Andrew Cragg from Brooker Farms manages 600 hectares of arable land in Kent, growing a mixture of wheat, oilseed rape and spring barley, as well as peas for seed. He bought his first Case IH combine harvester five years ago, before trading it in for the new 9250 model for harvest 2019 - one of the first farms in the UK to take delivery of the new 250 series.
“I originally switched to Case IH as, at that time, the Axial-Flow was the only combine on the market that met the spec for the 12-metre Controlled Traffic Farming system that we operate across our farm. Now, there are other manufacturers that offer this option, but when we looked to renew the combine, we saw no reason to move away from the Case IH brand; our operator, Darren, had got on well with the previous one, knew how everything worked and also liked the cab. On a practical level, there are also very few grease nipples on the Axial-Flow, so it is relatively straightforward to maintain, and means you don’t have to spend hours greasing the thing up, plus it had Harvest Command.”
The Axial-Flow 9250 with a 12.5-metre (41ft) header combined all the crops on the farm during harvest in the summer of 2019, with the team making good use of the new Harvest Command automation fitted to the 250 series, as Andrew explained:
“The Harvest Command technology fitted on the new Axial-Flow 250 series means that the machine is constantly and automatically making adjustments to get the best sample. This seemed to work very well this summer and we saw a consistently clean grain sample in all crops. What’s more, the variable forward speed feature means the combine is continually assessing the conditions and speeding up or slowing down as needed, maximizing productivity and performance. With the best will in the world, even an experienced operator can’t constantly achieve the same performance manually, so the automation is a valuable addition here. Having the shuttle function for any rotor blockages is also useful, although we didn’t need it this year.
“All of the work we do requires straw chopping and the Case IH Axial-Flow combine fitted with the Redekop Chopper achieved a very fine chop. It often achieved the 12-metre spread that we were looking for, apart from in very high winds.
“All in all, we’re very happy with the performance of our new Axial-Flow 9250 this season. Cab comfort is excellent, it’s got a great seat and Darren reckons that this one is even quieter than the last Axial-Flow, which means it is a great operator environment. We have also been very impressed with the support that Case IH and the team at Ernest Doe have given us – they didn’t just sell us the machine and walk away, but have been genuinely keen to work with us to ensure the combine meets our needs and understand what we are trying to do on the farm, especially in terms of controlled traffic farming,” concluded Andrew.