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John Deere launches new flagship S700 Series combine

Operator convenience, increased automation and improved productivity are the focus of John Deere’s latest S700 Series combines. James Rickard finds out more.



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Automation and operator convenience are at the heart of JD's new S700 Series combine.
Automation and operator convenience are at the heart of JD's new S700 Series combine.

Aiming to boost combine performance using brains rather than brawn, John Deere’s latest rotary S700 Series builds upon the firm’s suite of automated combine systems, allowing further harvest settings and combine operation to be fully automated.

 

For all intents and purposes the S700 is pretty much the same combine as the previous generation S600, just loaded with more technology. On top of previous automated features, this now includes the combine’s ability to draw upon more sensor inputs allowing it to make better-informed adjustments to the combine. In addition, yield mapping accuracy has also been given a boost thanks to the use of in-tank weigh cells.

 

 

Operation-wise, users will now be greeted by a brand new control interface featuring revamped joystick and armrest controls along with a new look touchscreen derived from its tractors.

 

Up-front, revisions have also been made to the firm’s range of draper headers for improved handling of a wider variety of crops.

 

The number of S700 combine models stays the same as before (see panel for S700 Series overview). S700 combines and all following updates will be available for the 2018 season.


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Configurable controls

The most visible updates to the S700 Series come in the form of its new Generation 4 control interface.

 

Taking many design cues from its range of tractors from the 6R and above, this includes the latest Command Arm layout, a similar style joystick as introduced on the firm’s 6230R and 6250R tractors, and the new 4600 10inch touch screen terminal.

 

Like the tractors, the screen is said to be easier to navigate compared to its predecessor, with the ability to use a physical or onscreen bank of shortcut keys – the latter can be customisable. Also, each time a function is used on the Command Arm, this will show on the screen allowing adjustment.

 

Many of the ‘run’ screens and functionality of the 4600 are very similar to the tractors, says Deere, which can be reconfigured to show what you want. For simplicity, all automated combine functions are also now grouped together.

 

Tailored to the combine, the layout of the Command Arm has been simplified which sees clusters of functions grouped together such as powertrain, combine settings and cab environment. Four configurable buttons have also been added which allow various functions to be assigned to them such as the double-folding unloading auger.

 

Ergonomically designed to fit in your hand, the new joystick maintains all functions of its predecessor, but now includes, you guessed it, some more configurable buttons.

Next level automation

Adding to its range of automated combine features which currently includes Deere’s Harvest Smart and Active Terrain Adjustment systems, S700s can now also be specified with Auto Maintain.

 

Whereas Harvest Smart automatically regulates forward speed based on engine load and crop pressure, and Active Terrain Adjustment automates sieve and fan settings to compensate for sloping terrain, Auto Maintain now takes into account the condition of the grain. This is done via the use of cameras in the clean grains and tailings elevators. Similar to the moisture meter sampling mechanism, samples from each elevator are analysed approximately every two seconds. Based on the cameras’ findings, which have the ability to look for cracked grains and foreign material, further automatic settings can be made to the combine to counteract any undesired results, such as concave distance and rotor speed.

 

All the above falls under the firm’s optional package of automated combine features, called Integrated Combine Adjustment 2 (ICA 2). If this is not required and you only seek setup suggestions from the combine, then its standard ICA package can be used.

 

You can also set performance priorities and targets for ICA 2 to meet, with the following four placed in any order; broken grains, grain loss, foreign material and straw quality.

 

Depending on situation and conditions, and with a lot less manual checking and adjustment, Deere claims up to 20 per cent more performance can be achieved using ICA 2.

Accurate yield monitoring

Taking yield mapping to a higher level of claimed accuracy is JD’s new Yield Active system.

 

Comprising three weigh cells placed inside the grain tank, these new cells are essentially used to verify or adjust what tonnage the combine thinks it has harvested, compared to the information gained from its mass flow and moisture meters. The cells can weigh up to three tonnes inside the tank, which allows the combine to work out what volume three tonnes of a particular crop take up. Once the mass flow and moisture meters know this, they can recalibrate themselves to become more accurate. With each load the system gets progressively more accurate.

 

To get started, five, three tonne loads are required to calibrate the system. You can calibrate it with full loads but it just takes longer to get accurate. While the manufacturer could not disclose how accurate the system was, John Deere claims the system produces figures which are within tolerable limits of weigh bridge numbers.

 

As well as saving valuable calibration time, the increased yield mapping accuracy of the system should help with crop establishment and crop protection regimes further down the line, says the manufacturer.

 

For each change in crop or field, the calibration process needs repeating.

 

As well as available as an option for the S700 Series, the system can be retro fitted to any S600 Series combine from 2012 onwards.

Multi-crop capable drapers

As one of the more physical updates for the S700 Series combines, Deere has redeveloped its range of draper headers to better suit European conditions.

 

Traditionally, draper headers have been suited to American-style conditions and crops and have struggled with the UK’s ‘greener’ crops. In particular, oil seed rape has always been an Achilles heel of the draper design.

 

To address this, JD has beefed up the driveline and clutches of its drapers and added a larger diameter auger, now 460mm (18 inch), to the header. Complementing the transfer belts, the larger auger is designed to keep tall bushy crops of OSR moving along the header towards the feeder housing. Without this auger, OSR can potentially ‘stall’ on the header and/or ‘boil’ over the top. In addition, to prevent table losses, a new seal kit has been fitted around the belts.

 

Replacing the 600D, other design features of the new 700D Series headers include the ability to alter the header’s pitch, useful for getting under laid crops, for example. It also gets a ‘flip over’ reel designed to prevent crop from being dragged over the reel, and its ground following pressure can be adjusted to suit conditions.

 

Overall, Deere claims draper headers are much more suited to rotary combines and can offer up to 15 per cent more throughput compared to a conventional type header.

 

Working widths of the new drapers range from 7.6m to 12.2m (25 to 40 feet).

S700 Series overview

Model

Grain tank capacity (l)

PowerTech PSS engine (l)

Maximum power (hp)

S770

10,600

9.0

449

S780

14,100

13.5

540

S785

14,100

13.5

571

S790

14,100

13.5

617

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