic pumps to give him a combined total hydraulic oil flow of 428 litres per minute.

This services four sets of remotes as well as the 9-tonne TPL and to complete the package, the 1,000rpm power take-off with 1.75-inch (4.45cm)shaft.

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Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 maintenance

Diesel, transmission oil and hydraulic oil levels can be seen from the ground via a sight glass. Of course this is only a backup to the safety warning lights and gauges but it’s nice to keep a finger on the pulse and sometimes by the time a warning light comes on it can be too late with serious damage already done.

With the bonnet raised the engine oil can be checked and the radiator and cooling system can be folded forward and easily be blown out. Daniels reckons his dad, Larry, can have it all done in about five minutes.

Plus, as a further cost saving, oil change intervals have been lengthened from 300 to 600 hours.

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Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 comfort and visibility

6808_Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Seats

The steps into the cab are very vertical and simple to climb however, I am advised on future models they may be manufactured with a little more gradient to assist with entry and exit.

Talk about luxury, I feel like I have stepped into a limousine. Red leather upholstery. Both the driver’s seat and passenger seat are decked out red leather as well as being fully suspended on air and heated.

Now I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t think we need our rear end warmed in Australia. I have a laugh when Rhys tells me the seat heater was once accidently turn on while he was driving and it nearly cooked his bum. Perhaps cooling may be a better option.

Nothing has been forgotten when it comes to looking after the operator. I can see climate control, a stereo with every conceivable form of connection, brackets to hold phones and an iPad to help pass the long hours as a passenger; and of course an AFS AccuGuide guidance system.

As I said before the seat rides on a cushion of air and can be customised to suit your weight and height. It also rotates up to 40 degrees for better vision out the rear. While on the subject of vision I have no criticisms to report; it’s great all round.

But there is one small area of concern and it relates to the draw bar. While the TPL on the Daniels’ tractor is going to be a valuable inclusion, it does restrict vision to the drawbar and will therefore require assistance to hitch up equipment. I guess the simple solution will be to remove the TPL while it’s not being used.

Other creature comforts include a fully adjustable steering wheel and, I can’t believe it, even a couple of foot pegs to rest those tyred legs. When I was a young bloke I was told to drink a cup of warm cement and harden up.

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Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Controls

3925_Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Controls

For a tractor of this size it’s really easy to drive. Mounted on the steering column is the forward/reverse power shuttle. Once the tractor is started it’s just a matter of pulling the shuttle lever out of park and into forward then by removing my foot off the clutch and we’re away.

Changing up and down through the sixteen gears is achieved by pushing the up or down button on the MultiFunction handle on the armrest. One set of hydraulic valves, the three point linkage and the press button forward/reverse actions have fingertip activation on the MultiFunction handle as well. Of course it also used to set revs and speed.

The MultiFunction handle has a really good feature that keeps the Rowtrac operating at its optimum. The process involves first setting my desired speed to 8km/h then activating a button on the armrest, which puts the tractor into an auto type mode.

By sliding the Multifunction handle fully forward the tractor takes over. It now selects the appropriate gear and revs to maintain my 8km/h; and of course makes adjustments to optimise fuel efficiency and power.

Basically my drive consists of pushing buttons. A single touch on the hydraulic down button lowers the air seeder for eight seconds followed by activating auto steer and finally sliding the MultiFunction handle forward.

Then it’s just repeating the same action over and over for the next 10 hours.

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Final words

As I climb down out of the cabin I can’t help thinking how far tractors have evolved in a relatively short period of time. Even the fact that it takes three attempts to shut the door due to cabin pressure can’t dampen my enthusiasm.

What was once a purely mechanical industry is now becoming one of the most technically advanced in the world.

Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Hits:

  • Tier 2 engine
  • Glass site bowl on roller bearings
  • Multiple tram track widths
  • Luxury cab
  • More traction
  • Easy to operate

Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 Misses:      

  • TPL obscures draw bar visibility
  • Hard to close door

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Case IH Steiger Rowtrac Specifications

Engine

Type: 2 – non scr

Power: 450hp (335.6kw) @ 2,100rpm

Cylinders: 6

Displacement: 12.9 litres

Aspiration: turbocharged with air to air aftercooling

Transmission

Type: Full Powershift

Gears: 16 F / 2 R

Max. speed: 40KM/H

Axles

Diameter: 4.5-inch  (11.43cm) planetary

Width (spacing):80, 88 or 120 inch

Wheelbase: 160-inch (406.4cm)

Hydraulics

Standard: 159 l/min

Optional: 428 l/min

Remote valves: 4            

Linkage

Category: category 4-n

Lift capacity: 9,071kg

Dimensions

Weight: 25,878kg

Track width: 16, 18 or 24 inch

Fuel tank: 946 litres

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For the full test report, don’t forget to pick up a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine issue 16, out December 1. Subscribe to the magazine to secure your copy.

Find Case IH tractors for sale.

Look up Case IH tractor specifications.

6861 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tractor The RowTrac 450 is the latest edition to row crop farming from Case IH. 6861 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tractor
6867 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 with planter The new RowTrac 450 performs beyond expectation for the Daniels family at Theresa Downs in Queensland. 6867 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 with planter
6872 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tracks The adjustable width tracks have better traction and less compaction then than their tyred counterparts. 6872 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tracks
6890 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 TPL Category 4 TPL allows the RowTrac 450 to perform a lot more jobs than just pulling. 6890 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 TPL
6904 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 cab The high visibility cabin has luxury, comfort and the latest in technology. 6904 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 cab
6938 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 with seeder Pulling an 18m air seeder, sowing 200mm deep, in the alluvial flats at Theresa Downs. 6938 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 with seeder
6981 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 working The RowTrac 450 fits perfectly into the existing 3m tram tracks on the Daniels property. 6981 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 working
7037 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 with Tom D Tom Dickson is dwarfed by the 450hp monster. 7037 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 with Tom D
3894 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 engine The 450hp Tier 2 engine boasts improved fuel efficiency and 600-hour service intervals. 3894 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 engine
3902 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tracks The new track design includes fluid site gauges on track roller bearings. 3902 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 tracks
3925 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 controls The Daniels run an AutoFarm system for guidance and auto steer. 3925 Case IH Steiger Rowtrac 450 controls

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