Build it and they will come. At least that's what Sunbelt equipment dealers are hoping will happen as they try to entice buyers onto their lots with an impressive array of new machinery being offered for the 2001 growing season.

Even with the depressed agricultural economy, manufacturers continue to churn out new and improved products. And here is just a quick sampling of some of that new machinery:

Case IH is reporting that the new STX Series Steiger tractors will change the way farmers think about four-wheel-drive (4WD) tractors. With new advancements in steering, diagnostics, track design, comfort and serviceability, as well as the industry's highest horsepower rating, STX Series tractors are designed to help farmers maximize their productivity.

"These tractors add new dimensions to 4WD maneuverability, performance, versatility and comfort," says Jan Rintamaki, Case IH director of application marketing for the cash grains segment. "In the STX line, we offer tractors that handle like today's most advanced two-wheel-drives, as well as the industry's highest engine and drawbar horsepower."

"From the start, our goal with the new tractor line was to find ways to help customers maximize their productivity.

"The STX Series 4WD design originated with input from more than 2,200 farmers. Case IH engineers used their ideas to build a high production tractor to help our customers succeed and complete our range of tractors," he added.

Traditionally, 4WD tractors have been associated with high horsepower for increased productivity, but they haven't been considered for row-crop work. The case IH exclusive AccuSteer precision steering system removes that limitation. A patent-pending, double articulation design allows the front frame to pivot independently of the articulation steering, creating a more intuitive and more precise steering option.

In addition, AccuSteer is gentler on crops, implements and operators.

STX Series tractors also answer the traditional need for power and productivity. Leading the industry is the STX 440, rated at 440 engine horsepower with up to 43 percent engine torque rise and 40 horsepower power growth.

The STX Series Steiger line also features the industry's only 16-speed powershift transmission. Operators enjoy fingertip control, electronic shifting with memory controls and the capability to start in any of the first eight gears.

The company is also introducing the all-new 2200 Series corn head which provides faster harvest speeds, increased efficiency and longer life.

The Case IH 2200 Series corn heads are available in six, eight and 12-row configurations, ranging from 20 to 38-inch row spacing. With many growers experimenting with new row-spacing options to find their optimum yields, the 2200 Series provides harvesting configurations to match these needs.

Also, the new Case IH 4400 combo-mulch finishers offer farmers unmatched versatility with five sizes, three shank offerings, five harrow options, and an industry first adjustable disk gang angle on a seedbed finishing machine.

Multiple sizes, shank and harrow options allow these machines to be configured to meet the needs of producers with varied acreages, soil types, residue conditions and horsepower needs.

Meanwhile, John Deere's new 2400 Chisel Plow has a floating hitch design, the choice of depth control, patented tube-through-tube framing and truPosition Cushion Standards.

Right from the comfort of the tractor cab, farmers now have a complete control system that allows them to raise, lower, and level implements, all at the touch of a keypad.

The floating hitch design provides consistent and accurate depth control, supported by front castering wheels and rear-wheel packages for both depth and transport positions. The tongue is connected to the chisel plow frame at two points, allowing the machine to follow the terrain independently of the tongue or tractor drawbar.

Available in 10-foot to 64-foot widths, the four-bar frame stretches 128 inches, incorporating two 35-inch sections and a 58-inch section. The 35-inch sections offer maximum soil and residue mixing, while the 58-inch section offers room for residue flow. This design eliminates the need for a rockshaft, optimizing shank spacing and trash flow on high-yielding crops.

John Deere has also introduced the new 4710 Sprayer which is built on an innovative four-wheel independent-strut vehicle suspension system and features increased power, faster field and transport speeds, larger solution and fuel tanks and increased underframe clearance.

The 4710 Sprayer is powered by a 6.8 liter John Deere Powertech engine that generates 200 horsepower at a rated speed. When the engine lugs down, in muddy or loose soils, for instance, the turbocharged engine delivers a five percent power bulge above rated horsepower (up to 210 hp).

The new John Deere 200 Seedbed Finisher is available in three and five-section models with widths from 20 to 45-feet to match your field cultivator width. When used in conjunction with the John Deere 980 Field Cultivator, the result is a seedbed with larger soil particles on the surface and finer soil particles in the seed zone.

These larger particles on the surface help diffuse spring rains while dispersing and decreasing the energy of raindrops, which helps reduce erosion. This causes moisture to flow past the larger particles into the root zone, where plants then utilize it.

The company is also introducing a new line of round balers and mower conditioners to help farmers and custom operators become more productive in cutting and baling hay.

A new feature available on all the balers is the MegaWide pickup. This replaces the current wide pickup for balers producing four-foot-wide bales and is a new option for those producing five-foot-wide bales. It features the more aggressive teeth found on the MegaTooth pickup as well as an exclusive new rotor feeding mechanism.

The new MegaWide pickup is optional on all new round baler models.

In response to increasing demand for track undercarriage on combines, Caterpillar is announcing the addition of a third tracked combine to its product line - the Lexion 475. This combine features the patented Mobil-trac system undercarriage and rotary separation.

Producers who own tracked combines find they can work in more adverse harvesting conditions, which demand higher engine power levels. The introduction of the Lexion 475 combine meets those power requirements with the long-awaited Cat C-9 diesel engine rated at 330 horsepower.

The new combine also provides the largest production capacity in the industry, after the Lexion 480 and 485 models.

The Lexion 475 combine features the Caterpillar rotary separation system. As on the larger Lexion 480 and 485 combines, the Lexion 475 pairs rotary separation with the Caterpillar Accelerated Pre-Separation (APS) threshing system. This patented feature delivers the crop mat to the main threshing cylinder at a constant angle, speed, width and thickness to enhance grain quality and insure maximum productivity.

