In sales terms, the UK combine market may be pretty poor this year, but manufacturers continue to improve their offering. Increases in tank capacity, faster emptying and (in some cases) longer discharge augers are all helping speed up the job and concaves are becoming much more versatile than in the past. Slope compensation systems are getting cleverer too, as are the control systems and monitoring equipment. All of this is helped by more powerful and cleaner engines.
A new cleaning system with slope compensation is now available for the first time on Axial-Flow 140-Series combines. Meanwhile, a sixth grain transfer auger, uprated elevating auger and an increased number of slats in the crop elevator has helped cope with the capacity potential of a 9m table.
Auto shifting between the two ranges is available in a new four-speed hydrostatic system. Its driveline now culminates in the heavier-duty final drives of the bigger 240-Series combines, and Zuidberg’s F-type track assemblies have been approved as an option.
Easier between-crop cleaning is facilitated by removable grain transport auger bottoms andindividual rotor concave sections makes it easier to replace them single-handed.
Sensors monitoring the engine, APS pre-threshing drum and Roto Plus rotor loads will trigger a cut in forward speed and disengage the unloading auger – to maximise power availability – and stop drive to the feed elevator and cutting table.
See also: Combine buyers guide 2014
Operators can adjust the new anti-plug system’s sensitivity – or turn it off. But Claas says it helps operators work closer to performance limits, especially when conditions are poor.
Revised engine specs for the Lexion 740 to 780 combines bring a bit more power and torque in most cases – the 770 is 6% or 34hp up at 585hp, while the 780 now goes to 625hp, up 1% or 27hp.
The Dynamic Cooling system of the biggest machines filters down to the 740 and 750 with hydraulic fan drive saving up to 15hp.
A revamped residue management system can also save power, with a power-adjusted stationary knife and friction concave plate making fine-tuning easier, while increased knife-tip speed and mechanically (rather than hydraulically) driven spreading discs should cope better with heavier crop loads.
A new cab, bigger grain tanks – increased by 500 litres to 7,000 litres – and a Tier 4 Final engine create the C6000-Series replacements for the 6040 entry-level combines. They also get new side panels for easier service and maintenance access.
Operators get a wider, more spacious and better-equipped cab with improved visibility and a new interior layout that brings controls closer to hand.
A new concave in more easily replaceable sections and independent front/rear adjustment also feature on the five-walker C6205 and higher-capacity walker plus rotary separator “TS” version.
A 41% increase in active separation area is claimed for internal changes to T-Series straw walker combines, which include an additional rasp bar insert eliminating de-awning plates for barley and other crops needing more aggressive threshing.
A new shaker shoe assembly with 5% larger sieve area, a new grate with more openings beneath the separator drum, improved air distribution and a wider range of fan settings should all result in a 15% lift in output potential.
Extra power will also help – the six-walker T670 is up 5% or 19hp to 392hp, for example – and in-field manoeuvrability is improved by a tighter-steering rear axle with optional four-wheel drive and the availability of
At 176hp, output of the 4.9-litre, four-cylinder engine slotted into the Activa 7340 is the same as from the six-cylinder FPT unit it replaces. Elsewhere, the 218hp 7.4-litre now powering the Activa 7344 delivers a 4% lift at 218hp.
The 7344 can use a 5.5m PowerFlow belt feed table for the first time as an alternative to 4.2-6.6m conventional tables. Both Activa and Activa S-versions get a new sectional concave that can be changed more easily, and with independent front and rear adjustment for fine-tuning of threshing performance.
Levelling compensation for slopes up to 15% can be had on Beta 7360 and 7370 five- and six-walker combines by deleting the previously compulsory four-wheel drive.
Six-walker CX combines get the quieter and more spacious Harvest Suite Ultra cab first seen on the CR rotaries for next year. They come with improved control layout and comfort claimed for the new interior design.
The CX8.85 slots into the range with 449hp and a 12,500-litre grain tank, which it shares with the CX8.90 to give the top model an extra 1,000 litres of capacity.
A conservative 15% increase in capacity and fuel economy is claimed for a new cutterbar option that significantly reduces the amount of material other than grain (MOG) passing through the combine.
Existing machines retrofitted with the Dual Stream knife on the back of a Varifeed table can be run faster as a consequence, with the main knife set several centimetres higher than usual. Alternatively, a wider table can be used.
Canadian manufacturer Buhler is evaluating the UK combine market with a North American-spec machine built by its Russian majority shareholder, Rostselmash.
The Versatile RT490 rotary has a pair of pre-threshing drums in the crop elevator housing and a 360deg concave that slowly rotates counter-clockwise around the 76cm-diameter threshing rotor.
The combine is powered by a Cummins QSX six-cylinder engine rated at 490hp, driving through a three-speed hydrostatic transmission.