CLAAS Harvest Centre, the Australian distributor of CLAAS LEXION combine harvesters, has launched an innovative push to help grain producers reassess their harvesting costs.
The company’s product manager (LEXION) Jono Ham said the program aimed to refocus current thinking from outright purchase price or operating cost per hour, to cost per tonne of grain harvested.
“Many grain producers look at purchase price or operating hours when in actual fact, neither of these measurements provide any indication of harvesting costs,” Mr Ham said.
“The only measurement that counts is the cost per tonne of grain harvested.
“This is a function of the harvesting efficiency of the harvester and the front, the amount of crop that can be covered each hour and the number of hours that you can work each day.
“At the end of the day, harvesting is about making sure you get your return on investment and minimise risk by getting your crop in the shed or silo as quickly as possible.”
CLAAS Harvest Centre has developed a calculator that estimates the cost of ownership of more than 30 different harvesters based on harvesting data collected throughout Australia.
“We’ve found even small differences in throughput, grain loss and fuel efficiency means the cost-of-ownership can vary by up to 20 per cent between different makes and models,” Mr Ham said.
“These differences can easily add up to more than $100,000 over three, four or five years.”
Independent testing held in 2017 on a broadacre farm in WA found a CLAAS LEXION reduced grain losses by 3.4pc compared to a single rotor combine harvester operating side-by-side in the same paddock.
“In a crop that’s yielding two tonnes a hectare at $350 a tonne, that’s $23.80 a hectare of extra profit that otherwise would have been left in the paddock,” Mr Ham said.
“When you multiply that by 1000 or 2000 hectares over three years, buying a twin rotor combine harvester makes a solid financial case.
“The potential savings can be even greater once the opportunity to replace two single rotor machines with a twin rotor machine or expand your cropping operation is considered.”
CLAAS Harvest Centre estimates that the cost of purchasing a new CLAAS LEXION 750 (313 kilowatts, 419 horsepower) equipped with a 12.3 metre Convio draper front can be as little as $13 a tonne.
Likewise, the cost of a wide-bodied CLAAS LEXION 770 (436kW, 585 hp) equipped with Terra Trac and a 12.3 metre Convio draper front starts from $14/t.
The estimates assume a total throughput of 30,000t over five or three years, respectively, exclusive of operating and maintenance costs.
“Even then, we can confidently say that LEXION comes out way in front in terms of fuel efficiency when measured in litres per tonne of grain harvested, while our maintenance costs are comparable with other makes on a percentage basis,” Mr Ham said.
“Even our largest machines are consistently recording an average fuel consumption of between 2 to 2.5 litres to a tonne of grain harvested.”
CLAAS Harvest Centre is offering attractive early order discounts for 2019 delivery machines, including two-year factory warranty and a free upgrade to CLAAS Cruise Pilot for orders placed before December 21, 2018.
“That’s more than $26,000 of added value before the machine is delivered, on time and ready to work,” he said.
The current LEXION 700 series also comprises the 760 (344kW, 461 hp) and 780 (466kW, 625hp).