John Deere’s S-Series combines have been harvesting crops since 2012. They brought with it a larger operator station, bigger cleaning shoe, new class 9 machine – better known as the S690, 16-row corn heads, flex draper platforms, a power fold grain tank, and the ever popular refrigerator. Many other updates have been made along the way and I will highlight those changes throughout this blog post.
Model lineup included the S550, S660, S670, S680, & S690. It featured a larger cab with much-improved visibility over the 70 Series. This really saved a lot of “bow necking;” looking around the corner post to see the ends of your headers. It had (finally) a touchscreen command center display. There were a lot of 70 series command centers with fingerprints on them because operators were used to the touch screen in their tractors and tried in vain to run the 70 Series combine command center the same way. The new refrigerator was a big hit because it reduced the need for a cooler to get you through the long days. The factory cab-cam harness made it easier to install cameras on the machine to reduce stress when on the road or when backing up. The S-Series also introduced a larger and more efficient cleaning shoe to help keep more crop in the machine. With this added productivity, the S680 and S690 received a larger standard grain tank and an increased unloading auger capacity of 3.8 bu/sec vs. the 3.3bu/sec on the 70 series. The S680 and S690 were also given an active tailings system to help better deal with the added capacity of the machine and reduce losses by not recirculating crop back through the rotor. One of my favorite changes was the ease of changing the chopper speed. Gone were the days of swapping belts to switch from corn to beans. Another change vs. the 70 Series was the removal of the park brake pedal and shift lever for the 3-speed transmission. All of this was moved to the armrest as a park brake button and a 1-2-3 gear selection. Also gone was the big silver colored boat anchor in the grain tank better known as the moisture sensor. Replacing it was the new auger style mounted on the side of the clean grain elevator. This new design was much more reliable than its predecessor. Another new option was the power folding grain tank extension. This allowed customers to fold it up or down from the cab to avoid low hanging power lines or shorter shed doors. John Deere entered the class 9 market in 2012 with the model S690 with 543 hp at rated speed for handling larger heads, larger acres, and heavier crop conditions.
Other additions in 2012 were new flex draper heads in 35’ and 40’ configurations, the 635FD and 640FD, and the 16-row corn head, 616C was introduced in 2012 as well.
No changes were made to the model numbers for 2013, but there were some changes to the fleet nonetheless. The rotor received a thicker skin to help protect it from damage from ingestion of foreign material. A mid-year option addition permitted the chaffer to have a manually adjusted rear section. This allowed for the independent adjustment of the rear of the chaffer to a tighter setting to help reduce the amount of tailings volume.
This year saw some major changes to the S series. First, the S550 was dropped from the lineup and the S650 added.
The S650 had the same larger rotor size of its big brothers, increased hp over the S550, and a larger cleaning shoe. Speaking of hp, the S660 and S670 also received increased muscle for 2014. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) was now required to meet the EPA smog standards and complete the long emissions journey to Final Tier 4. Operators would notice a big reduction of cab noise in 2014 due to increased cab insulation, better door sealing, and laminated front glass. A newly redesigned 36” track option was added to the lineup for help with those high floatation situations and deal with other challenging field conditions.
John Deere also introduced Interactive Combine Adjust in 2014. This feature found in the command center helped operators fine tune their machines to get maximum performance and productivity. John Deere entered the 30’ flex draper market in 2014 with the release of the 630FD header.
The 2015 model year machines received a really nice update with the hydraulic fore-aft tilt feeder house. This allowed for easier header connection and much-improved performance in the field. When field conditions got tough, you could tilt the head back and forth to find the optimum cutting angle to improve header control performance. We prepared this video in 2015 to better explain this feature.
Some structural strength was also added to the feeder house as well as moving the now smaller drum forward for improved feeding. With more crop coming into the machine, Deere released the Active Concave Isolation option and hydraulically suspended the concave to provide a more robust concave gap and more consistent performance when dealing with slugs. Deere entered the 45’ flex draper market in ’15 as well for those large acre customers who needed the greater productivity of a larger header. To accommodate the larger head, Deere released the 28.5’ unloading auger option. To improve draper performance in field conditions that load one side of the header and not the other, Deere introduced the side belt speed reduction feature which would slow down one side of the header, but not the other, to prevent the belts from plugging.
John Deere entered the folding corn head market in 2016. This allowed operators with 12-row heads to move from field to field without requiring a head cart or a vehicle and person to pull the head cart from field to field, saving valuable time and money.
The combines also received a 12% larger sieve to help save more grain from exiting the combine and to help clean up the grain tank. Active Terrain Adjust option arrived which automatically adjusted the cleaning shoe settings and the fan speed based on the slope when going up and down a hill without any input from the operator. An onboard air compressor was added to the options list to allow operators to blow off debris that had accumulated on the machine or service low air pressure in tires. Lastly, the draper received a wider feed section in the center as well as a much larger and stronger reel finger.
Models built for this fall received some fine tuning features, but no real major changes. A factory installed camera chassis harness was available for the first time to ease camera installation. An available foot rest option for the steering column was released and can be retrofitted to older machines. Eight-row corn head owners can now purchase a folding corn head for really tight transport opportunities.
Finally, a high moisture corn enhancement was added to improve grain quality and cleanliness with combines equipped with the deep tooth cleaning shoe.
Thanks for reading about the history of the S-Series combine. If you are looking to upgrade from a previous series machine, hopefully this information will help you understand the changes made each year and help you make an informed decision for your farm and your budget. You can learn even more about the S Series Combines by visiting our Youtube channel and watching our playlist on this machine.
If you are interested in purchasing a used S Series combine you can view our inventory by clicking the model types below:
Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin. Learn more at www.sloans.com