Machinery News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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John Deere updates promise greater productivity

At its UK headquarters, Nottinghamshire, John Deere announced upgrades to its tractor and harvester ranges during a press event in mid-August. David Williams attended.

The popular 5R series tractor was launched in 2016 including models with 90, 100, 115 and 125hp, all with a 10hp boost for transport applications. Since their launch to complement lower specification 5M utility trcators, sales of the R version have exceeded all expectations, reported John Deere territory manager for Wales and West Midlands Darren Roe. “Superb visibility, a comfortable cab and the choice of three transmissions provides a very attractive package,” he explained. 

New features for 2019 increase their versatility and suitability for small to medium sized livestock and arable farms, and improved accuracy and reduced driver effort for field work is promised with two AutoTrac solutions. Previously 5-series tractors weren’t available with factory-fitted automatic steering and had to have an external steering motor retro-fitted to the steering wheel, but AutoTrac-ready comes with the integral steering motor and also includes Isobus-ready and GreenStar-ready specification. AutoTrac complete includes Isobus and GreenStar and the tractors are fitted with the latest 4240 display. 

StarFire 1 guidance offers accuracy within 15cm and is included, but greater precision is available through the subscription-charged StarFire 3. RTK can also be used. 

With the higher specification steering system fitted as part of either AutoTrac package, variable rate steering offers up to two and a half times the standard response at low speeds, making manoeuvring easier through reduced steering wheel turns needed lock to lock and making the most of the tight 3.75m turning radius. 

Other new features include an extendable pick-up hitch with hydraulic pushback, operated through the rear SCVs. 


John Deere 4.5-litre PWX engines power the new 5090R, 5100R, 5115R and 5125R models meeting Stage 3b emissions regulations without Adblue.

Transmission options include the base 16/16 CommandQuad manual with 4 ranges and 4 powershift gears. CommandQuad 16/16 and Command8 32/16 transmissions offer greater flexibility, the latter with 8 powershift gears and an Eco mode offering 40kph at just 1,759rpm. All have automatic clutches, individual start-up gears and electric parking lock. Auto shifting is standard on Command8 and an option on 16/16 CommandQuad. 

Greater comfort and higher working speeds are possible with optional front axle suspension, mechanical cab suspension, and an air-suspended seat from 6R models offers 15 degrees of swivel, lumbar adjustment and optional heating. 

Many 5-series tractors are used with front loaders and for control there is a choice of mechanical or new e-joysticks, both linked to the tractor seat. The e-joystick has assignable buttons allowing control of the mid or rear e-SCVs for improved implement management. 

Rear lift capacity is 4.7 or 5.3t as an optional upgrade. 

CommandPro extended

CommandPro – John Deere’s multi-function joystick, was launched in 2016 but was only available for the new long wheelbase 6230R and 6250R 6R series flagships. Joystick control of the CVT transmission proved immediately popular and the benefits it provides for operators were recognised when selected as the machinery category winner at the Farmers Guide Awards for Excellence last year. 

As many customers and dealers hoped, the joystick will also be available on all other 6R models with AutoPowr transmission, from early 2019.  

Also upgraded for next year is the CommandCentre display and options include the large 4600 or smaller 4200 8.4in version which replaces the previous 4100 7in, with 20 per cent increased screen area. The 4200 screen controls AutoTrac, Section Control, data documentation and other applications and is ready for AEF-certified Isobus functions including joystick control and data sharing between tractors and implements. 

Variable rate steering is available for all 6R models, activated and deactivated from the CommandCentre. A leather steering wheel and self-cancelling indicators are also upgrades. 

Improved hydraulic capability is being introduced for 6145R and 6155R tractors, both with 155-litres/min flow rate, up 23 per cent on the previous standard pump.

Improved ease of access for daily checks includes an engine dipstick door, allowing checking without raising the bonnet.

John Deere also confirmed at the event that its 6R models above 130hp already meet Stage 5 emissions regulations due to come in to force in January and it added that the most recent PowerMix test in Germany demonstrated that the 6250R has set a new record for total fluid consumption in its power class, of only 364g/kWh in transport mode. The fuel guarantee scheme operated by John Deere for its 7310R last year    

 is being rolled out for 6-cylinder 6R tractors for transport applications, and for field work. JD Link telematics are required. 


