Southland, NZ farmer Mark Dillon’s new Massey Ferguson 9560 combine harvester has sped up his harvesting operation considerably and cut down on the amount of labour he needs.
Mark and his wife Sonia took possession of the MF 9560 in February to use on their Riversdale cropping farm and their contracting business, MJ and SE Dillon.
The Dillons looked at several other brands of harvester before settling on the Massey Ferguson and they have not looked back since.
“We started harvesting on 10th of February and have done close to 600 hectares of barley, wheat and oats with it,” Mark says.
“It’s been really good. We had extra grain this year and we needed extra capacity. We wouldn’t have got the harvest finished without it.”
Mark had previously been harvesting with his MF 865, which was used together with his brother James’ MF 750.
The MF 9560 features a 12,333 litre (9.75 tonne) grain tank, which Mark says can be fully unloaded in less than one-and-a-half minutes. His old MF 865 could only unload 4.5 tonnes in three to four minutes.
“The new 9560 has really sped up the harvesting. One day we did 30 hectares, which was 350 tonnes in an afternoon. We could’ve done that before but we would’ve used both headers and had more staff and tractors and trailers and it would’ve been a big day.”
Mark says the 9560 has done a great job on his wheat, barley and oat crops.
“They have been big wheat crops that we are putting through that have gone flat but it’s handling the straw well,” he says.
“Some of the wheat was 23 percent moisture plus, and it went through the harvester alright. Some people were sceptical about how a rotary would go down in Southland because of the wet but it is handling the conditions no problems. We’ve headed in the rain for 10-15 minutes and it still handled it.”
The MF 9560 is also doing a good job on flat barley crops. Mark says autumn barley crops have been 9-10 tonnes per hectare, which is no trouble for the harvester.
“We’re down to 480 revs with the barley and it’s still threshing the grain out and leaving the crop in reasonable condition for baling,” he says.
“For oats I went through the factory settings and modified it to suit and the sample is good.”
Mark is a particular fan of the MF 9560’s Flex front, which follows the contours of the ground well.
“Some of our country is quite undulating. The harvester follows the ground contours pretty well. That was my concern going from a 16-foot front to 30-foot, but it’s following the rolling ground pretty well,” he says.
“The front lifts up four foot high for moving paddocks so you don’t have to take it off, which also saves time.”
The MF 9560 is built strong. It has minimal moving parts so it is simple to operate, and it is easily adaptable to multiple crops. It features auto lube and V-Cool, which keeps the engine and radiator clean, making it easy to service.
Mark says his new combine is reliable, has plenty of power for big jobs and has good fuel efficiency, with a simple efficient rotor drive.
“It does everything you need from a modern combine but it’s not too complicated. It only has nine belts and three chains on the whole machine and it’s built with plenty of steel,” he says.
The MF 9560 has also been designed with comfort in mind. The quiet, airconditioned cab is well laid out and easy to navigate, with operator foot rests for long days in the cab.
Access to all functions are carried out through a touch screen, with frequent adjustments having an additional dedicated out-of-screen adjustment source. Guidance runs on the same screen.
When Al Sheahan purchased a 12-row corn head last year to replace the six-row head on his combine, he had more than increased capacity in mind. He was also taking one more step toward implementing a controlled traffic farming (CTF) program and reducing compaction on the 2,800 acres he farms in partnership with neighbor Todd Myren near Nelson, Wis.
CTF systems, which have been more prevalent in Canada, Europe and Australia, are now gaining additional converts in the U.S., and for good reason. Research in tilled soils shows approximately 75 to 80% of the increase in soil density and 90% of wheel sinkage—both of which can ultimately limit plant growth—are caused during the first pass. However, CTF can limit the compacted area to less than 15% of a given field, compared to more than 50% from some uncontrolled traffic systems.
The benefit is to a farmer’s bottom line. Australian research over 20 years has shown CTF can improve grain quality and has the potential to increase grain yields by 2 to 16%.
