Deere shows smaller can produce muscle

29 Nov, 2009 01:00 AM
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Pingelly farmers Allan (left), and Brodie Cunningham discuss features of the new John Deere 9670 combine harvester with Greenline Ag Pingelly branch manager Tim Henwood during a break in harvesting last week on the family farm's Corrigin property. With an expanded cropping program, the Cunninghams traded a John Deere 9500 model on the 9670 to improve productivity.
Pingelly farmers Allan (left), and Brodie Cunningham discuss features of the new John Deere 9670 combine harvester with Greenline Ag Pingelly branch manager Tim Henwood during a break in harvesting last week on the family farm's Corrigin property. With an expanded cropping program, the Cunninghams traded a John Deere 9500 model on the 9670 to improve productivity.

THERE always has been a major focus on big machinery, both by manufacturers and the media.

Realistically, to capture market attention, it is far better to announce the release of the biggest model ever built, or the most powerful engine on the market.

This is despite the fact that the majority of sales will inevitably be made on new models which aren't the biggest or most powerful.

Put it down to a marketing quirk that nobody wants to change.

The salient point is that new machines don't have to be the biggest or most powerful to provide the reliability and productivity required by mainstream broadacre farmers.

Technology has reached a stage where economies of scale can satisfactorily be achieved whether you're cropping 1000ha (2500ac) or 100,000ha (250,000ac).

Even some 60kW (80hp) tractors boast the same technological features you get in higher horsepower models.

It's a point recognised by Pingelly farmers Allan Cunningham and his son Brodie.

A family conference, which included Allan's wife Joanne, concluded the best economic way forward was to dispense with sheep and go continuous cropping.

The consequence of that decision was the realisation of the need for a new header.

Spurred on by a 50 per cent Tax Allowance from the Federal Government, the Cunninghams recently traded their conventional John Deere 9500 combine harvester on a new John Deere 9670 model.

The main reason for the switch (there was still plenty of life left in the old girl), was the recognition that the 9500 would not be able to provide the productivity that would be demanded from an expanded cropping program that embraced properties in Pingelly and Corrigin.

"It simply would have meant a longer harvest for us if we had kept the 9500," Brodie said. "And we also needed more capacity because of the need to cut low in preparation for next year's seeding program."

The 9670 is equipped with a John Deere 10.6m (35ft) draper front and despite a stop-start harvest, it already is living up to the expectat-ions of Allan and Brodie.

"There's no doubt the new technology makes a big difference," Brodie said. "Everything can be done in the cab with fingertip control."

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