Contractors running self-propelled forage-harvesters now have an alternative whole-crop header option.
Developed in New Zealand, the 5.6m (18ft) Quick-Cut header is designed to fit John Deere, Claas and New Holland self-propelled forage harvesters and is claimed to be capable of work-rates of up to 4ha/hour (10acres/hour) in wheat, barley and other specialist crops.
Since 2003 the units – previously imported from New Zealand – have been built in the UK by Gloucestershire-based Paddy Norman.
The original machines were based on a Claas disc-mower bed but Mr Norman stresses that the first Quick-Cut headers had been designed long before Claas started to build its own Direct Disc headers.
The UK-built version now uses two Lely Optimo disc-beds positioned side by side to give a cutting width of 5.6m (18ft) and, because of their design, Mr Norman is able to alter the rotation of the discs to suit the header design.
With every disc shaft-driven, the firm reverses the rotation of the two outer units to an inward direction, meaning that they move the crop toward the centre of the header as soon as it is cut.
A revision of the original machines sees the mower deck and auger closer together and the rubber-paddle beater bar done away with.
Mr Norman now has a total of 10 units up and running throughout the UK and Ireland.
He reports significant interest from a French importer which believes there is strong potential to for the units to make the short trip across the channel.
If the firm is to take on the European market then an increase in production would require extra staff and larger manufacturing premises.