THE purchase of a new CLAAS XERION 5000 tractor has provided Mid North farmers, Scott, Jacqui and Amery Drage, with an ‘all in one’ solution for their large-scale cropping operation.
Boasting four equal-sized wheels, permanent four-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and a continuously variable transmission, the 525 hp tractor is equally at home towing their 18 m seeder, 10 t spreader or 36 t chaser bin.
The Drages grow about 2800 ha of wheat, canola and lupins each year across several properties based around ‘Hillcrest’ outside Northampton. Soil type ranges from hilly red loams near the coast to undulating sandy gravels further inland.
The family took delivery of the new tractor in March this year after an unexpected downsize in their cropping program. “We lost one of our leased blocks last year and the numbers didn’t add up running two tractors,” Scott Drage says.
“At the time, we were running a 520 hp 4WD tractor during seeding and a 230 hp tractor for our spreading and chaser bin work.
“We wanted one tractor that could do the lot."
“It doesn’t make sense to own two tractors only to leave one parked in the shed. Having one tractor not only reduces your capital outlay and operating costs, but it means you can take full advantage of what technology is on offer all the time.”
The new CLAAS XERION 5000 Stage 5 tractor features a slightly longer wheelbase, a new frame design with a load capacity of 15 tonnes per axle, the choice of single or dual tyres up to 2.2 metre diameter and three metre spacings.
“We’d always thought we might get a XERION one day but it wasn’t until we saw this new series that we were convinced,” Amery Drage says.
“We’ve been operating a CLAAS LEXION combine harvester for the past three years and we are more than happy with it and the service we get from CLAAS Harvest Centre, but the XERION sold itself on its performance and technology.”
XERION features a 12.8 litre six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz engine that produces a maximum torque of 2600 Nm at just 1300 rpm. This is teamed up with a ZF continuously variable transmission and selectable longitudinal and transverse differentials for optimal power transfer to the axles or PTO, even at low speeds or under heavy operating conditions.
“With our old powershift tractor, we were constantly slowing down or even stalling as we went up hills and then speeding up as we went down the other side,” Amery says.
“With the XERION, the engine speed goes up or down according to the load without changing speed, steps or surges. It barely gets above 1000 rpm for most jobs but we like to set the cruise control to 1200 rpm so we’ve got that extra horsepower when we need it.”
This ‘high torque low rpm’ powertrain has delivered significant fuel savings.
“We’re averaging 45 L/h for seeding, which is close to 20 L/h less than our previous tractor,” Amery says.
“That’s a straight-up saving of $40 an hour over 500 hours a year.”
The Stage 5 emissions control system is totally enclosed on the right-hand side of the machine. “The engine runs very cleanly – there’s no smoke, fumes or smell – and the visibility is excellent because there’s no exhaust stack in front of you,” Amery says.
“And it’s so quiet – it’s almost silent in the cab.” The Drages’ XERION is fitted with 900 mm single tyres set on three metres to suit their controlled traffic farming system. “We’re happy with the singles most of the time but we don’t want to run duals,” Amery says.
“We simply change the way we use the tractor, such as seeding down steep hills rather than up the hill if we need to.”
Up to 3.4 tonnes of ballast can be added to both the front and rear axles in 400 kg modules, allowing the tractor to be modified exactly to each task. “The tractor weighs about 16.3 tonnes fuelled up and we can put another 6.8 tonnes in a matter of minutes with our telehandler,” Amery says. “We load it up for seeding and then strip it down when we’re towing the chaser bin.”
Amery is particularly impressed with the new automatic tyre adjustment system. “Our properties are up to 20 km apart and being able to change the tyre pressure from operating to transport mode without stopping or having a truck with a compressor is a big plus,” he says. “It allows us to take full advantage of the XERION’s 50 km/h road speed.
“The fixed frame and brakes mean it handles like a car, even when you are towing a 30-tonne airseeder.
“It’s also handy for going up hills – you can reduce the pressure for extra traction if you have to.”
The Drages’ XERION is equipped six rear hydraulic circuits that deliver a maximum flow rate of 195 L/min and an optional auxiliary power system that delivers 250 L/min to power the fans on their new Horsch Sprinter 18NT airseeder.
It shares the same cab and on-board technology as the Drages’ CLAAS LEXION 7700 combine harvester. This includes the CEBIS operating system, which features an integrated armrest, multi-function control lever and new 12” touchscreen, TELEMATICS remote monitoring and GPS Pilot automatic steering system.
“We really like CRUISE PILOT and feel quite confident using it because of the continuously variable transmission ,” Amery says.
To learn more, view and compare specs across the entire range of CLAAS XERION Stage V Tractors,click here.