Significant updates to entry-level W-series models include an all-new cab improving the user environment and bringing it up to match the comfort levels of John Deere’s larger combines. 

“They offer 15 per cent more space, new improved controls and control layout and better information availability through an 8x3in colour touch-screen,” explained harvester territory manager Ian Clark. “Auto adjustment of settings replaces previous manual control and the new CommandCentre allows crop settings to be entered, then the base settings are made automatically, which is a real help to operators and unique in this size class.”

A new feeder housing for the W330 PTC improves crop intake and optional lateral tilt maintains even stubble height on slopes. 

A multi-coupler allows quick table connection on all models. 

Unloading auger output is increased allowing the trailer to spend less time and reduced distance alongside the harvester in the field. The W330 PTC benefits from an increase from 55–75-litres/sec and the W440 increases from 55–100-litres/sec. 

T-series straw walker combines offer the highest capacity on the market, claims John Deere and a new concave design allows swapping of concave sections to suit different crops and conditions easily to optimise performance. Changeover time is just 15 minutes but offers performance improvement up to 12 per cent. 

A new separator grate is standard with steel separation segments replacing previous cast iron fingers for higher output. At the same time, distance between the rear beater drum and grate below has been reduced allowing more aggressive separation. Independent tests have confirmed performance improvement up to 10 per cent in wheat and 2.4 per cent in barley. 

A new LED lighting package is available, improving night and poor visibility working conditions. 

Also improved is ease of engine servicing with a new central oil drain bank allowing oil changes with reduced risk of spillage. 

New tracks

S- and T-series combines from the T560 up, also gain a new track option for 2019, with 30 per cent larger footprint than other systems currently available. A longer track belt and base roller arrangement means the narrower 24in track option offers the same footprint as competitors’ 30in tracks, but maintains a narrow transport width below 3.5m, and below 3.29m on smaller 5-walker T-series models. 

The all-new tracks have 5 pivot points, close to the ground for rapid reaction to terrain changes. Comfort improvement of 20 per cent is claimed, based on measurements taken at the axles and cab floor and the longer tracks have a revised design providing up to 50 per cent longer working life. Increased grip results from the triangular layout with positive drive which means that in tough conditions the tracks lift at the front to pull themselves out of soft spots rather than digging in deeper. Maximum speed is 40kph. 

The tracks can be replaced by wheels if required for field work or resale. 

Constant optimisation

Demonstrated last year, but offered with limited availability, new Interactive Combine Adjustment (ICA2) is fully available for 2019. This assists users, making it easier for experienced operators to maintain maximum performance and helps less experienced drivers as they improve their technique. After optimising settings such as grain quality, losses and cleanliness of the sample, ICA2 maintains the pre-set levels regardless of changing operating conditions. Cameras on the clean grain elevator and returns system check the sample continually, identifying any problems and providing data to the display where adjustments are made to correct the issue.

Active Terrain Adjustment improves performance on slopes, automatically adjusting sieves and the fan to optimise the sample and reduce losses. Harvest Smart provides automatic feed rate control, adjusting travel speed as crop conditions vary.

Priorities can be set including minimal losses, reduced broken grains, reduced foreign material and optimal straw quality and the ICA2 requires the latest 4640 display, fitted standard on the S-series. 

A new MyOperationsCentre app is available allowing combine settings to be viewed and changed remotely from a mobile phone, tablet or pc. The operator accepts the settings and confirms any adjustments on the in-cab display. The app is available for all S700 combines and additional functions include location history, machine utilisation data, and field and boundary records with data available for export to farm management systems. Remote Display Access (RDA) is also available allowing the supervisor to see a live image of the in-cab screen.

Draper range extended

Increased demand for Draper headers, with belts providing even crop feed from the knife to the intake, have resulted in the 700FD series Flex Draper header being added to the price list. Seals reduce small seed losses by up to 45 per cent and new belts with corrugated edges ensure correct alignment. 

An optional 45cm top auger for tall crops such as rye and oilseed rape is available and the central feed drum has an upper position for improved crop flow. 

For accurate ground following the knife can flex up to 19cm across the full width, allowing cutting within 38mm of the ground and improving harvesting performance of laid or short-stemmed crops such as combinable peas. The operator is able to configure the header to flex or remain rigid from the seat. 

Four Flex headers are available in 30, 35, 40 and 45ft cutting widths, all but the narrowest having a double knife drive and the two largest having split reels.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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