A wet year, a low crop and an uneven field. A nightmare scenario for any combine operator worrying about the time spent going backwards rather than forwards in harvest.
Standard combine headers are bigger than ever, evolving over the years so some are now up to 45 feet wide. As the ground undulates under the combine, a wider header can leave one side of the cutter too high for the crop while the other edge is scraping ground, in some cases bulldozing along, ripping up the crop and the earth with it. This means the operator has to reverse the combine, then stop and climb out, clean the header, climb back in and start again. Not ideal at the best of times, worse if you are harvesting while watching the clock, up against the forecast of an incoming downpour.
Jonathan Kerr, Manager of the long established 1,500 acre farm JM Strong and Partners in Pewsey, Wilts, found a solution for this all too common issue when he saw a demo of the MacDon Flex header from T H WHITE very early in 2022. “Two crops which are hard to cut are spring barley and peas. These grow close to the ground so encourage combines to drag and get caught on undulating ground. We had a demo for the MacDon header with spring peas which were not only close to the ground but very flat; so the demo was quite challenging”. Jonathan continues “The MacDon coped very well harvesting the peas during the demo and really showed the benefit of a flexing header. We were surprised that the combine was always going forward with no reversing”. He continues “After the demo we ordered the new header and our expectations for the 2022 harvest were pretty high! It was difficult to keep those sensible, but thankfully the header has fully lived up to those high expectations during 2022 so I am very happy”.
The product specialists at MacDon are innovative agricultural technologists leading the field in farming solutions. The FD2 header allows flexing so it can undulate with the ground, alleviating bulldozing and allowing a closer cut. MacDon’s Active Float System is now coupled with up to 70% more flex for a harvesting experience like never before. Flex-Float Technology® gets turned up with MacDon’s optional ContourMax™ Contour Wheels. These wheels allow the header to follow the field’s contours, leaving a consistent stubble height while cutting from 1 to 18 inches+ off the ground.
Jonathan adds “Using the MacDon makes harvest more enjoyable. Like all farmers we like new kit and we have found this header increases our output. That means two things: firstly that we are completing more fields every day by doing things just that little bit faster which makes everyone happier. Secondly, the MacDon is producing a higher crop output as the header is presenting the crop to the combine in a better way. The crop goes in forwards which means it’s threshing more easily and creating an increase in output. 2022 was our first year with the FD2 and we saw more yield every day of harvest. The FD2 is also making us much faster. Previously we would cut around 1 hectare per hour, but the Flex header cuts 40 hectares in 10 hours – which allows us to be four times faster to cut. There are even other advantages too because now I can grow more spring barley and not be worried about it flattening which of course helps to tackle black grass and saves more time and money. All in all, we are very happy with progress so far”.
Contact your T H WHITE Agriculture rep here to book a MacDon demo today.