At Harvester Works, John Deere’s combine factory in Moline, Ill., "Gold Key" customers come for tours frequently. In fact, last year the factory hosted more than 1,000 new combine owners. However, Bob Herring, of Mechanicsville, Iowa, was among the first to witness Deere’s new S Series combine roll off the line.
Herring’s big week began early in the week as his crew finished harvesting the roughly 7,000 acres of corn and soybeans on the Herring farm. On Thursday, Nov. 17, surrounded by family members including his wife, mother and several children, Herring, his equipment dealer and their "harvest family" spent the morning watching how their new S670 combine was built.
Jim Leach, business unit leader at Harvester Works, was excited the family was there to witness firsthand the thousands of design hours that went into the new combine and the factory modifications necessary to accommodate the new cab line. Leach believes that the S Series is designed better and will perform very well. "When you turn the key in the combine, it’s just got to work," he says, describing the passion Harvester Works employees have for building solid combines.
Jen Hartmann, public relations specialist for John Deere, says she believes the new S670 will be the most popular combine of the series. The combine features a redesigned cab, the first John Deere has redesigned in 15 years. Herring took advantage of some new options on his 670, even some in the cab. His GreenStar 3 display is mounted on the armrest of the seat instead of the corner post, which he thinks will be more user-friendly. The cab features the largest piece of curved glass made for John Deere around the world and is completely airtight. Herring and his wife sat in their new cab while on the tour and were able to visit with plant employees about a few of its features.
Herring’s dealer, Scott Perkins of Precision Equipment, who was on his first "Gold Key" tour, is excited about the new combines.
"The new combine comes with a lot of options now that you had to order before," Perkins says. The example he had on hand was heated mirrors, which used to be an option and now come standard. This year’s wet fall encouraged Herring to order bigger tires and rear-wheel-drive for the first time. Perkins says the new combine is a little bit heavier and they wanted to be sure there wouldn’t be any problems should a wet fall come again next year.
John Deere says that with this new combine there are more than 3 million different unique combinations that can be built at Harvester Works once options are considered. The automatic folding grain bin is an option on the new combine that Herring didn’t take advantage of.
While this was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Bob Herring, the eastern Iowa farmer wasn’t setting foot in the factory for the first time. He has been on one other "Gold Key" tour of Harvester Works and had been on several others for tractors and implements.