Top Tractor 2016: Case IH Farmall 115U

Farm Trader’s Jaiden Drought put the Case IH Farmall 115U to the test in this year’s Top Tractor Showcase.

There’s plenty of heritage behind the new series Case IH Farmall range. But the rejuvenation of the Farmall name is centred on this being a tractor for the people, the farmers, the growers and horticulturalists.

It features proven components and not too many frills… although some nifty Italian styling does mean it looks the part. One thing I can guarantee you, is that it doesn’t look anything like the original Farmall.


FPT is a major player on the global market with 10 factories. It has a reputation for building very good engines and this one does not disappoint.

This is the new generation FPT Tier 4A-compliant four-cylinder 3.4-litre turbocharged and intercooled engine. Electronic high-pressure common-rail fuel injection provides fuel efficiency and, if the dyno results are anything to go by, the 99hp PTO-rated tractor puts out a healthy 108hp which is very encouraging.

Emissions are taken care of by using a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC). The DPF/ DOC is single fuel and ideal for the farm market for two reasons. Firstly it’s hard to get wrong and secondly Ad Blue on farms can be niggly if not used frequently as it can crystallise.

The high lift bonnet isn’t one piece, but this doesn’t affect daily servicing. The rear transmission sight glass and fold out radiator stack makes for easy daily servicing, while the three year/3000 hour warranty and 600/1200 hour service intervals are both class-leading, providing for peace of mind.


This machine’s 16×16 40km/h semi-power shift transmission is the down-sized baby brother of the successful Maxxum 16×16 transmission. The transmission has a single lever with four power shift gears in four ranges; A&B (Low) and C&D (High).

There is a push button range change to go from A-B and C-D, with a mechanical change from B-C. On the left-hand side is the wet clutch shuttle which has three different modulation settings to change uptake speed. The shuttle is conveniently placed, but always retreats to the middle position.

To select neutral (which is usually in the middle) you have to push a button on the end of the shuttle lever; I often forgot when taking my foot off the clutch thinking I was in neutral and jerking forwards. I agree that you’d get used to it with time, but personally I struggled.

Farmall _115U_2


The open-centre gear pump on the Farmall 115U has an output of 84-litres/min to the rear spools, of which there are two, both with detent and float (and a third optional).

This tractor is loader-ready from the factory and the two mid-mount valves take care of the loader with a nice integrated joystick, which is also equipped with the third service button.

An additional 37-litres-per-minute dedicated steering pump aided manoeuvrability.

The machine’s Electronic Hitch Control is standard and has a nice easy dial system for simple position control. The Cat 2 hook-ends have a lift capacity of 5.4-tonne, which will prove ample given the short wheel base.

Located near the rear of the cab on the right-hand side is the adjustment settings for the linkage (draft, lift height, lower speed etc) as well as the PTO controls.

Three-speed PTO is standard; our test tractor had 540/540E/1000, as well as auto PTO and two engine pre-set rev buttons, which will be handy for mowing or cultivating jobs.

Operating Environment

The cab on the Farmall looks small and a little pokey from the outside, but once I was sitting on the air seat, the slim roofline, curved top of the front windscreen and front mounted sunroof (which aids loader visibility) makes this an excellent environment for loader work.

The pushed back b-pillars and curved rear side windows give good all-round visibility, although getting past the passenger seat on the way through the door is a little congested when compared to the other models.

The new pivoting dash and steering column with foot-mounted control does help access, and the light background colour makes the dials easy to read. Under the steering wheel are rocker switches to access the tractor’s performance monitor. Although no RTK guidance-level technology, this does provide useful options in terms of hectare meter, litres-per-hectare etc.

Driving Impressions

Visibility to the loader was good thanks to the sloping bonnet and at height as well, thanks to the sunroof and slim cab roofline.

All the controls in the cab seemed logically laid-out.

The integrated loader joystick by the transmission lever was in a good spot, although integration of the gear up/down buttons would really make it even better. The thing I liked about the Farmall was that the manufacturer has spec’d it to a cost-effective level meaning it remains very well priced, yet still retains important features that make your life easier.

Cab suspension, large wing mirrors, dynamic front mud guards, high quality wide rubber and a well placed tool box all as standard; It’s the little things for me that are about making your life easier through the lifetime of the machine not a couple of thousand dollars at purchase time.

Farmall _115U_9

The verdict

The Farmall is a nice tractor which performed well on the dyno, had good all-round visibility and the cab was well laid out.

For the price ($84,990) I think there are a lot of things that the Farmall offers which makes it good value for money.

It also has a quality feel about it and clearly hasn’t been pillaged to bring the price down.

Industry leading service intervals and a comprehensive warranty package as standard will give new buyers peace of mind.

Add to this equation the use of time tested components all wrapped up in a smart looking Italian-designed exterior and the Farmall is a machine that moves from good to great.


  • 600/1200hr service intervals
  • Comprehensive 3yr/3000hr warranty
  • High visibility front windscreen and roof hatch
  • Single lever 16×16 transmission
  • Adjustable shuttle modulation
  • Integrated loader joystick
  • Cab Suspension as standard
  • Dynamic front guards
  • PTO and linkage controls on both rear guards
  • Rear sight glass for transmission oil
  • Two engine pre-set speeds


  • Shuttle control with push button for neutral is hard to get use to
  • Cab isn’t as roomy as some other models
  • The engine oil dipstick on the right hand side
  • Three-piece bonnet
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