We recently completed wheat harvest on our farm using two John Deere combines. After 20 years of sitting in a barn after purchase, we were able to get our John Deere model 45 combine up and running so it could participate in the action. I thought having a machine from the 1950s out in the field with our 2010 9670 STS would make for some great comparison photos. It’s easy to see that the new combine is larger. Quite a bit larger actually.
In addition to all the pictures I went to the owner’s manuals to get some specs on dimensions and capacities so we can all see just how much things have changed in half a century. Let’s take a look at the evolution of this essential piece of farm equipment over the years.
By the Numbers
|Grain Tank Cap.||40 bushels||400 bushels|
|Length||22′ w/ platform||34′ 3″|
|Width||7′ 2″||17′ 6″|
|Wheel Base||10′ 4″||11′ 6″|
|Rear Track||3′||10′ 3″|
|Engine Displacement||188 cu in||549 cu in|
|Fuel Capacity||25 gal||250 gal|
Some of those differences are huge, but others like height aren’t that far apart. I went to the manual for the 635F cutting platform on the 9670 to find its weight. The platform alone, at 6,710lbs, weighs 610lbs more than the 45 and its platform together! Our 8 row corn head comes in at about 200lbs less than those. I couldn’t find any specs on the capacity of the unloading augers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the auger on the 9670 holds as much grain as the 45 holds fully loaded.
Harvest in Action
Here I am making my first pass in a combine without a cab!
Footage from last fall harvesting soybeans. Different crop, same equipment.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how things have changed over the years. These machines are really quite similar in the way they separate grain from the plants. The basic operations are essentially the same, but efficiency and performance have improved bit by bit over time. Do you think when my grandfather was running pull behind harvesters and combines like this one he could’ve imagined how large today’s machines would be? Not to mention they’d be driving themselves via invisible GPS signals while creating printable maps of things like yield and grain moisture? Amazing!