Farmer Focus: Combine is better without a steering wheel

At the time of writing we’ve literally just finished the wheat harvest, and considering half the crop followed spring barley, I’m satisfied with the results.

Yields maintained a good average. First wheats after spring beans again held a pleasing average and with current commodity prices there’s potential to return a profit.

Unfortunately, looking at price increases within variable costs and capital spending, we won’t be hanging on to any surplus monies for long.  

See also: 10 learnings from more than 21 years of blackgrass trials

About the author

Keith Challen
Arable Farmer Focus writer
Keith Challen manages 1,200ha of heavy clay soils in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, for Belvoir Farming Company. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape and elderflowers. The farm is also home to the Belvoir Fruit Farms drinks business.
Read more articles by Keith Challen

Winter beans and spring crops have been desiccated so it’s just a matter of a decent weather window to get them all mopped up as well.

I’ve been driving combines on and off for 34 years and I have to say our new Fendt Ideal 10T has to be the most impressive I’ve driven.

First, the Gerringhoff header is insanely good. The ability to pick up weather-battered crops at virtually the same speed we would normally cut at without leaving a single head behind is impressive.

The contouring ability of the flex draper means what was challenging terrain can now be harvested at ease, and the immaculate presentation of crop to the combine means it can perform at optimum output all day long and keeps all 800hp gainfully employed in the biggest of wheat crops.

And if this all isn’t impressive enough, the best advancement is the replacement of the steering wheel with a joystick.

In the field it’s fantastic and feels perfectly natural to operate within minutes, even on the road it’s impressive, particularly when trying to manoeuvre through parked cars and narrow village lanes.

While on the theme of combines, we are trialling Climate Fieldview from Bayer, which is a digital farming platform.

We installed it first to the combine for instant yield mapping and I have to say its refreshingly simple to use and a very useful tool. Comparisons with weighbridge results shows a high level of accuracy.

Once harvest is finished we intend to use the software for input prescriptions.

There’s no doubt that digital farming is going to play a huge part in sustainable productivity.

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