A story of technical innovation, The Furrow looks back on this icons evolution from the Model 55 to the X Series. John Deere brought the first self-propelled combine harvester onto the market in 1947, the Model 55.
Model 55: A first in self-propulsion
Regarded as an exemplary role model for combines, its development reflected the company’s reaction to the progressive mechanisation occurring in agriculture. In the years that followed, John Deere’s focus was primarily on self-levelling machines, with the likes of the 55 hillside combines entering the firm’s fleet. These machines showed the best threshing productivity in this demanding area. Year after year, the combines continuously evolved and with that so did farmers’ operations – harvesting their fields faster and more efficiently.
Steering systems in focus
At the turn of the century, steering systems increasingly came into focus with John Deere taking up this challenge early on. The development of its Greenstar 1 Display allowed for parallel guidance as early as 1999. Just three years later, a hands-free steering system was introduced with AutoTracTM, and the first generation StarFireTM receiver. Harvest accuracy was furthered with the introduction of the Modular Telematics Gateway (MTG) modem.
Rapid development has meant that with today’s T, S and X Series models, farmers and contractors can use real-time data on machine performance and positioning as well as remote monitoring and crop analysis.
Self-propelled at a glance
From 1947 to 2022, John Deere has played a significant role in the development of combines. The company has repeatedly provided market impetus with its innovations, as the below examples show:
The first self-propelled combine was the Model 55
The first slope combine came onto the market
The early traction wheels were made of steel, with rubber coming into use 40 years later
The world’s first hybrid combine (CTS)
Software conquers the cab with the introduction of the Greenstar 1 Display
Wireless machine communication
Half a million combines were sold (9870 STS)
John Deere´s history at a glance
Technical innovations from 1947 to 2022
History of harvest innovation