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New chopper unit addresses residue management issues

Case IH has teamed up with Redekop to produce an optional straw chopper/spreading unit for its large combines.

James   Rickard


Redekop has been producing chopper/spreader units for 25 years.

With the aim of improving residue management, Case IH has teamed up with Canadian firm Redekop to offer an optional straw chopping and spreading unit for its range of large 240 series combines.

Particularly spurred on by the use of larger headers, farmers are demanding a more even spread pattern and better quality chop, says Paul Freeman, harvest product marketing manager for Case IH.

“Ideally, the outer layer of cellulose needs to be broken down to expose more of the crop’s inside. This enables bugs and the weather to break it down quicker.

“Additionally, an even spread is required to avoid lumps which can encourage slugs and block up cultivators and drills.”

While Case IH’s current chopping and spinning disc spreading unit has coped so far, the firm says it was under pressure to come up with a solution better suited to its wider headers and customer requirements.

Redekop is this solution and has been making aftermarket chopper/spreading units for several types of combines for 25 years in North America.

To tailor its design to suit European conditions and user requirement, Case IH has spent two years developing Redekop’s Maximum Air Velocity (MAV) model.

Mr Freeman says: “While Case IH would prefer to produce its own solution, the low initial volume requirements mean it makes more sense for us to outsource it at this stage.”

Redekop chopping unit

The MAV unit comprises a straw chopping flail rotor featuring eight rows of blades – 102 blades in total – working against a bank of fixed counter knives. Blades are carbide tipped and self sharpening.

Instead of throwing the material physically, the MAV unit relies on a set of impellors mounted at each end of the chopping rotor, which draws air and material out of the combine and blasts it though a set of vanes out the back at up to 180mph. And rather than a fan of air, which can be interrupted by cross winds, material and air coming from the vanes is kept in ‘columns’, said to be more stable and covering the full width of the header, says Case IH.

“An advantage of the impellors is they help improve what would normally be a turbulent flow of crop coming from the threshing rotor and deliver it more evenly to the chopping rotor,” says Mr Freeman.

An adjustable hood alters spread width and pattern, and this can be done from the cab. Vanes can also be adjusted manually.

A deflector plate allows the unit to be quickly switched to swathing mode via button in the cab. In this mode, the combine’s integral rotor automatically slows down as it normally would, with chaff still passing through the chopping unit to be spread by the vanes. Swath doors are adjustable.

Combine adaptations

At the combine end, the rear of the machine has been altered so it is ready to carry the MAV unit.

Mr Freeman says: “It means a customer can spec the chopping unit and know it will fit.”

The combine’s integral straw chopper is still retained but with the knives only 25 per cent engaged for a bit of pre-chop, useful for ‘green’ crops, says the manufacturer.

Power consumption is said to be similar to the standard system at about 9hp, and Case IH claims cleaning performance is improved thanks to the reduction in back pressure as air is ‘scavenged’ out of the combine.

For access to the sieves, the entire chopping unit can be rolled back via a rack and pinion system.

At the moment, MAV choppers are dealer-fitted with all superfluous bits removed.

“If volumes pick up, it could become a factory fit option.”

The MAV unit will be available next year. Retail price of the option is £20,000.

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