Earlier this year, Grainews was the first western Canadian farm publication to break the news AGCO intended to release updated versions of its transverse rotary Gleaner combines. A few weeks ago, on this blog, I promised you a look at it. Now that the media blackout is over, here it is.
Kevin Bein, product marketing manager, gave journalists a guided tour around the new S77 Tritura at a media event in St. Paul, Minnesota, back in July.
AGCO has been updating its transverse rotary Gleaners steadily over the last three years, but the new S77 and S67 Tritura models take all those updates and “supersize” them, according to Kevin Bein,the product marketing manager for Gleaner combines.
“During the past three years we’ve built upon this solid fondation, joining engineering smarts with field smarts to super size the harvest capacity, capability and efficiency of our R6 Series machines to deliver all the performance without all the physical size, weight and complexity,” he adds. The result is the combines’ capacity grows; but at only 31,000 pounds, their total weight does not grow in proportion to it.
Power comes from an AGCO SISU POWER 8.4 litre engine using selective catalytic reduction technology to meet interim Tier 4 emissions standards. The S77 is rated at 370 horsepower. The smaller S67 model will have a 314 horsepower version of the same engine.
The S77 has a standard 330-bushel hopper, expandable to 390. It can unload at 4 bushels per second using a two-auger design. A 12-inch cross auger feeds a 14-inch unloading section.
Introduced in 1979, the first transverse rotary Gleaner combine was designated the N7. In 1986, it was rebadged as the R7. Photo: Grainews archive.
But what makes these combines unique is the transverse, 30-inch diameter rotor that threshes around its full 360 degrees of rotation, unlike the common axially-mounted rotors that typically work through only 180 degrees of rotation. The rotor is positioned well back on the chassis and is fed by two feeder chains, which maintain the width of the windrow mat all the way to it. AGCO calls this “Natural Flow Feeding”. Some other designs squeeze crop material in some places as it flows through the machine. Those pinch points can really eat horsepower.
The second feeder chain turns faster than the first, which accelerates the material flow through the combine. According to AGCO’s press release, “The Natural Flow system pulls rather than pushes material and also eliminates the twisting and turning of the crop to constantly feed the threshing rotor, increasing performance and productivity.”
After it is separated, grain is forced down to the grain pain by accelerator rollers; they force it downward four times faster than free fall. This allows the Gleaner to operate without excessive losses on side slopes of up to 23 degrees. A new larger cleaning fan blows 34 per cent more air volume through the kernels before they reach the cleaning shoe, which helps provide a cleaner sample.
At the rear, an optional hydraulic chaff spreader makes it possible to distribute material across the full width of a 40-foot header.
Gleaner offers a standard two-year “Header To Spreader” warranty, with an option to add up to two years of extended protection.
The S77 is a class 7 machine, the most popular combine size in North America. But many broad-acre farmers on the prairie may need a little coaxing to consider one this size. Class 8 and larger have been their machines of choice. But there may be good reason for them to look at the S77. At the St. Paul event, one of the product specialists showing off the S77 made this comment: “It’s about more than horsepower.”
What he meant was combine class designation is currently determined solely by horsepower. But the approach with the Trituras was to make better use of an engine by breaking away from the horsepower-is-everything approach and make the threshing mechanism more efficient. That, in turn, lowers overall horsepower requirements. As a result, say product specialists, the S77 was able to keep up to larger class 8 models of other brands when working side-by-side in field trials.
When speaking informally with a marketing rep from another manufacturer several months ago, he mentioned a survey of engine control modules on several of their machines working on the Canadian prairie showed none had ever reached peak horsepower in the field, despite harvesting at least one full season on a customer’s farm.
That brings up this question: has the horsepower-dependant combine class rating system become more of a marketing tool than a useful measurement of a machine’s ability to do the job? Maybe it really is about more than just horsepower.
Oh, and what does Tritura stand for? “It’s Latin for threshing,” says Bein.