Farmer Iron

Flexible, Maneuverable and BIG!

New planter from Case IH cuts a wide swath when it hits the field.

The National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville was abuzz with new equipment this week as farmers traveled to the event to get a glimpse at what's new. Today we'll concentrate on a new piece of equipment that was really getting plenty of attention at the show - the new 1260 planter from Case IH.


There will be a dispute about planter size this year, as Deere launches what it says is the world's biggest planter - the monster covers 42 rows an stretches into "infinity" here at the show. The Case IH planter, at 36 rows on 30-inch centers, is now slouch with its forward-fold design. This time around we'll take a look at what can truly be called a Big Red planter, next week we'll give you a walk-around on that green giant.


It's big, it's bold, it's the new 1260 planter from Case IH, which in its largest trim (seen here) is 36-rows on 30-inch centers. Show visitors showed a lot of interest in the videos showing the planter at work.

Alan Forbes, marketing manager, planters, Case IH, is proud of the work the company's engineers put into the new machine, including the technology applied at the customer's request. "The customers told us they wanted a maneuverable planter," he says. "This is really a leap frog above our other planters with a lot of patented features."

Farmers who saw the planter at the show had to stop and watch the video of the machine in action in the field. From it's optional real-wheel steering system, to it's "trailering" design that keeps tongue weight to about one-fifth the competition, Case IH has worked out a lot of details.


Big guy with all the moves


The biggest 1260 planter - that 36-row machines - has five sections that each flex on a big hinge. When in road-travel trim, those hinges actually allow the farmer to pull into a field, through a ditch without a lot of worries about the planter frame. A narrow 13-foot, 8-inch travel width doesn't hurt either.


Customer-requested maneuverability comes through some interesting innovations. The trailing wheels on this machine are steerable, which improves turning radius by 20 feet. The planter, which will be available for the 2010 season, is still being refined, but that steerable rear wheel option will provide for manual steering, and with an "auto" setting that will allow for the machine to follow the tractor.


"We're still working out the technology approach for that," Forbes says. "There are two different approaches we're looking at." One would be a hitch position sensor, the other would be to sense off of the steering cylinder on the tractor.


The "trailer" concept is interesting. In many planters, the transition to the road travel position lifts the wing wheels raise off the ground. On the new 1260, these pivoting wheels stay on the ground to support the planter (which raises up when in folds). This provides support along the entire frame, and drops the tongue weight to about 3,200 pounds for the biggest machine, and 2,200 pounds for the smaller 36-row, 20-inch machine.


Editors are often accused of saying that something is "new" or "revolutionary." We have to say this is "new" because it is. We'll let the show visitors, agog while viewing the video, make the judgment whether this is a "revolutionary" machine. But given the maneuverability, stability and productivity offered, chances are a few might agree with that observation.


The planter comes standard with two 60-bushel center fill hoppers (which look pretty small sitting up there) for 120 bushels of on-board storage. A 600-gallon liquid fertilizer system can also be added for at-planting application as well. The frame is a beefy 12-inch-by-12-inch construction that's Case IH designed and built, as well.


Add it up and without the optional rear-wheel steering, the 36-row version goes for about $245,000. The rear-wheel steering adds another $15,000. You can learn more in the coming months from

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