Next month, John Deere will host a formal event to pull the wraps off several new additions to its equipment line. What will be under the covers?
In February, at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, the brand teased showgoers by unveiling a couple of new products that are bound to be included in that May parade of machinery.
When it comes to tractors, John Deere certainly hasn’t had a shortage of offerings in the utility and mid-horsepower ranges. It already builds more models there than any other brand, yet at the Louisville show Deere surprised by revealing it is adding still more choices in the utility segment, which suggests how important that horsepower class is to overall tractor sales.
The all-new 5R Series will offer four models with 90 to 125 engine horsepower. Importantly, too, they will bring high-end features down from larger R Series tractors. (The letter designation following the model number in all of Deere’s tractors indicates the level of features, and R is at the top of the line.)
Impressively, all this gets packed into a chassis with only a 2.3-metre (7.4 foot) wheelbase, providing a very tight turning radius of just 3.1 metres (12.1 feet).
The 5Rs will come with one of two electronic transmission options, the CommandQuad or Manual and Command8. Both will include the AutoClutch feature used on larger series models. All the operator has to do is press the brake pedal and the clutch automatically disengages.
When that feature was introduced on the larger 6R Series a couple of years ago, brand marketing staff said the clutch pedal could have been eliminated altogether. But it was retained as a safety feature because operators were used to having it there and could still use it to quickly stop the tractor.
John Deere will pair the 5Rs with its new quick-attach 540R loader that uses a single-point hydraulic connection.
Inside the Premium Panorama cab, the 5Rs get a high-backed swivel chair with thicker cushions and wider armrests. It’s a much nicer seat than available on the 5M Series, and the loader joystick, with gear shift buttons and reverser built into it, is integrated into the armrest, allowing for one-handed tractor control.
Updated sprayer features
Last August, Deere gave everyone a heads-up that its 4 Series sprayers would eventually be available with new carbon fibre booms, but it didn’t say when they would hit the market.
Once again, Deere used the show in Louisville to announce that starting in June, 120- and 132-foot (36.6 and 40.2 metre) booms can be ordered as a factory option.
As a strong, durable and lightweight material, carbon fibre reduces boom wing weight by more than 35 per cent. The booms are also corrosion resistant and their design makes them easy to clean and maintain. Deere claims using the lighter carbon fibre 132-foot boom can increase spraying productivity by eight percent compared to a 120-foot metal version.
But the booms aren’t the only new feature for these 4 Series sprayers. The updated CommandView III cabs will also debut on 2017’s 4 Series machines, offering what the brand calls a “customizable workspace.” The redesigned CommandARM in the new cab features a programmable multi-function handle. The cab also gets a ventilated leather seat that can swivel up to 15 degrees.
To help owners keep track of a sprayer’s performance while it’s working in the field, Deere also introduced the new John Deere Connect Mobile App, which is designed to provide real-time data on a “nozzle-by-nozzle” level.
When the app is linked with 4 Series sprayers, operators can view the mapping of such job quality information as rate deviation, spray pressure, as-applied rates, and ground speed. In addition, Connect Mobile delivers high-definition documentation for ExactApply nozzle control, and provides real-time estimated droplet size information. Marketers at Deere claim having that data will allow producers to more quickly see and react to any problems.
The app also lets operators quickly compare data layers from previous production steps with what’s seen when scouting fields. And it also provides sprayer operators with more information options to view inside the cab on the machine’s own 4600 screen.
The app can also be used with Deere seeding equipment. Eventually, the company expects to expand the app’s use to harvesting equipment as well.