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Podcast Ep. 120: X Series Combines

22 Jun 2020  •  Tony Kramer

Learn more about the newly released John Deere X Series combines.

Host Tony Kramer takes a deep dive on the machine that's creating a lot of buzz.

Check out past episodes and guests - visit the Episode Archive.


Each month, we share the latest in agriculture technology. Don't miss an episode by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Have a story idea or a precision ag topic we should highlight? Connect with us on social media: Instagram | Facebook| Twitter| YouTube and connect with podcast host, Tony Kramer, on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.


Read the episode’s complete transcript here:

Tony: Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 120. Today, we're going to be talking about the new release of the John Deere X9-series of combines. Before we dive into the show, 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's podcast app. We have it on Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud, as well as many others. While you're out there, drop us a review. We'd really like to hear what you think about the show.

Lastly, make sure to follow RDO Equipment Company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube. You can also follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK.

Now with that, let's get back to the show.

Jake: Hey, good to be back again. I'm glad that we get to keep talking about equipment together.

Tony: Absolutely. One thing we will say right now, we still don't have a name for this segment.

Jake: Yes, still looking for a name, but that's okay.

Tony: It is okay. We'll keep rolling with this, but if any of you listeners out there have an idea for a name for this specific segment where Jake and I dive into some equipment, let us know. We'd love to give this segment an actual name.

Jake: Yes, something proper. [laughs]

Tony: Yes, absolutely.

Jake: Let's dive in.

Tony: Let's dive into this. The X9 Combine, John Deere X9 Combine, they just released it a couple of days ago. What--

Jake: Yes, June the 15th.

Tony: June the 15th. What are your initial thoughts, Jake?

Jake: It's an interesting roll out, I think. You go ahead and interject. We saw this first in Agritechnica, and that made a huge splash. Everybody was talking about this big new combine that Deere rolled out. I think it's really interesting because you're just overwhelmed by the size. They just assure size of this machine. It's a twin-rotor machine. You go through all the specifics of it, but we don't really know a lot.

We didn't know what we're really looking at until we started seeing the release of some of the additional products that Deere came out with also on the fall or in the third and fourth quarter of 2019. When we saw the 8RX, we saw the new 8R and 8RT, the 7R, and we saw the New CommandView IV cab. Now we're starting to get to know some of those specifics, the integrated StarFire receiver, the cab options, the trim levels that are offered. It's like, "Wow."

When we finally get the specifics on this combine, we start seeing more than just overhead, overarching shots of what's going on the agrotechnical with people swarming this humongous machine. Now we can look at it and say, "Wow." I was just blown away that we're seeing the CommandView IV cab in the X9-series. We didn't really, at the time, know that there's actually two combine releases that came at once, a class, 10 and a class, 11, which we had never seen.

Tony: Yes, absolutely. I want to dive into that. Before we talk about the actual combine and some of the interior components of it, you mentioned the cab, the new cab, integrated receiver. Let's talk a little bit about that. Really it's going to mirror the new 8R tractors.

Jake: Absolutely.

Tony: We're seeing the 8R access out there, out and about, new steering column, the integrated receiver. Talk a little bit about that, some of the components that we see with this new cab.

Jake: Well, the cool thing is it's almost more-- it feels more like a pickup trim level package. You have three different levels. You have this lower-tier package that you can choose that has clap interior and some of the basic creator of comforts. You have that mid-level package that you can upgrade too, and it's going to have the fridge, and it's going to add a little of additional steering in the seat where it'll swivel back and forth a little bit further. It'll swivel more to the right than the left.

Then you get the full one package, the signature package, the John Deere signature package, which includes all of the technology and all of the cab options. It gives you the ability to have that, well, the really new cool up-to-date display in the stereo, which is really cool that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Just all those cool little features, the massage seat, the heated and cooled seat, the air ride suspension, everything that goes into that. I thought that was really fun. I thought that was a really cool--

Tony: You bring up a really good point, adding that cab. I know we talked about when they released the tractors, the 8RX tractors, the 8R tractors, 8RTs, they all have that new cab on them. They talked about that, about it's meant to mirror the automotive industry. We think about these combines, or tractors, think about the hours these customers are sitting in there. They spend more time in some of this Ag equipment than they do in their pickups or in their houses.

To add all of those creature comforts of the seat or the touchscreen radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, stuff like that, it really was, like you said, to mirror the automotive industry, take some aspects of that, some of the nicer cabs or nicer creature comforts for these customers, these owners, to sit in and combine long hours into the fall. That's just a little bit on the cab, the interior. You did also mention the integrated StarFire 6000 Receiver?

Jake: Yes. That was pretty cool. What do you think of that?

Tony: I really like the idea of the integrated receivers. I know there's a lot of people that are skeptical about it because most farmers out there, right now, already have those components. I, coming from the dealership side of things, I love it because I can now talk to a customer about a combine, or one of our account managers, our sales team, they can sell that combine not having to worry about adding a receiver or adding a secondary display. We have our premium activations right on the Gen 4 Command Center. We can add that Gen 4 Extended Monitor if we want, to give us more screen real estate. Then that receiver, we no longer have to worry about that receiver anymore.

