We are thinking of trading off 2 9600s for either 2 9760s or 2 9860s. I am wondering if anyone has ever run the two models side by side. My main concern is how they compare in 50-70 bushel wheat. Are the 9860s worth the extra money?
I dont see spending the extra money for 9860s, 2 9760s will work just fine the only difference is the horse power, all the rest is the same. But if you want to have the biggest combine on the block then go with the 9860s.
As far as I know, nobody makes a chip for a 60 series yet. I've got one on my 9750 and it helps but in my opinion, they (all brands) still haven't produced a combine with enough horsepower. It's a sad thing to see a 9860 and 30 ft. draper drag across a muddy rice field trying to make 2.5 miles per hour and having to pull it back to 1.5 every 5 seconds.
HP is one of those things that can cause bad thing to happen very fast. My experience is with the 2388, so thats where I'm coming from here. You can't just increase the HP of a combine engine without doing something to the rest of the system. It all has to be balanced. Back in the day of the IH 1400 series combines, the engine was the limiting factor almost all the time. No matter what you would run through it, the threshing and cleaning systems had enough capacity. With the newer 2388s, the engine HP has come up, but the basic size of the thrashing/cleaning systems has stayed the same. Running a 2388 in high yielding corn now, you have to be sure not to overload the clean grain elevator. In most crops, you have to not overrun the sieves. Back when they has less HP, these things weren't as much of an issue.
In rice, you are thresing a tough crop AND driving through mud at the same time. You probably could use more HP than many people since not all of your HP is being directed at just one system (wheels or threshing). If you were to have more HP and throw it all at the threshing side, then you start to tear things up. All the belts and gearboxes that transfer that power have to be built stronger too. I know Case has already beefed up the rotor gear box on the 2388s since they became more fragile with more HP. The next problem they have is the rotor belts. Fortunately they are pretty easy to change.
JD guys are finally getting a chance to worry about rotor belts now, huh 270, since the STS came out.
The hp was always the limiting factor on JD machines here in the south also. 55, 95, 7700, 8820, 9600, CTS, 9610, CTS 2, 9750 and now the 9860. The combines would always take another 50 horsepower in a rice field and experienced fewer breakdowns (hydrostat not withstanding) than if they were left underpowered because a combine with the increased hp was not as apt to buck, jump and choke up like one that was underpowered. The downside is when one that's turned up does choke, reverse it and just get off and dig it out instead of reversing it over and over and trying to get the plug through the machine.
If JD would build a combine for a rice farmer, test it in Arkansas and Louisiana, build it strong enough and with enough horsepower that it could cut standing rice with a 30 ft. draper whilst booking 3 mph, dumping 4 bushels per second on the go and cutting ruts 2 ft. deep... there wouldn't be a need for any other manufacturer to build combines. A machine like that would cut wheat so fast that you'd have to get I Robot to drive the freakin' beast. I'm talking about so much power you could cut down corn with a flex head and enjoy it, get off the combine at the end of the day feeling like you just took a shower with Irish Spring.
Only problem with that is they'd charge 500,000 dollars for it.
Makes me love that old 7720 under the shed. It ain't no speed demon but it's been paid for since the 80's and it can still get the job done.
To answer the original question.... I'd get the 9760's