A NEW harvester from Case IH has got the thumbs up from one South Australian farming family, who say it has increased efficiencies in terms of minimising grain losses and allowing longer operating hours in moist conditions.
Alex McCauley, and parents Nick and Cherelyn, run Wonstrow Farming, a 1620-hectare property on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula where they crop almost 1420ha a year and run between 700 and 900 sheep annually.
The McCauleys finished harvesting just before Christmas, with crops of barley, canola, wheat and faba beans with a new Case IH 9250 Axial Flow harvester.
Alex said the header paid dividends immediately with its ability to handle lodged crops and harvest in sandy ground.
"The wind had taken a bit of a toll on the barley, so it was laying down and not the easiest crop to harvest, but the header was up to the challenge," he said.
And he said it was not just the ability to work in tangled and lodged crops that impressed.
"We started it off in some of our wheat to get an idea of its performance and the automation was fantastic - I mean straight out of the box it was reaping so well and doing a perfect sample," Alex said.
"One of our blocks is very sandy so it's pretty hard reaping, but the 9250 was outstanding - we've never seen a wheat sample like that coming out of a header.
"We even threw a heap of trays out trying to find grain out the back but there was barely anything on the ground which was really impressive out of a big machine like this."
Efficiency is vital for the McCauleys and they have fitted the machine with a 13.7 metre (45 foot) front to get additional capacity to allow them to harvest faster and avoid potential weather damage and downgrading.
"Last year we took a bit of a hit through loss of grades - we dropped a few grades after rain and decided that with a bigger machine we could have got it in earlier," Alex said.
"A neighbour of ours had a (Case IH) 240 Series and he reaped through the night with it one time when we had to stop at 10pm (because of moisture) so that ultimately sold us on the idea of a new machine.
At the time the McCauleys were ready to look at a new 240 Series header, the 250 Series had just hit the market, and with the disappointment of the previous season's downgrades still fresh in their minds, they decided the additional investment made sense "when you calculate cost per hectare based on how much you drop per ton for grade loss, it just made sense".