21 April 1995

Harvest header is a cut above usual threshers

By Andy Collings

A NEW type of combine header is due to make its debut in the UK later this year. Built in Canada and imported by Shelbourne Reynolds Engineering, the MacDon 960 harvest header differs from conventional headers in that it employs two conveyors to bring the cut crop along the header to the elevator intake point, rather than an auger.

The "rape swather" design is claimed not only to treat the crop more gently with less grain loss but to ensure the cut crop is presented to the threshing drum head first – a position long advocated as the best form of presentation for efficient threshing.

The header is also equipped with a faster than normal knife stroke speed, offering speeds of up to 1100/minute.

In all other respects the 960 offers all that conventional headers do – hydraulic reel speed and positioning control, for example.

First to try the MacDon header is to be contractor David Butler of Wealden Farming Contractors, based at Danehill, East Sussex, who is contracted to harvest over 600ha (1500 acres) of cereals, flax, linseed and oilseed rape this summer.

He is taking delivery of a 21ft version for use with his Claas 106 Dominator combine.

"I wanted a header which could cope better with crops such as flax and linseed," he explains. "The combine is perfectly capable of threshing these crops when theyve entered its system – the limiting problem is getting the crop onboard in the first place."

Realise full potential

Mr Butler believes the MacDon header, which costs about the same price as a similarly sized conventional header, will enable him to realise the full potential of his combine.

"It seems to be a logical way of cutting and presenting the crop," he says. "If it performs well in UK conditions as I believe it will, I feel sure there will be significant interest from other farmers and contractors." &#42