I think about having integrated precision Ag components in these machines, and I think all the way back to when the R-Series tractors first came out. Not the first ones in 2010, but in 2011, John Deere gave us the ability to add AutoTrac and Section Control in that older GS3 Command Center. We've had that ability for a while, but we still had to add that receiver. Now, we don't have to add the receiver anymore. Everything is integrated. Now, you still can add a secondary display, a secondary receiver, but the whole idea behind it, is everything is there. We have our activations, we have our subscriptions. It's all right there. You don't have to worry about, "Oh, where did I put that display? What room is that receiver sitting in?"

I do really like the integration. Again, as I said, there is some skepticism about it. It'll be a learning curve. Traditionally, guys had all of those extra components. It'll be a mindset change of, "I buy the equipment with the IS components on it, I sell the equipment with the IS components on it."

Jake: Think about it like this too, because what I think is cool, is you no longer have this-- I'm going to use a NASCAR term, but you don't have this hat dance. You don't have to, "Oh, is this my combine receiver?" Or, "No, this is the one I used for my planter. This should be on the tractor. No, this should be on the planter. No, this one goes on the combine."

You no longer have that song and dance where you're bouncing the receivers off because this one has this activation, that one has that activation on it. You don't have to calibrate and measure things. It's all integrated. They put the StarFire 6000 Integrated Receiver on the 8RX or the new 8R-Series tractors, completely off into the corner where a lot of people, when they started seeing it-- Now with the X9, you see a lot of comments on Twitter of, "Oh, they finally found where the receiver is supposed to sit, right there in the center of the cab," but it's fully integrated, just the same. They could stick that thing anywhere they really want.

Tony: Absolutely. As you said, you brought up another good point, efficiency, a time saver. There are no measurements, there's no calibrating the TCM. That is all done because the receiver knows where it's at. It's integrated. It's right there. Very cool features when we talk about all that stuff. Talking about the cab, some of the new integration, let's dive into some of the meat and potatoes, some of the stuff that I know people want to hear. We see this big X9 combine. An X-Series combine. We got the X9 series, X series. I don't know, we'll have to talk to our John Deere reps on that, figure out exactly what the story is there. You had mentioned, Jake, they actually released two combines.

Jake: Yes, they did. We didn't know that until the other day.

Tony: We had no idea that was coming. We have the X9 1000, which falls under a class 10 combine. Then we have the X9 1100, which falls under the class 11 combine. Kind of crazy.

Jake: Absolutely. It's really cool though.

Tony: We're looking at some numbers here on the computer in front of us. It's all about capacity. Harvesting capacity, harvesting efficiency.

Jake: That's right.

Tony: The big question is going to be, and I know you and I were talking about this before we started recording, but the question is going to be, who is this combine meant for?

Jake: Some people say that's the million-dollar question, and no, that's not a lead to what the potential price of this machine is, we still have not seen pricing. I know everybody is skeptical on what the machine price is going to be, but really, just looking at the sheer size of it, I think the size of the machine and the size of the fields are going to help dictate a lot of the target market for this. This isn't going to be a guy who has a lot of patchwork to do. You're not going to be able to fit a 24-row corn head or a 50-foot draper head in these fields.

There are going to be the wide-open spaces, the large, probably high-moisture corn, a lot of high-moisture corn, maybe they're running a fleet of combines. Potentially looking at a guy that has maybe six, seven combines, he's running wheat harvest. This has the ability, with the fuel efficiencies and the machine efficiency in and of itself, could potentially drop them down to only needing two or three, which could really lead to a lot of savings.

Now, with that, we've also seen some of the-- we're not going to get into the deep numbers of it, but just thinking about what they released as 7,200 bushels of high-moisture corn per hour, and 30 acres of really good, what they call, tough wheat per hour, that's insane. Just to keep the trucks underneath that kind of a machine, you're going to need those extra guys, it's going to be a good thing they're not sitting in the combines.

Tony: Right. No, and you bring up a number of good points. What we're looking at with these class 10, class 11 combines, these X9 combines, is it's going to be the customers that maybe the 780 or 790 aren't meeting their expectations, they're not performing as well as they should, or as efficiently as they should, so we now have another offering for them.

Or, you also mentioned, some of those customers that have multiple machines. We here, in the Red River Valley, currently sitting in Morehead, Minnesota, we don't see a lot of 790s or 690s in this area, but we do see a number of 670, 770, 680, 780 fleets of combines.

Jake: Yes, we do. You bet.

Tony: There are a number of customers out there, whether they're small-grain or large-grain customers, they're running four, five, six class 7 or class 8 combines. This is another option for that farm to maybe take their six S780s and go up to two or three X9 combines, whether they choose the class 10 or class 11. It is definitely about capacity.

We're not going to dive too much more into that. If you have questions, reach out to your local John Deere dealership. If you're in the RDO area, talk to your account manager, talk to some product specialists. We can get you the in-depth numbers of what that is. Talking efficiency here too, Jake, we look at how much crop we're pulling in with 45-foot heads, 50-foot heads, we got 18-row corn heads, things like that. They went 23% wider-

Jake: On the feeder house.

