BRANDON — Not every farmer can afford or even wants a brand new combine. For those producers who are keeping an older harvester working, aftermarket suppliers have a load of combine upgrades.
Not all presentations at the recent Combine College dealt with leading edge technology.
Sheri Dale, who works the counter at Combine World in Allan Sask., told the class of 250 farmers about cost-effective aftermarket products designed specifically for growers who want some of the features of a new combine but want them on their current machine.
Here are a half-dozen of the more popular upgrades handled by Combine World.
Dale said Farm TRX sells a system that lets farmers retrofit any combine to allow collection of yield and mapping data.
“You install their optical sensor in the clean grain elevator. That measures the mass of material flowing past. The readout appears on your tablet, cell phone or laptop,” she said.
“It’s compatible with any crop type and yield. The operator tells the system what crop is being harvested so it’s not necessary to re-calibrate for every field. It creates your data reports and maps.
“That little box has the algorithms, the sensor and GPS, so it’s quite self-contained. It comes with the yield monitor hub, optical yield sensor, all necessary wiring harnesses, installation guide and a one-season subscription to the FarmTRX web app. The best thing is the price. It’s under $2,000.”
This is a general term that covers all screen and plastic devices mounted on the header to keep canola seeds from throwing over. They all work the same: flying seed hits the catcher and deflects back into the header.
“There are all kinds of these devices on the market, and we sell lots. They range from $500 to over a $1,000. Guys say they recover the cost within the first couple hours.
“Screen or plexiglass? My favourite is the screen. There’s all kinds of canola catchers out there. I’ve seen guys just hang two screen doors on a frame out front of the header, and that seems to work just as well as an expensive catcher.”
Single point coupler
Dale said a lot of farmers with newer combines have perfectly good older headers that they would like to use. Conversely, farmers with older combines may want to run a newer header. She said the component a farmer needs is a single point block.
“It’s more common with Case and John Deere combines for some reason. For the other brands, it doesn’t seem like there’s much aftermarket support yet. We sell a lot of these kits.”
Third lift cylinder
This is another upgrade for farmers who want to put a bigger header on an older combine that wasn’t intended to carry a bigger head.
“With all these big headers available, of course guys want to put them on their older combines, but their cylinders literally cannot lift the bigger header. So we manufacture a third cylinder lift-kit for every make and model of combine. It’s about $2,000 and that includes the two brackets you weld on, the cylinder and hydraulic hoses and fittings. Case came out with a third cylinder lift for their 88 series combines, so we developed it further and made it straight across the board.”
“We have many different upgrade kits, and they’re all just great. You can do rotor upgrades. They’ll do wonders for your combine. You can do the complete upgrade or just a chopper kit upgrade. We sell more Redekop than anything else.
Adapters and conversions
Dale said that if farmers are switching headers, there’s a lot they need to know about the conversion. They’re not all simple.
“There’s not many companies dealing with adapters yet. Combine World has been doing these conversions for a few years now. We’ve learned a lot along the way. There’s a lot of rules and things you need to know when swapping headers. If you’re looking at changing headers and you’re not sure about the adapter, give us a call and we can help steer you along. MacDon and HoneyBee are the two most popular headers farmers want to buy.
“A lot of guys want to do something with headers, but they’re not sure who to call, or they’re afraid it’ll cost a lot of money on an older combine. It doesn’t have to be expensive if you have the right phone number in your pocket book.
“We have a lot of suppliers and options for you. If you have a John Deere, that doesn’t mean you have to buy a John Deere part. Maybe we can find something better. If we end up sending you to a different supplier, then that’s fine with us. For us, it’s all about helping guys with their combines.”