Farm Classics with Peter O'Brien
NEW Holland has always been at the forefront of silage harvester technology, releasing its first model, the SP818, in 1961 as well as having many industry firsts. New Holland’s market share in the silage harvester market may have slipped over the last decade or so, but from the 70s through to the 90s, it was a major player in the Irish silage scene.
One of the harvesters that made a solid impression on both farmers and contractors was the New Holland Sperry 1890 CropCruiser.
Hitting the markets in 1975, the 1890 replaced the dated 1880 which had been available for seven years.
Powered by a 225hp V8 Caterpillar 3208 engine, the transverse position of the engine is of stark contrast to the next generation of harvesters which followed in the 80s which adopted a new engine layout switching to an inline set up.
The 1890 is fitted with a full vison cab, boasting a tinted and sloping front windscreen which wrapped around the side of the cab. Entry is gained through a door at the back of cab, via steps behind the front wheel. Interestingly, when working, the shoot swung over the door restricting the door from opening.
The cab of the 1890 is tight and lever heavy, but functional. The lever for the three speed hydrostatic transmission falls to hand from the right hand console. While with the shoot and flap is operated by two red toggle switches mounted on the pillar of the cab. The shoot has a rotation of 146 degree (210 degree modern comparison) with 8ft and 4ft shoot extensions available. The header height is controlled by a foot pedal.
Relative to its era, the CropCruiser is fitted with four feed rollers and a 12 knife drum. New to the harvester was the ability of the operator to sharpen the knifes in the field with a built in sharpener. Other ‘innovative’ features included as standard is the radiator cover, lighting kit for night work, oil pressure warning alarm and a newly designed two-speed blower.
A further upgrade was released in 1977, the 1895, which was the first silage harvester with a built in metal detector.
The last of the red and yellow Sperry New Holland CropCrusier harvesters, 1979 saw a new era of machines in solely yellow livery. In 2015, New Holland released its latest range of harvesters, called the FR Forage Cruiser, in a fitting nod to its harvesting heritage. If you are running a classic silage harvester, we would be very interested to hear from you.
•For more contact peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork
New Holland Sperry 1890 CropCruiser
Caterpillar 3208 10.1L V8
Years of manufacture