Spotted near MF’s French factory: What is this ‘prototype’?

A picture (above) taken by publisher/outlet Landbouw Mechanisatie is believed to have been taken near the AGCO (Massey Ferguson) tractor factory in Beauvais, France.

The outlet speculates that this ‘prototype’ might even be a future replacement for Massey Ferguson’s current 7700 series tractors.

The tractor in the photograph carries no markings or model designations, though the bonnet’s styling clearly bears some resemblance to that of existing MF models.

Most notably, the tractor appears to have a four-post cab; this would mark a significant departure from current MF models in this power spectrum.

Landbouw Mechanisatie goes on to speculate that the tractor’s transmission/trans-axle may be a GIMA unit – possibly even incorporating an eight-speed double-clutch system (conceptually similar to John Deere’s DirectDrive, New Holland’s Dynamic Command or Case IH’s ActiveDrive 8).

Of course, it must be stressed that all of this is purely speculative.

The other obvious point to note is that the pictured tractor is blue – described by Landbouw Mechanisatie as ‘Iseki blue’. Presumably, such a move might be intended to disguise a ‘test unit’.

Dominant tractor brand

Interestingly, here in Ireland, Massey Ferguson is the dominant tractor brand. That’s according to data (up to the end of 2018) released by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

This data details the current (brand-by-brand) population of tractors in Ireland (based on what’s taxed for road use). The figures ultimately come from a departmental report – titled Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics 2018. Here’s a brand-by-brand analysis of the numbers.

These figures are indicative of the standing tractor population (licensed for road use – to use the correct terminology) as of December 31, 2018.

The data indicates that there were 16,225 Massey Ferguson tractors (licensed for road use) in the Republic of Ireland.

Possible confusion

Of course, due to the (sometimes outdated) make/brand classifications adopted by the department, there is some almost unavoidable confusion. This, however, is quite limited in the context of the overall figures.

There are classifications for both Ford and New Holland – as there should be. However, for example, some 40 Series models might arguably be classed as either Fords or New Hollands – or both. Is this data accurate?

Similarly, there are classifications for both Valmet and Valtra – as there should be. Again, there was a period (in the transition from Valmet to Valtra Valmet and then, ultimately, Valtra) when such tractors might have fallen under either classification or both.

Also unusual is the legacy situation, whereby Case IH’s founding brands are still split up into Case / David Brown and International. While OK for older tractors, where do more recent Case IH models go?

Image source: Shane Casey

The ‘other makes’ category accounted for 811 tractors. A further ‘makes unspecified’ category contained 609 tractors. One can only speculate as to what surprises lurk within.