In preparation for the forthcoming grass silage season John Deere has announced a number of updates for its self-propelled forage-harvesters.

Most significantly Deere has revised the machines’ transmission set-up, introducing a 40kph transport speed.

On previous models operators could choose working or transport speed ranges from one of three manually selected gears.

This arrangement is replaced by a twin range hydrostatic propulsion unit with an automated shift between speed ranges.

The entire set-up is controlled by a single lever which also acts as a handbrake when moved to the neutral position.

The new transmission features two modes, one for fieldwork and one for travelling on the road.

The transport mode boasts a maximum speed of 40kph, while the field range stretches from 0-20kph with an extra degree of control sensitivity.

The new transmission – dubbed ProDrive – also offers front-axle differential lock and a limited-slip differential on the rear.

The differentials are automatically controlled and have a 10% slip threshold, meaning that if the system senses slippage of more than this between any of the wheels, the differential lock is engaged.

Deere has also fitted an automatic slip reduction (ASR) kit that will divert transmission oil flow away from spinning wheels to those with more traction.

AutoTrac GPS-guided automatic-steering will be available across the forager range as will a new near infrared (NIR) sensor which allows accurate crop moisture measurement on the move.

Termed Harvest-Lab, the system consists of an infra-red sensor fitted to the back of the spout which constantly monitors the level of light reflected back form the crop.

Used with the firm’s Field Doc recording system, Deere says it provides fully automatic moisture sensing and yield monitoring to an accuracy of 2%.

fwmachinery@rbi.co.uk