Kubota has made an OEM manufacturing agreement with Versatile that enables it to blend its engineering prowess with Versatile’s history of building big tractors, to launch the Kubota M8 Series.
There were initial claims that Kubota was about to buy Versatile, but the arrangement is strictly a deal where Versatile builds a high-power tractor especially developed for Kubota.
The M8 is the tractor Kubota devotees have been waiting for, it allows the company to fill a higher power need across the large utility and mid-size row crop tractor market.
The M8 range will be ideal for material handling and hay tool application on dairy and livestock operations as well as a wide range of paddock work.
The tractors will be powered by a fuel efficient and EPA Tier 4 Final emissions compliant Cummins QSB 6.7-litre engine, that delivers traction to the wheels via a current ZF fully electronic powershift transmission.
There will be two models first up with engine power at 140 and 154kW (190 and 210hp), but with plenty of room to expand the model range as the Cummins Performance B6.7 engine series offers from 206 to 239kW (280 to 325hp) and is currently seen as one of the best engine choices.
Billed as easy to operate, M8 Series models will be compatible with all leading industry precision farming solutions from auto steer to mapping guidance.
Kubota has plans to become a major player in broadacre and its recent purchase of both Kverneland and Great Plains plays into this strategy.
All it needed to complete the package was a tractor of its own large enough to run these big seeding and tillage tools.
There’s no telling where the Kubota-Versatile arrangement will lead. One observer pointed out that many leading diesel engine manufacturers build agricultural and construction equipment merely as a means to sell more of their engines.
Versatile buys their engines from Cummins, and for now at least, the Kubota M8 Series will be fitted with a Cummins.
But Kubota is a major producer of diesel engines itself so it might not make sense in the long term to buy Cummins units, although the company is not commenting at present.
Development for the joint venture tractor began nearly five years ago and is now primed for release in Canada and the US, no release date has been signalled for Australia.
See the Kubota M8 Series high power tractors in action at: https://kubota.ca/en/m8