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John Deere Product Roundup

18 Apr 2024  •  Tony Kramer

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Read the entire transcript from the latest episode. 

Tony: Hi, I'm Tony Kramer, your host of the Agriculture Technology Podcast, and I'm sitting down with agriculture technology and equipment experts to help you enhance your operation for today, tomorrow, and into the future. In this episode, we are down in Houston, Texas at the 2024 Commodity Classic Ag Show. Now most of you probably know that being it is April now and Commodity Classic took place at the end of February, at the Commodity Classic, John Deere had a major product launch. A lot of new equipment, a lot of new technology. That is what this episode is going to be.

While I was down there, I got the opportunity to talk to a number of different John Deere product experts on different things. We talk about the Precision Ag Essentials Kit, we talk about the new 9RX high horsepower tractors, we talk about the new air carts, very exciting, the entire air cart line is redesigned, and then we also talk about the new S7 series combines and the amazing technology that is being put into them.

With that, let's dive into these episodes. I hope you enjoy the content that we brought back from Houston. I'm here now with Michael Porter. Michael, we are standing in front of this massive 9RX 830. We're going to talk a little bit about it, but before we do that, tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do at John Deere.

Michael: Glad to be here. Michael Porter. I'm the go-to market manager for large tractors and tillage, so really help our dealers and customers learn more about these, well, like you said, awesome new tractors.

Tony: Let's dive into it. John Deere here at the Commodity Classic launched three brand new high horse-powered, new design, everything from the ground up 9RX tractors. The biggest one we're standing here, the 830. They've got a couple of other models. Talk to us a little bit about what those models are and tell us a little bit about the engine. I know there's some fun things that we can learn about that.

Michael: Like you mentioned, three new models. On the smaller end would be the new 9RX 710, then the 9RX 770, and then the one we're standing next to would be the 9RX 830. Those numbers represent the rated horsepower for each of those models. Then on the very top end with the 830, the peak horsepower for that would actually be 913. Again, a major jump in horsepower from our previous machines.

Like you alluded to, the engine in all three of these machines is the new JD18 engine from John Deere, so a lot of great benefits from this. One of the biggest ones being obviously the new high horsepower capabilities, but also about how it does this with emissions. With emissions on this, it's able to meet final tier 4 emissions using only exhaust gas recirculation, more commonly EGR, so no diesel particulate filters and no diesel exhaust fluid, commonly referred to as DEF. Customers are really excited about the opportunity to get something this powerful without maybe some of the hassle or added morning startup with having to fill a DEF tank as well.

Tony: Those added fluid costs or whatever you want to refer to it as, the diesel exhaust fluid, having to put that in the tractor, huge benefit for the customer of not having to do this with this new JD18. Now another thing that is massive on this tractor is this track system that we are standing next to right now. Tell us a little bit about how this differs from the traditional 9RX.

Michael: The main thing you kind of hit on, it's bigger. It's a longer track, it's a taller track, and that's really to help deliver that 830 horsepower to the ground. Starting here with the newer drive wheel, that allows us to do is that the angles changed. We're actually getting more track wrap around this drive wheel, which gets more engagement with the lugs, so really just helps transfer that power better through the machine. As we go down towards the bottom, we've added an idler on the bottom, and that's really to help spread out some of the weight to keep a more consistent footprint to what we have with our traditional 9RXs because this machine is a little bit heavier, total ballast. It can be up to 84,000 pounds. Again, with that 84,000 pounds and 830 horsepower, it takes a pretty aggressive and new design track to get all that power to the ground.

Tony: Absolutely, yes. This thing is massive. I am 6'2" roughly, and it's bigger than me. It is taller than me. We've got the high horsepower. We need big components to get that horsepower to the ground. The next big thing on this machine, we look to the back half of the machine and all of the hydraulic components back there. I know this thing boasts a massive, massive hydraulic pump. Talk to us about that.

Michael: The system is really twofold. You hit on the first one. We have an option for 168-gallon per minute pump option, but it actually goes a little further than that because with this new design, this ground-up redesign, we redesigned the hydraulic system. We actually have two systems independent of each other with their own reservoirs. The first one has two pumps, and that actually runs all the tractor functions, so think steering, braking, and transmission function.

When we talk about the three pumps for that 168 gallons per minute, that's just for the implement side. For customers who have been saying they need more hydraulic flow than what we've had previously, I think this is a pretty good answer to what they're looking for here because for customers say with air seating or things like that, they've struggled with coming down hills, hitting the brakes, and turning, causing maybe fan speed to slow down on an air seater. With this, that's no longer going to be a problem because those two systems are independent of each other, and both are right-sized and maybe a little more than right-sized for the implement side to have enough hydraulic flow to do whatever our customers need.

