John Deere says its all-new 8000 Series self-propelled forage harvesters represent an entirely new generation of machines.

Building on the best features of the popular 7000 Series, it says these new models integrate cutting-edge crop analysis and documentation with innovative machine design, paired with reliability, traction and comfort. As a result, these machines take power efficiency, forage quality and cost efficiency to the next level.

The new range includes five models, four with standard crop channels and an additional machine with a wide crop channel:

  • 8100, 380hp, John Deere 9-litre engine
  • 8200, 430hp, John Deere 9-litre engine
  • 8400, 540hp, John Deere 13.5-litre engine
  • 8500, 585hp, John Deere 13.5-litre engine
  • 8600, 625hp, John Deere 13.5-litre engine (wide body)

All models are available in an ‘i’ specification, including HarvestLab constituent sensing and yield monitoring software as standard. The ProDrive hydrostatic transmission with engine speed management is also now optionally available on all models in the range.

John Deere says its FarmSight service packages take the harvest operations of large farms and contractors to a new level of efficiency. Using JDLink wireless technology and with the permission of the owner, dealer product support specialists can remotely monitor machine performance in real time for a fixed monthly fee, to suggest utilisation and efficiency improvements.

The longitudinal position of the Stage IV compliant John Deere PowerTech PSX engines has been maintained to enhance rear visibility for trailer filling and safer manoeuvring. With its air intake behind the cab, this engine layout ensures an efficient air flow to the rear of the machine, resulting in lower cooling requirements.

Furthermore, a significant weight reduction due to lighter components, reduced crop flow resistance and dry sump gearboxes leads to further fuel savings. So does the engine speed management system, which automatically matches engine rpm to the harvester’s power requirements under varying field and road conditions.

Because of their longitudinal layout, the engines are also positioned lower within the forager’s chassis. This in turn lowers the machines’ overall centre of gravity and improves their working stability on steep slopes or while travelling at high speeds on the road.

Thanks to the new dry sump greasing technology, the angular gearbox transfers power to the drive systems with minimal power loss. This design also means that all hydraulics and the fan are driven directly from the engine without the need for complex couplings or additional belts and pulleys.

New header solutions including grass pick-ups from 3 to 4.5m and Kemper rotary headers from 6 to 9m wide provide customers with cutting edge productivity. Kemper maize headers are optionally available with automatic steering and/or automatic header control. For wholecrop harvesting, John Deere also offers the Zürn ProfiCut 620, a highly efficient header solution for silage that leaves clean, low-cut stubble.

The new universal cutterhead has been designed to perform equally well for the very different requirements of both biogas producers and livestock farmers. Depending on their specific requirements, customers can choose between 40, 48, 56 and 64-knife configurations.

John Deere’s rigid DuraDrum cutterheads not only deliver the best possible forage quality and the flexibility of a very wide length of cut range, they have also been redesigned to provide an even better crop flow and require less adjustment, to further reduce wear. The AutoLOC (automatic length of cut) feature allows the operator to pre-select the precise cutting length based on actual forage conditions.

John Deere has also completely redesigned the entire processor on the 8000 Series, for even better kernel cracking and excellent maize silage processing. The bevelled discs of the KernelStar2 multi-crop processor produce a more aggressive tearing action, which smashes every kernel for maximum starch release and higher silage nutrient value.

The kernel processor can be removed in just five minutes for rapid changeover during overlapping harvest seasons. The ‘swing out, swing in’ design makes it easy to lift out the kernel processor and replace it with the grass chute when required.

Mounted on the crop spout, HarvestLab measures both dry matter and crop constituents in real time. Developed and patented with Carl Zeiss, HarvestLab uses near infrared technology to measure the harvested crop 17 times a second. Independently certified by the DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft), HarvestLab takes the guesswork out of producing high quality silage.

Complemented by John Deere’s real-time constituent measurement, HarvestLab also has the power to transform the way livestock farmers and biogas plant owners manage their feedstocks and plan their future choice of crop varieties.

Another added value feature of the new 8000 Series is the fully integrated advanced dosing system, ADS Twin Line, for silage additive application. Featuring two separate tanks, a 30-litre concentrate tank positioned alongside the cab and a second 300-litre tank located at the rear of the machine, ADS Twin Line serves as a highly versatile management tool.

Operator comfort has also been improved, with excellent visibility from the cab due to the anti-glare screen, Bluetooth connectivity, plenty of storage room and automatic air conditioning, adjustable from the CommandARM. Other advanced features include a GreenStar 2630 with touchscreen display and all functions conveniently located in the CommandARM, plus Remote Display Access and AutoTrac with RowSense.

The new 8000 Series forage harvesters require minimal maintenance to maximise chopping time. The automatic greasing system removes the need for daily greasing, and the engine radiator screen slides out for easy cleaning with the integrated high-pressure air hose. Extra thick tungsten carbide coatings on the knives and ultra-hard DuraLine components significantly extend the service life of key components, while many of the heavy-duty bearings are sealed for life.

In addition, by using only genuine components, lubricants and coolants, John Deere’s PowerGard maintenance and protection plans help to control operating costs as well as maximise uptime and resale value.