We decided to change our combine for this harvest to take advantage of the large capital allowances available until December. The decision was maybe a year earlier than planned but our Claas 570+ has done seven seasons with no problems so we decided to quit while we were ahead.
We had a demo of a Claas 760 Terratrac and a Case IH Axial Flow 8230. We had a very good demo with both in spring barley and wheat but I was especially impressed with the Axial flow on its perceived weaknesses of straw quality in the bout and ability to work in damp conditions. To cut a long story short, we couldn’t fault the performance of both combines but Case IH came up with the best trade in deal so we have bought an 8240 on suspended tracks with four wheel drive and a 9.1m (30ft) header.
One of the perks of this deal was a five day trip to the USA for a tour of the combine and Magnum factories. There were 36 expectant souls who set out from Heathrow and landed in Chicago with no hitches to mention. After a short tour around Chicago and a cloud-bound lunch on the 99th floor of Sears tower we flew to Omaha in Nebraska for the combine factory tour at Grand Island.
Nebraska is as you would expect, with only maize fields in view. There was certainly no three crop rule here. Also nearly every field had pivot irrigation which boosts yields to around 12t/ha (4.85t/acre) for maize. The factory tour was excellent with the most pleasing aspect being encouragement to speak to any of the factory workers on the line. They were delighted to do so, especially if you said you had bought a combine. The manufacturing processes seen backed up my view of a quality, well built machine.
The rest of the week, which encompassed tours of the Magnum factory plus the cities of Racine and Chicago, went very smoothly and left all who attended tired but very satisfied as to how well we had been treated. I was only home a few days when I also attended combine training at Shuttleworth college in Bedfordshire. I am now fully indoctrinated in the Case IH ways and am looking forward to harvest to see how she goes. Special thanks to AM Phillip and Fiona Ross from Case IH for their superb attention and hospitality.
Peter Chapman farms 432 hectares (1,067 acres) near Fraserburgh. The mainly arable farm also has suckler cows and pullet rearing enterprises as well as four Enercon 800kW wind turbines. Peter is a Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland one-year director and is on the Ringlink board.