The APS system helps deliver higher performance levels than other machines with similar power. And, for maximum productivity, operator convenience and safety, all the automated and "in-the-cab" adjustments that set Lexion combines apart are featured in the 475.

The 475 brings the number of Lexion combine models to seven, including the 450, 460, 465, 470, 475, 480, and 485. The new machine will be available for delivery in time for the 2001 fall harvest season.

The new Massey Ferguson MF 8780 xp Rotary Combine uses revolutionary new Cummins Quantum System power and a patented rotary threshing system - proven over two decades of field use - for faster, cleaner harvesting and on-the-go unloading without slowing down.

"The combination of a new electronically controlled 285 hp Cummins Quantum System engine working in tandem with Massey Ferguson's patented, field-proven rotary threshing system, is producing unprecedented harvesting performance - even in highly adverse crop conditions," said Verlin Tinder, Massey Ferguson general marketing manager.

"The MF 8780 xp excels in operations that require large harvest capacity, superior grain quality, and low grain loss," explained Tinder. "With its increased power, higher torque, constant speed rotor control, and faster harvesting in all crops, this is the ideal machine for both individual farms and large custom harvesters."

The MF 8780 xp is powered by a new Cummins 285 hp Quantum System engine with full-authority electronic controls that insure higher torque, increased fuel economy, quieter operation, and longer maintenance intervals. The 24-valve cylinder head increases power and response across the entire power band.

Rated at 285 hp at 2,200 rpm, a Power Bulge to 305 hp at 2,000 rpm maintains combine performance in tough harvesting conditions and when unloading on-the-go. The MF 8780 xp features load-sensing hydraulics, hydrostatic ground drive, four speed, constant-mesh transmission, and heavy-duty final drives. The exclusive, infinitely variable, hydrostatic rotor drive replaces complicated belt and gear box drives found on competitive combines, provides full-powered rotor reverse, and accurately monitors rotor load, making both experienced and inexperienced operators highly productive.

The large capacity 230-bushel grain tank features a fast filling clean grain auger, and can be unloaded in approximately two minutes on-the-go with electro-hydraulic control of turret unloader position and engagement.

A unique rotor feed system with an exclusive inlet beater, a wide 44 inch feeder elevator, and large 2,205 square inch concave threshing area are matched with a direct discharge rotor, and large chaffer and sieve to provide unequaled cleaning at maximum capacity levels. The exclusive direct crop discharge eliminates the need for a power consuming beater, and the field-proven, 140 inch rotor provides more complete threshing and separating.

The deluxe center mounted cab provides excellent header visibility and spacious comfort. The right-hand control console is mounted on the seat, contains all monitors and the main machine controls, and floats with the seat.

The arrangement is unmatched for ease of operation and improved productivity. From this console the operator can smoothly change speed and direction, raise and lower the header, and operate the swing and engagement of the unloading auger.

The exclusive AGCO Fieldstar "Touch Screen" GPS Precision Farming System is available for the MF 8780 xp Rotary Combine. The DataTouch command center terminal displays vital yield data and combine performance during harvest operations.

All functions of the Fieldstar system, including programming, diagnosis, GPS set-up and field data are controlled from the screen with just the tough of a finger.

The complete range of Massey Ferguson headers, all fitted with the Quick-Attach system, make the MF 8780 xp Rotary Combine a field-proven, productive and complete harvesting machine, no matter what the crop mix.

Versatile header systems include rigid cutterbar headers, floating cutterbar headers, pickup headers, draper headers, stripper headers, and corn heads.

Wylie Manufacturing has introduced a line of side mount tank assemblies for John Deere 8000 Series tracked tractors. The tanks are available with a total capacity of 400, 500 or 600 gallons.

The polyethylene tanks are attached to heavy duty seven by seven frames that are bolted to the track mount frame without affecting track spacing.

The tank position provides excellent visibility and serviceability.

Woods Equipment Company introduces the improved Batwing 3180 Series 3, a heavy-duty 15-foot flexible wing rotary cutter that offers exceptional cutting performance in contract mowing and agricultural applications.

Ideal for production agriculture, the 3180 Series 3 features the bottom side, heavy-gauge, high strength steel box frame construction that provides a strong deck structure, so the top of the deck is free of structural components.

Other features of the Batwing 3180 Series 3 include a 180-inch cutting width and a blade tip speed of 16,000 feet per minute, one of the highest in the industry.

The Batwing 3180 Series 3 features Woods' patented Intra-Drive gearbox, which eliminates the need for a splitter gearbox.

Great Plains has expanded its line of small-acreage drills with the introduction of the 3P500. This five-foot, three-point drill has many of the same key components as its larger cousins, making it perfect for those who need a highly dependable, low-maintenance drill for seeding in and around tight spaces.

The new 3S-4000 Min-Till grain drill from Great Plains has a superior design and the latest technological innovations, coupled with sheer size, making it the ideal grain drill for large-acreage farming.

The three-section drill unfolds to cover 40 feet in the field - a full five feet wider than the leading competitor's largest conventional drill. Combined with its high-capacity seed box, the 3S-4000 maximizes seeding productivity.

The drill features active hydraulic down pressure on the openers for even penetration across the drill - even in uneven ground.

One key feature exclusive to Great Plains is that hydraulic down pressure can be adjusted separately between the wing and center sections to account for compaction from tractor tires.

The wing sections flex 15 degrees down and 20 degrees up, allowing the drill to hug field contours.

The proven straight-arm openers have offset double disks and depth-controlling press wheels. With these design features and Great Plains high-quality components, the 3S-4000 is unmatched in productivity and accuracy.