Better production year: Case IH's Austoft 9000 elevates sugarcane harvesting in Thailand
18 Sep 2023
Embracing technological innovations as a beacon of hope, some of Thailand's sugarcane farmers are anticipating a better-than-expected production year amidst labour scarcity and prolonged drought.
In the heart of central northeastern Thailand's sugarcane belt, Chaiyaphum province, Rungruedee Wichanwong is harnessing the power of innovation through Case IH's latest offering, the Austoft 9000 sugarcane harvester.
Rungruedee took the reins of her family's agricultural business and currently manages their expansive 32-hectare farm, with approximately 6.5 hectares dedicated to sugarcane cultivation. In October 2022, her family ordered an Austoft 9000 to elevate productivity while cutting down costs.
Relating the challenges she faced, Rungruedee said, "Few people want to work in farming as the environment is challenging and the weather is hot. It could take days to harvest with manual labour, which results in high operational costs."
"One of our drivers recommended the latest Austoft 9000, which is fully equipped with sensors. I researched the machine and tested its performance, such as its cane-cutting ability, and it responds very well to my needs," she added.
Introduced to Thailand’s farmer communities in August 2022, the Austoft 9000 has elevated mechanised sugarcane harvesting to new heights with its powerful engine, intelligent hydraulic system, and a range of innovative features that substantially improve harvesting capacity while reducing operating costs.
"Cutting sugarcane manually used to take so much time. With the Austoft 9000, we save operational costs as work can be done in one day, reducing labour costs. This year's harvesting will definitely be better!” Rungruedee said.
The Austoft 9000 incorporates cutting-edge technologies, including the celebrated AFS® (Advanced Farming Systems) auto guidance system, and a telematics system enabling 4G connectivity. This feature facilitates seamless connection to the AFS Connect telematics portal, offering tools for fleet monitoring, agronomic management, and data management.
"We're very pleased to know that the Austoft 9000 is solving problems and satisfactorily fulfilling the needs of our valued Thai customers like Rungruedee. All Case IH products are engineered to deliver unparalleled performance and reliability, empowering farmers and agri-businesses to embrace a cost-efficient and sustainable approach to harvesting," Dithapan Hurakit, Case IH South East Asia Marketing and Technical Support.
The Austoft 9000 stands as a testament to over 30,000 hours of research and development, incorporating consultations and field tests with farmers from around the world. Pioneering the sugarcane harvesting industry, the renowned harvester traces its origins back to 1944 when the visionary Toft brothers in Australia engineered the world's first commercially viable cane harvester. Throughout the years, Case IH, together with its legacy brand names, has been at the forefront of harvesting machinery product development for the sugarcane sector.
Thailand is the fourth largest sugar-producing country in the world. The sugarcane harvesting season typically spans from November to May but the impact of labour scarcity and erratic weather patterns due to climate change has shortened the harvest period and taken a toll on the quality and quantity of production for several years.
Thailand's Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) has predicted a potential decrease in sugarcane output for the 2022/2023 crop year. According to the OCSB, the challenges, along with the high cost of sugarcane farming, have forced farmers to shift to alternative crops, while some persist with the traditional burning method despite a government ban. To support sugarcane farmers throughout the country, the OCSB is offering low-interest loans to farmers, enabling them to acquire modern harvesting machinery, such as Case IH Austoft sugarcane harvesters.
For more information about Case IH machinery and technology to suit your operation, talk to your local Case IH dealer or visit www.caseih.com.