JOHN DEERE last week delivered on a promise it made to farmers three years ago to make bigger and higher speed machinery.
At a world product release in Columbus, Ohio, the company unveiled some of the biggest machinery it has ever made.
Included in the line-up were a class eight combine harvester, a new self-propelled boom sprayer, a new front-wheel assist tractor range and refinements to improve Deere's GreenStar GPS guidance and mapping software.
The company also committed itself to a 2005 commercial production of AutoTrac "hands-free" guidance for its combine harvesters.
Other new products included new hay balers, mower conditioners and a range of tillage and seeding precision planters designed mainly for the North American market.
With the new products Deere claims it has "delivered the goods" to farmers pushing for bigger and higher speed machines to improve productivity and cost efficiencies.
The eight model 60 series combine harvester range is headed up by the 280kW (375hp) 9860 STS - a class eight model and the biggest ever built by Deere.
As expected the company has focused on improving cleaning and threshing areas and capacity to provide better samples in a range of crop conditions.
It also has added a new high speed unloading system that can output 3.3 bushels a second, the fastest unloading rate of any combine harvester on the market.
And a new "TouchSet" automatic adjustment module contains 16 pre-programmed crop settings that automatically adjust rotor threshing speed, concave clearance, cleaning fan speed and chaffer and sieve settings.
All models also feature a new moisture sensor.
The three model 7020 series front-wheel assist tractors, Deere's most popular selling line, have been upgraded with bigger engines, new transmissions and more cab options.
Horsepower ratings start at 104kW (140PTO hp) and range up to 127kjW (170PTO hp).
The top-of-the-range 7920 comes standard with a 40km/h infinitely variable transmission (IVT), triple link suspension (TLS) and an option of AutoTrac guidance.
The 4920 self-propelled sprayer will be released next year as a pilot program that foreshadows full commercial production in 2005.
It comes with a 36m (120ft) boom, a 4500L tank and a 223kW (300hp) engine.
The boom is capable of spraying in a folded position at 70 and 90ft widths.
Standard features include an electronically-controlled drive train.
This automatic four-wheel drive system incorporates two hydrostatic pumps that drive four bent-axis wheel motors and four massive final drives.
A transmission similar to IVT delivers speeds up to 60km/h for transport and 34km/h for spraying.
It is plumbed for liquid application and can be optioned with AutoTrac guidance.
The word's out
NORRISH Service Group is making hydraulic augers.
Norrish was not expecting to release the augers until this year's Dowerin Field Days but after the word got out they sold five last month, plus enquiries from the eastern states.
Augers are available up to 50ft in length as standard sizes with Norrish's unique wheel drive mechanism and 8in, 9in or 10in auger barrels.
Their construction methods have not changed and Norrish will manufacture augers to farmer's personal requirements.
"We like it simple, strong and reliable," Neil Norrish said.