Tony: Let's take it up into the cab, Michael. Obviously, we're seeing some differences leading up to the cab, and then we get in the cab. Inside that cab, there is acres of space. It is a massive cab. Tell our listeners a little bit about that new cab and also the new design of getting up into the cab.

Michael: Right as you're approaching the cab, one of the big things you'll notice is we have a lot of maintenance items right here outside the cab. They want to overshadow the fact that we have ground access to filling our tanks, fluid levels as well as our air cleaner. But then climbing into the cab, we have a new staircase design. It's a little bit flatter, more like a staircase than a ladder is how we like to refer to it. Makes it easier to get up in and out of the cab. Then getting into the cab, we have a new cab. This is the new CommandView 4 Plus cab that has a new cab suspension system. With this, we call it three degrees of freedom. Think up, down, side to side, front to back, with four shocks, one on each corner. Best ride quality of a 9 Series cab that we've ever had.

Like you said, space. On the floor, we've been able to add 15% more space by removing a lot of the back components that you would have in, say, a wheeled machine, like a wheel well. By removing all that, we've opened up about 15% more floor space and also about 20% more right-side visibility. With those customers, really wide implements for making those turns, more visibility to the outside to make sure they understand what their implements are doing back there.

Then in the cab, the next obvious thing probably is the technology this cab brings. This is a really big deal. We have the Gen 5 Plus display, we have a StarFire 7500 receiver. But then also, these are the first tractors to come out of Waterloo that are now autonomy-ready. Autonomy ready means it's going to have all the components, hardware, and wiring harness for a full autonomy, and then whenever the customer decides to make that decision to become autonomous and purchase, say, the vision system, it's plug-and-play. They can choose to become an autonomous operation whenever it best fits their operation.

Tony: There is just so much about this machine that is new, whether it be the new engine, the hydraulic system, the drivetrain, or like you're saying, the embedded technology up in that new CommandView 4 cab. These tractors are amazing from the ground up, redesigned from the ground up. I just want to thank you, Michael, for taking the time to talk to our listeners a little bit about these new high-horsepower 9RXs. If you are in the market for something of this high horsepower, maybe large air seaters in hilly country, or you're looking to pull your tillage a little bit faster or get a wider tillage tool, John Deere RDO Equipment, we have the solution of these high horsepower. Thanks again for doing this, Michael.

Michael: Yes, absolutely. Thanks for having us.

Tony: I'm here with Christopher Murray with John Deere. Christopher, why don't you introduce yourself, tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do with John Deere?

Christopher: Thank you, Tony, for having me. My name is Christopher Murray. I am the go-to-market manager for Precision Ag Technology, specific around our embedded technology so think displays, receivers, autonomous solutions, sensors like rate controllers. That's what I focus on.

Tony: We are standing next to a display with the Precision Ag Essentials Kit. Back in November, you guys at John Deere, you introduced the Precision Ag Essentials Kit. Talk to our listeners a little bit about what this kit is, how it can benefit a farm, and the uniqueness behind the different business model. It's not the traditional buy it and you have it. There's a unique aspect to it.

Christopher: That kit consists of the G5 Plus display, the universal display, our StarFire 7000 receiver, and a choice of a JD Link modem, so whether it's a R or an M modem. The customer can choose. They can select to fit their needs. That kit, we came with a low upfront cost. It's focused on helping customers that are in older technologies. They have a 2630 or older display receiver. It's an easy way for them to step forward without the large upfront costs through our traditional business model.

Tony: We're getting the latest technology. We're getting those G5 universal displays, the StarFire 7000 receiver, and those JDLink modems. What makes the Precision Ag Essentials kit unique to the traditional purchasing model?

Christopher: We offer both models like you said. Really what makes this kit unique is we know there's a vast amount of customers out there using precision technology. Some of those customers, they don't want to make that large upfront purchase price. They're using auto track and section control. They love what it does on their farm. Honestly, they can't take that next step forward. With the Precision Ag Essentials kit, it allows them to enter at a low upfront cost, so $2,000 for the hardware, and then they have two choices of license. They have to either get the essentials license, that's another $2,000. Low upfront cost of $4,000 total for the hardware and the license.

The first license has auto track, section control, and row sense. Using that technology today, it's easy to take a step forward, utilize the same technology, but now they have the G5 Plus universal display. They can utilize SF-RTK if they want in the future and that G5 advanced technology as well. They can take that next step. They can spread that cost over year over year. Think of it like inputs, right? Diesel, fuel, fertilizer, or seed, they can spread that cost over multiple years. If a customer wants to buy the traditional model, pay all upfront, they still have that opportunity.

