Vitamech’s proactive MacDon hugs the hills by Du Preez de Villiers
Soy beans are fast gaining popularity as more and more farmers use this crop in rotation with maize to combat the exhausting influence of maize, to combat maize diseases, and to replenish the soil with essential nitrogen.
ut a new crop means new challenges, new information, new training and… a new combine header. Soy can catch a farmer off-guard: while the plant still looks green, stone dry seeds may already start bursting from the pods and end up in the dirt, as recently almost happened in Standerton. Vitamech searched all over to find the soy header most suitable for use in Africa. As a result, they are now importing the MacDon FlexDraper, the Rolls Royce of combine headers, to help serious farmers experience the sheer pleasure of harvesting excellence. Ritchie Farm Equipment in Standerton is one of the Vitamech agents who display only durable equipment on their floors. The business was established in 1947 by Grandpa Winston Ritchie, and two years ago Winston Junior supplied the first articulating MacDon FlexDraper in the area. “We have clients who can harvest a hundred hectares of high-yielding soy beans per day with a class 9 combine equipped with a 40 foot MacDon FlexDraper,” claims Francois Mellett, Manager of Ritchie Farm Equipment. But to cut a crop evenly close to the ground with a 40 foot combine header is no mean feat, especially where contours in the field complicate the combine’s route. Therefore, the MacDon’s FlexDraper consists of two floating wings articulating in the centre and without any sensors on the tips. As soon as one of the wing tips touches the ground ever so slightly, it is raised just sufficiently to follow the contour. This speeds up the reaction time as there is no time lapse to wait for returning signals from sensors. The main factor distinguishing the MacDon FlexDraper from ordinary headers, is that drapers instead of augurs are used to gently and carefully
Gently coaxed on by the rake, the cut sorghum falls lightly onto the MacDon combine header’s draper to be transported to the combine’s thrasher. convey the material to the combine’s feeder house before disturbing it in any way. The drapers also ensure a consistent smooth flow of material to the combine’s thrasher, thus expediting volume determination. Recently, the stems of a Standerton farmer’s soy beans were still verdant, but the pods were on the point of bursting open. Sappy plants or not, he was obliged to deploy his combine in the field. The MacDon’s drapers were more than capable of handling the wet material, and the farmer could harvest his crop safely, quickly and easily. “When you consider volume handling, speed and the elimination of wastage, the MacDon is without a doubt fifty percent more efficient than any other combine header,” says Winston Junior. “I have seen how combines equipped with MacDon headers outrun other combines by a third of the speed.”
The front reel (tolhark) is a further MacDon wonder to appreciate. Each one of the six rows of tines revolves on its own axle while raking up the material, but as soon as it reaches the position directly above the drapers, the specific row of tines rolls back so that no material is overthrown to be picked up a second time. The rakes can be adjusted to four different positions for various pick-up demands, and each articulating wing has its own rake mounted to the wing and not to the frame. This ensures that the rake still performs as desired on slopes. The header has its own hydraulic system and pump, and only needs power from the tractor’s PTO. Vitamech’s MacDon FlexDraper is perfectly capable for harvesting soy beans, sorghum, wheat and any grass seeds, even where the yield is so poor and light that it cannot be picked up by conventional headers. For more information, call Jurie Swart at +27-83-375-8840, +2721-907-8000 or e-mail jurie@vitamech. You may also call Louis van der Merwe at +27-72626-8409.
As soon as the MacDon combine header’s rake has lifted the material above the drapers, the particular row of tines rolls back so that material does not cling to it to be thrown over the draper.
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