Tony: -on the feeder house.

Jake: [chuckles] Isn't that crazy?

Tony: 23% wider. That is insane. The amount of crop that is going to be coming into that feeder house is just unreal. We go further back than that. The cleaning area, the cleaning capacity of this machine has been increased as well. To see all of the information and everything that we have for sizes, and efficiency, and all of that stuff, it is just unreal what they did with this thing.

Jake: And the really impressive part of this whole thing, you're increasing all this capacity, you're increasing that, but you're also being extremely efficient. They're doing this in a surprisingly tight package. This is not a lot larger than your S790 Combine. Also, with that 13.6 liter power plant, that thing is so fuel efficient that even comparing it to our class 9 or that S790 Combine, you're seeing a remarkable amount of fuel savings and power efficiencies, even running two rotors, even running a 23% larger feeder house pushing more product. I think we did a little bit of quick math, the short math says that the auger on this thing is 20,000 bushels per hour. You talk about being able to unload a 430, 460 bushel grain tank in a minute and a half. It's amazing they can do it in the package that they did, and still have it fit in the shed.

Tony: Absolutely. You had talked about the new engine, the 13.6 liter engine. So, one of the cool things, class 10. The X91000, one turbocharger. The class X9 1100, they slap two turbos on that guy. We're looking at horsepower ratings max, horsepower ratings of 630 horse on the 1000, and 690 horse on the 1100. So, there's a lot of power there. Like you said, though, the machine itself is not much bigger than a 790.

Jake: No.

Tony: Or a 780, at that matter. They redesign the interior, so much larger cleaning capacity. They did move to a dual rotor simply to move that product through to thresh it more efficiently. There are some pretty large changes on the inside of the machine, but all said and done, this machine is very impressive.

One of the other things you talked about the unloading auger.

Jake: Yes.

Tony: Three different lengths of foldable unloading auger, and they did give us an optional adjustable spout.

Jake: That's cool.

Tony: I know a lot of green guys saw that on a different colored machine. They said, "Hey, I really like that idea." John Deere listened. John Deere said, "Hey, let's offer that as an option. It's not standard, so it doesn't have to be put on the machine, but it is an option out there." A lot of cool changes with that auger option selection.

Jake: Yes, and then to kind of finish and top the whole thing off, three different technologies trim levels just the same as you would have cab levels, and really, adding Harvest Smart, adding Combine Advisor, all of the features that you already like from the S700 series, they brought that over to the X9. Really, it's going to be a very similar experience, which is good if you're a target customer that's already in a class eight or a fleet of class seven, class eight combines, or running an S790 and you're looking for that larger capacity and more efficient machine. We're talking 20% more fuel efficient.

It's not going to change your experience, it's going to be the exact same 4600 CommandCenter Gen 4 experience that you've come to expect from a 700 series Combine. That's what's also really exciting about that.

Tony: Absolutely. Everything is there, the technology spec levels that Jake mentioned, you have select premium ultimate, very similar to the cab and lighting packages, select premium ultimate.

One thing that I enjoy seeing on the tractors is that awesome emblem right on the door.

Jake: John Deere signature.

Tony: John Deere signature edition. They are going to offer that in the Combine, just like the tractors, you get the John Deere signature edition, it is the ultimate spec level, the ultimate option level for everything: for lighting, for the in cab creature comforts, as well as the technology. It's all there, it is really awesome to see. We're really excited.

Jake, there's so much more we can talk about.

Jake: We could go on and on, but--

Tony: We hit our 15, 20 minutes of episode time. Maybe, once we get these things-- Another big question that a lot of people have is, what is the timeline on all of this? One of the things to remember is they just released it, so you will see some of these machines out and about, being used, being tested with. I do believe, though, pricing is not going to come out until about August.

Jake: August. That's right.

Tony: They're going to start building them in November?

Jake: That's correct.

Tony: These are, again, model year 21 machines. If you're interested, if you're curious, like I said before, stop into your local John Deere dealership. If you're in the RDO area, stop in, talk to an account manager, talk to a product specialist. We can get you all the information you want on these X9 combines.

Jake: Yes. Have a look at them at the farm shows, check them out on YouTube. There's going to be a big push to try to get these in front of as many people as possible in those ways. Unfortunately, with limited production for model year 21, model year 22 is going to be a little bit better, and you're going to see a lot more of them out. It's going to be challenging to probably get your hands on one, and you're probably fighting over who's at the top of the list, but definitely just check it out. It's a cool machine. It's really exciting. I think that we're going to see a lot more to come from this that may work its way toward the mower 700 series, or the S700 series trim levels. Just exciting. It was a really cool release in a time that we're looking for things to get excited about right now. This is cool.

Tony: Absolutely. Jake, I want to thank you again for sitting down, chatting with me. Reminder, we're still looking for a name for this segment of our podcast. X9 1000, X9 1100 John Deere release. Go check it out.

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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