Starting this year, the Gleaner combines rolling out of AGCO’s Hesston, Kansas, assembly plant will feature a broad range of upgrades that make them both more comfortable to drive and more efficient than their S8 predecessors. Since the brand introduced the S7 Tritura models back in 2010, S Series Gleaners have seen several updates. Now, the latest S9 versions get one of the longest lists of enhancements we’ve seen so far, many, the company claims, are the direct result of customer requests.
No surprise then that the S9s have a new, bigger cab, a trend that seems to have swept across almost all ombine brands in the past year. The “Vision” cab gets 15 per cent more floor space and a 22 per cent larger windshield. Overall, glass area gets pushed to 66 square feet and uses a solar protectant laminate to shade the interior. To compliment those improvements, cab posts have been moved to allow better sight lines out to the header ends.
The operator also gets to rest his or her right arm on a completely redesigned control console. Control buttons for primary functions have been rearranged in order to fall more readily at hand, some of them added directly onto the new multi-function hydro control lever.
The position of the new Tyton monitor is adjustable. In a press release, AGCO says the Tyton is “available first on Gleaner combines,” suggesting it will soon sweep through the brand’s other machines that wear MF red or Challenger yellow. The Tyton’s capabilities seem suspiciously similar to the VarioTerminal, which has been the standard on AGCO’s high-end Fendt tractor line for some time.
The Tyton is a colour, touch screen terminal that has four individual quadrants for multi-function monitoring of four different systems. And it’s fully compatible with AGCO’s updated Fuse precision farming package, which includes an optional factory installed FieldStar Live or AgLeader Live yield mapping system.
There is also a larger buddy seat, with a back that folds down to provide a workspace and laptop storage.
Gleaner’s hallmark “natural-flow feeding” arrangement gets tweaked on the S9 machines. To improve feeding capacity in conditions that force the combines to swallow a thick crop mat, such as heavy canola or green-stem soybeans, the feeder house floor has been lowered and the feeder house runners and torque tube raised. That creates more clearance under the feed shaft and reduces stress on it. One more element that improves visibility from the Vision cab is the feeder house gets lengthened, which pushes the header farther forward.
With increasing header widths and the longer feeder house, geometry on the header lift cylinders had to be redesigned to cope with the increased load. Along with that a proportioning valve has been added to the header-lift hydraulic system, so the operator can fine tune raise-and-lower speed and sensitivity via the Tyton terminal.
In fact, much of the hydraulic system gets updated. New electronic controls replace older lines and linkages on the hydrostatic drive. According to the company, the list of other driveline improvements is a long one.
Behind the cab, a 390-bushel grain hopper is now standard. The three S9 models will be available for 2016, but they remain Class 6, 7 and 8 capacity models. AGCO hasn’t yet pushed the Gleaners to Class 9, insisting instead that the compact Gleaners offer superior features and cleaning capability that lets them rival some higher-class machines offered by other brands.
The S9 Series will make its first public debut at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in February.