Cream of the Crop
by Greg Carloss
Here at MotorWeek we test cars, trucks, motorcycles and even the occasional R.V. as well. But for our Over the Edge guy, Greg Carloss, that’s not enough. So, this week he teamed up with the crew from our MPT production kin, Maryland Farm and Harvest, to head out to the fields and cultivate a lifelong dream.
GREG CARLOSS: I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to drive a tractor. And, so far, this is as close as I’ve come. Well, today that changes...in a big way. To many people, the word “tractor” conjures up images of rusty old machines with metal seats and tiny front wheels. But, today’s farmer is working with something a bit more complex.
BRIAN GOTT: My name is Brian Gott, I work for Hoober Incorporated here at New Windsor, Maryland.
GREG CARLOSS: Hoober Inc. has multiple farm equipment dealerships, and Brian was nice enough to indulge my desire for a tractor test with the cream of the crop.
BRIAN GOTT: This is a 2021 Mag 280 AFS Connect from CNH...this tractor would be used in a row crop application. Pulling a planter, pulling a tillage piece...
GREG CARLOSS: Pulling all that equipment takes torque...and lots of it. So, similar to the Cummins you’d find in a RAM Heavy Duty pickup, this Case-IH Magnum 280 uses an inline 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. But at 8.7-liters, it's bigger than anything you can get in a pickup truck. And if you think modern cars have big wheels, this sends power to the soil through 50-inchers wrapped in 6-foot tall rubber. Once inside I feel like I’m in the cockpit of a luxury 747.
BRIAN GOTT: Everything you need to do is viewed...touch screen as well...cab controls, heat, AC, radio controls, your cell phone. Fuel, oil pressure, temperature, transmission pressure.
GREG CARLOSS: I’m intimidated by this thing. What happens if I pull or push or anything?
BRIAN GOTT: That’s got a lot of things going on there. That’s your throttle, that’s your shift lever. You can raise or lower the hitch...as far as the auto guidance, you know, it’s gonna do 90% of your work.
GREG CARLOSS: Yeah, you heard that right. Using GPS, This thing can drive itself with accuracy down to the sub-inch. Letting an 11-foot tall tractor navigate around a field on its own is cool and all, but I came to drive. And here we go out on the road. Full throttle! This model uses a Powershift transmission with 19 forward gears as well as 4 reverse gears. Can I go up through the gears pretty quickly or?
TYLER RAHMER: Oh yeah you can just hold it up.
GREG CARLOSS: Just hold it and just get up to speed? 28...29...30. We hit 30!
TYLER RAHMER: Downhill you could probably hit 32
GREG CARLOSS: I think we could. Maybe at the hands of a better driver. She rides pretty smooth, man. It feels good.
TYLER RAHMER: It’s like you’re floating.
GREG CARLOSS: Yeah that’s exactly what it’s like. Not only does this tractor float like a Bentley, it’s priced like one too. At $200,000, this Magnum 280 costs about the same as a Bentayga. But the buyer is likely to see a much bigger return on investment.
BRIAN GOTT: These are more designed for the guy that’s making a paycheck with it. It’s not a play vehicle, no. It’s a workhorse.
GREG CARLOSS: For me, piloting this 30,000 pound tractor was like playing with a big toy. But it’s really an indispensable tool for today’s farmer and without a doubt more vital to our society than most of the cars and trucks I’ve ever driven.