A MONTH-long holiday is well overdue for Miling farmer David McLagan who finished harvest last Thursday.
A 4200 hectare program, machinery breakdowns and limited storage resulted in a long harvest across the two properties at Bindi Bindi and Miling.
Mr McLagan said in the lead up to each season they prepared the best they possibly could but this time around, with about twice as much grain being harvested compared to last year, it meant more machinery breaking down after being run for longer.
“We had one header at Bindi Bindi and another one here in Miling,” Mr McLagan said.
“Fortunately enough the local dealership, Boekeman Machinery, let us use one of their machines to finish off harvest.
“They are very keen to help their clients out where they can.”
Direct heading canola also proved challenging with the need to upgrade a header front to suit the bigger crop.
“We direct head our canola and we had to make a few purchases to suit the bigger crop,” he said.
“We had to buy a Varifeed header front for the Case header.
“Traditionally we would use a MacDon front but it struggled feeding because of the sheer bulk of our canola crops.”
Mr McLagan also lost a wheel off his chaser bin which has put it out of action, forcing the header drivers to unload the grain into a truck and field bins.
“We had a problem sourcing parts because the company who built the chaser has gone out of business,” he said.
“It’s hard to source parts from a company that doesn’t exist, but luckily enough someone bought up the designs and we were lucky to find the manufacturer of the wheel hubs, so we will get that fixed for next season.”
Other issues included two rotors on the headers breaking down, three big header tyres being fitted and hundreds of knife blades also being replaced.
Then there were two fires on the headers that they were able to isolate quickly and extinguish before they spread to the crop.
One fire started from a leaking turbo and the other from a belt in the header front.
Mr McLagan said the fires were inevitable in big harvests and the climates the headers were running in.
“Australia is one of the few places where we have a hot harvest with extreme fire danger,” he said.
He said his headers were due for an upgrade with their oldest header being 14 years old and the other one six years old, something that he would look at before next harvest.
“We are changing things and running a lot of new machinery rather than multiple old machines,” he said.
“We will be purchasing a new header which will hopefully run the capacity of both old headers.
“It was a great run last season and with a bit of extra money coming in, it’s a good chance to upgrade.”
Mr McLagan said a later finish also challenged where they delivered grain to.
“It gets a little more difficult towards the tail end when CBH is filling up and we naturally have to move on to the next town down,” Mr McLagan said.
“The majority went to Miling, a little into Bindi Bindi and the last of it has gone into Moora.”
Mr McLagan spent last week finishing off the barley program.
“As it worked out, the local bin was taking barley so we delivered as much as we could into the local bin, which was about 8000 tonnes of barley, and we are carting the last 600t into Moora now after finishing our wheat,” he said.
By the end of the day, last Thursday, they had delivered 13,500t of grain into the CBH system, enough to fill a small open bulk head.