The First Close-Up Look at the John Deere X9 Combine

Farmers swarmed the John Deere exhibit at Agritechnica 2019 where the company revealed its largest combine to date – the X9. This event was the first time the public could see and touch the award-winning harvester. However, detailed machinery specifications are still limited.

“We’re going to keep a lot of our spec information until we have an opportunity to interact with our dealers and ensure they have that content,” says Nathan Kramer of John Deere. Meetings with dealers are expected to take place summer 2020.

“Customers will get the chance to see these machines and get a much closer view of them at farm shows later next year, and we’re certainly going to see machines in the field this fall,” he adds.

Here’s a virtual tour of the features visible at Agritechnica 2019.

Close up of tracks on the John Deere X9 combine
Photo Credit: John Deere

“The tracks that you see on our X9 are a family approach. We launched our tracks in 2019 on our very successful S700 series combines,” Kramer says. “Over the last two years, harvest has been very wet, and customers really see the flotation value and the reduction in compaction that our tracks system is providing.”

Kramer notes this is a unique design made especially for combines. It takes into account the vertical loading weight a combine carries vs. the horizontal pull of a track tractor planting or doing tillage work.

Tire options, including 710 duals, will be available, as well, Kramer says.

Looking down on the John Deere X9 header auger and belt from the cab
Photo Credit: Natalina Sents

A new grain-saving auger belt is a key feature of the new draper head revealed with the X9 combine. “We want that harvest to go into the tank and into our customers’ bins,” Kramer says.

“With a relatively simple design that we’re able to leverage on our new hinged draper, you can see the difference. Those individual seeds or kernels are allowed to be collected and stay a little bit higher on the belt,” he says. To demonstrate the grain-catching texture, Deere used canola (rapeseed).

Although specific measurements have not been published yet, the range of motion the new draper head has is significant, Kramer says. The model displayed at Agritechnica 2019 offered more than 3 feet of flex with each wing. “Compared to other offerings in the marketplace today, I would say what we have been able to design and will be able to offer to our customers is significantly more than what has been offered,” Kramer says.

With this flexibility, an operator won’t have to path-plan as much and will be able to have consistent cut height across varying field conditions. “Going over contours and terraces – whatever it may be – from a path-planning perspective, you’ll just be able to go and continue to leverage guidance lines, AutoTrac, things like that, and you won’t have to go around it or make multiple passes to get all the crop,” says Kramer.

The header has three sections: two textured side belts, and a narrow center belt. “What that’s allowing us to do is really ensure we have a very tight finger-to-cutter bar relationship. You can see we have that throughout the entire length of our head,” says Kramer. That pulls in the crop properly and gently and is another area Deere engineers worked to improve in order to reduce header loss.

A fingered auger that stretches the full length of the header was designed with bushy crops like canola in mind. “That’s going to ensure it stays on the belt where it needs to, so it’s nice even feeding directly into our increased feeder house,” Kramer explains.

Grain tank of John Deere X9 combine
Photo Credit: Natalina Sents

Although specifics about the larger capacity aren’t clear, Kramer credits this improvement to the dual rotors on the X9. The shoe area is also increased, due to the wide body of the machine. “It’s the widest body in the industry,” Kramer says.

In response to farmers’ concerns about roading with a larger machine, Kramer says, “In this case, looks can be a little bit deceiving. We were very sensitive to increased capacity, but also, we need to safely transport equipment. The overall, outer dimensions are not significantly larger than what we have today with our S700 series. It is going to be a little bit longer, but the width and height of the machine in transport configuration are extremely close to our S700 series today. A lot of the growth occurred just between the wheels.”

Cab of John Deere X9 Combine
Photo Credit: Natalina Sents

More capacity means farmers can stay in the combine longer. A brand new comfortable, smart cab will be offered for the X9. In addition to an updated look and feel, the seat has been enhanced.

Monitor and arm rest arrangement in John Deere X9 Combine
Photo Credit: Natalina Sents

“The lighting will be much more functional and give our customers the lighting they are in need of in dusty conditions to ensure they are not getting fatigued,” Kramer adds.

Kramer emphasized the X9 is a continuation of Deere’s offerings, and other popular harvesting equipment will still be available, including the S700 series.

“Our engineering staff did a phenomenal job, really looking at each functional area on the machine and ensuring they are enhancing it and getting the most out of it and what our customers need in tough threshing conditions, high-yielding wheat, and high-moisture corn, in particular, but this is a very capable machine for all crops,” Kramer says.

The new X9 has been tested around the world. In Denmark, a third party confirmed the combine harvested 100 tons of small grains an hour with losses less than 1% under high-yielding and tough threshing conditions this summer. Due to this efficiency, the X9 was awarded a Silver Medal by the Agritechnica 2019 medal committee.

Testing in North America has been extensive. “We spent a lot of time in western Canada, where they have very tough threshing small grains. We spent a significant amount of time right in the Corn Belt, as well, making sure we’re getting in high- moisture corn, but also dry corn and soybeans.” Kramer notes the X9 has been tested in the South, Pacific Northwest, and California, too. In addition to in-field testing, he says the combine has been tested for thousands of hours on test stands to make sure each part is functional and reliable.

With a new combine will come many new parts. “We’re always looking at our infrastructure,” Kramer says. “We have 20 years with rotor technology, so we don’t want to take that and just remove it. We want to continue to leverage that knowledge, those parts whenever we can. There are going to be a lot of new components, enhanced components to ensure all this fits together, but I would say the general logic that customers and dealers are aware of and comfortable with, you’re going to see that, but everything is going to be enhanced.”

The combine will be built in East Moline, Illinois, at the John Deere Harvester Works plant.

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