Chaser bins may be pricey, but they can be a good way to get grain from the combine to the store as quickly as possible. Peter Hill rounds up the growing number of options available.
Does it make sense to spend upwards of £45,000 on a specialist trailer that will only be used at harvest – and dumps its load almost as soon as it has been put on board?
For a growing number of arable farmers it does. Logistics is largely what it’s all about – creating a transport system that allows the combine to keep cutting while grain and rape are hauled to store as quickly as possible.
Using an experienced operator with a big hopper on wheels to take grain off the combine should mean fewer tractors and trailers are needed to maintain an uninterrupted field-to-store schedule.
Waiting to take a top-up load and variable hauling distances in big fields can soon put trailer supply out of synchronisation. And things can get worse if that causes queuing at the grainstore, which will soon mean the combine standing idle. Putting on an extra trailer unit will put things right, but at added cost.
A chaser bin with a big auger that can fill a road trailer in just a few minutes is also arguably the best solution for growers selling grain off the combine or putting it into co-operative storage.
Just as important, for some growers, is the issue of protecting soil structure.
Running gear specs on regular tipping trailers have improved immeasurably since the days they ran exclusively on under-size tyres and stiff retreads.
But they are still pushed to compete with the size of tyre and axle configurations available on chaser bins and the modest laden ground pressures that result.
Confining regular trailers to headlands or roadways, and ensuring the chaser bin operator uses tramlines whenever possible, will minimise soil structure damage.
The classic image of a chaser bin is epitomised by the hopper-bottom machines produced by Cross Agricultural Engineering, Horsch and Perard of France. With no moving parts other than the unloading auger, which is fed grain by gravity, they have simplicity on their side, as well as capacity.
The Cross machine has a bin volume of about 24cu m holding about 18.5t of grain, while the newly-introduced Horsch Titan 34 UW has a 34cu m (26t) hopper. Generous auger size and speed mean these empty quickly.
Horsch Titan UW34 hopper-bottom chaser bin costs £50,870.
Perard’s two X-Flow chasers are rated at 18.2cu m (about 14t) and 28cu m (21t), These have a 600mm-diameter auger located inside the hopper bottom bin, which steals some capacity, but ensures no lost grain when it folds down for transport.
Some have expressed alarm at the apparent instability of hopper-type chasers ‚Äì as opposed to those with a feed auger in the bottom of the hopper, which keeps the centre of gravity a little lower.
Twin axles and 3.5m wide track aim to maintain stability when the 28cu m Perard X-Flow chaser bin is running at speed
Crossing tramlines at an angle should be avoided or at least done with caution, they suggest; although other operators report handling this type of trailer without problem, especially where telescopic axles extend to increase track width.
All agree, though, that a meaty tractor is essential given the fully-laden weight involved, both to handle the big trailer and provide the power necessary to maintain a decent turn of speed in the field, especially when conditions turn a little soft underfoot after rain.
Cross 24cu m chaser bin has a telescopic axle to give improved in-field stability without causing headaches on the road.
With sizes starting at around 21cu m and climbing to 40cu m, growers have plenty of options for finding the size of machine that suits the output of their combine and the size of trailers used for onward haulage.
The smallest and biggest models are built by Britain‚Äôs Richard Western and G√ºstrower of Germany.
The three-model Grainchaser range introduced for this harvest by Richard Western pretty much follows the blueprint established by the Fieldrunner design – but with bigger load capacity and faster unloading to match the trend of increased combine output.
When extended, the unloading auger on these chasers projects from the side of the hopper to a position some distance ahead of the front bulkhead, which gives the operator a good view of the discharge outlet.
Fieldrunner FR20 is the ¬£48,442 mid-size model in a range of three chaser bins from Richard Western.
On the auger-bottom Perard Interbenne chaser from importer Quivogne UK, the side-mounted auger pivots (like a combine auger) between its transport and discharge positions.
Apart from also securing loose grain, this arrangement gives the Interbenne the unique ability to discharge to the rear into a reception pit or on to the floor when used for field-to-store haulage.
