Growers and combine operators need to look beyond horsepower to understand where the new John Deere X9 Series combines get their performance gains over the current S790 flagship.

Increased power-efficiency from the driveline, straw chopper and ground drive, together with a new engine with high torque at low revs, make a significant contribution, whilst also promising up to 20% lower total fluid consumption.

With 639hp output, the twin rotor X9 1000 has only 14hp, or 1% more power than the single rotor S790 benchmark, yet field comparisons lead Deere to claim up to 35% greater performance in oilseed rape and a 34% improvement in tough wheat crops.

The Scottish Farmer:

Throw in the additional 75hp of the X9 1100’s engine and those gains climb to 40% and 70%, respectively, with a genuine sustained 100-tonne/hr potential that would put most farms’ grain intake capacity to a severe test.

Those are big jumps in performance from a machine barely any bigger than the S790 and have been achieved through more effective packaging and productive use of available space.

The key outcome is that the X9 harvesters are 23% wider inside, right the way through from the crop elevator to the straw chopper.

“There are no crop pinch points to restrict harvesting capacity,” emphasised Deere’s Ed Stephenson, at the UK unveiling. “We have big increases in threshing, separation and cleaning capacity but it’s also the case that the front end equipment is as big a departure from what we’ve done before, with the whole package heralding a new era in harvesting performance.”

The new HDX table likely to be favoured for these combines is built along with the X9 in the United States but to European specification in widths up to 12.2m (40ft) and is ‘hinged’ in two places – roughly in line with the tracks when these, rather than wheels, are fitted to follow surface contours.

“With the centre section able to tilt as well as the wing sections, this creates a highly flexible platform with a more consistent reel-to-knife relationship than a centre-hinged design,” said Mr Stephenson.

The table is supported on height-control gauge wheels connected hydraulically to compensate when one runs in a tramline and other hollows.

An electronic control unit enables the combine’s command and documentation system to recognise individual header data such as working width, cutting height and minimum reel speed settings, as well as hours accumulated, to minimise post-coupling set-up.

Small knives and a 100mm (4in) throw increases the number of cuts and wide ‘draper’ belts in reversible sections with a seed-catching surface bring crop to the centre with the help of a large diameter auger located at the back of the 1200mm (47in) deep bed when cutting high volume crops such as oilseed rape.

“The incoming crop starts off in the feeder-house as a thin, even mat that is actively divided to enter the rotor housings where the proven tapered rotor design has been lengthened to increase the area of the threshing and separation sections,” explained Mr Stephenson.

The Scottish Farmer:

The use of two rotors 3.51m (11ft 6in) long and 600mm (24in) diameter, in place of the single 3.12m (10ft) long, 762mm (30in) diameter rotor of the S-Series, is calculated to result in a 45% increase in threshing area. There are 15 rasp elements per rotor and an 80% increase in separation area, with 26 progressively wider-spaced tines per rotor.

Active hydraulic cylinders used to set the concave spacing also aims to prevent distortion in high volume crops for a consistent gap, while the concentric shape around the rotor’s separation area allows the crop mat to expand as it passes over the top before being compressed again.

An eight-wing discharge beater, with its own separation grate, helps discharge the straw, while grain and other material falls to the 36% larger Dyna-Flo XL cleaning system.

“In this area, we have a front step pan in place of augers and four turbo fans generating 85% more air passing through the sieves,” Mr Stephenson said.

“Returns are processed and distributed across the sieves as before and in addition to the two grain loss sensors installed at the rotors, there are six sensors monitoring losses across the full width behind the cleaning shoe.”

Large moulded side vents help channel a good proportion of the cleaning air out from under the rear hood and in a further effort to minimise back-pressure, Deere has adopted golf ball technology by etching dimples into the surface of the straw chopping knives to reduce the volume of air forced around the rotor housing.

Single-speed mechanical drive to the twin deck spreading elements – one deck for straw, another for light material – is said to save power versus hydraulic drive and the complete assembly is powered into position for spreading, chopping and service access using control switches on the side of combine.

New drive-lines making greater use of advanced belts running around larger pulleys to eliminate heavier shafts and gearboxes, while the new ProDrive XL front axle transmission employs two hydraulic motors to generate 30% more torque when combined at up to 19kph (12mph) and a single-motor top speed of 40kph (25mph).

In the cab, operators can take advantage of the myriad technologies on offer, including AutoTrac, which now operates with a more secure fully-integrated StarFire 6000 receiver; Gen 4 Machine Sync, which enables the operator to control a grain cart tractor; and the Combine Advisor advisory or automatic combine settings system.

The latter displays and draws on images from new-design cameras on the returns and clean grain elevators to respond to grain quality targets as well as the operator’s grain loss and performance preferences.

John Deere X9 Series

Model X9 1000 X9 1100

Engine max power 639hp 700hp

Grain tank 14,800 litres 16,200 litres

Unload rate per second 162 litres 186 litres