Updates to John Deere’s combine, tractor, implements and precision farming ranges were announced
Updates to John Deere’s combine, tractor, implements and precision farming ranges were announced at a European press launch event, which took place in Austria and Hungary in late June. David Williams reports.
The popular mid-sized 6R and 6M ranges, with models and specification to appeal to all types of farm, have been updated. The latest specification has been introduced to meet Tier 4 final emission requirements and, during the engine updates, improvements and new models have been introduced.
In recent years meeting tighter engine emissions standards has dominated tractor developments and while most manufacturers have adopted Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), using an exhaust additive (Adblue) to clean up exhaust gasses after they leave the engine, John Deere has used alternative technology to meet the targets.
The 6R and 6M series tractors have gained Adblue tanks to help them meet Tier 4 final emissions standards, but consumption of the extra fluid is extremely low, and tanks hold just 21 litres – more than enough for a full day’s work.
The latest emissions standards are very tight though, and while the new tractors retain much of their previous emissions control technology, this is supplemented by an SCR process, using a small amount of the Adblue fluid, so the increasingly familiar blue tank cap appears on the 6-series ranges for the first time. Working with the SCR system is a diesel particulate filter (DPF), which, on the new models, is designed to last the life of the machine.
Adblue consumption is claimed to be just two per cent of the total fluid used, requiring a very small, 21 litre tank.
Rated power outputs, compared with previous models, are up by 5hp, the 4-cylinder 6R short wheelbase models offering outputs from 110-135hp from their 4.5-litre power units equipped with series turbocharging, while larger 6.8-litre 6-cylinder versions offer 145 and 165hp in the longer wheelbase models.
A new addition to the 6M range is the flagship 6195M with up to 206hp available.
Intelligent Power Management is a feature of all the 6R series tractors, providing an additional 15-31hp on 4-cylinder and 47hp on 6-cylinder models, which means the flagship 6155R has up to 202hp.
Transmission options include PowrQuad Plus, AutoQuad Plus, AutoQuad plus Ecoshift and AutoPowr on the four 4-cylinder models. DirectDrive CVT is available on the two larger tractors. The new models are also available with an optional creeper transmission for specialist applications.
Hydraulic specification is improved with up to six rear SCVs available or five with power beyond and the tractors can also have up to three mid-mounted SCVs. Making it easier to swap implements, each rear valve is now fitted with an independent pressure release lever. A premium front hitch is available.
In the cab, CommandArm controls are fitted complete with a programmable joystick for hydraulic applications and there is a Generation 4 CommandCenter touch-screen monitor, with a swipe-function display similar to that of leading mobile phones.
Upgraded front axle suspension provides improved steering and ride.
The 6M range, with a specification to suit the requirements of stock and mixed farms, includes new models between 110 and 195 rated horsepower, including the all-new 6M series flagship 6195M, with up to 206hp available.
The range of transmission options is similar to that available for the 6R models, but also includes CommandQuad Plus and CommandQuad Plus with Ecoshift and excludes AutoPowr. A new option, expected to prove popular, is mechanical cab suspension which is maintenance-free and is said to allow operating speeds up to 10 per cent faster than the standard tractor over uneven ground.
The new 6R models will be available from November this year with the 6Ms coming during April 2016.
The larger 7R-series tractor range has new additions too, including the 7250R and 7270R, both with series turbo-charging and meeting Tier 4 final emissions requirements.
The 8R series retains all its original model numbers but complies with the Tier 4 final standards.
Launched at the event to complement the new 6-series tractors is an all-new generation of front loaders.
The latest 6120R was demonstrated with a new 643R loader.
The R-series front loaders replace the previous H-series and have been designed for the latest models, but can also be retro-fitted to older machines. With curved booms the new loaders offer improved side and front visibility and are designed to allow the tractor’s full axle oscillation, maximum steering angles and to be compatible with mudguards and large wheel options.
Capacity is said to be improved by up to 10 per cent, but the biggest attraction for most users will be the ease of attachment provided by the new mounting frames. These incorporate double location points on each side, which provide easy but precise locating of the mounting points as the tractor is driven between the arms. When the loader is correctly positioned, the automatic latching system locks the loader in place, and the operator has only to attach the quick-coupling hydraulics and lift the parking stands, an operation taking under one minute. Various degrees of sophistication are available from non-self levelling to mechanical or hydraulic self-levelling and the top option is ‘Return to position’ technology, which provides one-touch positioning for any attachment.
The new loaders include versions to suit all models from the 6RC and MC to the largest 6M and 6R tractors, top specification versions offering a 4.5m lift height and 2,538kg capacity.
A simpler model number designation is used for the new loaders; the first digit reflecting tractor series compatibility and the following two digits indicating loader size while the final letter indicates the specification level.
Anticipation is continuing to build regarding the John Deere 9RX four-tracked articulated crawler tractor (above), which has not yet been shown officially by John Deere, except at a dealer preview event in 2014. The company has not revealed any specifications or confirmed when it will become available, but it did confirm that the new flagship tractor will be at Agritechnica later this year.
