PRACTICAL TEST: With a maximum of 755hp, the 9500i is the smallest model in Deere’s wide-body forage harvester range. Read on to find out why it’s pretty near impossible to bring the almost 3.0-litre displacement per-cylinder motor to its knees.

Two years ago, John John Deere announced a significant rejig of its 9000i series self propelleds, with the biggest discussion point being the introduction of its own six cylinder power — a sizeable 18-litre motor. If you want a bit of an engine recap, there was a driving impression in the profi 10/2022 issue.

Intrigued, we managed to get our hands on one of the very limited number of pre-series machines for a full 2022 season test. Our model was the baby in the bunch, the 9500i, which we used for chopping both grass and maize. This is what Deere terms as its wide body machine, meaning an 83cm wide intake passing the crop over to an 85cm drum. The narrow-body 8000 series measures 66cm on the intake and 68cm at the drum.

With the exception of the Active Fill Control automatic trailer loading function, which was unfortunately not available for the test, our test 9500i model was fully loaded with the following spec:

● DuraDrum drum with four sets of 16 knives (£2,608),
● DuraLine Ultimate metal coating of all wear plates in the crop flow system (£8,107),
● HarvestLab 3000 for measuring the moisture and constituents of the crop (£15,495),
● JD Premium kernel processor with 240mm roller diameter, DuraLine coating (£15,461), 110/144 teeth and 40% speed difference,
● 12-row Kemper 490 plus maize header including running gear (£171,057),
● 3.0m Kemper 639 pick-up (£38,237).

18 litres without AdBlue
As mentioned, under the bonnet lurks the new JD18X engine, which John Deere says was specifically developed for the 9500i, 9600i and 9700i foragers; the larger 9800i and 9900i have a Liebherr V12 motor. The JD18X engine is a joint development by John Deere and Liebherr. No doubt owners will be happy to note that it requires neither AdBlue nor a particulate filter to meet Stage V, something unique in today’s forager world. Instead, Stage V is met by cooled EGR.

According to Deere, this will not change for another six years at least. Until then, operators will only have to fill the 1,500-litre diesel tank. On the 9500i model, the
longitudinally mounted in-line six-pot pushes out 515kW/700hp at 1,800rpm rated speed. In practice, the engine is driven well below this nominal speed. For instance, in maize, we set it to 1,550rpm and then lowered the revs to 1,350-1,400rpm. In this speed range, this is where the 18-litre Deere motor with its Harvestmotion Plus engine management shows its best performance.

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