Archive Article: 1997/12/13

13 December 1997

A difficult harvest has put the combine back on many buyers purchasing lists. Peter Hill reviews manufacturers developments.

Case – IH

A NEW range of conventional combines will join the familiar Case-IH Axial-Flow rotary models following the companys newly-announced deal with MDW, the former combine manufacturing arm of the east German Fortschritt concern.

The four-, five- and six-walker machines will bring new value contenders for combine sales. Meanwhile the Arcus twin rotor combine throws conventional design out of the window with weight-carrying wheels at the back and steering wheels at the front.

This not only gives it better steering characteristics, allowing a 40kph top speed, but also keeps overall width down to 3m.

Equally unusual is the location of the threshing/separation rotors where the grain elevator normally goes, an enormous two-tier sieve assembly and a cavernous grain tank. All of which gives the machine an appetite to match the biggest capacity harvesters already available.

The Arcus will be evaluated in the UK next year.

John Deere

WITH the CTS twin rotary combine still officially under UK evaluation – despite a number of grey import machines working away in this years harvest – John Deeres news focuses on a more sophisticated cutting table management and control system.

Contour Master provides fully automatic control of cutting height as well as lateral tilt so that operators can concentrate on steering and overall performance.

Using two pairs of ground contact strips to indicate ground contours, the table lift rams can keep things on an even keel and at the required cutting height.

The system is introduced on a 6m wide Contour Master table supplied as standard with John Deeres range-topping 2266 six walker combine which for this harvest (along with the 2264) gained a more capable hydrostatic ground drive to cope with more powerful Deere engines.


THE combines stay much the same but the organisation selling them is different with the newly constituted Same Deutz-Fahr taking over from importer Watveare earlier this year.

One result is a doubling of Deutz-Fahr parts stock held at the firms Warwickshire base (not all of it for combines, though), with the aim of ensuring better first-time parts availability. Another is the establishment of a buffer stock of harvester spares at Forfar dealer Gordon Phillips to provide a more local service for Deutz-Fahr users in Scotland.

The Italian-owned German manufacturing operation has already expanded the range with self-levelling Balance models of the five-walker 4065 and six-walker 4075 and 4080 machines. These are claimed to provide more scope for keeping threshing and sieving components on the level when working on sloping ground to maintain output without grain losses soaring.

Separate pivoting final drives on the front axle, adjusted automatically by hydraulic ram, keep the combine level on slopes up to 20% – more than other machines with similar systems, says Deutz-Fahr – in addition to coping with up/down working on slopes up to 6%.

The new flagship TopLiner 8XL aims to match the capcity of the biggest rotary combines with a conventional threshing and separation system.

It uses the same drum/beater/separaror assembly as the 4080 and 4090 models, but then a spreading drum distributes straw across eight straw walkers, arranged in two sets, which oscillate in opposition.

Massey Ferguson

THE most significant package of changes to the Massey Ferguson combine range came in time for this years harvest when the Fieldstar yield mapping and Datavision II combine monitoring systems were introduced, along with smart new cabs for the combines themselves.

This year, the value of MFs Power Flow draper-type table has been brought into focus again thanks to laid crops. A bigger version is now available to make the most of the MF38RS and MF40RS capacity potential.

At 7.6m (25ft), the latest version is a metre wider but only 3% heavier.

In addition to boosting output in cereals and direct cutting oilseed rape (where the rubber conveyors and forward knife position are a particular advantage), the extra width enables two 4.8m (16ft) rape swaths to be gathered in one go.

Other details? A new cab floor mat reduces noise levels and makes the compartment easier to clean out; and oil tank and cooling capacity have been increased, with more thorough filtration, on larger models.

Theres also a new straw chopper; only subtly different from the current one, with a bigger diameter rotor and a revised counter-knife position resulting in more of a guillotine action. It takes more power but should give more consistent chop length for better minimum tillage incorporation.

New Holland

A THOROUGH shake-up among the TX straw walker combines and a partner for the rotary separation TF78 Elektra mark New Hollands offerings for the 98 harvest.

A principle feature of the TX67 is its 3.3m overall width – 65cm less than the TX66 on which it is based. That could make all the difference in slim lanes.

Elsewhere in the range, the emphasis is on extra power for more output. The TX68, for example, gets another 30hp to create the TX68 Plus which heads the range with a 310hp New Holland Powerstar engine. The 205hp TX63 slots in as an additional model towards the bottom of this line-up.

Extra cutting width from a 9.15m table takes advantage of the TX68/TX68 Plus capacity potential with a revised slip clutch on all sizes transmitting higher torque but still providing effective overload protection.

Introduction of the TF76 Elektra means New Holland has more than one rotary separation combine again.

Though smaller, it mirrors the TF78 Elektra build, using conventional main and secondary threshing cylinders but replacing straw walkers with a large diameter centrifugal drum for final separation.

Power is 255hp (330hp on the TF78) and grain tank capacity 8,000 litres (9,500 litres on the TF78). Threshing cylinders are the same width in both models but of smaller diameter in the newcomer.

Standard equipment includes a 7.3m cutting table and a cleaning shoe which remains level across slopes of to 17% so that output can be maintained without rocketing grain losses.


AN ADDITION to the Lexion range and a novel table that does away with oilseed rape extensions is the principle news from Claas.

The Lexion 440 slots into the bottom end of the big capacity six-straw walker combine line-up, with less power and simpler specification than 450 above it.

The folding chaff spreader is optional. The grain tank holds a little less, and tank covers are opened manually rather than by electric motor. A 6m Autocontour cutting table is standard and the Perkins engine delivers 250hp.

The Vario cutting table has hydraulic adjustment of the knife-to-auger spacing. The knife can be drawn back up to 100mm to cope with very short crops or moved forward 200mm to deal with laid crops.

Or it can then be moved to a position 500mm forward of standard with blanking plates filling-in the gap – for oilseed rape. Conversion time is between 15 and 20 minutes.

Autocontour float, pre-set cutting height and lateral float are standard features; the 7.5m version costs $5,500 when specified in place of the standard table, compared with the bolt-on rape extension, complete with vertical knife, at £2,200.

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