Love at first sight

Products mentioned in this article: M Series SP Windrowers, D65 Windrower Draper Header

“We wanted to have the latest and greatest of any brand to stay ahead of the field.”

When you operate one of New Zealand’s top contract windrowing companies and you’re looking for a competitive edge, one of the best places to start is with technology. Thus it was a search for the best windrowers on the market that brought Donald Love, owner of Donald Love Windrowing, to first become enamored with MacDon M Series Windrowers.

“In our business productivity is the key,” said Love from his home near Mayfield, Mid-Canterbury, New Zealand. “We wanted to have the latest and greatest of any brand to stay ahead of the field, and that meant MacDon.”

Love started his business as a hedge cutter 17 years ago. About 12 years ago he added windrowing and has, just recently, started taking on direct drilling contracts. Today, he runs his company with his wife Kay, son Robert and at least two hired employees during the busy season when they can be running 24 hours a day. Total cutting for the year can range between 3,500 and 3,900 hectares (8,648.7 and 9,637.1 acres) in a wide variety of crops including brassica (similar to canola), grass seed, peas, lentils, beans, clover, wheat straw and cereal silage (wheat, barley and oats) for dairy feed. As such, he reports that versatility is a prized feature in his harvesting machines, something that MacDon windrowers have always been known for.

“I was impressed with the ability to interchange auger and draper headers on the same machines. That’s important for us because we tend to do a lot of transporting and changing of headers on any given day moving from fields that can range from one to 50 hectares (2.5 to 123.6 acres) in size. I was also very impressed with the fast transport speed of the M Series machines. Being able to run on the highway up to 37 km/h (23 MPH) can save us a lot of time.”

For his initial MacDon purchase he settled on adding two M150 Windrowers to his three windrower operation. Up front he purchased one 14' (4.3 m) A40D Auger Header to handle his grass seed harvesting, and two 15' (4.6 m) D60 Draper Headers to handle just about everything else. In fact, Love refers to his D60 Headers as “the backbone” of his operation. Since that first purchase he has added both a 20' (6.1 m) and a 25' (7.6 m) D60 to boost his productivity in brassica and wheat.

“Those D60s can do absolutely any crop, unlike our previous machines which would struggle with certain crops. For example, we’ve been able to do such a good job in peas for some farmers that they’ve gone out to investigate buying D60s or FD70s for their combines.”

But the biggest selling feature on the D60 has been the productivity boost they’ve added to his operation.

“They’re unbelievable! We’ve never seen anything like them. We used to think that harvesting brassica at 2.5 ha./h (6.2 ac./h) was pretty good and we did our budgets on that. Now if we’re not doing 4 ha./h (9.9 ac./h) then we’re not satisfied. With the 25' (7.6 m) in canola we can do 6 to 7 ha./h (14.8 to 17.3 ac./h) without too much trouble, but we are not speed oriented. Our focus is always on the quality of the job and what suits the crop.”

As for the M Series Windrowers, Love says that there is a lot to admire there as well, especially the computerized real-time monitoring of cutting performance and lower servicing requirements.

“Fantastic! Compared to what we used to have there is very little to do to service them – the amount of downtime required to grease them is nothing. We also love the sliding platform that gives you easy access to the engine and all important service points. These machines are very well thought out and perfectly suited for the commercial contractor.”

Love admits that moving up to MacDon came at a premium in price, but that the extra he paid has been more than justified in terms of increased revenues for his business.

“Our business has grown a lot because MacDon machines have allowed us to take on more work. The running costs have also been reasonably low thanks to the fact that they are built so well. I tell people if you want to be serious about contract windrowing, then you need to be using MacDons. The MacDon Windrowers are the commercial application units for contractors.”