John Deere 850J Dozer


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The Wellington Council decided to invest in a modern and efficient hydrostatic-driven John Deere 850J LGP dozer to work on its Southern Landfill

John Deere 850J Dozer
John Deere 850J Dozer
  • Hydrostatic driven
  • Plenty of power for the job
  • Operator-friendly cabin
  • Finger tip controlled instruments
  • Excellent visibility

The Southern Landfill, operated by Wellington City Council, is the biggest and busiest landfill in the Wellington region. It is the main disposal facility for residents and businesses in the capital. Recently the Council added a John Deere 850J low ground pressure (LPG) dozer to its fleet to help the landfill run smoothly and manage its impact on nearby residential suburbs.

Located in Carey’s Gully, the Southern Landfill is close to thousands of households. The landfill operates according to strict Resource Management Act rules – particularly those relating to vermin and odour.

At the end of every day the Council is required to apply a layer of rock and dirt across the top of the day’s delivery of general rubbish and sewage sludge (a by-product from the city’s sewage treatment plants). This layer of earth acts to block the escape of odours and prevents vermin from easy access. It also helps to break down the waste.

With over 20 years and more than one rebuild on its over-aged dozer, the Council chose to invest in a modern and more efficient hydrostatic-driven John Deere 850J LGP dozer to do the job.

Operations Manager Tony Tupaea says a dozer was crucial for this kind of work. "It’s needed for ripping virgin ground, pushing over off the batters and covering up, but its primary function is covering up at the end of the day."

After pricing and testing a number of machines, Tupaea says the Council considered the John Deere the one most suitable for the landfill duties.

"It had plenty of power for what it did, which was good for us because we could bulk stockpile a lot of earth and at the end of the day just sweep it across our rubbish.

"We weren’t prepared to have something that would take two-or-three goes to get rid of a truckload of dirt," he adds.

Tupaea says the operator cabin is "friendly" and easy to get in and out of.Everything is finger tip controlled.

"With this one [the 850J], you can open-hand the controls and just use our thumbs or the side of our hand. The precision is excellent."

John Deere says the 850J has "best-in-class" visibility from the spacious cabin with window placement spanning all sides of the operator for a full 360-degree panoramic view of the jobsite.

Additional mirrors were added inside the cabin to minimise the operators’ need to continually twist their bodies when reversing.

Mike Paul, one of the machine’s regular operators, likes the control he has in the 850J and says it’s smoother to operate without manual gear changes, courtesy of John Deere’s hydrostatic transmission.

The 850J’s automatic dual-path, hydrostatic drivetrain has a load-sensing feature that automatically adjusts speeds and power to match changing load conditions as well as providing a whole arsenal of hydrostatic advantages, including power turns, counterrotation and infinitely variable travel speeds.

Powered by a John Deere PowerTech Plus 6090HT engine, the 850J LGP model boasts 200hp (152kW) at 1800rpm for exceptional pushing power and 915Nm of torque.

"It’s got tonnes of pushing power," adds Mike, saying "even going up hill it can push through a 40-tonne wall of dirt no problem".

The 850J is now due for its first 250-hour service from CablePrice. Although the machine is still just bedding itself in, Tony says it’s been excellent.


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