After running months of teasers on its official “Unlock” website (JohnDeere.com/Unlock), John Deere later this month will unveil its 2012 farm machinery lineup in Indianapolis. Farm Industry News has a front-row seat to the launch, which John Deere claims is the largest in the company’s 174-year history.

One of the new products will be “a really new combine,” says Barry Nelson, manager of media relations, John Deere Ag and Turf Division. As with prior launches, we asked Nelson if he could provide us with an exclusive preview of these new machines. He did, and we’re sharing it with you, first, on the cover of this issue.

So, what else can we tell you? Turns out, quite a bit, based on the information we’ve been provided.

Total revamp

On its website portal, John Deere says the only thing the company didn’t change was the name and color of these machines. So expect changes in about everything else, including the cab, header, feeder house, rotor and grain tank.

Bigger capacities

Nelson says we can expect to see bigger machines, designed to meet the higher production needs of today’s producers. “They will have greater capacity and improved cleaning, which means less loss,” Nelson says.

Secondary processor

The John Deere website features video clips of Iowa farmer John Jensen explaining to a city dweller how the combine processes grain. Using his John Deere 9870 STS combine as a prop, Jensen points out how the corn comes in through the corn head and passes through the throat to a rotor that separates the corn from the cob. Jensen hints that a secondary crop separator system within the rotor might be added to produce a cleaner sample with less grain loss.

Larger corn head

Bigger combines will require bigger corn heads to keep up. New header equipment, specifically designed for these higher-capacity machines, will also be introduced, Nelson says. Expect to see more rows added to John Deere’s current 12-row corn head so farmers can harvest more crop in less time.

Larger-capacity grain tank

John Deere’s largest combine, the 9870 STS, is a Class VIII combine that can hold 350 bu. of grain. Farmer Jensen says he’d like to see a 400-bu.-tank capacity so he doesn’t have to stop as many times to unload. Chances are the new combine will provide that or more with new grain tank extensions built into the combine that can be put in place from the cab with a touch of a button.

Luxury cab

By all accounts, John Deere has built the ultimate man cave in these new combines. Nelson says operator comfort, visibility, and control will be unmatched with some of the new features offered. This will likely mean all-around glass for an unobstructed view, the same smooth, air-ride seats, and intuitive controls. We also expect to see a refrigerator and ice maker tucked under the seat and a hookup for an mp3 player.

GPS- and web-enabled

“The new machines are fully integrated with the latest precision and logistics technology,” Nelson adds. This likely will mean the combines can be ordered fully equipped with automated steering, row-sensing headers, and a telemetry system that lets a farm manager remotely track machines in the field.

The first public showing of the combines will be August 30 at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. Stay tuned for more detailed information on our website at www.farm industrynews.com. We’ll give you the full report in our
October issue.