Agritechnica certainly lived up to its reputation as the world’s largest and most popular farm machinery show, but behind the scenes manufacturers are struggling and farm machinery sales have fallen worldwide. Speaking at a Case IH press conference at Agritechnica, brand president Andreas Klauser said the global agricultural sector faces enormous challenges. “We are currently in a very competitive environment with a heavy downturn in sales of farm machinery,” he said. “The South American market is stressed, and Brazil is in the middle of the worst recession for 25 years following the drop of soya and ethanol prices.” However, Mr Klauser remains upbeat and feels there are real opportunities for the brand to grow in countries such as China and India. “China has a target mechanisation of 70% by 2020,” he commented, “and we are exploring the sugar cane business in India.” Looking ahead, the concern is investing heavily in new R+D projects. The company sees opportunities to grow the Optum range in the future to close the gap with the Magnum, but the immediate priority now is to get the two new Optum tractors to the market (first ones being built now). “Case IH has the largest product portfolio it has ever had with 13 different product lines and 220 models. I am confident we are heading in the right direction and we stay focussed on a plan of growth.” Two R+D spear points include further automation and driverless tractors for the future. Vice president Matthew Foster of Case IH EMEA said a massive amount of data is collected today. “We are looking at the best ways for farmers to use it,” he said. “There are lots of unanswered questions but a lot can be done to automate machines, and the future of intelligent automation is exciting.”