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Next-level automation on new Case IH combine series getting results where it counts

24 Jan 2020

Saving time and saving money are the driving forces behind any agricultural operation and South Australian farming family, the McCauleys, believe they've nailed both with an investment they've recently put to work in their business.

Alex McCauley, and parents Nick and Cherelyn, run Wonstrow Farming, a 1620-hectare property on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula where they crop almost 1420ha a year and run between 700 and 900 sheep annually. They also have up to 1000 lambs through the summer to run on the crop stubble and for feedlotting.

The McCauleys finished harvesting just before Christmas, with crops of barley, canola, wheat and faba beans. They were reasonably satisfied with the yields, despite limited rainfall through the season, but believe the potential of this year's harvest was maximised with the introduction of a new member to their machinery fleet, a Case IH 9250 Axial-Flow combine harvester.

"The wind had taken a bit of a toll on the barley, so it was laying down and not the easiest crop to harvest, but the header was up to the challenge," Alex said.

The 250 Series Axial-Flow was launched at the Wimmera field days earlier this year with the promise of a new level of automation aimed at maximising the efficiency and performance of the combine, which in turn would optimise grain quality and grain savings. It's a guarantee the McCauleys endorse wholeheartedly.

"We're so impressed with what we've seen from it so far. We started it off in some of our wheat to get an idea of its performance and the automation was fantastic – I mean straight out of the box it was reaping so well and doing a perfect sample," Alex said. "One of our blocks is very sandy so it's pretty hard reaping, but the 9250 was outstanding – we've never seen a wheat sample like that coming out of a header.

​"We're so impressed with what we've seen from it so far. We started it off in some of our wheat to get an idea of its performance and the automation was fantastic" - Alex McCauley

"We even threw a heap of trays out trying to find grain out the back but there was barely anything on the ground which was really impressive out of a big machine like this."

The McCauley's traded their 10-year-old Case IH 7120 for the 9250, which they've paired with a 45ft front, going for the additional size after concerns it was taking too long to harvest the grain they had, which was then being downgraded because of the later finish.

"Last year we took a bit of a hit through loss of grades – we dropped a few grades after rain and decided that with a bigger machine we could have got it in earlier. A neighbour of ours had a (Case IH) 240 Series and he reaped through the night with it one time when we had to stop at 10pm (because of moisture) so that ultimately sold us on the idea of a new machine," Alex said.

At the time the McCauleys were ready to look at a new 240 Series header, the 250 Series had just hit the market, and with the disappointment of the previous season's downgrades still fresh in their minds, they decided the additional investment made sense "when you calculate cost per hectare based on how much you drop per ton for grade loss, it just made sense".

Alex said they looked at a number of different brands' headers before coming back to the Axial-Flow "for its simplicity, smooth operation and reliability", and the "outstanding" service they've always received from local Case IH dealer Larwoods Ag Services.

"The 9250 is so smooth and very comfortable. The ease of use is fantastic – everything's on the joy stick now and the Pro 700's great. I transferred all our data across to the new screen and it's as easy as plugging the USB in and it's all there," Alex said. "The service intervals on it are good too – every 100 hours you look it over, give it a grease and you're good to go again. It's a very easy machine to look after." 

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