MacDon leapfrogs combine capacity

Capacity of new 45' header now greater than most combines.

Products mentioned in this article: FD75 FlexDraper® Headers for Combine

“Farmers will finally be able to push their combines to their harvesting limits.”

For many years now, as combine harvesting capacity has increased, farmers have not been able to fully capitalize on that increased capacity due to the crop handling limitations of their headers. But now, all that has changed with MacDon’s introduction of its new 45' FD70 FlexDraper® – a flex header whose harvesting capacity is greater than most Class 9 combines.

When MacDon first introduced the FlexDraper®, it represented a true breakthrough in flex header technology. Since then, a number of manufacturers have tried to imitate MacDon’s FlexDraper® concept, but none have been able to match the performance or efficiency of MacDon’s patented design. Its unique three-section flex frame, when combined with MacDon’s advanced draper technology, offers balanced floating action plus comparable flex range to competitive sized flex auger headers. Now, with the release of the 45' version, farmers will finally be able to push their combines to their harvesting limits in a wide range of crops including soybeans, edible beans and all cereals.

A key advantage of the 45' (13.7 m) FD70 FlexDraper’s unique flexing action is that it allows the header to maintain a consistently close relationship between the knife and the reel, even in maximum flex. This is in contrast to conventional flex headers where the flex action can prevent proper reel tine contact with the crop, which in turn can cause bunching and plugging. The result is the most flexible header yet with wing float and flex capabilities that greatly exceed the performance range of flexible cutterbars on conventional flex headers. Additionally, the FD70 can also perform as a rigid header by locking together the FlexDraper’s three sections, giving operators the best of both worlds.

The FlexDraper’s productivity boost comes from the fact that it is a flex draper, rather than a flex auger. Because it is a draper, crop feeding into the combine’s feeder house is much smoother with much less bunching and plugging. This allows the combine’s threshing mechanism to operate much more efficiently, a difference that will allow most operators to increase their ground speed significantly compared to an equivalent sized flex auger head, or move up in header width.

Another important feature is MacDon’s highly effective float system that employs coil springs to provide exceptional lateral and vertical flotation over rolling and uneven terrain. This action is enhanced with MacDon’s auto header height control system (Float Optimizer), which allows the header to automatically adjust flotation to ground conditions, eliminating the need for the operator to make constant adjustments. Combine this with the reel’s ability to gently lift the crop like a comb before cutting, as well as MacDon’s patented C-shaped cutterbar (which allows cutting at ground level), and you have a header that cuts cleaner with less loss, especially in crop that is downed, lodged or tangled.

The FD70 is available for most current model combines (Class 6 up to Class 9). For producers requiring a smaller header than the 45' (13.7 m) model, MacDon’s FlexDraper® is also available in 30' (9.1 m), 35' (10.7 m) and 40' (12.2 m) sizes.

Producers anxious to find out more about the FD70 will have an opportunity to see it in action during MacDon’s Cut Across America Tour. The tour will feature MacDon’s next generation of harvesting equipment, and will start in California and Arizona in March, to be followed by New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. In 2010 the tour will then follow the harvest northward as crops become available to be cut, and will eventually include Canadian locations. In total, farmers in 28 states and provinces will have a chance to see and drive the new equipment before the tour ends. Producers are encouraged to visit to find out details about showings in their areas.