John Deere unleashes big beast

By: Chris McCullough

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New John Deere 9000 Series forager range unveiled in Europe touches 1,000 horsepower, Chris McCullough reports

John Deere has unveiled a new beast to the self-propelled forage harvester market in the form of the 9000 Series with the largest model touching 1,000 horsepower.

Following intensive DLG testing in high yielding maize fields in northern Italy and in Germany, John Deere has finally unwrapped the new 9000 Series of harvesters.

During these tests the new John Deere 9800 self-propelled forage harvester demonstrated significant increases in performance and efficiency and has received official DLG certification.

The manufacturer has confirmed that the new 9000 Series is destined for markets in the EU28, plus Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Sources within John Deere have confirmed 15 of these new 9000 Series models have already been sold to customers in Japan and potentially some to China.

However, be prepared to dig deep to buy one as it will take over half a million euros (A$803,323) to buy the largest 9900 model. As a guide, the basic 9700 model has a price tag attached of €462,000 (A$742,271) without any optional extras.

The John Deere 9800 self-propelled forage harvester working


In a nutshell, the key features of the four model 9000 Series include a new V12 Liebherr engine, new kernel processor and headers plus the latest precision farming technology, including the new HarvestLab 3000 constituent-sensing system, with the focus very much on forage quality.

Using all the successful momentum from the previous 8000 Series, John Deere has carried this on into the new models; 9600 at 625hp; 9700 at 770hp; 9800 at 870hp; and the 9900 at a massive 970hp.

The manufacturer claims its latest forage harvesting technology will increase customers productivity by 10 per cent while at the same time consuming 10 per cent less fuel, compared to John Deere’s current top-of-the-range machines.

In fact, when measuring fuel economy, rates of just 0.46 litres of diesel used per tonne of maize harvested were accomplished. However, John Deere stresses the diesel usage depends on crop yield, soil and climatic conditions.

In addition, when it comes to maize silage processing the 9000 Series consistently delivers 10 per cent higher kernel processing scores. These performance figures have been verified through numerous field tests by both John Deere and renowned independent research institutes.

In the Italian fields during harvesting the 9800i model was cutting maize at 300 tonnes per hour travelling at an average 7.5km per hour at 1,520 rpm. The maize was averaging just over 60 tonnes per hectare on this particular field and the harvester was using a 12-row header.


The foragers have undergone a fresh, new design with striking elements including twin exhausts. At the heart of the three biggest models, the 9700, 9800 and 9900, is a powerful 24.2-litre V12 Liebherr engine while the 9600 is powered by a John Deere six-cylinder PSX 13.5-litre engine.

This Liebherr high-performance power unit is designed to operate efficiently at lower engine speeds. Beneath 1,400rpm it still provides outstanding torque capacity and copes easily with peak loads, says John Deere.

This feature combines with several other efficiency-enhancing developments, such as optimised component speeds at low engine rpm, and forms the basis of John Deere’s new HarvestMotion concept, which significantly increases throughput and enables industry-leading fuel economy.

The large crop channel width of 850mm is tailored to handle the tremendous throughput of these machines, to ensure the best possible forage quality and chopping efficiency.

Due to the higher engine horsepower, these new foragers feature a reinforced drivetrain and improved mainframe. The proven DuraDrum cutterhead is also designed for handling massive crop flows independent of the selected length of cut.

The John Deere has undergone a fresh, new design


John Deere has extended its range of kernel processors by introducing the XStream KP model. This high-performance processor has been developed together with the US based company Scherer, an experienced leader in kernel processor technology.

It is perfectly matched to the high-performance engine, providing a large roll diameter of 250mm and 50 per cent roll speed differential, thus increasing processing intensity by 10 per cent at all cutting lengths.

Kernel processor rolls are available with a standard sawtooth design on the Premium KP unit, and either the sawtooth or a new XCut design on the XStream KP, which features a spiral cut groove across the roll surface.

Both roll designs are also available with the proven Dura Line heavy-duty coating for increased durability.

Another highlight of the new XStream KP is the built-in temperature monitoring system, which keeps the operator informed about the KP bearing temperature in order to prevent unnecessary machine downtime.

As with the 8000 Series foragers, the kernel processor can be removed in just five minutes for quick changes between maize and grass.


The new 9000 Series self-propelled forage harvesters are available with John Deere’s complete range of AMS precision farming systems, for improved operator comfort and cutting quality.

These include:

  • The new HarvestLab 3000 NIR (near infrared) sensor – view and document real-time measurements of crop yield, moisture and other constituents such as protein, starch, fibre etc, as totals or in convenient site-specific maps
  • HarvestLab 3000 also enables AutoLOC automatic length-of-cut settings and silage additive dosing on the move, based on dry matter content
  • The same sensor system can be used in stationary mode for analysing clamp silage in order to manage feed rations more accurately, and for analysing the constituents in manure (eg N, NH4, P & K) when operating a slurry tanker
  • AutoTrac automatic steering
  • RowSense feeler guidance allows the forager to automatically follow maize rows
  • Active Fill Control (AFC) for automatic filling of trailers
  • The MyJohnDeere Operations Centre web portal for active fleet management and displaying machine and harvest data.

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