There are other benefits, including improving fuel and other input efficiencies. Yet, CTF often requires an investment of time and money on the front end. For instance, Sheahan and Myren have purchased a variety of equipment that allows them to confine their footprint to the fewest traffic lanes. “Because all of our machines are set up for GPS-guided autosteering on an RTK system, we can use the same wheel tracks for just about every pass,” says Sheahan.
“A lot of our equipment already fits a 30-foot pattern, so the combine was just the next step,” Sheahan says of the Massey Ferguson® 8780 he bought used. “We try to plant no-till as much as we can and limit any other tillage to vertical tillage or a field cultivator. Still, our tillage equipment is 30 feet wide; our 12-row planter covers 30 feet; the sprayer covers 60 feet; and our RoGator,® which we use to apply liquid nitrogen, spans 90 feet.
“We have everything set up for 30-inch rows, with four rows between the tires on just about every machine,” he explains. “We realize, of course, that there will be more compaction on those wheel-track rows, but at least it will be limited to those rows.”
For more advice on how to limit compaction, including how to set tire pressure and the benefits of the front-axle suspension system on Massey Ferguson and other AGCO equipment, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/fighting-compaction-tread-lightly/.
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), has introduced the innovative Harvest Promise compensation scheme for operators of current production MF combines.
In the event of eligible MF combines being immobilised due to non-delivery of critical parts within 24 hours, the scheme compensates the customer should a contractor or replacement machine need to be hired to continue the harvest. Under the scheme, a refund of 35 Euros/ha will be made to the customer up to a maximum total of 3,500 Euros.
New MF ACTIVA S and MF BETA combines from Massey Ferguson provide more engine power, improve operator comfort and control as well as increase harvesting performance in a wide range of crops.
“These new straw walker models, with drum and concave threshing, offer superb flexibility for efficient harvesting in a wide range of European conditions and crops – even rice,” says Adam Sherriff, Manager Marketing Powered Harvesting. “They provide the power, economy and performance required by the largest sector of the market and offer these users an unrivalled combination of the latest technology with exceptional comfort and control with ease of use from a reliable and straightforward design.
All the combines can be specified with the market-leading PowerFlow header, which is now available in widths up to 6.8m for the MF ACTIVA S models and 7.7m for the MF BETA combines. PowerFlow uses a continuous belt feed to gather crops, reduce table losses significantly and presents an even ‘heads first’ crop flow, which can boost output by up to 73% in oilseed rape.
The new MF ACTIVA S models also now boasts the completely new Proline cab. Developed specifically for these machines and offers specifications usually found only on higher capacity combines, such as the latest TechTouch 2 terminal, which provides automatic settings for numerous crops as well as monitoring all the operations.
This sits in the perfect position at the front of the new armrest that features the Powergrip controller and provides finger and thumb buttons for the most frequently used functions.
AGCO POWER 7.4 litre engines deliver a maximum power of 243hp (ISO) on the five-walker, MF ACTIVA 7345, while a 30hp boost for unloading takes the 276hp max power to 306hp on the MF ACTIVA 7347, which has six straw-walkers.
Both MF ACTIVA S combines are available with the addition of a Multi Crop Separator (MCS), which provides enhanced threshing while remaining gentle on the straw. A full maize kit or a universal concave can be installed for use in sunflower, maize or small grains. A special rice cylinder and peg and tooth option are also available.
Massey Ferguson is also introducing new features on the five-walker MF BETA 7360 and MF 7370, six-walker combine harvesters, which further enhance performance on these popular machines.
The latest MF BETA 7300 Series combines are powered by advanced six cylinder AGCO POWER engines, with the 330hp, 8.4 litre capacity version in the MF 7370 and PL models with 30hp of extra power for unloading. The 7.4 litre engine, powering the MF 7360 and PL generates 276hp for the machines plus 30hp boost.
A new option for the latest MF BETA combines is AutoGuide XLS automatic steering, which can provide accuracy down to 5cm to ensure the combine takes a full cut on each and every run.
