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The Year of Combine Innovation

This past year has shaped up to be an unforgettable year of combine innovation. The brand-new Fendt Ideal combine from AGCO drew large crowds at farm shows around North America last fall. While this machine is the first completely reengineered combine in more than a decade, all major combine manufacturers have announced significant updates to their combine lines in 2018.

AGCO ideal combine

AGCO claims its Fendt Ideal combine delivers what farmers want most in a combine line, which will be available as class 7, 8, and 9 harvesters. Caleb Schleder of AGCO touted the in-field efficiency, uptime, simple operation, and excellent grain quality the Ideal offers.

This combine features a 485-bushel grain tank. The Ideal Streamer 6.0 auger boasts an unloading speed of 6 bushels per second and is standard on class 9 machines. The high-speed auger is optional on class 7 and 8 combines. 


At a presentation earlier this fall, AGCO General Manager Robert Crain explained the “crawl, walk, run” approach the company is using for the combine, which will be launched in 2020. For now, demonstration versions of the Ideal will continue to be field-tested around the Corn Belt.

Pricing information for the combine is expected to be released soon.

John Deere S series

In May, John Deere announced three major updates to its popular S series combines for 2019. Expanded track options, a new draper head, and an app update are added to the line. 

Factory-installed tracks in 30- or 36-inch belt widths are a new option for the 2019 machines. All model year 2019 S780 and S790 combines will come with a tracks-ready axle. The special axle will be an option for 2019 S770 combines, but it’s not available for 2019 S760s.

The new 700FD HydraFlex draper head must be ordered separately but is compatible with the 2019 S series combines. Deere claims this head provides better crop flow and longer belt life. A fourth sensor helps improve ground sensing abilities.

Finally, farmers who run a fleet of combines may appreciate the Remote View and Adjust feature that is part of the updated MyOperations mobile app. This technology lets farmers monitor combine performance remotely while being able to adjust the concave clearance, rotor, fan speed, chaffer, and sieve clearance settings.

The 2019 S series combines can be ordered now.

Case IH 50 series

Late this past summer, Case IH expanded its combine line to include a new Axial-Flow 250 series machine. In addition to an improved feeder house design, adjustable rotor cage vanes, and a new two-speed electric shift ground-driven transmission, the combine may be equipped with AFS Harvest Command.

AFS Harvest Command is an automation system designed to optimize performance no matter who is behind the wheel. After operating an Axial-Flow 8250 combine, farmer Mark Bartlett of Colby, Kansas, observed, “whether you’ve run a combine for 50 years or 50 minutes, this machine is super user-friendly. The fact that you can grab someone off the street and get the same results as someone who has run one forever is extremely appealing to us.”

Case IH also introduced a limited-edition 150 series Axial-Flow combine in 2018. The red machine has the iconic International Harvester styling paired with new technology. “For older-generation farmers, this combine is a throwback to their earlier farming days. For younger generations, this is the combine they grew up in,” explains Kelly Kravig of Case IH.

This machine features the Cross-Flow cleaning system from Case IH and a two-speed electric shift transmission.

New Holland cr revelation

August brought three combine innovations from New Holland. The company introduced its CR Revelation series combines with the IntelliSense Automation system. New Holland claims the system can increase the productivity of an experienced driver by 10% and a novice driver up to 20%.

“Our automation system enables the combine to react faster and more uniformly while making preempted adjustments,” explains Luiz Miotto of New Holland. “By supporting the driver on the decision-making task, the combine will optimize output and grain quality, and effectively minimize harvesting costs through reduced losses.”

The company says customer feedback indicates farmers found the IntelliSense Automation system intuitive and easy to use. Some producers said it would be helpful for new or less-experienced operators.

New Holland

The crop-feeding system, IntelliCruise, lets farmers choose which of three harvest strategies (maximum capacity, fixed throughput, or limited loss) is the best fit for their situation. 

In addition, the 2019 CR Revelation series combine is equipped with a two-speed gearbox, integrated wet brakes, a bigger hydrostatic pump, and electrohydraulic differential lock option.

The special gearbox offers one speed range for fieldwork and another for road travel. Enabled by the larger hydrostatic drive, this design delivers more traction and faster reaction, while reducing fuel consumption.

CLAAS lexion

Claas unveiled the new Convio line of headers for its Lexion combines. The Convio line offers farmers increased visibility, more automatic features, and high feeding efficiency.

Natalina Sents

“The new Convio series is a first in the industry with advanced features on the draper head such as auto contour flex and auto belt speed that can be automatically set or adjusted on-the-fly. Convio Flex is the only flex draper in the industry with a 9-inch range of vertical flex. This enables the cutter bar to adapt to changing terrain more efficiently,” explains Jeff Gray of Claas.

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