MOLINE, Ill. — Try this. Put your 15-year-old nephew into your half-million dollar harvester, make your initial settings and then turn him loose in the canola for a day of combining.
It’s a scary thought, right?
However, John Deere says that’s what a farmer can do with a new 2018 S700 series combine. Based on the five-year-old design of the S600 series, the new machine has taken automation a step forward.
The S700 made its media debut June 1 at John Deere’s head office in Moline, Illinois.
Deere says the high level of precise automation lets a farm manager make all the correct adjustments and then lock in those parameters for the day.
As conditions continually change, the smart combine continually fine-tunes the settings to keep performance in the target zone.
It means a farm manager can set up a half-dozen combines with novice operators and put them to work, confident that the settings are correct right up until the last round.
It’s all about removing the stress of combine tuning from the shoulders of the operator, said Randy Sergesketter, senior vice-president of crop harvesting equipment at Deere.
“It’s difficult finding competent operators, no matter where you are. That’s why we’ve introduced Combine Advisor,” said Sergesketter. “You can take an untrained combine operator, establish the machine performance levels you expect to achieve and the machine will maintain those throughout the day as conditions change.
“The sensors know when conditions begin to change, and they relay that information so the appropriate adjustments happen.”
Sergesketter said that any time Deere makes a significant upgrade like this, it starts with the operator. The engineers find out what operators need to make the job easier so the machine is more productive.
“We know that when it’s easier to operate the machine, when there’s more automation, then the customer gets a better results.”
The five critical automated adjustments include fan speed, rotor speed, sieve, chaffer and concave clearances.
Once the manager has checked some samples, he makes the basic five adjustments, then turns the combine over to the operator. If the farm manager has a half-dozen combines running in the same crop, he can do the settings for one unit and tell the others what to set.
Combine Advisor will be standard on all new S760, S770, S780 and S790 machines in the 2018 model year.
The package incorporates a number of different technologies:
- Auto Maintain is a function within Combine Advisor that is supported with ActiveVision cameras that let the operator see inside the tailings and clean grain elevators on the screen.
- Active Yield is another new feature that automatically calibrates the mass flow sensor, thus eliminating the need for manual calibrations.
Operators will experience greater comfort in the cab compared to previous models. The new CommandCenter cab will be shared across the entire combine, big tractor and self-propelled sprayer lines.
This means an operator can move from one machine to another and not have to totally re-learn the controls.
The new seat swivels 7.5 degrees left and 15 degrees right to provide better visibility. Extra grain tank mirrors give a better view of the grain tank.
The CommandCenter cab has Gen 4 interface and monitor with a 4600 processer and Command-Arm, which includes a multi-function control lever.
Customizable buttons control AutoTrac, RowSense and HarvestDoc. Deere said operators will find set-up and start-up quicker and easier because of the intuitive harvest run and setup screens.
Sergesketter said the new 700C/FC folding corn head with the RowMax row will endure up to 50 percent longer. The row unit gathering chains now use solid-alloy bushings that reduce pin and bushing wear. Expected life of the stalk rolls increase by 25 percent by employing a harder material and adding a new wear coating on the front and trailing edges of the blades.
The heads are available from six to 18 row units. Available row spacing is 20, 22 and 30 inches.
The StalkMaster stalk-chopping option is available on all models.
Folding corn heads are available on eight and 12 row units, allowing operators to waste less time disconnecting, trailering and reconnecting heads when moving from field to field.
For corn growers harvesting high moisture corn, corn head improvements include an auger floor insert to ease crop handling and a lower auger height to minimize crop damage.
Deere said that for small grains, the 700D Rigid Draper has a 20 percent capacity improvement in tough harvesting conditions over the previous model. It features an 18-inch top crop auger that’s 50 percent larger in diameter.
Heavy-duty drives, high-performance gauge wheels and a new centre section seal kit reduces centre section grain losses by up to 45 percent in canola.