Headers for a close, even shave

Combine headers which will work with different brands of machinery can result in appreciable savings for arable farmers. If these same combines also work well under less than perfect conditions, farmers are on to a winning solution, according to Benedikt von Riedesel, general manager at MacDon Europe

A combine draper header perfectly adapted for the European market has been developed thanks to more than six years of research by the Canadian-based harvester specialist company, reveals Mr von Riedesel.

Before making the final design, a great deal of effort went into learning more about European arable farmers’ needs. The company then understood how to best optimise a header to work successfully in the European arable environment, which is different from the normal US/Canadian markets, he says.

“Whereas European growers typically harvest in higher yields and larger straw quantities.

“The MacDon D1/FD1 series header was initially designed to cope with multiple crops, standing or lodged, from small grains, oilseed rape, to low growing pulse crops, and which are cut closer to the ground.

He notes that the MacDon FlexDraper and Draper Headers are designed to maximise productivity even under in the most challenging harvesting situations. Two sets of coil springs on the FM100 Float Module support up to 97 per cent of the header weight. As a result the header to follows close to the ground, reacting instantly to any changes in the ground’s contours without bulldozing.

“The Active Float System reacts instantly to changing ground conditions. This immediate response means you can cut extremely close to the ground without concerns about pushing soil.”

The instant response provides 4.8 degrees of lateral oat and 178 mm of vertical oat independent of the combine feeder house, the company claims.

Upgrading from a traditional auger platform to a MacDon Draper increases productivity during harvest, and helps reduce wear on the combine claims Mr von Riedesel.

MacDon's Active Crop Flow gently places crop on the side drapers and swiftly moves it onto the feed draper, where it's scooped up into the combine's feeder house heads first. This ensures a constant flow, and results in up to 20 per cent higher throughput via augur headers in the same combine, depending on crop and conditions, he adds.

Moreover, this feeding promotes peak combine efficiency by saving fuel, improving threshing action, creating better straw distribution, and allowing for a more productive harvest overall.

“There is an added bonus too; as this harvesting method is more efficient in damp and moist conditions, you can start earlier and work later into evening.”

He goes on to point out that the Retracting Tine Drum (RTD) has been engineered to maximise crop feeding. Adjustable tine timing and long (154 mm) tine extension, engage high volumes of crop and the in-feed crop width can be tailored to match specific combine feeder houses.

“The movement of our heavy-duty reel picks up and gently places crop onto the drapers. The reel features a uniquely shaped cam, which allows the fingers to get underneath lodged crop and pick it up before it is cut.

Along with the header tilt control, which hydraulically angles the knife from the cab, and fore-aft reel positioning, our headers can reduce, or altogether eliminate, the need for crop lifters.” 

The header is designed to be able to cope with multiple crops, including cereals, oilseed rape, beans and he has even seen sunflower being harvested with it.

“As soon as the crop is cut, it never touches standing material.” He adds that moving from one crop to another is relatively simple, with the FlexDraper switching easily to a solid frame with the quick flip of a lever.

Additionally, he adds, whatever the crop, when it comes to straw an even cut is crucial, as it makes it much easier for residue to be evenly spread, ready for working into the soil.
“The cutter has a heavy-duty knife drive and in-cab knife angle control, so it can be adapted according to harvest conditions.”

Moreover, he adds, MacDon combine headers have been designed to fit most major brand and model combines “This makes the drapers very cost effective, as there is no need to change the whole kit when you need a new combine,” says Mr von Riedesel.