John Deere 9530 tractor

One of the largest tractors in New Zealand, the John Deere 9530, is working at Taotaoroa Quarry and performing beyond expectations

  • Impressive size and power
  • Massive amount of traction available
  • Incredible turning circle
  • Excellent operator comfort

Taotaoroa Quarry, near Matamata, provides blue rock, which is accessed after removing a lot of overburden (dirt). The quarry moves around 120,000 tonnes of material each week.

Available in Agricultural or Scraper Special models, J Swap’s John Deere 9530 Scraper Special seems tailor-made for the job, with power and traction in spades.

From the 9030 Series Scraper Special range (9430 with 423hp, 9530 with 475hp and 9630 with 530hp), driving the John Deere 9530 pivot steer tractor is an unforgettable experience. I had to learn how to co-ordinate the tractor functions with two big Ashland scrapers fitted to the back. The total load of tractor, scrapers and overburden is approx 96 tonnes.


The 13.5-litre John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) PowerTech engine produces a maximum 475hp at 1600 to 2100rpm, and 2508Nm of torque, between 1300 to 1600rpm.

The new design cross flow head features four valves per cylinder, electronically controlled high pressure common rail fuel injection system (29,000psi), cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), air-to-air after-cooling to lower air intake temperatures, and a variable geometry turbocharger.

The turbocharger was designed to produce more torque low down in the rev range, but it also increases engine response times on acceleration and reduces fuel consumption.

This engine also has a variable speed cooling fan and meets Tier 3 emissions requirements.

Performance and engineering

While the John Deere has piles of torque for pulling uphill, the best way to conduct scraping work is while driving downhill, if possible. That’s because there is so much friction when the scraper is pushed into the topsoil that even on the flat it’s easy to take in too much at one time.

To maintain forward motion there are a lot of things to do at one time. I was working the throttle, the scoop rise/fall control, the apron rise/fall control, listening to the engine revs for power loss, looking at the speedo and feeling the traction level. Because there were so many operations for the right hand, I was instructed to drive the JD in automatic, usually in the fifth gear of the 18 all-the-way-through speeds of the powershift transmission.

Most of my energy went into keeping the scoop at the right level. I set the tractor in the correct gear, put it in automatic, set the engine revs, checked my ground speed and then lowered the scoop on the first scraper (closest to the tractor). After that, the prime area of attention was on the row of four armrest electro/hydraulic scoop levers. The first and third are for controlling the scoop height, and the second and fourth for the apron height, which are also used to eject the soil when unloading in combination with pre-set timers.

Most of my workload was moving the scoop up or down to suit the ground I was driving over at the time. Each scraper was filled up in 15 to 20 seconds, so straight after the first one was filled I lowered the scoop on the back scraper and did it all again. In between I made a very tight turn with the pivot steer tractor (near the edge).

Loading the second scoop is the most difficult task, because it’s so far behind and obscured by the first scraper. You have to do it by feel.

I discovered getting the apron height correct is important to let the soil in. If it’s not open enough, the result is loss of traction and possibly getting stuck – a situation which the foot pedal front-rear diff lock will help get you out of. But, a push from a nearby ‘dozer, or hooking up the rear drawbar-mounted tow cable from the front, will save the day.

In downhill transit mode we used the scraper bar to keep the vehicle speed in check and slow all 96 tonnes. This avoids wearing out the brakes, which worked fine on their own anyway. Automatically ejecting the soil took around 20 seconds per scraper.

The 9530 has good power for the job; in fact without full throttle I often had the wheels spinning well before power loss. However, that could change depending on the soil type and conditions like the weather and temperature.

The 18-forward and six-reverse speed full Powershift transmission was smooth and easy to use with the small gearstick. And there’s no clutching required. The transmission has speed matching above 13th and includes a double reduction gear axle, allowing the inboard planetary final drives to distribute the axle loads more evenly for a longer life.

At the rear of the J Swap 9530 Scraper Special is a heavy duty long drawbar for scraper use, which must be spec’d from the factory. The drawbar isn’t compatible with agricultural machinery.

Built in the US, the Scraper Special models have four ¾” hydraulic outlets fed by two pumps generating a massive 284-litre/min capacity.


In the cab John Deere’s CommandCentre makes for easy reading and adjustments of all working controls. There’s no shortage of space, and few controls to confuse people. With no steering dash a small LCD display on the “A” pillar shows gear or speed, engine temp and revs, system function and fuel levels.

Read in-depth farm machinery reviews in the latest issue of Farm Trader, on sale now.

See a range of John Deere tractors for sale.


Engine Six-cylinder JDPS
Capacity 13.5 litres
Power rating 475hp at 2100rpm
Maximum torque 2508Nm at 1300rpm
Transmission 18 forward and six reverse speeds, full powershift
Clutch type Wet
Fuel capacity 1325 litres
Hydraulics Four outlets from twin pumps with 284L/min capacity
Brakes Self-adjusting wet discs on front and rear axles


Photography: Terry Stevenson

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