Challenger 1000: Tomorrow’s Tractor Today

An owner of a brand new Challenger 1000 Series tractor raves about its power, versatility and all-around revolutionary approach.

By Tharran E. Gaines | Photos By John Peterson

It takes a lot of horsepower to pull a 24-row planter through the field, especially when it’s also injecting dry fertilizer and pulling a 9-ton fertilizer cart behind it. Equally important, it takes a tractor with plenty of hydraulic muscle. That’s part of the reason Robin Olson recently purchased a new Challenger 1042, one of four models in the 1000 Series introduced just last year.

“The fertilizer cart has a hydraulic drive that requires about 32 gallons per minute at 2,900 pounds of pressure,” he explains. However, thanks to its unique two-pump, load-sensing hydraulic system that can deliver up to 113.5 gallons per minute through independent circuits, the 1042 models have plenty of flow to run what Olson needs. One pump delivers 55.5 gpm, while the second pump puts out 58 gallons per minute.

“I also plan to use it on the 24-row cultivator,” he adds. “I built it without any lift-assist wheels so I wouldn’t have to drive over the corn. That means I need a tractor that has enough weight and 3-point lift capacity to handle the entire weight of the cultivator,” he explains in reference to the new 1042.

To compensate for all that mass on the back, Olson says he generally had to add a lot of front-end weight on his old tractor. One of the selling points of the 1042 is that it can be equipped with weights and ballast to put it over 50,000 pounds, making it heavy enough to tackle even the toughest tillage applications. On the other hand, the tractor can be lightened to around 31,000 pounds for row-crop use or transport applications at speeds up to 31 mph.

“I like the high torque at slow engine speed concept,” he adds. “We’re not pulling a tractor real hard with the root slicer or cultivator, so we’re only running about 1,700 rpm as it is.”

Olson also appreciates the Accu-VT™ transmission and how it independently provides the ideal torque distribution as needed on the front and rear wheels. What’s more, because there is no fixed-drive ratio, the front axle can actively pull the tractor into a curve, reducing the turning circle in the field by up to 10%.

Making him all the more productive, says Olson, is the relationship with his equipment and service provider. “I’ve been doing business with Manzer Equipment for at least seven or eight years … ever since they took on the Challenger brand,” says Olson, noting that the dealership has always backed him up with parts, service and warranty support. Several times, in fact, the Manzer team has provided an evening or weekend service, which has especially proved critical during planting and harvest season.

“So,” as Olson concludes, “I kind of have the best of both worlds—products and service.”