After Newton Young saw pictures and videos of the MacDon FlexDraper FD70 in action, he immediately knew that this header was the solution for his farm.
WakaWaka Ranch is one of the veteran farms in the Mkushi farming block. 30 years ago, Newton Young began clearing the first bushes to prepare fields for planting. He gained experience in dry land production before he employed pivot irrigation after electricity arrived in the area. “It was tough times and a roller coaster ride, but it turned for the good and it is always fun,” he says. Today he is also one of the directors of Barclays.
“Currently the soy bean price is very low. I get $350 ex farm in Mkushi whilst the transport cost to Lusaka or Copperbelt is $30,” he says. Therefore, Newton has to make sure that his combine recovers every single soy bean. That is one of the reasons why the MacDon’s FlexDraper header is one of his most important implements. Newton bought his 10,6 meter FlexDraper three seasons ago and it is still working like new to fully recover his soy bean and wheat harvests.
Instead of forcing the material with an auger to the inside of the combine, a MacDon FlexDraper is using draper belts, a patent which is very beneficial for two reasons: The soy beans and wheat kernels do not bounce back off the header, and the material is handled smoothly and carefully, which is extremely important for this fragile commodity.
Other suppliers offer a more fully flexing header, but this option was not necessary for Newton’s conditions. He is fully satisfied with his header’s ability to avoid rocks, stumps and ploughing into the soil: “The three sections of the FlexDraper are relatively short and fully able to go over anthills remnants and contours while still cutting the crop at the base. “When the flex runs out at full deflection, the header can also tilt to keep following the ground contours. Because it is built in three sections, the header is also more robust than a full flex head,” he says.
When Newton changes over to wheat harvesting, he simply has to lock the header from flex to rigid position if required and change the angle of the fingers on the reel. “It is a very easy and quick adjustment,” he says.
According to Newton one of the FlexDraper’s major benefits is its gentle, neat handling of material. All the stalks gently fall down on the draper in the same direction, and are moved smoothly and uniformly to the combine’s feeder house with the least force or manipulation. This results in improved thresher efficiency, longer thresher life, higher speeds, and lower fuel consumption.
The reel is also well designed to pick up heavily lodged crops. “We are able to extend the reel forward and down into the crop and lift it up into the header, so even when it is really flat I can pick up everything. Therefore our yield will increase and not decrease as with previous headers.”
MacDon design has incorporated many clever applicable features. They also designed a very efficient stone trap for collecting stones up to fist size. The stones drop into a channel behind the knives and stay there until the driver can dispose of them where they can do no further harm.
The FlexDraper uses mechanical springs instead of electrohydraulic sensors to mitigate the soil surface and keep the header at the desired pressure and flex, therefore the reaction time is much quicker and there is less to go wrong. This is another benefit, as the combine’s hydraulic system is not working hard, thus saving fuel and wear and tear.
Jurie Swart and Louis van der Merwe from Vitamech are the guys who will put you on track with the magnificent MacDon FlexDraper. Call them on +27 83-375-8840 or +27 72-626-8409 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.