What’s the case? My experience with the Case IH Optum 270 

*Partnership dislcaimer! This tractor was a demo unit for some work hours and then I rented it for a remainder of the hours*

I have been running my grain farming business since 2011, and in my company, we have only had the blue tractors from the CNH corporation.

Throughout all this time and even before, the cabins and controls of these tractors have essentially remained the same. In span of a one human generation they produced virtually the same tractor. In the automotive world, updates happen every few years, and new models roll off the line every four or five years. For some reason, CNH believed that agriculture is such a conservative field where everyone likes to get the same thing in a slightly modified package.

Competitors, however, understood that farmers also expect increasingly better working conditions, allowing various shades of green to take the lead in both sales and innovation.

Blue vs Red one? Both CNH but what is the difference?

Dotnuva’s offer to try a red tractor instead of the usual blue one sparked my interest: is it just the color difference, or is there something else? First and foremost, I was curious about the updated cabin.


“Why did you wait so long with these updates?” was my first reaction when stepping into the cabin. It’s not exactly a house on wheels, but it can certainly be compared to a micro-apartment in a trendy region of Tallinn.

What stood out? Now there’s space and air, especially when compared to stepping back into my 2017 blue tractor. There are quite a decent number of storage compartments, and various connections have also been installed. The windshield wiper now creates a view instead of a tank slit; it doesn’t provide a full 360-degree view, but it’s still a noticeable improvement. The materials are nice, with red leather and beige interior making a lovely combination.

The only complaint might be that the left armrest is made of some kind of rough material, which means that on bumpy fields, your arm will be red afterward. Proper leather was spared for the right side, but on the left, I need to put on fleece. Okay, CNH doesn’t make the seats, but I think they can influence the material.


If you’ve driven older yellow combines whose brand starts with N and ends with D, the Case joystick immediately feels very familiar. And I’ve always liked the combine joystick and its logic.

After a brief test, I can say, yeeeeeeeees, you can work with this. The problem with the blue tractor is that you can’t exactly tell what speed you have set and whether you’re driving with the pedal or the joystick. Since the joystick returns to its starting position, you can’t visually tell what’s happening. Let’s say sudden surges with the blue one or unexpected failure to stop and my panic are not unfamiliar. That’s why I prefer driving my tractor in pedal or cruise control mode.

With the Case joystick, it’s visually and tactilely clear where it is, and I actually drove 90% of the time in joystick mode with this tractor, and never had any unexpected situations.

“Clean-look” is a cool design philosophy, but here I must be old-school and say that I would prefer more physical buttons. There is the possibility to store commands under freely programmable buttons, but I found myself rummaging through menus to find the necessary work mode, which could otherwise be activated with a single button press. I hope the engineers and designers have tested enough machines, and this is not a real problem because the rubber material of the buttons seemed a bit thin, and without a manicure, it felt like I might soon poke a hole through it.


If anyone remembers, there once was the Windows 95 operating system, and it seemed CNH used something similar on their machines until today. Good, simple, and foolproof, but hopelessly outdated.

The updated screen graphics and image are on a whole different level. Nice to look at and the usage logic wasn’t bad either. My ancestor also used this Case, and I didn’t have to help him much to handle the GPS and other settings – apparently, you don’t need to have ten thumbs to manage it.

But there is still one annoying flaw, the screen is slow… Not “pull your hair out” slow, but enough to be noticeable. Fortunately, I was assured that the factory is working on this, and hopefully, they will optimize the software or put in a faster processor. And the Estonian translation on the screen… it’s such a raw translation that new terms like “clutch is drive control pedal” emerged. If you understand English, use that.

The tractor also had AFS AccuTurn, which allows the tractor to automatically turn at the ends of fields. The even more advanced AccuTurn Pro performs field-end automation, i.e., lifting and lowering, etc., and also turns the tractor around.

Me utilizing an AB line but used the AccuTurn too

Is it worth it? If you are an AB line man, i.e., you use only a fraction of what the tractor offers – GPS just guides the machine along a straight line, then automatic turning doesn’t add much value. Why? For the system to work well, field boundaries need to be properly recorded, the tractor and implement measurements must be correct, etc. In other words, to make it work well, you need to deal with setup and possibly fine-tuning in the field.

What would I do? I would use AccuTurn Pro. Automating any task gives more time to monitor work (read: being on Instagram :D), saves fuel, reduces errors and fatigue.

What Else Stood Out?

Quietness – this has been CNH’s trademark, and the tests don’t lie; it’s quiet. Occasionally, this silence is interrupted by hydraulics working below-behind the cabin, but this is probably a minor flaw of a stepless transmission tractor.

Subwoofer – now you might ask, Tõnis, what’s the value of this? Very simple – farmers pay a million euros for a green combine with yellow wheels to get a soft-close door. Is this essential? No! Is it cool? Absolutely! The same thing applies to the subwoofer, a good sound system repels sleep and worries and is cool 😀

Design – This is very simple. Do you glance back at the tractor when walking away? I did, several times – so I liked it.

Pressure relief levers at hydraulic outlets – hallelujah! It’s definitely shaves some kilograms off to climb the tractor stairs several times to push the outlets into float. But you know, it’s just annoying. Now life is finally made easy. A small thing, but it counts!

Suspension – What’s the difference between a wooden bench and a previous generation CNH tractor? The wooden bench is cheaper. Okay, the older CNH tractors weren’t bad either, but the new one is really good; I’d even say it was quite pleasant to drive over cross-tracks. LSW tires with the right pressure would make it even better.

Lights – Specifically, the lights for road driving. My own tractor has two oil lamps from year 1900 in front, and one of them has run out of oil, so I drive with work lights on the road if no other cars are coming. Case is a big step forward in this regard – I drive a lot on roads, including at night, so good lights are VERY important to me. The first time I went on the road in the dark, I found out that CNH has seriously taken the recommendation: let there be light! And there was light.

Liked the desing and the lights. They were too bright for the camera, you have to trust me on this one 🙂

Transmission – there’s nothing to comment on here, for a versatile tractor, there’s no point even considering any other transmission. For a purely tillage tractor, powershift might make some sense, but if you cultivate, sow, spray, fertilize, and transport with the same tractor, then the best transmission has already been invented, and that’s CVX.


Why aren’t more Case tractors sold in Estonia? I don’t know!

Today’s tractor has nothing to be ashamed of compared to competitors. And even compared to the in-house sister, I liked the usability logic of Case more. I understand that Dotnuva Estonia has now also worked on improving maintenance, which is almost the most important selection criterion for farmers.

Didn’t like the previous generation of CNH tractors? Try the new one! Can I guarantee you’ll have the same feelings as I did? Can I guarantee a good agricultural year? No! But I’ll still try to sow the grain, maybe it will go well, and I’ll sow again next year. You can’t know until you’ve experienced it yourself.

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