Updates to John Deere’s large square baler range include the L1533, which produces 90x80cm bales and which has been equipped with a wider 2.30m pick-up replacing the previous 2.11m version. It has five tine bars for increased feeding capacity and reliability and it is also equipped with 15 MaxiCut pre-cutter knives rather than 10 allowing chop length to be reduced to 45mm rather than 70mm, for higher bale density.
John Deere’s new B-Wrap bale protection system is exclusive to the company but costs an estimated E6.50 per bale; four times as much as standard wrap.
For the company’s round balers John Deere also announced extra options in its range of bale wraps.
A 50 per cent stronger HD net is available for 900-series balers. Excusive to John Deere, the extra strength means fewer layers are needed reducing wrapping time by a claimed 7.5 per cent, and there is no additional cost for the new wrap.
B-Wrap is another new product. For 800 and 900-series balers, this includes a breathable but waterproof layer of fabric with the net, and is said to provide indoor storage quality even for bales stored outside. Tests have shown that palatability of the B-wrapped forage is considerably better than that wrapped with traditional materials. Built-in fasteners are provided in the B-Wrap to secure the material to the bale, and metal tape is provided to activate the baler knife to cut the correct length and also forms a unique identification number. With a cost of approximately four times that of standard wrap, demand is likely to be from those storing premium quality forage. Installed in kit form on the balers, the B-Wrap will be available for the 2016 season.
A new triple mower conditioner was shown at the event. Consisting of a single front and two rear units the maximum cutting width is 9.9m when the widest F350R 3.5m front mower conditioner is used with the largest R990R rear-mounted units.A new 9.9m mower conditioner was shown. With hydraulic adjustment of overlap the mower can be set up for working on side-slopes and curves. A pre-loaded impeller design is claimed to offer fast drying of cut grass, and the mower is easily attached or removed with a new frame design.
Easy attaching and removal is achieved with a new frame design, which also offers better floating capability and improved contour following. Hydraulic control of overlap is provided to compensate for turns and side-slopes and providing adjustment between 30-50cm.
For transport, the end guard folds in automatically when the unit is folded and downtime is reduced with a lifetime lubrication system for the cutterbars and a quick knife change system.
A pre-loaded tine impeller means conditioned crop dries faster.
Faster filling & simple design
For John Deere’s high specification R900i trailer sprayers, the PowrSpray solution system is a new option. Rather than the traditional diaphragm pump, two hydraulic-driven centrifugal pumps are used, one filling the sprayer at up to 1,200-litres/min and the other used for spraying with a pumping rate of up to 700- or 1,000- litres/min. Direct Rate Control works with the spray pump to provide rapid changes to application rates. The system offers higher productivity from the significantly faster filling rate and an Active Pause function stops the filling function when a button on the induction hopper is pressed, giving the operator time to prepare and load chemical, while the spray pump takes over the filling of the tank with the contents of the induction bowl.
An attraction of the design is that no separate pressure control system is needed as the pump rate and pressure are controlled by hydraulic flow and only three seconds is needed to vary the pump’s speed between minimum and maximum, which John Deere claims is significantly quicker than can be achieved with conventional systems.
Fuel savings are possible as the low-pressure filling pump achieves high flow rates even with the tractor engine at idle. The same flexibility of operation means spraying can be carried out with the application and flow rates totally independent of tractor engine speed, which affords extra flexibility when operating on slopes where gear changes might be needed.
The premium specification of the R900i sprayer will be available to smaller farms with a new 4,400-litre model due to be added to the current 5,200- and 6,200-litre versions. The tank shape provides a low centre of gravity and active steering is fitted. The sprayer will incorporate high specification features such as Solution Command.
Offering precision planting at speeds up to 16kph the 1725NT High Performance Planter uses an innovative brush bristle seed transport system to deliver seeds to the bottom of the furrow, even in rough working conditions. Flexible bristles cradle the seed and accommodate seeds of a range of shapes and sizes, achieving 99 per cent singulation, according to the manufacturer.
The new 1725NT precision planter is said to offer twice the accuracy of any other planter currently available, but won’t be available in the UK until after 2016.
Electric drive is used for precise control of seed rate through variable motor speed, and options for powering the machine include an external generator, attached to the rear of the tractor and taking drive from the PTO or power produced by John Deere’s 6RE tractor which provides electrical rather than a standard mechanical PTO output.
The primary market for the drill is maize, as demand for the crop continues to increase, but additional applications include sugar beet or soya beans. The 8-row drill folds to 3m for transport and is suitable for use in conventional and no-till establishment regimes. A granular fertiliser placement option is available. The drill will be available in limited numbers for 2016, but early deliveries will exclude the UK.
Significant upgrades to John Deere’s W- and T-series combines have been announced for the 2016 harvest. These models are important for the manufacturer as the size segment is the most popular for European farmers, and recent developments are directed at increased work-rates and productivity.
The T670 is the flagship of the T-series combine range. The latest version for 2016 has up to 450hp available from its Tier 4 final engine and empties its 11,000-litre grain tank in just 90 seconds.
