The drive for ever-greater combine capacity shows no sign of abating. Engine powers are rising and header widths are expanding, too. In fact Abrey and Son of Essex, the UK importer for Austrian-made Biso headers, has announced that it will be demonstrating the firm’s giant 12m (40ft) Crop Ranger VX1200 header in the UK next year and putting it on sale in 2010.

The Biso unit has already been working on a 25,000ha estate in Slovakia this summer, cutting barley, OSR, rye and wheat. Units for the UK will go from 9m to 12m, but it is the 12m version that is likely to appeal to farmers who want to be able to get maximum benefit from increasingly rare periods of good harvesting weather in this country.

Biso crop ranger header

First seen by Farmers Weekly back at the German Agritechnica show last autumn, the 12m-wide cutterbar can flex by up to 15cm (6in) to accommodate uneven terrain and is driven from both ends. The feed auger is split, with a support to one side of the main intake. The reel also has an offset support at the other side of the central crop intake.

Like other Biso headers, the table can extend forward and back by up to 60cm for tall and laid crops, and side-knives are built into both left and right dividers.

To support all this weight, the Crop Ranger has a pair of wheels at either end. These are mounted on hydraulic rams which are plumbed into the combine’s self-levelling circuit so that the header accurately follows contours.

There’s no need for a separate trailer to transport the header on the road. Instead, the support wheels’ telescopic bogies extend and swing round underneath the table to support the header for transport. It is said to be suitable for fitting to any combine around the 500hp mark.