Tony: You still offer both models. Even in the Essentials kit, this hardware is not different. This is the same hardware that you would get in that traditional model, correct?

Christopher: It is. The only thing that separates it is truly the licensing side of it. Hardware, for instance, the display, you have a yearly license versus a one-time upfront cost. A customer might be thinking, "What's the difference? When's my payoff?" right? The way the essentials kit's set up today, it's about a seven-year payoff. At about year seven is when the break-even, if you will, if you bought upfront with a traditional model. You can think ahead. Whether it's new displays, new receivers, we want to make it easy for that customer to make that next purchase, right?

Frankly, you think about multiple things in our lives around technology, one that I think is easy to relate to is a cell phone. As new models come out with new features, it makes it easier to take that next step into the next model, and we really want to do the same thing here. We want to open that door so that customers can experience the productivity efficiency gains that they can get with this technology.

Tony: It opens the door. The customers that may not adopt the latest technology, it gives them a lower upfront cost, gives them the ability to either do that essentials license year over year or jump up to that advanced license when they're ready for it. Great offering, both this offering as well as the traditional offering. I just want to thank you, Christopher, for taking the time here at Commodity Classic to talk to our listeners a little bit about Precision Ag Essentials kit, what it is, how it can benefit them, and maybe we'll get some listeners that are interested and reach out to their local John Deere dealer.

Christopher: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Tony.

Tony: Now I'm here with Jordan Johnson. We are standing beside the new C850T massive air cart. Before we dive into this product, Jordan, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do at John Deere.

Jordan: Thanks, Tony. I'm Jordan Johnson. I'm the global air seeding business manager at John Deere. What that means is my team gets to develop these great new products and market them, solve customers' problems every day, work with our dealers.

Tony: Air seeders, global market. There's a lot of opportunity there. John Deere here at the Commodity Classic, you guys introduced and launched the new C-Series carts. A little bit of naming differences, some looks, some added features with EZCal. Let's just start out talking about the new C-Series, the naming scheme, some of the product offerings or size offerings that we have.

Jordan: With the new name and numbering, we keep the C850 as we have in the market today, but we've added a letter designator for T for trailing carts, which is what you're looking at here, or an L would be here if it's a leading cart. The new model lineup, we have a new C350 that's available both leading and trailing. That's a two-tank offering. C400 three-tank, leading and trailing, a 500 three-tank, 550 four-tank, leading and trailing as well. C650 remains leading and trailing, keeping the C850T in the lineup.

Tony: So really a solution for everybody, whether you're looking for that trailing or that leading, formerly referred to as a tow behind or tow between. Earlier, you were saying they both start with a T, so you couldn't designate the difference.

Jordan: Absolutely. That's where leading and trailing come from. Really want the name and numbering to mean something, and you can't really use a T because it's both tow behind and tow between. Leading is replacing the tow betweens, and trailing is now replacing the tow behind and how we think about them.

Tony: Absolutely. Now, Jordan, there's so many awesome new features to these carts, not just the new naming scheme. We got so much to it. First, let's talk about this nifty little guy we are standing next to right here called EZCal.

Jordan: EZCal sets that initial calibration for you when switching products. When you're tendering, you go ahead and grab a sample from the conveyor, dump it in the EZCal system, and then right here on the G5E cart side display, you select which tank you're going to calibrate for and the meter roller color. In this example, we've got a yellow roller, that'd be something like canola on the front tank. You click it, you hit calibrate, two to six minutes later, you come back to this so you can go about tendering, and your MDV value is right here. You simply hit accept and it sends it to the G5. It's that easy, literally hitting the easy button on calibration.

Tony: You're telling me gone are the days of bag calibrations?

Jordan: Yes, I'm certainly not going to miss that workout of carrying those heavy bag cals up these steps all spring.

Tony: Oh man. I remember the days of having to do that. I shouldn't say remember the days. There are still customers out there that are going to have to do bag cals with their 1910s or their older air carts, but we don't have to do that anymore. When you don't like the MDV value, you don't have to do the whole process over again. This EasyCal system, just this little guy, this little system right here is doing so much for the customer in terms of calibration.

Jordan: The other thing that's still true is ActiveCal. Now we have these tank scales, which we've always had in the C650 and 850, is now available on the entire lineup. We can now do an ActiveCal in the field, on the go, all the way from a C350 to the 850 we're here before today.

