Stéphane Gaudillier is getting the job done with the MacDon M1170NT Windrower despite France's strict transport rules.
The Jura department in eastern France has been described as the land of cheese, chocolate and wine, but for Stéphane Gaudillier, it’s also the land of soybeans, wheat, corn, barley, oats and several other crops he cuts in the area.
Gaudillier farms 247 acres (100 hectares) himself and owns a custom cutting company that cuts an additional 4940 acres (2000 hectares) in the region. “I’m more of a custom cutter than a farmer,” he says, adding he is more focused on his cutting and windrowing contracts.
To get these big jobs done, Gaudillier relies on his MacDon windrowers, which includes an M1170NT (Narrow Transport) Windrower.
“I windrow with two self-propelled windrowers, one of which is new this year. I also own an FD125 mounted on a combine and a pick-up header in order to offer a complete windrowing service. I do a lot of windrowing for different reasons. The most frequent reasons is to accelerate maturity, or force the maturity of crops. And in another case, organic crops, the idea is to reduce the amount of weeds and voluntary crops,” Gaudillier says.
“For example in this wheat, either alfalfa or clover has grown within it, and there isn’t any other solution other than drying it all. The green clover will hinder the thrashing of this mature wheat within the combine.”
The M1170NT windrower is a more recent addition to Gaudillier’s tool kit. While the M1 has been available in Europe for a few years already, it is completely new to France thanks to the creation of the narrow transport model. The narrow transport (NT) model was developed to comply with transport rules in Europe — including France — which restrict the width of farming machinery as it often needs to drive on very tight, narrow roads while moving from one field to the next if they aren’t adjacent.
The M1170NT allows Gaudillier to navigate those slim spaces in its road-friendly package that is only 347 cm wide (137”), while still being able to deliver full-size harvesting performance and all of the features MacDon customers know and love, such as Dual Direction Steering.
The road speed tops out at a swift 45 km/h (28 mph) which optimizes work time; less time spent driving between fields means more time to spend cutting, though the in-field speed of up to 29 km/h (18 mph) also helps expedite the process on the cutting side as well.
In field mode, the width is 440 cm (173”) to take advantage of the industry’s best crop clearance that easily tackles high-volume swaths, and the cross flex suspension absorbs impact from uneven terrain resulting in a smooth, quality cut at a quick pace.
Even though Gaudillier is relatively new to the M1770NT, all of the benefits of using this machine were obvious immediately.
“Why did I choose MacDon? That’s pretty simple, they’re the only manufacturer that have a model that is certified for French roads. The other reason is that it’s simple yet robust equipment,” he says.
“MacDon’s windrower has a mechanical ground-following system that is reliable and much more reactive, especially while windrowing where we travel at high-speeds. On the M1, we have great cabin comfort, a computer display [that’s] very easy to use and quite practical. They have all functions present on the arm rest. I hope to be able to windrow this year 2471 acres (1000 hectares) with this machine,” Gaudillier says.
“When I get asked why this machine and not another, well: reliability, simplicity, and quality of service. For me, MacDon windrowers represent what is most reliable, robust, and comfortable during work.”
As a MacDon customer who is familiar with multiple products, Gaudillier knows he can count on his windrowers and drapers to solve any problem he may have and will not only maintain but increase productivity no matter the weather or field condition.
“What I appreciate with MacDon equipment is their simplicity, their robustness, and in the worst conditions, we save a lot of fatigue. We finish our workdays a lot less tired than when using a standard header. Going from one header to the other, we can tell the difference immediately,” explains Gaudillier.
“My drivers are always fighting over who gets the MacDon.”