WINNIPEG, Man. – Buhler Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of machinery distributed under the Versatile and Farm King brands, has entered into an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement with Kubota Corp. to develop and produce a new tractor platform in the mid-range front-wheel assist segment.

This represents another step by Kubota to move into the “Big Ag” arena. In 2016 when Kubota acquired Great Plains, managers saw acquiring the Great Plains business as supportive of their move into higher horsepower sectors — the tractor line is expected to grow beyond the current 170 horsepower ceiling — in the same way that a growing line of Kubota-branded hay tools produced by Kverneland is already doing.

Under the terms of this long term agreement, Buhler Industries will manufacture this tractor at the factory in Winnipeg, Man.. This will enhance the product line currently offered by Kubota as the largest tractor available. This will increase overall production at the Versatile facility at 1260 Clarence Avenue in Winnipeg, which will reduce overhead and increase efficiency.

“This agreement is exciting for both companies,” explained Grant Adolph, chief operating officer of Buhler Industries. “The Versatile brand has a global reputation in agriculture for building high horsepower tractors that are reliable and well-built. As Kubota Corp. expands their presence in the farm machinery industry, these brand qualities are in line with their core values.”

Adolph continued, “The result of this agreement is an increase in production at the factory in Winnipeg which will bring additional stability to the supply chain and employees. Buhler Industries is committed to continuous quality and efficiency improvements.”

Development of this new tractor platform began nearly 5 years ago and production will begin immediately.

According to Kubota, this new agreement enables them to add tractors in a horsepower range greater than that of its currently largest 170-horsepower line to accelerate its large tractor business in the North American market.

The tractors will be launched in the U.S. and Canada in the second half of 2019 as Kubota continues its strategy to penetrate the North American large tractor market.

In February, Farm Equipment editors were on hand when Versatile revealed its news tractor — the Nemesis — to dealers. The Nemesis series is designed and built in Winnipeg, Man., and is rolling out in 4 phases. The first two phases will include models in the 175-210 horsepower range with a fully electronic synchro/powershift transmission and the next two phases will also include models in the 175-210 horsepower range, with CVT transmissions. Additional models up to 250 horsepower are planned.