Tony: A lot of customers are going to be really happy to hear that. It's not just on the special carts or the big carts we can put tank scales on. We got ActiveCal across the portfolio.

Jordan: Huge request from our 1910 customers and now with the new C-Series, they can get that ActiveCal on the whole lineup, any of the sizes.

Tony: Now, I want to go to the next piece, and this is really the heavy hitter, the big dog, new meters. Talk to us about the AccuRate meters on these carts.

Jordan: You're looking at EasyCal. How do we do that? It's all enabled by the new AccuRate metering system. What we're doing here is we're adding a 56-volt ISM on every primary run. This gives the ability for SectionCommand Pro to simply shut it off instead of closing the gate. It gives our customers the ability to have more granular prescriptions. Gone are the time of the whole bank speeding one speed. Now, with this cart, you can have eight different speeds across there and it also enables curve compensation. As we come in a curve around a water hole, a slough, you can slow down the internal, the inside corner, and speed up the outside so your rate's consistent across that tool.

Tony: The other thing I noticed standing here next to these meters, so you talked about the curve compensation, the SectionCommand Pro, each individual run being controlled by a motor, but the color of them, they look a little different.

Jordan: Yes, they look like they're from out of space, right?

Tony: Yes.

Jordan: This is 316-grade stainless steel, corrosion resistance, the entire meter, not just this housing internally, compositor stainless, so special hardware. We want to make sure that even if you're running that really caustic fertilizer, it'll last a long time like this air cart.

Tony: Yes, and that's always been a big request is some of the older air carts, they've rusted out fertilizer, things like that. I noticed even the tubing as well. The tubing is no longer a traditional steel.

Jordan: That's right. This tubing is a composite. It has really great wear characteristics. It'll keep our customers running a long time.

Tony: Wonderful. I want to thank you, Jordan, for talking a little bit about some of the big-- the heavy-hitter components on these new air carts. I know people are going to love this EZCal. I know for sure they are going to love those stainless steel meters. You talked about the technology, the SectionCommand Pro, there we go. Being able to have curve compensation on an air seater, huge deal because when we're talking 60-foot tools, 70-foot tools going around sloughs, going around corners, being able to apply the product where we want it, when we want it, all big features, all great opportunities in the air seater market. Thanks again for doing this, Jordan.

Jordan: Thanks, Tony, for having me.

Tony: I'm here with Bergen Nelson. Bergen, we are standing by something new, unique, a little bit different. Before we talk about that, tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do for John Deere.

Bergen: Sure. Yes. Bergen Nelson. I'm the go-to-market manager for harvesting equipment. What that really means is I'm responsible for bringing the harvest equipment to the market, like the new S7 Combine that we're standing in front of here today at Commodity Classic in Houston.

Tony: This S7 900, different numbering scheme, different look. I had to take a double-take on this. Was I standing next to an X9 or was I standing next to an S7 900? Tell our listeners a little bit about this redesign, the new look, and the new features added into the S7 series combines.

Bergen: When we went to develop the new S7 Combine, we really did look to its big brother, X9, to bring over a lot of features that our customers have been asking for. Our customers have been around the X9 combine, and maybe they don't need that machine, but they wanted a lot of those features on the new S7. Let's dive in and take a look at what some of those are. Starting out with the cab, we brought over the new cab from X9, bringing an increased comfort and visibility to our customers. We know they spend a lot of time in that cab throughout the harvesting day.

We also brought over new grain handling features, including cross auger shutoffs and the adjustable unloading auger spout that they can control from within the cab on the hydro handle. Back towards the rear of the machine, we brought over the premium PowerCast tailboard. That tailboard is a mechanical drive and features straight-blade knives on the chopper. That's helping us reduce the amount of power it takes to run that tailboard. Then we also are bringing new engines in to the S7 lineup.

On the S7 600 and the S7 700, we're bringing in the Gen 2 9-liter. On the S7 700, that's going to give that machine a 10-horsepower bump. Operators running a Class 7 machine or looking to run a Class 7 machine in the future are really going to benefit from that horsepower bump with the new Gen 2 9-liter. Then when we look at the S7 800 and the S7 900, we're bringing over that tried and true 13.6-liter from the X9 to those machines. We're really excited about a lot of the features that we're bringing over. We know our customers have been looking for those for a long time, like the cross auger shutoff and the adjustable unloading auger spout. Really excited to bring it here at Commodity Classic.

Tony: Absolutely. It's not just the outside of it. Some people might say, "Oh yes, you just made it look like an X9. You talked about the engines, you talked about the cab." One of the things in the cab, that new pillar display, that thing is amazing.

