Farm Classics with Peter O'Brien
FOLLOWING up from last week’s article on the advancement of silage harvesters in the 90s, our attention now turns to the other green contender – John Deere. Similar to other manufacturers, John Deere had taken its self-propelled harvester design to its limits with the 300hp 5830, which could trace its roots back over 10 years.
The John Deere system relied on grass being augured from the chopping cylinder, through a ‘coffin box’ and exiting at a 90-degree angle into the blower and was truly dated. An all-new approach was needed, and John Deere did not disappoint.
Launched in 1992, the 10 series harvester comprised four models – 6610-6710, 6810 and 6910. Manufactured at the all-new Zweibrucken plant in West Germany, dedicated to forage and combine harvester production, the 10 series had a domineering stance over the outgoing 30 series.
The use of the Cummins N-14 engine for the 6810 and 6910 was central to the development of these new harvesters and also shattered the 500hp benchmark.
The 14l 6cylinder turbo powerplant is capable of producing 540hp and 480hp on the 6910 and 6810 respectively when sitting at the optimal 1900pm. Furthermore, a rotary self-cleaning screen is fitted at the back of the harvester to prevent blockages from dry grass and dust on the radiator, ensuring the engine runs cool.
Crop intake and flow was significantly improved with the introduction of the 3m wide 630 header. The crop is fed up to four feed rollers, then through the 66cm-wide chopping cylinder. The silage then passes through a paddle-type blower and up the shoot.
Very early models used a four paddle blower which was later upgraded to 12 paddles for greater power. Mid-way through the series run, a kernel processor was mounted in the harvester with its own winch to install the unit during maize harvesting. The newly designed cab for the 10 series boasted great levels of comfort and visibility. A new hydrostatic joystick gave fingertip controls to the shoot and header, as well as an emergency stop button at the top. Air conditioning was standard as well as a passenger seat which housed a mini fridge underneath.
The pillar to the right of the operator is home to the fuel, temperature and engine displays, as well as warning lights. A considerate touch was the illumination of steps at night as well as a wiper, mounted on the door. Send your Classic silage outfit to Farm Classics.
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John Deere 6810
Years of manufacture