Second-generation farmer Casper Rolighed tells us while his fields may seem flat, the FlexDraper® is always working, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Many farmers are quite literally grandfathered into the profession; their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents and often many generations earlier have all worked the land and passed their knowledge down the family tree.
For Casper Boisen Rolighed, the farming lineage is a bit different. His connection to the career began with his father, who was the first in the family to start a farming business in their home country of Denmark.
"It's quite the opposite to what everybody else has done because if you go back in the family of pretty much anyone, they have a grandfather, or someone else that has been a farmer. That's not the case in my family. I'm actually only the second generation in my family being a farmer," says Rolighed.
Regardless, Rolighed says he always knew he wanted to be a farmer, and when an opportunity came up to join his father-in-law's farming business in 2018, he jumped at the chance. In the early days of that partnership, Rolighed was working around 600 hectares of land, but over the last 14 years, his business relationship with his father-in-law has evolved, and now he runs 1,150 hectares of his own land and manages an additional 700 hectares for his father-in-law.
And for the last four of those years, Rolighed has relied on MacDon FD140 draper headers on three of his combines (with plans to upgrade to two FD245s, consequently running two combines instead of three) to get those big jobs done.
Rolighed is a fierce advocate for the FD series of headers; after many years of use – and with very little money and time spent on maintenance – it's clear to him the initial investment has been well worth it.
"We have had them for four years now. Very happy with the work they're doing. And the maintenance, there's not a lot going on... no major breakdowns," says Rolighed. "A lot of the things we can fix ourselves. And one of the main things about these headers is that everything is mechanical. So it's not like it's electric and something we can't fix ourselves. A lot of the times when we have had an issue, we can do it ourselves."
"Even though we are shaving the ground with the MacDon header, we rarely change a knife blade," Rolighed adds, explaining how much of a negative impact frequent blade changes can have.
"It takes 10 to 15 minutes to change a knife blade, but the thing is when you got three combines running, and if it's the front combine who breaks the knife, then he will stop the other two, and they will have to drive around him, and it takes time, then you will have the grain carts and lorries. If we got two grain carts running… then the grain cart doesn't have a lot of work to do," he explains. "So everything sort of just stops and the tempo of the work just drops a lot and it's very expensive. I've done a calculation before; when you've got all of that equipment and for every hour that you stop, it costs you 5000 crowns. That would be 800 euros… it is a lot, definitely."
The homebase of Rolighed's business, CBR Agro, is in the middle of the island of Zealand in Denmark, in the town of Ringsted, and from there they run 30 km west, 40 km east and 20 km north where other farms are located. The land
throughout the entire area is "flat as a pancake," as Rolinghed describes it, but despite that, Rolighed is adamant that once a person experiences MacDon's FlexDraper, it's really hard to think about using anything else.
"I would say 80 percent of the land here is flat as a pancake, and 20 percent is quite hilly. But it doesn't matter if the land is flat. People keep saying that, 'We don't have any hills, so we don't need a MacDon flex header.' It doesn't really matter because the first time you start to run a MacDon flex header, you will see just how much the header is working all the time. It's always flexing even though you see it and think, 'OK, there are no hills here, it's as flat as a pancake. There's nothing to flex for where I'm running right now, but it's always working. Always. And it leaves very nice stubble. I would never go back to running a fixed header. Never."
Of Rolighed's 1800 hectares, around 35 percent is grass seed. He also grows milling wheat, malting barley, spinach and a small amount of peas, but four or five types of grass seed is his primary crop. Rolighed specifically noted how well his FD headers handle cutting that grass; what can normally be a very difficult process "just isn't," with a FlexDraper, he says.
"When you're running the MacDon with the flex going, it's amazing," he says.
"It's just tough. You can have a lot of green grass at the bottom when you're cutting, the straw might be mature, and at the bottom close to the ground it might be green and tough. And sometimes it might even be damp as well, like a bit wet. So I would say the MacDon FlexDraper is amazing for this."
"The main thing is the steady and calm and even crop flow into the combine, it's just amazing. You have a much more calm combine, you have a much more relaxed driving throughout the day. You're not sitting on the edge of the seat being scared of big lumps coming into the combine," Rolighed says, noting the ample capacity he gets when using the MacDon headers.
"I would say that we gain quite a lot more capacity in the evening and at night. When it starts to get tough at night, and you get those sort of lumps and bumps of crop into the combine, we don't feel it at all with these headers. It comes in more even, especially in tough conditions, so we gain more capacity."
The positive experience Rolighed has had with MacDon doesn't stop with the machinery itself; over the past few years, his local dealers have also proven themselves to be a cut above the rest who go out of their way to help resolve any issues that may arise.
"I would say we have a very good relationship and work together with our dealer. When we have a problem, we can call either the salesman or the mechanics. They will help us out over the phone, and as I said earlier because these headers are built the way they are, we can fix many of the problems ourselves, with very good support from the dealer."
"If we need something urgent, we can go and get it…the dealer will put (the parts) outside for the evening, and we can go and collect it, and we can have our combines and headers running the next morning without any downtime."
For any others considering investing in a MacDon header, Rolighed is "quite sure" they will not be disappointed with the quality, performance, maintenance costs and overall efficiency offered by the FlexDraper.
"Go and see another farmer who has one and test it. Using it, you will feel the good experience, the good feeding you get, and the extra capacity you get through the combine. I'm quite sure you won't be disappointed with it."