Big seems to be the word that best describes the product launches held by major manufacturers so far this year. AGCO called its early August new-machinery introduction the largest single-year release the industry had ever seen. Two weeks later, John Deere is calling its new-equipment launch the largest, most significant product introduction in the company s 174-year history.
This is the strongest lineup of new ag products ever from John Deere, says Barry Nelson, manager of media relations.
Using the downtown convention centre in Indianapolis, Indiana, to stage the official presentation of its new machines, Deere showed its dealers a wide variety of new offerings. At the small end of the scale, there were new models in the lawn-and-garden and Gator lines. Up from there, the 5M and 5E utility tractor lines received improvements to their cab interiors along with upgraded specifications. Higher up the horsepower ladder, the new 6R, 7R and 9R tractor lines made their debut.
The high-capacity Class IV, 4940 sprayer the company announced two months ago made an appearance along with a completely new family of combines, the S Series. But Deere spokesmen also wanted to get the message out that they now consider themselves a solutions company.
What does that mean? In a nutshell, the company and its dealers, don t consider themselves just just suppliers of good, old-fashioned iron anymore. With a rapidly expanding suite of telematics products, the goal is to partner with farmers and provide them with one-stop shopping, offering products and services that fill not only their machinery needs but also help them manage their fleet and overall farm business.
S SERIES COMBINES
The current 70 Series combines go extinct this year and get replaced by the five-model S Series. The new line s flagship model, the S690, is the first Class IX version Deere has ever offered. These machines represent a complete redesign from the cab right through to the rotor.
This is a completely new machine, says Katie Dierker, division marketing manager, John Deere Harvester Works. (There is) Forty-five percent new parts in the combine of today versus what you know of in the marketplace as the 70 Series combine.
At the lower-capacity end, the S550 is a narrow-bodied Class V powered by a 271-horsepower engine, which means smaller family farms can still consider the purchase of a new, compatible machine that fits their operations. Although the company doesn t expect this model to be a big seller, it still fills a market niche.
The four larger combines are built on a wide-bodied platform. Specifications for the base versions of the Class VI and VII models have the most in common with the previous 70 Series, but the new S Series features, including the redesigned rotor, are available on them, too.
The cleaning system on the new line has been re-engineered, adding 33 per cent more capacity. And the Variable Stream rotor is capable of improving straw quality in small-grains crops, even when feeding in a tough and dense material mat. The new Active Tailings System, which the company claims can improve threshing capacity by up to 10 per cent, is now a standard feature on the Class VIII and IX models.
Our new S Series will improve threshing in tough crop conditions, says Roger Maes, marketing manager, John Deere Harvester Works.
At the back, an optional residue management system gives farmers options ranging from improved spreading to better windrow management, which can help leave straw in exactly the right condition for baling; and changing from chopping to leaving windrows is now fast and easy. Customers can go from chopping to non-chopping literally with the flip of a lever in a mere five seconds, says Dierker.
For the operator, interior space in the cab has grown by 30 per cent, making it feel very spacious. Sitting inside one feels like having a corner office with a view. The control arm has an integrated touch-screen display and push-button shift controls for the ProDrive transmission.
Deere has also introduced new headers to go with the S Series. As well as the improved 600 Series corn heads, a HydraFlex draper platform is available in 35-and 40-foot widths. The HydraFlex features a flexible, ground-hugging cutter bar for harvesting soybeans, which can also be used as a rigid platform for small grains.
To get even more productivity out of those new S Series combines, Deere introduced Machine Sync, which is an advanced telematics program designed to allow combines and grain carts to communicate directly with each other in the field. The software allows for transfer of in-field logistics information between display screens in real time.
Operators can see the location of all grain carts in the network and, from the combine, they can send a ready-to-unload request, says Holli Brokaw, AMS product manager. The grain cart operators can also monitor grain tank levels in the combines, giving them a heads-up as to who will need to unload next.
But that isn t the best part. Once a combine and grain cart are lined up for unloading on the go, the combine operator can take control of the tractor pulling the cart. The system will keep both machines tracking exactly where the combine operator wants them even around obstacles in order to efficiently fill the cart.
To make the system work, farmers need to purchase the Machine Communication Radio system, which creates an in-field, high-speed wireless network enabling the machines to share information. The radio system can handle up to 10 machines in the same field. It needs to team up with the Machine Sync software, GreenStar 3 2630 displays and StarFire receivers to create the network.
9R AND 9RT TRACTORS
The 9Rs replace the high-horsepower 9030 tractors, which were introduced in 2007, at the very top end of Deere s tractor range. The line offers five wheeled and three tracked models, and for the first time it will also include a tracked scraper version.
The look of the 9R line matches the company s new tractor family styling. Besides the cosmetic changes, that customers will easily see, we ve made a lot of improvements to the 9 family of tractors that contribute significantly to overall productivity in the field, says Jerry Griffith, division marketing manager, John Deere Waterloo Works.
Horsepower in the 9R line now ranges from 360 to 560, but that still leaves it 40 below the maximum 600 horsepower rating AGCO, Case IH and New Holland offer in their largest models. According to Matt Arnold, product marketing manager, the company doesn t see a strong enough market demand to produce anything larger for the time being.
Power for the the 9Rs will come from Deere s own PowerTech PSX 13.5 litre diesel, with the exception of the smallest model, the 9360R, which uses the PSX 9.0 litre. These engines continue to use cooled exhaust gas recirculation instead of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet the current Interim Tier 4 emissions standard.
The marketing war going on between manufacturers using these two different technologies is still going strong, it seems. Deere is still strongly emphasizing the advantages it sees with a single fluid system, without the need to add the diesel exhaust fluid necessary for SCR engines.
In the three smaller 9R tractors, those PowerTech engines can be coupled to either a 24-speed PowerSync manual transmission or an 18-speed PowerShift with Efficiency Manager, an automated control program that provides optimum performance with minimum fuel consumption. The 18-speed is standard in all the tracked and the two larger wheeled models.
All 9R and 9RT ag models have an available PTO option, something marketing reps say came about as a result of customer input at the tractors development stage. Along with that comes a higher, 9,071 kg lift capacity on the three-point hitches. Four SCVs are standard with up to six available.
And just like the S Series combine cabs, the 9R cabs have grown, making them 10 per cent larger than the version on the previous 9030 Series with seven per cent more glass area. A variety of interior options packages are available.
Watch for more in-depth information on the other products introduced by all the major manufacturers this summer in future issues.
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