26 November 1999

Tougher and easier – Deere

New mower conditioners and

numerous updates for

existing tractors and

combines are included in the

end of year package

announced by John Deere.

Andy Collings reports

FOLLOWING hard on the heels of the announcement of its new 8010 Series tractors (Machinery, Nov 12), John Deere has now launched a range of new mower conditioners. It is a range which includes two centre pivot models.

The new 1355 and 1365 mower conditioners are deemed to be stronger and easier to use than the 1350 and 1360 models they now replace.

Cutting widths remain the same – 2,5m and 3m – but the conditioning unit is now equipped with free swinging V-shaped steel rather than plastic tines.

Steel tines are now also fitted to the companys front mounted mower conditioner – the 228A which has a cutting width of 2.8m and can be set to leave a swath width from 1.1m to 1.6m wide.

Features of the 1355 and 1365 models include a conditioning hood which can be raised or lowered to compensate for different crop conditions and knives which can be more easily replaced due to an access hole in the front of the skid shoe.

Fully suspended

Cutterbar and conditioner are fully suspended by springs to allow contour following and the impeller is located low and behind the cutterbar – an arrangement claimed to reduce power requirement, and prevent soil pollution.

Windrow widths can be adjusted from 0.7m to 1.3m on the 1355 and from 0.8m to 1.8m on the 1365. For those who require a two rows in one arrangement, or need to combine swaths produced by a front and rear combination mowing outfit, John Deeres Grouper unit can be fitted.

On a larger scale of operation, the US-built 946 and 956 centre pivot mower conditioners make their appearance which, as their design would suggest, are capable of being operated from either side of the tractor for up and down working.

With cutting widths of 4m and 4.5m both models are clearly aimed at the contractor or larger farming set up.

Probably the most innovative area of the mowers is to be found in the build of the cutterbar. Described as a low profile unit, each of the disc units has been constructed as a separate module using cast iron for added strength – the 946 has eight and the 956, nine. In the event of severe damage individual modules can be replaced – rather than the whole bed.

Further interest could be created by knowing that each of the discs is protected by a shearhub – a toothed ring which fits inside the final gearing of the disc and is the link between the gear and the disc. When a heavy load – a boulder for example – is hit by the rotating disc the teeth on the ring shear disconnects the drive and avoids shock loads being transmitted to the drive system.

Observers of the system will note however, that should one disc become stationary there is a good chance that a neighbouring disc will collide with it as the discs become out of step with each other. John Deere concedes that if one shearhub fails there is every reason to expect a second to occur.

As with the companys other mowers, steel V-shaped tines are employed in the mowers two-speed conditioning units. Three point suspension is also provided for the cutterbar and conditioner with the cutterbar benefiting from on-the-move hydraulic tilting.

For transport, John Deere has devised a system which calls for the mower to be reversed onto a trailer, secured, and then towed using the mowers drawbar – it is pivoted through 90 degrees.

This arrangement offers several advantages, says the company. Loading is a speedy affair, width is reduced to 3m and the mower benefits from not having to carry its own transport system.

Deeres 750A pneumatic drill is now available as a 4m version – complementing the existing 3m model. Suitable for both conventional and direct drilling operations, the new 24 coulter model has hydraulically folding wings and an 1800 litre capacity hopper – sufficient space for a 1t bag.

Centre pivot mower conditioners. JDs US-built 946 and 956 models are set to make their debut next season. Features include a shearhub on each disc to provide protection for the drive line should an obstacle be encountered. Inset: Disc detail. Note the holein the plate beneath each disc which allows easier knife changing and the close proximity of the steel-conditioning blades.