Tractor, baler and combine developments were just a few of the highlights at John Deere’s recent product launch held in Germany. James Rickard pores over the products.
Driven by customers who want more technology while still retaining a compact format, John Deere has revamped its 5R tractor series.
Going up against the likes of the Claas Arion 400, Fendt 300, Case IH Luxxum and Massey Ferguson 5700SL series models, the 5R range of tractors now get many features filtered down from its bigger brothers.
On top of the three previous 5R models, a fourth has also been added which sees the range span from 90hp to 125hp, rated (see panel).
Sharing only the name with its predecessor, 5R developments include new transmission options, new control interfaces and a redesigned chassis.
Cab-wise, a new tilt-able steering column along with 15 degrees of seat swivel allows more adjustment for the operator. A new, digital pillar-mounted display, similar to those used on the larger 7 and 8R tractors, takes over from the conventional dash, which improves forward visibility, says Deere.
Sightlines are also improved via the use of a one-piece windscreen, a redesigned bonnet which has been reduced in height at the front by 7cm, and the availability of an optional transparent roof. An LED lighting package completes visibility improvements.
As well as a re-sculpted right hand console, 2018 will also see JD’s CommandArm armrest control added to the options list.
In both instances, it sees bulky transmission levers ousted for the small control lever as found in the firm’s 6R tractors and above. It now controls one of three new transmission options; a 16 by 16 CommandQuad transmission with four powershifts in four ranges or a 32 by 16 Command8 transmission with eight powershift gears in four ranges. The latter comes with an automatic mode as standard, which can be specified as an option for the CommandQuad variant.
An automatic de-clutching function is standard, which pulls in the clutch automatically when the brake pedals are depressed. This function can be turned on or off.
Up-front, a redesigned cast chassis features a curved frame for a tighter steering lock, and its integrated engine sump means the centre of gravity can be kept lower. In theory, the engine block should also be under less stress.
A suspended front axle, using independent arms, can also be specified, as can a new mechanical cab suspension system using two shock absorbers. The former can be operated in automatic or manual modes, can be locked out, and can be adjusted plus or minus by 45mm.
A new loader option is also available. The 543R features a new connecting system, making attachment of the loader to the tractor easier, says Deere, and can lift 1,800kg to a maximum height of 3.7m.
Now packing 450hp (with power management), JD adds to its 8R tractor series with a new flagship model, the 8400R.
And is not just a case of turning the wick up either, says the manufacturer. The new-found power is a result of a redesign of the engine’s piston heads, resulting in a better and more efficient air/fuel mixture. Deere claims it can achieve more power with 2 per cent fuel savings over the current top model, the 8370R.
No tracked version of this model will be available, and it only comes with the firm’s full powershift transmission, the e23. The latter is said to be best suited to this tractor, offering 94 per cent transmission efficiency, which will mainly be tasked with field cultivation work, suggests Deere.
To get the power to the wheels, a new bar axle design gets two flat surfaces, as opposed to one, for the wheel to clamp onto. Clamping area has also increased to 212mm along the length of the axle.
Next year will also see the option of an extra display, which can be placed anywhere in the cab allowing more information to be viewed.
For 2017, John Deere will have a new range of 441 series, fixed chamber round balers.
Comprising four models including a brand new wrapper combination version, specification levels range from the range topping F441R and the C441R (combi-baler) models, to the more specialist F441M Silage Special suited to wet, heavy crops, and the F441M Multicrop model aimed at drier-type crops.
All models feature a wider bale chamber, up from 1.17m to 1.21m, an uprated pickup and driveline, and a faster responding tailgate. All of which results in a 9 per cent increase in performance, translating into an extra five bales per hour, claims the manufacturer.
As well as a quicker tailgate, end-damping in its opening/closing rams provides a ‘soft shut’ function, avoiding the door tail gate slamming.
There is a choice of 2m or 2.2m pickups on all models.
For improved robustness, feed rotor tines on the R models are now made from Hardox, as are the tine bands which are standard across the range. For MaxiCut models, their knife banks can be operated with 0, 13 or all 25 knives engaged. Upgraded roller material, 20 per cent beefier drive chains and 70 per cent larger bearings also add to the balers’ improved durability.
A new combi baler, the C441R, adds to the line-up which features improved bale transfer, via a track system, and 15 per cent faster wrapping. Plastic wrap storage can handle five rolls per side, which gets a convenient, hydraulic folding system to help with loading/unloading rolls.
The combi machines can be specified with a single axle with up to 750mm-wide tyres, or tandem axles with tyre widths up to 620mm. Slicker styling rounds off the baler updates, which will be available in very limited numbers next year.
Introduced on the straw walker T series combine range last year, S series rotary combines for 2017 will feature the new DynaFlo Plus cleaning shoe. Deere claims it increases combine productivity by 5 per cent in conditions where the shoe is the limiting factor. Constructed from aluminium, length of the cleaning shoe has been increased by 12 per cent.
As a result of improved airflow and a redesigned fan, the shoe is less sensitive and easier to adjust, says the manufacturer. As a result, tailing volumes have been reduced by 15 per cent for barley, wheat, oilseed rape and other small grains, and by up to 28 per cent for maize, and other coarse grains.
In addition, the firm’s new Active Terrain Adjustment (ATA) option adjusts the cleaning shoe chaffer, sieve and fan in rolling terrain, so up to 30 per cent more productivity can be achieved on slopes of up to 10 degrees, says Deere.
Up-front, a new hydraulically adjustable feederhouse enables the driver to tilt the cutting platform and change cutting angle of attack on the go, particularly useful for getting underneath laid crop. Angle and height settings can also be saved and recalled via buttons on the main control lever.
In order to reduce transport times and save fuel, an optional 40kph transport speed and engine speed management will now be available on the S680, S685 and S690 combines in addition to the S670, T560 to T670 and W660 models, for both wheeled and tracked versions.
For improved daily maintenance, a new air compressor and toolbox compartment options have also been introduced.
A new premium header option has also been added, the 640PF Premium Flow. Much like Massey Ferguson’s Power Flow header, which sees a belt transfer crop from the cutterbar backwards into the auger, JD says this model sits at the top of its header line-up, designed to work with in all crops and conditions. It is available in widths up to 12.2m and features a 76cm diameter auger.