Bergen: We do have the G5 Plus displays in the new cab and the new primary display unit, or as our customers refer to it as the corner post display. That's a game-changer for us. Our customers will be able to view more things that they can monitor from within the cab using that new corner post display.

Tony: Everything you saw on the X9s previously and you wished you could get them on the S series, the S700 series combines, you can now do that, whether it be the engines, the cab, the residue management out the back, the S7 combines are redesigned and there's a lot added to them.

Bergen: Can't wait to get in the field with our customers and our dealers to show off the new S7 combine.

Tony: Bergen, let's talk a little bit now about the technology. There is some awesome new technology coming out in the combines into the future. What is this technology and how is it going to benefit our customers?

Bergen: Here at Commodity Classic, we're launching the new S7, but also bringing a new suite of harvest automation technology to these machines. This will be available on both the new S7 and the X9. The first one is predictive ground speed automation. That's where we're using, two stereo cameras on the front of the combine cab. Those cameras are looking out 28 feet in front of the cutter bar, sensing crop height and density. As we're going through the field, we're taking that imagery as well as a predictive yield map that will come through operation center to the machine. With those two layers, we can automatically speed up or slow down the combine as we're going through varying yield within the field. Through that technology, we're seeing a huge productivity increase up to 20%.

Tony: We talk about keeping the machine efficient, keeping it full, harvesting as much crop as we possibly can without slugging that machine, plugging it, or vice versa. Maybe we're not running enough product through the machine and we could be more productive. This technology with the satellite imagery, the predictive yield, the forward-facing cameras that are very unique on this cab, that's all going to help our customers be more productive.

Bergen: We're doing it proactively, where in the past our systems are probably more reactive. The goal is to automatically do this through the cameras and the satellite imagery and help our producers keep that machine full and keeping that machine running at the peak capacity that it was built for.

Tony: There's another technology that in the past has been called something else. You guys redesigned it a little bit. You may have known auto maintain, where we had to set that performance target. First, we optimize the combine, then we set that performance target. You guys at John Deere, you made some changes to that, which I think are going to be awesome. Talk to us a little bit about this new way to optimize your machine.

Bergen: I'm super excited to get that technology out there. We have redesigned it. It's called Harvest Settings Automation. In the past, like you mentioned, we had to set a performance target and that could take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to establish before. The machine would automatically start changing those five main combine settings. With the new Harvest Settings Automation, it's really built around customer outcomes being broken grain, poor material, and grain loss. The operators have the option to adjust that. As soon as they turn the system on, it's going to start adjusting that combine automatically with the predefined sets that we have in the machine.

We're going to get to target a lot faster and help our operators optimize that combine along with the predictive ground speed automation. With both of those technologies, like I mentioned earlier, we're seeing up to 20% productivity increase on the S-series and the X9 combines.

Tony: Big things coming from harvester model year '25. We got those S7 series combines. We've got all this embedded and integrated technology on both the X9s and the S7s and just the ground speed, predictive ground speed automation. We're getting into autonomy here. We are moving forward into harvest autonomy.

Bergen: Yes. Really on the S7, we're also bringing a new electrical architecture system that's going to help us pave the way forward for the future of autonomy in crop harvesting. We're just getting started with the new S7 and the predictive ground speed automation technology on that machine.

Tony: I want to thank you very much, Bergen, for taking the time here at Commodity Classic to talk to me a little bit about what harvester has going on, what John Deere is doing in the space of combine technology, making these combines better, more efficient, and essentially allowing our customers to do what they want, when they want, and in an efficient manner.

Bergen: You bet, Tony. You nailed it. Happy to be here to support you guys and introduce these new products to our customers here at Commodity Classic.

Tony: That wraps up our interviews that we did down in Houston. Again, I hope you got to learn something about this new equipment, the new technology. John Deere is really driving the ag technology space. We are pushing forward. They are bringing new things to the market every year. I'm super excited for this model year 2025 equipment to finally come to us next year, obviously. Very exciting. A lot of great things.

Please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast if you haven't already. You can subscribe to the show on the many podcasting apps that we're streaming this out to such as Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, as well as many others. While you're out there, drop us a review. We'd love to hear what you think about the show. Lastly, make sure to follow RDO Equipment Company on Facebook, Instagram, and X, and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube. You can also follow me on X @rdotonyk.

Tony Kramer

Tony Kramer is the Product Manager of Planting Technology and a Certified Crop Advisor at RDO Equipment Co. He is also the host of the Agriculture Technology podcast. If you have any questions for Tony or would like to be a guest on the podcast, you can find him on X at @RDOTonyK.

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