On the cereals harvesting front, Massey Ferguson has confirmed that it is working on a high capacity combine to compete with the likes of the Claas’ Lexion, John Deere’s STS, New Holland’s CR and Case’s AFX machines – a sector in which MF has lacked an offering for a number of years.

The new unit is likely to emerge as a hybrid, using technology from both Agco’s existing conventional straw-walker harvesters and the firm’s high-output rotary combines built at the Hesston factory in the US.

However the manufacturer is keen to stress that this is a machine developed especially for European conditions and will probably be assembled at the Randers plant in Denmark.

A conventional, transversely-mounted drum and concave are expected to provide the main source of primary separation, with larger, longitudinally-mounted single or twin rotors threshing the remainder of the grain from the straw in place of straw-walkers.

With greater power likely to be provided by Finnish sister-company Sisu Diesel, it is claimed that the new harvester will match the output of the competition. Initial reports are promising – a prototype spent 2005 working its way north from the south of Europe in May, finishing up harvesting grain maize in eastern Europe in late October. It is due to appear in the UK for the 2007 harvest.

To satisfy this acre-eater’s hunger, a wider version of Massey’s popular Powerflow header has been developed. Rubber belts extend the distance from the cutter-bar to the feed auger and are claimed to present the crop better for threshing, as well as minimising losses – without the need for header extensions – in tall, “easy-shed” crops such as oilseed rape.

These specialist headers are now available as an option for MF’s Laverda-built mid-range five- and six-walker Beta combines.