Farmer Iron

Sneak Peek at a New Tractor

Web allows companies to "take the wrap" off of a new machine one layer at a time. At least that's John Deere's plan.

Maybe I am getting old.

I remember a time when product details for a new machine were a kind of Manhattan Project of secrecy. Sure there would be a new machine but its features were usually not unveiled until dealers saw everything, then it hit the farm shows. Don't tell John Deere.

This year, in advance of the new 7R series tractors and a new combine line, the company is teasing out information about the machinery. And we're not talking some simple sneak peeks, we're talking full on pictures of new cabs and other details. And it looks like the company will be trickling out the information right up until you can see the actual machines at the fall farm shows - first stop the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 (sorry shameless plug).

It's a new thing for us machinery editors who have covered a range of introductions over the years. We like to be "in the know" before farmers (that's why we're machinery editors). But these kinds of programs get you information earlier than we can get to it, to provide you full coverage. Heck (here's where I sound old) we didn't even get the series numbers until we showed up at the press event! (And I used to walk two miles each way to school, had only three channels on TV...but I digress) But today you know Deere will launch the 7R Series this fall.

John Deere is launching an "unlock" website allowing you to take a look at key features of both the new 7R series tractors and the new combine line (the combine information won't be available until after May 16). Learn more at

Agco used social media in 2010 to launch the Super Seven combine series. It garnered some viral attention (and yes, I wrote about it HERE). By the time the black prototype was finished and decked out in new paint, farmers could have a pretty good idea about that machine's features.

Deere's done the same thing. When the 8R was in prototype, the company launched a line of viral videos in 2009 that were quite funny if you watched the series. They had this "hapless" guy trying to find the 8R to give his "viewers" the scoop on the machine, but he kept missing it. Sometimes it would drive by him when he was distracted...very funny.

Deere has refined the whole approach with the new site. Already you can see some features of the new 7R and more are coming (as indicated on the site). There are videos too with some interesting humorous bits. And Deere is promising combine information after May 16th too.

Teasing out information through the summer, a major launch in August and my guess is there will be plenty of hoopla at all the fall farm shows (including Husker Harvest Days Sept. 13 through 15 - another shameless plug). You'll have to decide if they teased you enough, or not quite, as part of the program. But the site is worth the visit to see just what major manufacturers are up to these days. Let me know what you think, registered users can make a comment below.

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