Massey's vision of the future

The concept tractor shown at Agritechnica provides an eye-catching glimpse of where Massey Ferguson’s tractors could be heading in the future.

by Steven Vale

28 Nov 2019

Dubbed as the MF NEXT Concept, and already featured as a short story on profi.co.uk and in the latest issue of the magazine, more information and some stunning images are now available, so we make no apologies for taking another look at the futuristic concept.

Even now, much of the technology remains under wraps, but we can now confirm that the concept offers full and partial autonomous modes for road and field operations, with integrated sensors and cameras managing inputs in real time.

The 25cm space between the bonnet and the cab, enhances cooling and minimises engine noise, but arguably the biggest change is inside the new four-post cab (360° visibility through the inclined windscreen), where the steering wheel has been replaced by twin joysticks.

The left-hand lever operates the steering, while the one on the right controls the transmission – making speed and direction changes. It will also operate spool valves to control implements, all the other tractor’s functions through a new development of the current loader multi-function joystick and the Multipad lever.

In the field, there is the opportunity to switch to fully autonomous operation. For this there’s three screens that set and monitor all the tractor and implement functions, along with Augmented Reality information through the large heads-up display and the windscreen. Wing mirrors are replaced by two, wide-angle HD night vision cameras, with the screens inside the cab displaying their images.

Other features include automatic tyre inflation control for the carbon-free tyres, which adjusts pressures automatically to match changing conditions.

Sensors and cameras will be fitted into the tractor’s bonnet and cab roof. Capable of scanning the soil and crop in real time, these will link into the next generation precision farming system.

The sensors will monitor soil and crop parameters such as moisture and organic matter levels. At the same time they will check for nutrient deficiencies and automatically make agronomic decisions in real time.

MF Rate and Section Control will employ this information to automatically adjust the application rates and implement settings. While MF Guide steers the tractor, MF Task Doc will data map the operation with records transferred via MF Connect telemetry.

At the same time, this on-board sensing can be employed to adjust other tractor systems and setting, from enhancing the draft control settings through to automatically adapting the cab or seat suspension.

While the concept tractor is clearly futuristic, it’s ‘neo retro’ design pays tribute to the brand’s heritage. This is illustrated by a new interpretation of the iconic MF grey sabre stripe on the side and horse head collar motif on the bonnet, which dates back to the MF 188.

Some may recognise signs of the iconic 2000 and 3000 Series in the grey rear mudguards, which are now brought into the 21st century with their parametric fully LED lights.

This also offers a glimpse into the brand’s future light signature, which can also be seen on the front lights, as well as those in the cab roof. All lights are emphasised with futuristic red LED day light.

The first of the new generation Massey tractors, which will be painted in standard MF colours, are expected towards the end of next year, and while the final result may differ from what was on show at Agritechnica, it is still be a radical design, is the message.

Finally, the company has chosen its striking livery and styling as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon. “The concept embodies Massey Ferguson’s DNA and our vision to make tractor technology accessible, easy-to-use and affordable to the most farmers around the world,” said Thierry Lhotte, vice-president and managing director Massey Ferguson Europe & Middle East. “This is one small step for Massey Ferguson, one giant leap for future farmers.”