All MF BETA six-walker combines benefit from a new six-row straw chopper, which is designed to provide the consistent chopping and spreading performance for users working with reduced tillage operations.
Both the MF BETA 7360 and MF 7370 combines are available with Massey Ferguson’s innovative ParaLevel front-axle system, which provides automatic side-to-side levelling across slopes of up to 20%. Using a novel parallelogram linkage, the compact and clever system connects the front wheel hubs to the chassis via a lower triangular-shaped bracket and a link arm above – forming a parallelogram shaped linkage.
The addition of the new ‘Integrale’ option to PL combines provides complete levelling. This raises and lowers the rear of the machine to compensate for working on slopes – providing uphill levelling of up to 30% as well as the standard 20% side to side compensation. Four-wheel drive is standard on all PL and PLi models.
By: Robert C. Brown, Director, and Robert Mills, Communications Specialist, Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University
The use of fermentation to produce ethanol from corn and other biomass is well known in the agricultural world. There are, however, other technologies that can convert biomass into fuels and chemicals. Foremost among these are thermochemical processes, which use heat and catalysis to break down biomass to intermediates that can be upgraded to transportation fuels.
One advantage of thermochemical processing is that the end result can be “drop-in fuels,” those that are fully compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure. While not perfect, these drop-in fuels are good enough to run in today’s engines without modification.
Another advantage to thermochemical processing is that most systems can work with a variety of biomass feedstocks. Often the feedstock is lignocellulosic biomass, such as corn stover, switchgrass, miscanthus, wood, etc. But thermochemical processing can also use lipid-rich biomass such as distillers dried grains and algae as well as mixed wastes from commercial and municipal sources.
There are two basic types of thermochemical processing, indirect and direct liquefaction. Indirect liquefaction includes gasification, where the solid biomass is heated to create synthesis gas, or syngas, that is subsequently upgraded to liquid fuels. Various catalysts are then used to convert the gas into alcohols or hydrocarbons. The advantages of gasification is that the process produces a uniform product and it is commercially proven. Gasification, however, requires technologies to clean the gases, which are still under development, and the capital costs can be high.
Direct liquefaction uses heat and pressure to convert the biomass into liquids which can then be further upgraded into finished products. Direct liquefaction includes pyrolysis and solvent liquefaction. In the case of pyrolysis, biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen. The process yields bio-oil, syngas, and a solid product known as biochar. The bio-oil can be upgraded to drop-in fuels. Pyrolysis can be performed at relatively small scales, allowing it to take place close to the source of biomass rather than moving biomass to one large, centralized processing facility. One of the major problems with pyrolysis is that the bio-oil is unstable, complicating its conversion into fuels.
At Iowa State University, we have invented a process to condense the pyrolysis gases in fractions, resulting in better, more stable products. The economics of fast pyrolysis are promising. In addition to producing fuels and chemicals from the bio-oil, the biochar may also have economic value. Consisting mostly of carbon, biochar can be used a soil amendment, helping retain moisture and nutrients. There is also research underway to use biochar as a filter medium for purifying water.
Solvent liquefaction, or solvolysis, is similar to pyrolysis except that it is performed in a solvent at elevated pressure. Though the fundamental chemistry of solvolysis is not well understood, the technology has promising economics. The process can upgrade bio-oil in a way similar to oil refining, and it can create sugars which can be further upgraded without expensive enzymes.
In addition to extensive research into thermochemical technologies, there are also many efforts underway to commercialize these technologies. Like all start-ups, these efforts have met with various degrees of success. There are, however, several pilot-scale systems being tested and commercial plants being built.
Bioenergy is a complex topic. There are many pathways from raw material to finished product. What’s more, bioenergy technology must be viewed in context of larger energy issues and policies. You can learn more in a book written for the general public, “Why are We Producing Biofuels,” by Robert C. Brown and Tristan R. Brown. The book is available on Amazon. You can read the first chapter for free online at: http://www.brownia.com/content/whyareweproducingbiofuels_excerpt.pdf.