It also gives the machine a bit more versatility when used to fill a seed drill or bulk fertiliser spreader, which most of the other chasers can also be used for to help justify their cost.
Side-mounted auger on the 25cu m ¬£54,000 Perard Interbenne can discharge to the rear.
Annaburger’s transfer trailers are handled by Techmagri UK, and Hawe-Wester, represented by Grendon Machinery Sales, by producing lift-off grain chaser bodies for their multi-use chassis.
The idea is to use the high-spec chassis structure and running gear for more than one operation. So the 25 to 36cu m (19-27t) grain bins for the Annaburger MultiLand chassis and the 23 to 36cu m (17-27t) bins for the Hawe Body Swap system can be replaced by spreading, tanking and silage bodies.
Annaburger’s giant wheels dwarf those on the trailer. Prices on application.
Like the Annaburger and Hawe grain transfer trailers, the G√ºstrower GTU 36 newcomer from Ryetec has its auger positioned across the front of the bulkhead, where it folds by hydraulic cylinder to a compact transport position.
Hawe-Wester triple axle unit needs a big tractor to pull it. A 32cu m model costs ¬£53,250.
With body extensions fitted, the tandem axle Grain Transfer Wagon from Bergmann can carry 25cu m of grain or rapeseed.
|Make/ Model||Capacity – cu m||Axles||Auger location||Auger height||Auger dia (mm)||Auger drive||Discharge rate – per minute||List price*|
|Hopper-bottom chaser bins|
|Cross Chaser Bin (Cross Agricultural Engineering)|
|Horsch Titan (Horsch UK)|
|Perard X-Flow (Quivogne UK)|
|X-F 18||18.2||single||front||4.8m||600||pto||21cu m||£37,000|
|X-F 28||28||tandem||front||4.8m||600||pto||21cu m||£47,000|
|Auger-bottom chaser bins|
|Annaburger HTS Re-Loading Trailer (Techmagri UK)|
|HTS 20.16||25||tandem||front||4.0m||550||pto||15 cu m||£42,000|
|HTS 20.16||28||tandem||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||poa|
|HTS 29.16||33||triple||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||poa|
|HTS 33.16||36||triple||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||£80,000|
|Annaburger HTS MultiLand Plus (Techmagri UK)|
|HTS 20.79||25||tandem||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||£45,000|
|HTS 22.79||28||tandem||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||poa|
|HTS 29.79||33||triple||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||poa|
|HTS 33.79||36||triple||front||4.0m||550||pto||15cu m||£85,000|
|Bergmann Grain Transfer Wagon (Ludwig Bergmann)|
|Gustrower Chaser Bin (Ryetec Industrial Equipment)|
|GTU 21||21||single||front||4.65m||450||pto||10cu m||£42,246|
|GTU 25||25||tandem||front||4.7m||450||pto||10cu m||poa|
|GTU 25E||28||tandem||front||4.7m||450||pto||10cu m||poa|
|GTU 32||32||triple||front||4.5m||450||pto||10cu m||poa|
|GTU 32E||36||triple||front||4.5m||450||pto||10cu m||poa|
|GTU 36||36||triple||front||4.5m||n/a||pto||15cu m||poa|
|GTU 36E||40||triple||front||4.5m||n/a||pto||15cu m||poa|
|Hawe-Wester Field Transfer Trailer (Grendon Machinery Sales)|
|Hawe-Wester Body Swap System (Grendon Machinery Sales)|
|Perard Interbenne (Quivogne UK)|
|TTR25||25||tandem or triple||side||4.3m*||500||pto||11cu m||£54,000|
|Western Fieldrunner (Richard Western)|
|Western Grainchaser (Richard Western)|
|Note: Cross – telescopic axle option extends track to 3.9m price is nett; Hawe-Wester – Body Swap System prices include multi-use chassis; Horsch Titan – telescopic axle extends track width from 2.95m to 3.45m; Perard X-Flow – track width 3.5m; Interbenne – 1.8m when unloading to rear. Richard Western – Fieldrunner side-mounted auger angled forward. All prices from Continental manufacturers subject to prevailing exchange rate.|