For the T-series, John Deere is claiming the largest active separation area of any conventional straw-walker combine, having increased its size by 41 per cent over previous models. The main drum diameter is 660mm, as previously, but the concave wrapping angle is increased by 8 degrees, expanding the threshing area and throughput. The overshot beater’s diameter is increased to 500mm to maintain the same angles and tip speed in the crop flow. The rear separator drum is the largest in the industry at 800mm and, with the new separator grate which features 19 per cent more openings, will allow higher work-rates in tough, wet conditions. Total separation area is 3.3m2 for the 5-walker and 4.0m2 for the 6-walker models.
Performance of the cleaning shoe is also increased, aluminium construction allowing the size to be increased to 6m2 while retaining the previous weight. A new barrel-type dual-speed fan and air-flow design are also featured. Ease of adjustment is improved too, allowing the operator to more easily optimise performance as conditions change. Overall, capacity increases up to 15 per cent are claimed for the new threshing and separation system over previous models.
Also improving productivity is a faster unloading system, the 11,000-litre grain tank empties in just 90 seconds. The auger capacity is 30 per cent higher than before, emptying up to 125-litres/sec, reducing time spent on the headlands.
At the launch event, the speed at which the harvester can be configured for alternative crops was demonstrated. Particularly important where the combine might be harvesting several different crops each day, the latest design allows changeover from cereals to oilseed rape, including fitting the side knife and rasp bar in under five minutes.
Swapping from cereals to oilseed rape takes under five minutes.
A new design for the rasp bar means it can be swung into its work position in under three minutes for situations where more intense threshing is needed, but allowing its convenient removal when not needed to optimise throughput and maximise crop and straw quality.
This eliminates the need for de-awning plates to be used, which close up the concave, so a benefit to using the rasp bar is that the total active separation area is retained. The de-awning plates are still available when needed and can be engaged by the use of a single handle under the cab steps. The 600X header, which doesn’t require filler plates to work in its extended mode, can be converted from shorter cereals to oilseed rape, including fitting the quick-coupling side-knife, in just three minutes.
“The greening rules have put extra pressure on harvesting operations as there are extra changes needed between crops,” explained John Deere factory marketing manager Katie Dierker. “Features such as being able to adjust the table bed length and the stubble height from the cab, and the ability to easily adjust the threshing system to suit conditions will be very attractive to users who are under significant time pressure during harvest and who also need to ensure optimum quality of the harvested crop. The new W- and T-series combines incorporate many upgrades to help them optimise their harvesting operations.”
Tracks for flexibility
Tracks are a new option for W- and T-series combines, offering travel speeds up to 40kph, and improved performance with reduced compaction.
New rubber tracks will be available for the first time on all W- and selected T-series combines extending their flexibility to operate in more difficult conditions and improving mobility on the road, as they allow top speeds up to 40kph. The contact area is 1.7 times larger than that of a standard 800/70R32 traction tyre, reducing compaction. Overall width is 3.3m for 5-walker models and 3.5m for 6-walker models.
Both the W- and T-series models have gained increased header performance with a heavier-duty drive offering 50 per cent more torque for wider headers operating in weedy or wet crops. John Deere claims the widest range of factory-header options available in the industry with four to choose from.
Power is from 6.8- or 9.0-litre John Deere PSS engines meeting Tier 4 final emissions standards. Extra power is available for the 9.0-litre models, the largest T670 boasting an additional 14kW, while the smaller engine models all benefit from reduced engine operating speed for greater efficiency. Adblue is used on all models in the range and John Deere explained that consumption is extremely low, and between 1-3 per cent of total fluid consumed.
Serviceability and daily checks are easier, a swing-out platform provided on the new models allowing better access to the main cooling radiators, and a safer and more convenient ladder. A new option is a built-in air compressor with three plug-in points for air lines around the machine, allowing easy cleaning between crops or during servicing.
Updates to largest S-Series
Tier 4 final engines are being fitted to the S-series for 2016 and with ProDrive, have the option of a 40kph transmission.
John Deere is investing heavily in its FarmSight precision farming products and services range, with continuing upgrades.
“With John Deere FarmSight, we are making information enabled agriculture a reality and this remains a core element of our strategy to address the future needs of farmers and contractors,” said John Deere sales and marketing vice president, Chris Wigger.
Increased size of contracting operations mean it is more difficult to keep track of tasks such as which pesticide to apply to which field and when, he said, and with short harvest windows demanding the optimal use machinery, systems to help organise fleets is essential. Larger arable farms are under pressure to optimise production costs and to manage data effectively in volatile markets and having information to hand which allows decisions to be made effectively is crucial.
Three new solutions packages designed to allow customers to connect to their machines, their operators and their fields were announced, but Chris stressed that the company is fully committed to a policy of system openness for the integration of data captured from its own machines while also allowing other brands to be compatible too. “If anyone still believes John Deere is not open, feel free to show us any competitor who provides a higher level of openness and supports industry standards to a stronger extent,” he added, also pointing out that data privacy and sec