Steering-wheel-free Fendt Ideal combine to make North American debut in 2021


Fendt Ideal combines — minus a steering column and wheel — will make their debut in North America for harvest 2021.

AGCO made the announcement this week at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. The IdealDrive steering system is the first joystick steering system for a combine released by a major manufacturer, says AGCO. It gives the operator an unobstructed, end-to-end view of the combine header resulting in less stress and fatigue during long hours harvesting.

RealAgriculture took farmers inside the wheel-less cab in late 2019 in this feature report from the Agritechnica tradeshow in Germany.  In the report, our Shaun Haney and Fendt’s Konstantin Stahl discuss how every button on the right-hand lever/control remains the same as past models, but the left-hand lever is new and controls steering.

AGCO product specialist Zach Stejskal says IdealDrive “takes away a lot of the physical stress and reduces fatigue because the operator can see the entire header feeding and control everything from a comfortable position in the cab.”

With IdealDrive, the left hand steers the combine by moving the joystick left or right. Force feedback guides how far to move the joystick for the desired effect. Stejskal explains that the joystick responds quickly and precisely to the operator’s hand movements, allowing accurate steering with less body movement, compared to turning the steering wheel lock-to-lock an average of four times. “The joystick turns a headland, 180-degree turn into light work,” he notes.

Stejskal says the new wheel-less combine also provides better visibility of the header and feeding process as well as improved cab ergonomics and comfort.

The addition of IdealDrive is the first major modification of the Fendt Ideal combine since it was rolled out in North America two years ago. In February at the National Farm Machinery Show, RealAgriculture asked Stejskal to provide an update on how the combine performed during harvest 2019.

In this interview, Stejskal notes that the combine performed well across a range of crops. He says the most notable feature that caught the attention of growers was the combine’s faster unloading rate, which helped to keep harvest moving during a difficult fall.

The machine’s Trakride system also played a key role in making the most of wet harvest conditions, with traks helping growers get in the field and stay in the field, he adds.

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