Farm Classics with Peter O'Brien
LAUNCHED in 1986 and marketed under the buzzword of ‘Precision’, the John Deere 5830 forage harvester was a more refined version of its predecessor, the 5820. Powered by a 290hp John Deere 10.1L engine and although dated, the technology of the 5830 was tried and tested.
Grass enters the harvester through a narrow 2.14m pick up reel, where it goes through four feed rollers and then chopped by the segmented knife drum. The grass is then augured back through the infamous ‘coffin box’, pushed out sideways into the four-paddle blower and up the shoot which has no fold-down function.
Interestingly, the segmented knife design was much more forgiving in the event of foreign objects entering the drum, in comparison to the full knife design of some of the competitors in the market.
The 5830 features a SoundGard2 cab which is constructed with an impressive amount of glass for its era. A wide opening door, a curved windscreen provides a clear view of the header, while to the right, the window hinges outward.
Sitting in the armchair like an operator’s seat, the steering column provides great adjustment, with a small digital ground speed or rpm display. Yellow handled header and blower clutch leavers are located either side of the steering column.
Perfectly positioned to the right of the seat is the hydrostatic control level featuring, two rocker switches on top controlling the shoot and spout, while a forward facing switch raises and lowers the header. A sleeker design compared to its New Holland competitor, this was a stark upgrade on the 5820 where all of the controls were lever-operated.
A frustrating characteristic for the operator is the tendency of the radiator grill to block with dry grass requiring regular clean downs throughout the day.
5830s were no stranger to modifications as owners sought to ever increase output. Shoot support frames were commonly fitted by Irish dealers, with many variations seen across the country. Tower extensions were also common place to give extra height as trailer size grew. Furthermore, newer, wider 630 pick-up headers were retro-fitted from 10 series harvesters as well shoots.
John Deere’s most powerful harvester of the late 80s, the 290hp 5830 is a far cry from today’s self-propelled monsters. However, they were a popular machine amongst Irish contractors, establishing a firm foothold for John Deere in the silage harvester market.
If you are running a classic silage harvester, we would be very interested to hear from you.
•Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @ flashphotoscork
John Deere 5830
John Deere 10.1 litre
Years of manufacture