It costs as much as a full-sized combine, but Agriculture Canada’s plot combine is designed to suit research needs, not high-volume harvest.
The Lethbridge research and de-velopment centre had the machine on display March 1-3 at Ag Expo, southern Alberta’s largest agricultural trade show.
Ryan Dyck, agronomy technician with Agriculture Canada in Leth-bridge, said the combine has improved data collection.
“It has definitely sped up processes for a lot of our agronomy trials,” he said. “It’s a pretty good machine for us. It’s very specialized for our scientific work.”
The $375,000 machine comes with a two-metre grain corn header and a two-metre straight-cut header, which can be swapped to manage different crop plots.
Previous machines have had 1.5 metre headers so the wider unit also helps processing speed.
Data monitoring systems in the machine, which Dyck said are user-friendly, allow collection of test weight, yield, grain moisture content and grain protein levels.
Smaller sub-samples can be taken from within the combine, reducing the need to run samples from field to lab.
Data is entered in a tablet that can be moved from the combine to the lab so analysis can quickly begin, said Dyck.
The combine has been used for one season already so it was looking suspiciously tidy for the show. Dyck acknowledged some effort was put into spit and polish.
“It will probably never look this clean again,” he said.