GENERALLY, if you want to know how a header is performing, you need look no further than an experienced driver.
That was the case at Martindale¹s New Norcia property Newdale recently, where a New Holland CR970 combine harvester was being put through its paces in a range of crops.
Driver Robin Parker had clocked up 378 hours when I caught up with him to see how the 276kW (370hp) header was performing.
³It absolutely shone in canola,² he said. ³I was going into swaths a metre high and there was a lot of material but I averaged 8-9kmh in what turned out to be a 2t/ha-plus crop.
³I didn¹t have any worries with the machine and I maintained the factory settings on the sieves.
³They¹ve obviously made the cleaning area bigger because there was a huge amount of material going through the header, yet the sample was excellent.
³In wheat crops that were going 3t/ha-plus I closed the top sieves down and opened the bottom up and we got really good capacity with very little going out the back.²
According to Robin, harvesting conditions were difficult with no early starts or late finishes because of high moisture.
But on one hot day which saw a 6am start and a 3am finish the next day, the CR averaged between 30 and 50t/hr.
³The road train just kept up,² Robin said. ³It can hold 54 tonnes and the return trip to the Calingiri bin takes about an hour and 10 minutes.
³Conditions were fairly ideal and I didn¹t have to make many adjustments to sieve settings.²
The CR is equipped with a self-levelling shoe which proved its worth in undulating country.
³There was certainly less overloading and for 70pc of the time we were working under 70pc of engine load.
³I never got any indication of the header dying under load, except when the box was full and I was on a steep hill, but even then it handled things okay.²
On the fuel side, Robin said the 1000L tank was enough for the day and night shifts.
³We averaged 1.2L to 1.9L of fuel per tonne of grain so it was very fuel-efficient,² he said.
Other features of the CR which Robin liked was the on-board air compressor for easy cleaning down, and the longer auger with the ramped up unloading speed of three bushels a second.
The CR, of course, has a twin rotor design, which New Holland says delivers the highest centrifugal force for faster separation and gentle handling, while the self-leveling cleaning system boosts capacity on flat ground and on slopes up to 17pc.
The CR range comprises four models with power ratings from 190kW (255hp) to 276kW (370hp) and grain tanks from 205 to 330 bushels with foldable extensions.
Grain tank covers are optional and can be controlled from the cab.
The overhead-style unloading auger is available in both 5.4m (18ft) and 6.4m (21ft) lengths to accommodate fronts up to 12.7m (42ft).
Unique offset kingpin steering geometry improves turning performance by reducing turning radius, even though the wheelbase of CR combines is 14 inches longer than previous models. The design allows more clearance to the frame and a sharper steering angle.
Complete residue management system allows you to spread and drop both chaff and straw with the flip of a lever.
Optional straw chopper uses dual, reversible, serrated knives and you can adjust the right-hand and left-hand spread with a single lever, or add the optional in-cab adjustment.
Easy, one-lever, left-side head latching system provides fast front connection with no need to kneel on the ground.
A hydraulic multi-coupler provides one-step quick connect and disconnect for all hydraulic functions.