Speaking at a press briefing, Deere officials said their new 7460 Cotton Stripper features improved engine horsepower, a new eight-row modular head, airflow, fuel capacity, basket capacity and dump cycles.

"It all starts up front with a new eight-row modular head," said Bryan Campbell, product specialist, John Deere Des Moines Works. "The row units on this high-capacity head are driven by a new shaft and gear design that handles increased loads and eliminates belts and sheaves for reduced downtime and maintenance."

The eight-row head has double flighting on the cross auger to provide smooth feeding of harvested cotton and to process higher volumes of crop as it enters the stripper. It is also extremely versatile and can adjust to most row spacings or configurations. When raising the header, more clearance has been designed into the unit to help prevent damage.

"Electronic Header Height Control (EHHC) is a standard feature that adjusts the row unit height to stay close to the ground," says Campbell. "With EHHC the operator is able to get tough-to-reach cotton, even at fast harvesting speeds."

Response rate, header height, and row unit height can be conveniently adjusted on-the-go from the cab. Simple buttons are used to raise and lower the unit, and the old levers and mechanical linkages have all been replaced with state-of-the-art electronic controls.

Row-Trak Guidance is also available on the new head. With this system, the operator will automatically stay on the row without constant steering adjustments. Simply line-up the stripper with the rows, hit the Row-Trak Guidance switch, and the system will take over, steering the stripper and keeping it on the row.

"To get the productivity increases on the 7460 Cotton Stripper, a 173-hp, 6.8 L John Deere PowerTech engine powers the high-capacity machine," he says. "This is 10-percent more horsepower than previous models and ensures that operators will have plenty of power to pull in high-yielding cotton."

The engine is designed with electronic-throttle control for smooth operation, and a 180-amp alternator handles new lighting and other electronic functions. Daily maintenance is user friendly and the engine compartment is located at eye-level.

Operators will also appreciate the new, larger 120-gallon fuel tank. It stores enough fuel to keep the machine working in the field all day, and the fuel fill is at ground level for ease and convenience.

"The all-new air system maximizes the harvest and cleaning of cotton," Campbell notes. "Airflow has been increased 20-percent to ensure plenty of capacity for handling the cotton. State-of-the-art aerodynamics testing was conducted to design this extremely efficient system. In-cab fan controls allow for convenient adjustment and monitoring.

"The new separator on the 7460 reduces the amount of green bolls and rocks entering the cleaner. This increases the life of the saws and puts less green bolls in the basket, which saves money through reduced ginning costs."

Cleaning capacity is also enhanced because of new finger grates that are 6 inches wider. This design facilitates the use of all 60-inches of the on-board field cleaner.

Other cleaner improvements allow faster field speeds, with less plugging, and reduced maintenance time. A new lower saw reclamation brush on the lower saw drum grabs cotton before it falls out of the cleaner, and guides it to the basket. This puts more cotton in the basket and less in the burr trail, which improves turnout.

"Cotton-handling capacity has been significantly improved with faster dump cycles in the 7460 Cotton Strippers," says Campbell. "The basket augers are 25-percent larger than previous models, and the dual-motor drive system gives each auger more packing power. The new strippers pack more cotton into the basket, to improve harvest efficiency."

Overall, the stripper unload cycle has been improved by 25-percent. This efficiency allows the operator to spend more time in the field harvesting and less time dumping cotton in the module builder or boll buggy.

Although productivity and capacity are critical to harvester performance, operator comfort is extremely important during the long days of harvest. A new, roomier ComfortCommand cab has been positioned further-forward for better visibility of the row.

"A Personal-Posture suspension seat has been designed to reduce fatigue and improve operator efficiency," says Campbell. "All vital controls are within easy reach for a smooth, efficient operation. A variety of storage compartments, allows the convenience of drinks, snacks, a cell phone, or other items."

New controls are also standard equipment, including a CommandTouch console and hydro handle for one-hand control of important stripper functions. A new optional lighting and mirror package improves visibility in both field operation and transport.

With all the increases in capacity and performance, and the improvements in operator comfort, the new John Deere 7460 Cotton Stripper is the most productive cotton harvester ever built. The new features ensure that growers will cover more acres in less time; will spend more time in the row harvesting, with less fatigue; and will receive more value from their investment in this harvester.

For more information, contact your local John Deere dealer or visit our Web site at www.JohnDeereAg.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com