Through the Wringer
Farmers field-test Massey Ferguson® 9500 combines and declare them ahead of the pack in grain quality, fuel efficiency and ease of operation.
Nearly 1,300 miles separate the Illinois farm Dean Sleezer calls home and the 10,000 acres Calvin Bush farms near Humboldt, Saskatchewan. And location is only part of the contrast. While Sleezer and his son, Mark, rotate corn and soybeans on their 4,000-acre farm based near Yorkville, the Bush family, which includes Calvin’s wife, Joanne, and four children (Devin, the oldest, now farms full-time with his dad), divides the crop base between canola, barley, wheat and oats. It goes without saying that there’s also a dramatic difference in year-round temperature, snowfall and farming practices.
When it comes to combines, though, Sleezer and Bush have a lot in common. Both have a long history with Massey Ferguson and both are now sold on the new Massey Ferguson 9500 Series combines after being selected to operate one of the machines during a pilot-model test program.
Changes from Feeder to Spreader
“I always liked the looks of the 9005 Series,” says Sleezer. “So, I was glad to see the design of the 9500 hadn’t changed much, and that the cab and controls were nearly identical,” he adds, praising the combine’s ease of operation. “But that’s about where the similarities end.”
According to Kevin Cobb, manager of marketing for Massey Ferguson combines, the Massey Ferguson 9500 Series features myriad changes. From the feeder to spreader, innovations like a new engine, cooling package, Trident™ processor and stratified cleaning system, are all designed with increased capacity and efficiency in mind, while improving serviceability and maintaining user-friendly operation.
There were, however, a couple of features that Sleezer and Bush were both apprehensive about in the beginning . . . and totally sold on afterward. Those are the V-Cool system and the new 9.8-liter AGCO Power™ engine used in the MF9540 and MF9560.
More Capacity, Less Fuel
“You realize that’s a 7-cylinder engine?” Sleezer asks with a tone of skepticism. “But I’ve never run anything with so much torque and power. But even more amazing was the fuel economy.
“We were burning 17 gallons of fuel per hour with the 9560, compared to 23 gallons per hour with our old 9895,” he says. “It was over the top, and the 9560 was usually running ahead of the 9895.”
Bush says he, too, was skeptical of the new engine, especially since nearly everything on his farm is currently powered by Cummins and Caterpillar engines. “However, from what I saw, the 9560 had as much power, if not more, than the Cat® C13 engines in our 9895s and burned a lot less fuel in the process,” he says. “I’ll tell you, I was shocked.”
Cobb relates that in other field trials, he has seen as much as 20 to 40% improvement in fuel economy from the 9540 and 9560 compared to the Massey Ferguson 9005 Series. “In fact, we saw several cases of what we called the ‘20/20’—20% more capacity using 20% less fuel,” he says. And while the AGCO Power engine gets most of the credit for the fuel savings, continues Cobb, “the Trident processor, the efficient inline rotor drive and the variable-speed cooling fan all contribute to the economy and power gains.”
Both Sleezer and Bush were also impressed with the new V-Cool™ system, which orients the radiator and all cooling elements in a “V” shape below a hydraulically driven, variable-speed fan for maximum airflow to all components. In addition, the fan automatically reverses, based on various criteria, including engine temperature, a drop in engine speed and a time-based control that turns it on every 15 minutes to eliminate debris and restrictions.
“That’s one of the features I think every other combine manufacturer is going to chase after,” Bush says. “It’s one of the strong points of this machine. It’s just unreal how well it works.”
“We never once had the engine get hot,” Sleezer insists. “It can’t get hot! But the more amazing thing to me is that Massey Ferguson also put the engine air intake behind that screen. We put over 100 hours on the combine, yet we never once had to change the engine air filter. We blew it out a couple times, but even then, it wasn’t that dirty. We’re used to having to clean the air filter alone at least once or twice a day.”
There are plenty of other features that both farmers considered innovative, including the longer, quieter unloading auger; the Trident rotor, which features a segmented design for better crop flow and improved efficiency, and the new cleaning system. Both also liked the new, smaller interchangeable concave sections that were designed to be easily removed and replaced by one person.
Given his mix of small grains and oil seed crops, Bush especially appreciated the lightweight concaves. “We do have to change them between a larger grain like barley and small seeds like canola,” says Bush. “So the lighter concaves are a great improvement.”
“There are still a few adjustments that they need to tweak,” Bush relates, reminding those in earshot that this was a test program meant to work out bugs. “But Massey Ferguson had their engineers out here finalizing the settings, so I have every bit of confidence that they will get it right. In fact, we’re already looking at adding a couple of 9560s when they’re available.”
As for Sleezer’s final analysis, he says the MF9560 isn’t just easy to work with; it also works where it counts the most. “Some of our corn samples looked like they came out of a seed sack. And once we got the air adjusted, the soybeans were just as clean.”
“It doesn’t surprise me that Massey Ferguson came out with so many innovations on this combine, though,” Sleezer concludes. “That’s what drew me to Massey Ferguson combines in the first place. They’ve always been a leader in product innovation.”