11 August 1995

Even feed is benefit of Canadian header

By Andrew Faulkner

SUSSEX-based Wealden Farming Contractors 10-year-old Claas Dominator 106 is combining Canadian-style this season.

The harvester itself is a conventional Claas. Where it differs from the standard, is that it is fitted with a Canadian-built MacDon conveyor header (Machinery, Apr 21, 1995).

Imported by Shelbourne Reynolds for the first time this year, the MacDon header uses three conveyors to feed the cut crop into the harvesters main intake elevator; the conveyors perform the same function as the auger on a conventional header.

The three-belt system comprises two hydraulically-driven side conveyors which feed the crop onto a direct-driven centre belt. Centre belt speed is fixed whereas the two side belts have variable speed, which is set depending on crop density.

Main benefit of the system is claimed to be its even, heads-first crop delivery into the intake elevator, compared with conventional auger-fed headers.

So far this season, Wealdens Claas/MacDon combination has cut about 40ha (100 acres) of grass seed and winter oats. According to combine operator Dave Bryant, the headers performance has lived up to its importers claims.

Few teething problems

"We had the expected teething problems at the start – altering Canadian guide settings for conveyor speed to suit higher yielding UK crops – but the headers now performing well.

"Evenness of crop feed into the intake elevator and drum is definitely the main benefit, particularly in difficult crops such as grass seed."

Mr Bryant says the header significantly increased harvesting output in a 38-acre block of grass seed, but that the difference is less noticeable in standing cereal crops where the header tends not to be the limiting factor to forward speed.

"It will be interesting to see how it performs in linseed and flax," he adds. &#42

Wealden Farming Contractors Claas Dominator combine/21ft wide MacDon header combination tucks into winter oats at Michael Roberts Springham Farm, near Hailsham, East Sussex. The Canadian-built header (right) uses three rubber belts, as opposed to an auger, to feed the crop "heads first" into the combines intake elevator.