28 December 2001

Powerful argument for a new combine

More harvesting capacity,

sleeker styling and a new

brand name are all in the

new combine line up for the

2002 harvest. Mike Williams

reviews the new arrivals

THIS years claim for the biggest capacity boost comes from John Deere which has announced nine new models, including the flagship 9880STS harvester.

This model has "world beating work capacity", claims the manufacturer, with the high-output machine featuring a 465hp PowerTech engine, a 945-litre fuel tank to maximise intervals between refills plus an 11,000 litre grain tank.

Headers for the 9880STS are up to 9.15m wide and are equipped with the Deere HeaderTrak control system. This adjusts the header cutting height and tilt angle automatically, handy for night work on uneven or sloping ground and for harvesting storm flattened crops.

John Deere chose rotary separation for the 9880STS. The letters STS stand for Single Tine Separation, a system based on a rotor cage giving a three-stage diameter increase to allow the crop material to expand, reducing the density to release grains more easily. Extraction is by six rows of angled tines that comb the crop material to separate the grains with minimum straw damage, it is claimed.

There are six models in the new 9000WTS medium to high capacity series. WTS stands for Walker Tine Separation, a four-stage threshing system starting with a 660mm diameter cylinder and a long-wrap concave.

Stage two is an open grate type concave and the crop material then passes over the 11-step straw walkers while Power Separator steel tines comb the straw and release trapped grains. WTS combines have engines from 206hp to 336hp and grain tanks are 7500 litres to 11,000 litres.

Smaller capacity models from John Deere include two Cylinder Walker Separation (CWS) combines. The 1450 version has a 180hp engine and five straw walkers and there are six straw walkers on the 225hp 1550. Both share the same 6000-litre grain capacity and both have new 600R series headers in 4.3-7.6m cutting widths with a 600mm intake auger giving a claimed 30% extra capacity.

New developments from Claas include the Multifinger Separation System (MSS), claimed to boost output by up to 10% when working in green or damp crop material. MSS is on the new Lexion Evolution models, the 430 and 460, which also feature more engine power than the models they replace.

MSS consists of a drum with eight banks of retractable fingers. There are 35 fingers on the 430 and 44 on the 460 compared to 10 and 12 on the previous models and the MSS fingers penetrate an extra 15mm into the straw for improved separation. There is also an increase in engine power and the drum speed is up 20%.

Evolution models also have a new full-width straw chopping unit. Extra width allows more knives to be fitted to cope with bigger straw volumes and the knives are redesigned to reduce the power requirement while maintaining cutting efficiency.

Two other additions to the Lexion series are the 410 model at the bottom of the range with five 4.4m straw walkers and a 9600-litre grain tank and the Lexion 470 with a 10,500 litre tank and the Roto-Plus threshing system previously restricted to the range-topping 480 model.

All Lexion combines are now powered by Caterpillar engines with extra power and torque and there is also a new Medion 330 model with five straw walkers and a 231hp engine to replace the previous 320 model.

The obvious development in the New Holland CX combine range is sleek new styling, but as well as eye-catching lines there is also a list of technical improvements producing up to 15% more output, it is claimed. There are eight models in the new CX series and they all feature conventional straw walker separation and use Iveco engines with outputs from 218hp to 374hp.

CX features designed to boost work rates include faster knife and header auger speeds and a wider elevator opening copes with bigger volumes. In the threshing area, the main drum is 25% bigger and with 111 degrees of concave wrap, the threshing area for models with six straw walkers is said to be the biggest on the market. A rotary beater transfers the crop to a large diameter rotary separator, also designed for increased throughput.

Grain tanks on the CX combines hold up to 10,500 litres and the 105 litres/second discharge rate is said to empty the biggest tank in just 90 seconds. New straw choppers with up to six rows of knives are claimed to offer improved capacity and the deflectors adjust from within the cab. A computer control system can record 16 different settings, allowing push-button changeover when moving to a different crop.

Top model in the CX range is the 880 with 5.93sq m of straw walker separation area. The 720 model at the bottom of the CX range has 4.94sq m of straw walker separation. All models have a four-speed transmission, fuel tank capacities are 500 or 750 litres and all headers have lateral float with auto float on the options list.

Spearheading Massey Fergusons challenge for next years harvest are the Cerea models aimed at the high capacity end of the market and, like New Holland, the MF design team has opted for increased visual appeal as well as technical improvements. The Cerea 7278 model powered by a 387hp Sisu engine was announced at the end of last year and the 340hp 7274 model was added to the range recently.

Grain separation is handled by rotors and straw walkers, but a special feature is the Constant Flow option, automatically adjusting the forward speed to match the load on the threshing mechanism. Special sensors detect changes in the volume of material passing through the threshing system, triggering adjustments to the travel speed automatically for lighter or denser areas of crop. Maintaining the optimum forward speed and crop throughput in varying crop conditions can increase output by up to a claimed 80t/day.

There are eight straw walkers in the Cerea threshing system, which is said to give 33% more agitation than a conventional six walker system, and a grain pan extension improves the flow of material to the sieve. Grain tank capacities are 10,500 litres for the 7278 combine and 9500 for the Cerea 7274.

McCormick, the new name in the combine market, is actually one of the oldest brand names in the farm equipment industry. Having revived the name for tractors built at the former Case IH factory in Doncaster, the Italian based Argo Group has adopted the same name for a five-model range of combine harvesters.

The combines are made at the Laverda factory in Italy, also part of the Argo empire. Laverda combines were popular in the medium capacity sector of the UK market in the 1970s and early 1980s and the latest versions have straw walker threshing and are powered by Iveco engines with outputs from 195hp to 270hp.

Specifications include a 4.2m header throughout the range, while grain tank capacities are 6500 or 7000 litres. There are five and six straw walker versions and a special feature on all but the smallest McCormick combine is Multicrop Separation (MCS) with a second beater behind the primary drum for extra threshing capacity.

Case IH will also have new models available for next year, but details are still unavailable. They are believed to be straw walker models, offering an alternative to the Axial Flow rotaries, and are likely to be based on existing New Holland models. &#42

Latest addition to MFs combine range is the medium size 180hp MF 7242.

John Deeres range-topping 9880STS with its single rotor threshing system made its debut in the autumn.

The Claas Lexion range includes two additions – the 410 and 470.

McCormicks intention to provide a full line of machinery led to the launch of models sourced from Laverda.

The stylish lines of New Hollands CX combine range caught the eye of the nation when it was launched earlier this year.

Case launched the straw-walker CT combine range at Agritechnica 2001 in Germany. It is based on the New Holland TX combine.