‘Little brother’ header in the spotlight

05 Nov, 2017 04:00 AM
A New Holland 8.90 combine harvester in action... there's more to headers than high horsepower.
A New Holland 8.90 combine harvester in action... there's more to headers than high horsepower.

IT must be the genetic ‘rev head’ in all of us.

That’s the only psychological answer I can up with as to why power dominates conversations and stories, particularly on headers and tractors.

The media is constantly looking to push the “most powerful engine”, “the biggest”, “world-leading”, as if it was the only subject worth mentioning.

And yes, “grunt” is appealing.

A perfect example is New Holland’s CR10.90 combine harvester, boasting a maximum power rating of 480 kilowatts (653 horsepower).

It holds the world record for taking crop off at nearly 100 tonnes an hour.

So it’s an appealing machine for media attention.

But did you know its little brother, the CR8.90, with a maximum power rating of 360kW (490hp), has the same cleaning area as the 10.90 and is just as efficient in big crops, equipped with a 13.6 metre front?

The ability of the 8.90 to handle a 13.6m front is due to tyre size, 800 singles, rated to handle the extra load.

The appeal here for farmers is that you are probably going to leave at least $100,000 in your wallet, going home with an 8.90.

It’s more than a salient point made by Perkins Farm Machinery Centre dealer principal Geoff Perkins, Narrogin.

“The 8.90 is basically the same as the 10.90,” Mr Perkins said.

“The difference is higher horsepower and a bigger grain tank in the 10.90 but there’s a whole lot more to it than just that.”

It’s true that grunt and size of headers are overplayed somewhat in the market place and Mr Perkins’point is that today’s technology has arguably created a more level playing field between so-called class eight and class 10 models.

Mr Perkins will strongly argue that an 8.90 (class eight), will perform as well as any competitive class nine models, with a standard front.

“You’ve also got the option to put on a 45 foot front and there’s enough capacity for the twin rotors and sieves to do the job,” he said.

“It’s got the same cleaning area as the 10.90 and the only restriction is horsepower, for heavy crops.

“But if you drive at normal speeds, that’s not really an issue.”

The piece de resistance as far as Mr Perkins is concerned, is the performance of the 8.90 in delivering the same efficiency as the 10.90 to deliver a clean sample, with little grain going out the back.

“It’s also a perfect fit for controlled traffic farming (CTF) where you can travel slower with a 45 foot front and use less horsepower,” Mr Perkins said.

Historically, capacity was always a term used to compare headers.

For this dealer it’s just a matter of keeping the header full at optimum speed, “like you would always keep the comb full of wool when shearing”.

“Don’t lose engine revs and drive the rotors as fast as you can whenever you can,” he said.

“You don’t have to speed up to get capacity.”

New Holland territory manager Ross Lavington agrees, pointing to its twin rotor technology.

New Holland invented the Twin Rotor concept more than 40 years ago, and has been refining and evolving this technology for four decades to increase capacity and improve grain and straw quality.

New Holland’s standard S³ rotors are “staggered, segmented and spiralled’ to control the crop, moving material rearward, evenly, without bunching and reducing the opportunities for grain damage.

“With the twin rotors, more centrifugal force is created, turning the material tighter and resulting in superior grain separation, enabling a more even distribution of material onto the cleaning area,” he said.

“This gentle action is a key to maintaining small grain loss,” Mr Perkins said.

New Holland was one of the first manufacturers to introduce a self-levelling cleaning shoe, which automatically optimises the cleaning shoe angle by up to 17 per cent to neutralise the effects of side slopes, and also prevents grain banking during headland turns.

In changing crop conditions you can remotely adjust the sieves to allow greater wind flow or reduce sieve openings in lighter crops, to prevent losses and improve harvesting efficiency.

And to make harvesting even easier, an ‘IntelliCruise’ Automatic Crop Feeding system automatically matches the forward speed to crop load.

A sensor on the straw elevator driveline continually monitors the demand placed on the header, so in areas of lighter crop, forward speed is automatically increased to guarantee the combine works at full capacity independently of areas of differing yield.

While Mr Perkins agrees the 8.90 is not cheap, he counters that many owners paid the extra cost in a season because of the header’s cost-efficiency.

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

is Farm Weekly's machinery writer


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NO ships with live animals should be leaving Australia. This industry is animal abuse and animal
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we are happy to have Aldi in katanning doing business with WAMCO we also wanted and in great
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This is a disgrace but what can you expect from a Liberal Government that insists on making