Farmers and contractors have been getting their hands on AGCO's new IDEAL combine harvester at a series of 'master-classes' held in the company's main harvest regions, with the assistance of six key dealers who will stock the machines in 2019.
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Billed as the industry's first truly new combine for 40 years, the IDEAL combines will be sold in Europe in the Massey Ferguson and Fendt brands, with identical specification and options packages, while Challenger versions are being built for the US.
Available as class 7 (451hp), 8 (538hp) and 9 (647hp) units, there will also be three variants - the standard wheeled combine; 'T' versions using a suspended track system developed by AGCO's Jackson plant; and 'PL' ParaLevel versions (for slopes up to 14%).
Threshing is achieved using 4.84m-long single (IDEAL 7) and dual 'Helix' (IDEAL 8 and 9) rotors with four rasp bars at the front and angled, 140mm-long tines (designed to give "gentle" handling of grain and straw).
A pair of moulded return floors control the crop-flow to the separation pan, compensating for slopes up to 15% while the Ciclone cleaning system removes short straw and chaff with a blast of air.
Unloading from the 12,500 or 17,100L Streamer tank is at a rate of 140L/second or 210L/second with a 480mm-diameter auger.
The IDEAL 9T (pictured above) on show was paired with a 12.2m (40ft) PowerFlow belt table with a 76cm-diameter Superflow auger.
Demonstrator Scott Nicholson of dealer Peacock and Binnington reports outputs averaging 65-75t/hour during the customer days, with spot rates as high as 98-102t/hour. Fuel consumption has come in at 75-85L/hour.
The HarvestPlus system automatically controls forward speed (according to an acceptable loss setting) using signals from MAD sensors in the threshing and separation areas.
Data from the sensors is displayed via an iPad app, allowing the operator - or a farm manager in the field whose own iPad is connected to the combine - to fine-tune rotor or concave settings.
IDEALHarvest, available as an option, takes this further by automatically adjusting settings to meet pre-defined harvest parameters.
"IDEAL has been designed to offer exceptional output and grain quality while being straightforward to operate, with the use of technology allowing even an inexperienced operator to get the best from the machine," commented Massey Ferguson national sales manager Joe Ford.