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John Deere S Series combines get updates for 2015

New concave design and other new features

As part of its revamped 2015 product line, John Deere has built several improvements into the threshing systems of its relatively young S Series line of combines. Some of those updates are aimed primarily at the small grains market, which should grab the attention of dealers and farmers here in Western Canada. And the company is claiming those new features create a substantial improvement in overall combine capacity.

“We have some features that are designed specifically for the tough-threshing small grains and rice customers this year,” says Emily Priebe of John Deere Harvester Works. “Producers in tough small grains will also see a 10 per cent increase while maintaining their loss levels. Fifteen per cent would be almost like having another, larger class of combine.”

Deere is offering what it calls a Tough Crop Package for its small grains combines equipped with the Variable Stream Rotor. On top of the capacity boost under normal harvesting conditions, this package allows you to put the petal to the metal if you have to. So, if the weather is closing in and you want to put up with higher losses and push the combine harder to get the crop off, Priebe says the new S Series models can really give you a boost in throughput.

“In tough small grains and rice we can give customers the ability to get 20 per cent more throughput,” she says. “That’s when weather’s coming and you need to get through that field and push that machine. You now have the ability to do that with this package. Now, that’s not maintaining losses. That’s just if you have to go.”

One of the key features in that package is the new hydraulic concave design called Active Concave Isolation, which allows the rotor-to-concave clearance to increase and let a slug pass through without plugging. That has the potential to be a huge time saver.

“It’s hydraulically controlling the concaves versus mechanically,” she explains. “So we’re holding those concaves in place with hydraulics. John Deere is the only one that offers this solution and it’s only available on our S680 and S690. The additional thing we’ve put in those packages is heavy duty separator grates and two rows of interrupter bars.”

Up front, the feeder house gets a redesign, allowing the crop mat to feed in more efficiently. The four-strand chain will run on a smaller eight-inch drum and on small grains models there will be increased space between the chain and the feeder house floor, creating extra room for more material to pass through.

“We have a smaller diameter feed drum, so we have an 8 inch versus a 10 inch,” explains Priebe. “That’s going to be standard on all of our combines and it’s going to give us about a 10 per cent improvement in material feeding into the machine.”

Customers can also select a header tilt option that allows the operator to adjust the angle of the header from the cab.

“Platform tilt gives you the ability to tilt that feeder house 17 degree fore and aft,” she adds. “It’s not on our head, it’s on our combine. That’s available on the S660 through to the S690 as an option.”

To help take advantage of all those efficiency improvements, Deere is adding five more feet to its largest flex draper header with the introduction of the 45-foot 645FD Hydraflex. The centre opening on this model is 200 millimetres wider than other models to accommodate increased material flow, and the header slip clutch gets another 35 per cent capacity to deal with the added strain.

Buyers get a choice between 26- or 28.5-foot unloading augers.

“We’ll continue to have five S Series models (for 2015),” says Priebe. “We also have the T670, which is a walker machine and it’s designed for exceptional straw quality. Folks in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest will chose that machine sometimes for straw quality.”

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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