Machinery giant John Deere holds a huge European meeting every five years to show off its latest agricultural and turfcare products to the world. Last week a big farm outside the Portuguese capital of Lisbon was the venue where more than 5,000 Deere dealers and 600 journalists could see the machines Deere would be offering to farmers and contractors in 2012.
And the company has not been slumbering. It had more than 100 new products on display, ranging from a 625hp combine to a robot lawnmower.
The key highlights for UK farmers and contractors? The 6R tractors, which replace the 6030 models, were probably the biggest news, although bigger farmers may be more interested in the fact that the 7030 tractors have been replaced by the 7R series.
On the harvesting front, Deere has gone through its entire three-range combine line-up to offer machines that should give rivals a run for their money. Finally, there were new sprayers and big balers too.
• 6R tractors
The 6000 series has been the firm’s best seller for many years, with more than 550,000 tractors rolling out of the Mannheim factory in Germany since its launch in 1992.
The new range (which replaces the current 6030 models) will go from 105hp right up to 210hp, and divides into small-frame tractors up to 125hp, mid-frame up to 150hp and large-frame ones going from 170hp to 210hp.
There are three wheelbases, too, going from 2.58m up to 2.8m and with scope to fit chunky 205cm diameter tyres on the bigger machines..
All tractor launches these days involve fitting new engines that meet the increasingly tough emissions regulations. The 6Rs are no exception, with 6.8 litre PowerTech PVX powerplants that meet the latest Stage IIIB regs.
As ever, they are what Deere calls “one-fluid” tractors. This means they use exhaust gas recirculation to reduce their emissions rather than the SCR system used by most other makers, which involves having a small secondary tank of urea to do the job.
Three models will be available initially: the 6170R, 6190R and top-of-the-range 6210R, with the rest arriving the following year.
Incidentally, the latter’s 210hp makes it the biggest tractor ever produced by the Mannheim factory. It also packs more horsepower than the 9.5t 7830 model, despite weighing 1.5t less.
All models also have Deere’s IPM boost system that gives them 30hp more for transport or pto jobs.
The range gets a new ComfortView cab which is bigger (and has more glass) than its predecessors. A 7in colour screen comes as standard and a GreenStar 2630 touchscreen is an option.
Transmission choice involves the familiar AutoPwr CVT and AutoQuadPlus powershift, but there’s now a drive pedal mode. You set the engine rpm on the hand throttle, then forward speed is simple changed on the foot throttle.
Rear lift capacities go up to 9.5t and there’s now an integrated, factory-fit front linkage and pto that lifts up to 4t.
• 7R Tractors
Deere’s 7030 series tractors have been replaced by updated models that have engines that meet the latest emissions regs as well as getting more power.
There are five models that go from 200-280hp, all with an extra 30hp boost on tap for transport and pto work.
The three biggest models get Deere’s 9 litre PowerTech PVX engine with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), variable-geometry turbo and what Deere calls single fluid technology (ie, diesel only and no AdBlue/urea). The two smallest models, on the other hand, get a 6.8 litre PSX engine with series turbos.
Four transmissions are available, ranging from a powershift option through to a CVT version with various speed-matching and fuel efficiency modes. As is the case with other tractor makers, Deere is working hard to get fuel consumption down. In fact the CVT itself has been improved to squeeze more hectares from each litre of fuel.
The cab is the same as on the existing 8R tractors and also comes with the option of Deere’s HCS Plus hydraulic cab suspension. This involves a semi-active damping system that anticipates loads and braking to keep the cab balanced without the driver losing the feel of the tractor and ground surface.
Lift capacities are up to 9,562kg on the 7200R, 7215R and 7230R and 10,788 on the 7260R and 7280R. Front hitches can lift 5.2t.
Deere’s JDLink telematics package is fitted as standard and is free of charge for the first year.
• 8R Tractors
This range was only launched in the spring, but Deere has fitted new engines to the 8260R, 8285R, 8310R, 8335R and 8360R to meet the latest emissions regs. They get 15hp extra power, new integrated 5.2t front hitches and pto, up to six electronic spool valves and the option of tracks on the biggest three models.
• W, T and S Series combines
It’s been a little while since Deere did anything radical on the combine front, but it now seems to be making up for that. The company has revamped all three of its W, T and S-series combine ranges, giving them new cabs, bigger tanks and more powerful engines. It has also dropped the C Series model.
The S series rotary used to consist of one model – the S690 – but it now has two stablemates in the shape of the S670 and S680.
The biggest news is that it finally has an integrated set of rubber tracks to compete with arch-rival Claas. Built in-house, they are available on just the S-series models and are 66cm (26in) wide. They have hydraulic suspensions, can run at 30kph on the road and have an overall transport width of 3.42m.
Grain tank capacities on the S680 and top-of-the-range S690 have been pushed up from 11,000 litres to 14,100 litres (10t), making them the roomiest tanks on the UK market. Unloading times have been cut, too, with the 10t tank emptying in 1 minute 40 seconds.
Engine outputs have gone up, with the S690 mustering 625hp, the most powerful powerplant in any combine.
Two transmissions are being offered. ProDrive gives auto shifting between two speed ranges, while the new PBST system allows selection of one of three speed ranges by pushing a button.
Cabs are completely new, with much more space, better storage and improved display screens. The neat console with its banks of buttons comes from the 8R tractor and keeps everything in one place.
Main changes to the combine’s innards are a more tapered rotor with adjustable vanes on the housing to improve crop flow, bigger sieves and a better returns system. Swapping from chopping to swathing can be done from the cab, too.
Headers go up to 10.7m (35ft), with the Zurn PremiumFlow (which works on the longitudinal belt system originally pioneered by MF) available as an option.
W and T Series
The five-straw-walker W Series and six-straw-walker T Series now have four models apiece and all get the new engines and a new cab.
• Trailed sprayers
Deere has gained a big chunk of the UK trailed market with its Dutch-made 700 and 800 Series trailed sprayers and shows no signs of resting on its laurels.
Its new R962i model gets a massive 6200 tank and is aimed at the rising numbers of farmers who want to apply liquid fertiliser across wide boom widths and don’t want to keep having to fill up.
ProRoad axle suspension, auto control of filling, agitating, spraying and rinsing are all fitted as standard. Options include boom widths from 24 to 40m and BoomTrac auto height and tilt control. Pumps are rated at 560 litres/min, with an option to boost that to 700 litres/min
• Big baler
This was the first chance to see Deere’s new big square baler, too. It’s actually made by Kuhn and is based on the Vicon design. However, Deere plans to start making them in North America in 2014 and will also be free to develop the design.