John Deere was not the first company to bring a combine harvester to market, but these days it holds a major market share in agriculture. The company announced recently it was making key updates to the 2022 S Series combines, while celebrating its 75 years making these workhorse harvesters.
"2022 is a milestone year for John Deere. It’s the 75th year we've been in the self-propelled combine business," says Nick Howerton, product marketing manager for combines and front-end equipment at Deere. "We started with the Model 55 combine in 1947."
Howerton looks back on that original machine and points out that on a good day the Model 55 "got you 20 acres," he says. "Now, we've got machines that are getting 30 acres an hour, so we're talking a twentyfold increase on a good day over what we used to be able to do. It's been quite a journey over the decades."
For the S Series combine, the machine is celebrating 10 years in the market. Over those years, it’s been enhanced with a range of technology. For model year 2022, that technology march continues with some new factory-installed options.
A look at combine upgrades
The first option Howerton points to is the Automation Activation 4.0 with Generation 4 Machine Sync and AutoPath. "This will be the first time AutoPath has been available on the John Deere combines," he notes.
The AutoPath system means farmers can simply drive up to the field and enter, no more counting which rows or where to start; that data is already available for the operator. The system works with guidance lines from previous equipment passes for accurate operation.
When the bigger X Series combine was launched, one feature, perhaps, made the smaller S Series a little green with envy — LED lighting. For 2022, farmers can opt for a new LED lighting package that uses the same system found on the larger X Series combine.
"We've got a number of factory-installed options and optimization features to enable folks in different crops and conditions to get the most out of their machines," Howerton says.
He points to the three new residue management offerings:
- extra-fine cut chopper for S780 and S790 machines
- Advanced PowerCast tailboard with deluxe residue management for soybeans
- premium residue management that includes a tough crop kit
The company is also offering factory installation of the flat-tooth comb chaffer, formerly called the high-performance chaffer, for both the S and X series. This option makes it easier to set the combine in canola and lower tailings in weedy harvest conditions.
There's a new remote grease line for combine final drives, which should make maintenance access easier.
And finally, there’s the option to add Kondex Max thresh, small wire and large wire configurations to match specific crop needs.
New front-end gear
Gathering the crop into the combine is the core task, and for 2022, Deere is expanding its draper line with other harvest features. And there's a new folding corn head, too.
"We launched the HDR hinged draper with the rigid knife last year," Howerton says. "This year, we're launching an HDF, which is a hinged draper with a flexible knife."
HDF drapers are available in 35- to 50-foot working widths and feature the same wing range of the HDR.
The eight-row C8F Folding Corn Head improves transport logistics.
In addition, Deere is launching wing leveling on Hinged Drapers that lets the user set a "home" position for the draper. When set, the draper returns to that position when lifting on the headlines and improves harvest efficiency. This helps the draper clear debris and obstacles.
Another addition is integrated transport for the company’s hinged drapers. Integrated transport enables the header gauge wheels to convert to transport mode so the unit can be pulled from field to field, keeping combine and header together in transport.
You can learn more about all these new tools at johndeere.com.