GRAIN trucks have had trouble keeping up with Kellerberin farmer Kevin Saunders' new CR960 New Holland combine harvester this harvest.
"It's a definite step-up from the other ones I've had," he said of the class seven model, which boasts a four speed hydrostatic gear box and pumps out 246kW (330hp SAE).
In fact Kevin has had five other New Holland headers ranging from two 8060s to the TR series 87, 88 and 99.
And of course there have been major improvements to each model along the way.
Back in the days of the 8060s you could boast of having a header rated at 82kW (110hp) and equipped with a 7.6m (25ft) open front.
Harvest was a fairly leisurely pace at 4km/h.
But the pace of life has doubled since then and while Kevin has kept pace with the required harvest infrastructure - trucks, chaser and field bins - the new CR is putting more pressure, albeit manageable, on the 2800ha (7000ac) cropping program.
The new CR has a 10.9m (36ft) draper front and Kevin is taking it through wheat crops averaging better than 3t/ha at 8km/h.
A quick glance at the New Holland InfoView monitor showed that 3670t of biomass had been put through the CR.
"We've clocked up 259 hours with 550ha to go," Kevin said.
"Basically we're working 15 hour shifts and we're getting about 30t/hr on a lot of runs in what I would describe as generally good harvesting conditions.
"It's the first time I've driven with a draper front and the feeding is excellent.
"It's certainly faster but we've had no choking in any of the crops and we've tried it in wheat, barley, triticale, oats, canola and lupins."
Even in a sappy oats crop it just represented more work for the chopper.
"We probably used an extra 100 litres of fuel because of the hard going and were going about 1km/h slower when the straw was damp," Kevin said.
"We've used the basic settings and it has just been a matter of some fine tuning, which you can do on the go to maintain a good sample."
According to Kevin, the other aspect of keeping up the sample is the ability of the CR to maintain an even load on the shoe.
"The CR has got a self-levelling shoe and we've got a bit of undulating country so we don't get loads shifting to one side," he said.
"So there's no dramas, particularly when you're under load and you would expect the header to start growling."
The latter point highlights the CR's ability to lug down, particularly on lighter soils or even deep ripped country.
"It does get pretty heavy going in our light country and we've probably got 26 tonne of weight all up when we're full, but the dual front tyres provide good floatation," Kevin said.
"The big point about the truck is that when you're unloading nine tonne of grain into the chaser bin in less than two minutes it seems like no time at all before the bins are full.
"If the system isn't working properly harvesting may have to stop until the truck arrives.
Other no hassle features Kevin likes are the 750L fuel tank, which usually lasts a shift, depending on conditions and the 50-hour grease nipples.
There's six grease nipples on the draper and the daily maintenance is checking water, oil, belts, air cleaner, fuel and tyres.
One of the new innovations in the three model CR series is the S3 Twin Rotor design, which, by delivering high centrifugal force, allows fast separation of grain and chaff and gentle handling to deliver a clean sample.
Grain threshing and faster separation virtually eliminates grain damage and loss for a better quality grain sample.
The CR rotors are 41cm (16in) longer than TR rotors which New Holland says provides more separating area and capacity.
The CR960 boasts a 10,500L tank with standard hungry boards.
Once they are folded the header is about 3.6m (12ft) high which may be a problem for farmers with 3.3m (11ft) sheds.