This fall I was given the task of going around and demoing the new John Deere 9620RX and a 11 shank 2730 ripper. I was able to cover over 1200 acres in a 100 mile radius in Central Illinois. Needless to say I was able to use the tool in a variety of soil conditions. Since I previously had personal experience running the Case 870, I was excited to see how the John Deere 2730 would match up to the popular Case tool.
The 2730 ripper had the disk gangs in the front and the solid closing disk in the rear, with the knife edge baskets bringing up the rear. I have demoed a lot of hay equipment, but never anything like this, so it was a huge learning curve. I’ve ran the 870 Case rippers and always thought they did a good job, but after running the 2730 I think that Deere has finally answered back with a better tool of their own.
One advantage that I liked over the Case, were less grease points. I know that this is a double edged sword, but if you have a hired hand running the machine how do you know they are greasing it when you’re not around? Deere’s answer to this is using poly bushings on the pivot points and sealed bearings on the baskets and the disks.
The Deere 2730 has a larger frame and heavier frame components than the Case tool. I’ve heard from several 870 owners that demo’d the 2730, that they had issues with wheels and frames on the 870 not being heavy enough to handle the weight of the machine.
Setting the Deere 2730 machine was easy to do. The machine comes with a chart on how to set everything for the desired depths you want. There is also a GoTill app through John Deere you can get on your smart phone. You can download it for itunes here by clicking here.
That being said, when running in different soil types like sandy soil around Havana IL, to black dirt around Assumption, IL, and clay around Shelbyville, IL, you will still have to make small adjustments from what the app or the chart recommend.
The cons of the Deere was just the overall size of the machine, more so the length. Farmers commented that it will take up a lot of valuable real estate in a machine shed. Getting used to pulling it down the road did take some time, but overall was easy going since it does fold up narrow to 18ft 8in. Transport height was not a issue for me either, since it folds up under 14ft 5in. On the folding 2730 models, it will take five remotes to run the hydraulics on the ripper. Some customers that I demo’d to only had four remotes and would then unplug and plug in the folding hydraulic hoses as needed.
As far as the performance between the Deere 2730 and Case, they were very close to being equal. I know I’ll get some backlash for saying that, but it all comes down to settings. Some 870’s and 875’s I ran in the same field with the 2730, would look like they cover more or less trash, but with a small adjustment here or there you’d have a hard time telling where the different tools ran. The trash coverage could be set with the front disk to have very minimal trash on top of the ground. The ripper shanks of the Deere being set on 24” spacing seemed to do a better job of not leaving hard compacted strips in between the shanks. The shanks left a nice shatter all the way through the pass when we got out and dug down to look at it.
The closing disks worked very well and it is crucial that they are set properly to leave a level field behind the tool. I did run with a customer that had notched closing disks on their 2730. In certain conditions they did stop turning, like in the sandy soils up north or also fields where they would throw up huge chunks of dirt. I thought the closing disks were the most difficult to set because they can make your field look terrible in a hurry.
The last component is the rolling basket. The baskets are controlled by the tractor hydraulics and this was especially nice when going through a wet area where I could raise them up. Also in lighter soils I could drop my pressure and in heavier soils increase the pressure to get the field conditions I was looking for.
Overall I was very impressed with the 2730 as were the farmers that were able to run it in their fields. The 2730 is a very good machine, but like all pieces of equipment it has to be set properly to perform the way you want it.
You can learn more about the features of the 2730 on this Sloan Support blog post written by Josh Zuck back in 2014 when the 2730 was a prototype unit.
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