Monster Machines: The World’s Most Badass Combine Harvester Will Shuck Your Mind

Monster Machines: The World’s Most Badass Combine Harvester Will Shuck Your Mind

For untold centuries, humanity manually harvested and threshed our grains to separate the literal wheat from the chaff. The advent of combine harvesters — those that both harvest and thresh the grains in a single, automated process — however has vastly increased our ability to cultivate crops. And the new CR10.90 from New Holland does it better than anyone.

A head of wheat, for example, stands atop the stalk and is composed of two parts: the inedible outer husk known as the chaff and the edible inner seed, which is the wheat that we actually eat. When harvested manually, the wheat stalk is first chopped down by a scythe-wielding farmer, who must then gather up the fallen heads then beat the living shit out of them against the ground until the wheat kernels break free of the chaff and can be more easily separated for processing. The kernels themselves are then ground into flour while the chaff makes for excellent livestock feed. This is an incredibly labour-intensive process, however, which severely limits the amount of wheat a single community can plant and harvest in a single season.

The advent of the first automated combine harvester — the Herkules by European farm equipment manufacturer Claeys — in 1952 ushered in a new era of agriculture, chopping, threshing and sorting up to 4.5 tonnes of wheat kernels daily, entirely within the vehicle. The CR10.90 is the latest combine harvester from New Holland and, arguably, the most efficient grain-harvesting platform on the market.

“It has up to 15% higher productivity than the brand’s previous highest capacity model, touts a recent New Holland press release. “And when compared with what was considered a high capacity combine a decade ago, this new machine has over 25% more productivity, thanks to advances in harvesting and engine technology.”

These advances include a massive Cursor 16 engine. This 16-litre inline-6 diesel power plant outputs up to 652 hp, uses 10 per cent less fuel than its predecessor yet meets a higher emissions standard — Europe’s most stringent, in fact, Tier 4B — and just won the prestigious Diesel Of The Year from Diesel Magazine. As Fabio Butturi, Chief Editor of Diesel magazine, told Agwire in July, “The Diesel Of The Year award is judged on technical innovation and design, with FPT Industrial’s Cursor 16 achieving this in the most exciting way: a 16-litre engine delivering 18-litre power in a 13-litre package. A compelling proposition and, in the words of FPT, a game changer.”

In addition, the CR10.90 utilises a huge 22-inch diameter cutting head, a 410 bushel grain tank with a 4 bushel per second unloading speed, while the cabin offers the same comforts you’d find in a midsize sedan along with a 10.4-inch IntelliView IV colour touchscreen control panel and even a built-in drink cooler.

Of course, all these amenities — in addition to the oversized cutting head — add a significant amount of weight to the vehicle, which, if mounted on standard tractor tyres, could easily crush the ground (and plants) beneath it. That’s why New Holland outfitted the CR10.90 with flexible tank tracks that spread the vehicle’s enormous weight over a larger area — much the same way snowshoes work.

These features combine (no pun intended) to create a versatile and effective harvesting platform. Next up, teaching the CR10.90 to drive itself. [GizmagAgWiredCNH Industrial – New Holland 1, 2Wiki]