A MIGHTY V12 engine will form the backbone of the new 9000 series forage harvesters from John Deere, with up to 970hp on tap from the biggest version.

Th 24.2-litre V12s are built by Liebherr, with some input from the JD engineering department and will be available on three out of the four new 9000 series. The other one will come with Deere’s own 13.5-litre straight six PowerTech engine, which kicks off the range with 625hp.

That is the 9600 model, which is followed by the 9700 (770hp), the 9800 (870hp) and the 970hp range-topper, the 9900.

Despite this enormous engine in the bigger machines, John Deere is promising 10% better fuel economy than the current 8000 series leaders, which is mainly down to the big Liebherr lump’s huge torque back up and an ability for it to work efficiently at below 1400rpm, though it is nominally rated at working at 1800rpm. And, the unique flat-top torque curve is also behind the range’s ability to be 10% more productive – a capability ably demonstrated recently in dense, 15-foot-high maize crops in Italy, where it was recorded harvesting 350-400 tonnes per hour with a 10-row header, albeit in ideal conditions.

The engine uses a squirt of AdBlue to meet current emission legislation and is also Stage V ready. To cope with a long working day, the fuel tank is now 1500 litres, with an AdBlue side tank of 90 litres.

As well as the engine power, the addition of the new HarvestMotion concept is also part of the reason behind this prodigious output. This automatically controls forward speed in relation to throughput through the processing unit, whether it is designed to handle grass, or in that case, through the corn processor.

The mantra of 10% improvement also holds true for the new XStream KP kernel processors made in the US by Scherer, a company with which JD has had a long association. These have a wide roll diameter of 250mm and with a 50% roll speed differential which facilitates the improvement in output.

The standard ‘saw-tooth’ design on the rolls can be optionally replaced with the new XCut design or spiral cut grooving which is claimed to add a new dimension to processing intensity and accuracy of chop length – a feature seen as crucial for producing feedstock for anaerobic digesters.

On this size of machine, the addition of the proven HarvestLab concept will be almost obligatory and this, again, fits in well with the renewable sector’s demand for processing accuracy. The AutoLOC feature in HarvestLab offers automatic length of cut settings and can control silage additive settings on the move based on the dry matter content of the crop passing by the sensors.

Further operator enhancements included the active fill control set-up which can automatically and fairly accurately top up trailers. However, as in Italy, some operators continue to do this manually via the finely tuned ProTouch joystick control to stop themselves from becoming bored!

The 9000s four-wheel-drive drive-line is JD’s ProDrive, hydrostatic two-speed auto-shift transmission which also has a diff-lock and anti-slip regulator.

Bearings have been beefed up to cope with the added power and for things like the bearings in the kernel processor, there is also built-in temperature monitoring to alert operators to overheating.

JD also boosts 8000 range

FOR THOSE who don’t need the massive output of the 9000 series, John Deere has committed to continue with its 8000 series and has backed that up by introducing a new range topper, the 8600 standard body model which heads a range which starts with the 8100.

This fits in well with those that cannot handle the wide body design of the 9000 series with the standard width 8000 machines getting within the 3m transport width. It is fitted with the 13.5-litre Deere engine fitted to the bottom model in the 900 series and can also come with with the XStream kernel processing unit.