Need to think 'dual-purpose harvest'

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Cuballing grower Roger Newman says it is important to harvest low and slow with the iHSD

Cuballing grower Roger Newman says the key take-home message from his first harvest with the integrated Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) is the need to harvest with a different attitude. “You have to acknowledge that you are doing two jobs at the one time, so you have to harvest low and slow,” he says.

Not only are you harvesting the crop, but you are also attempting to maximise your weed seed pick-up, Roger says. “You can’t harvest using an iHSD thinking you can go as fast, or leave the crop as high, as in other seasons,” he says.
“Instead of windrow burning, paddock burning or chaff pile burning during autumn, we are now doing a significant percentage of that weed management during the harvest period.”

While initial challenges with the new system were similar to those experienced in Nyabing by Trenton and Warrick Browne, Roger says his issues were cleared up early.

“Early in the canola harvest we noticed that we had issues with the amount of material going into the mills,” he says. “The chutes didn’t appear to take the material off the sieves and get them into the mills efficiently enough.”

Using a bit of engineering ingenuity, Roger designed a funnel which created a vortex to channel material directly to the mills to reduce the build-up.

“We could see that the flat plate wasn’t funnelling the material into the mills quick enough so we created a chute that directed the material from the sieves straight into the mills,” he says.

After solving this initial problem, the next challenge was to cool the hydraulics. “The radiator that was part of the iHSD wasn’t adequate to overcome the huge amount of dust we experienced during harvest and it was constantly blocking, which caused overheating,” he says.

“The dust was probably worse because of the considerable amount of biomass in the crops after such a good growing season, combined with the fact that the crops were severely frosted, which turned the heads into a pulp-type material, making everything much more challenging.”

Working with their machinery dealer, Katanning-based McIntosh & Sons, the Newmans removed the fine multi-cored radiator that came with the iHSD and replaced it with an open-core radiator, fitting it behind one of the header’s rotary screens, which stopped the blocking and over-heating issue.

“Initially the machine was blocking up every two to three hours in the canola, and every hour in the oats,” he says. “When we changed over the radiator, we had no blockage problems at all.”

The Newmans purchased their Class 10 New Holland CR 10.90 the previous season with the intention of retrofitting an iHSD.

“We certainly didn’t make this decision overnight, it was something that we had been planning for, and the purchase of the larger-than-necessary header was because of our plan to fit the iHSD,” Roger says.

“I’m very glad we went up into that size category, because unlike smaller headers, the 10.90 has the extra horsepower and the second rotary screen.”

New in-built sensors in the roll-out of the 2017 iHSDs will monitor the hydraulic-motor revs, pumping more oil into the motors to maintain the rotor speed even when there is an overload of material.

De Bruin Engineering has made substantial changes to the inlet chute design based on changes made during the season and on feedback from operators.

Roger says in the past 13 years, he’s used chaff carts, windrow burning and bale-direct (baler directly behind the header) to deal with his harvest weed seeds. “We even had several years where we did nothing and that effectively took us back to square one,” he says.

“Windrow burning was probably the most unsustainable method, since whole paddocks would often be burnt and – apart from the wind erosion issues that occurred – I’m still seeing the impact of the nutrient imbalance that burning caused in some of the paddocks,” he says.

Despite the early challenges, he believes the iHSD will prove the best weed management tool yet. “We completed 560 harvesting hours with the iHSD, so we gave it a good workout,” he says.

“We had issues for about 30 per cent of our harvest, but once the heating and feeding problems were solved, our harvest program was rarely slowed by the iHSD.

“Although you always tend to harvest lower and slower to capture all the weed seeds in the header front, we believe it achieved everything it was designed to do, and anything that enters those mills is smashed and completely destroyed,” he says.

Instead of windrow burning, paddock burning or chaff pile burning during autumn, we are now doing a significant percentage of that weed management during the harvest period.

- Roger Newman