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"I'm glad that Fendt gives us an open system which we can use to incorporate the data via the agrirouter into a field database. It means we can offer a more comprehensive service to the customer."

Joerg Henke, Contractor Henke, Wagenfeld-Stroehen - Katana 650, Katana 85

"I'm glad that Fendt gives us an open system which we can use to incorporate the data via the agrirouter into a field database. It means we can offer a more comprehensive service to the customer."

A BORN FIGHTER IN FENDT GREEN

Katana means ‘longsword’ in Japanese, although the blade shape of the weapon is more like a sabre. While the Katana is usually run two-handed, the average sabre is designed as a one-handed weapon. Thanks to its engineering, the Fendt Katana 650 from Hohenmölsen, Saxony-Anhalt, can be driven in maize almost without intervention. Contractor Jörg Henke makes the most of the latest upgrades in chopper technology.

"Boss, have you really thought this through?" is how one member of the team commented on Jörg Henke's decision. What happened? The contractor ordered the new Fendt Katana 650 for the 2020 maize season – a very conscious choice after careful consideration. Five years ago, the Katana 85 was the first Fendt chopper to join the contractor's fleet in Wagenfeld Ströhen (district of Diepholz). Now the successor model has the chance to prove itself against the 11 choppers in the company fleet.

Best equipped The Fendt Katana 650 is well equipped to compete on the cornfield: RS roller cracker with V-spiral groove, Stalkbuster mower attachment and NIR sensor. For Henke, it's about the technical advancements compared to the previous model: the new Fendt CropFlow 2.0, innovative knife sharpener, smart allwheel drive system Fendt BalancedGrip and added electronic features. Equipped with the appropriate tools, the chopper had to prove its worth to its regular driver, Patrick Kölpin. The past few years have seen ever-new demands on the maize harvest. Biogas plant operators today demand cutting lengths of 6 to 12 mm, while dairy farms want 12 to 18 mm or a long cut of at least 25 mm. One basic requirement must be met for all chopping lengths: the best chopping quality. That means crushed grains and textured, fibrous material. But the basics aren't good enough for this service provider; he demands more from the Fendt Katana 650. The forage harvester must meet additional requirements for data management: measurements for yield, dry matter and content. "I know the Katana can deliver that," confirms Henke.

Crushing and rubbing – across and lengthways

In the first step, the redesigned crop flow uses six feed rollers to guide the cut crop through the feed to the cutterhead and then on to the cracker. To meet all customer requirements, Jörg Henke uses the RS cracker with V-spiral groove for the Fendt Katana 650. The sawtooth profile crushes and rubs the harvested material between the enlarged contact surfaces, so that both grain and crop are cut across and lengthways according to the machine settings. An important factor here is the speed difference of up to 40%. For Jörg, this is a clear improvement on the old disc cracker, which required significantly more power and therefore fuel. The company owner makes a point of asking his drivers to cut a "sample" at the beginning of the harvest. The result has to be discussed together with the customer, because on the field you can only make adjustments until everyone is happy with the pulping results. "We always do visual inspections to check the chopping quality," says the man from Lower Saxony, explaining his quality promise to his customers. Drivers are also required to closely check the results of the knife sharpener and shearbar settings.

Stalkbuster is well received

The 8-row Stalkbuster maize attachment is particularly well received by customers, who take the fight against corn borers to the corn stubble itself. "The intention is to obliterate all the stubble – without exception," says the contractor, explaining the technology behind the battle with the destructive creatures. The corn stubble is razed during the harvest, immediately after the corn is cut, before choppers or clearing machines can drive down the stubble and push it into the ground. Customers instantly welcome the added value of this additional service, as it cuts out a whole step in the process for them. "With the Stalkbuster header, the Katana 650 manages over 200 t/hour," explains driver Patrick. He admits, though, that he would rather have a larger header to harvest the maize at a speed of 5 to 7 km/h: "In normal-growth crops, I drive at 8 to 10 km/h, a speed that demands a high degree of concentration from any driver."

His gained experience means the ambitious Lower Saxon has two further suggestions for improvement for the designers in Marktoberdorf. A larger and better equipped cab, such as the Fendt IDEAL combine harvester, increases the working comfort for the driver and is a must for Jörg on upcoming models. He also hopes to see a more powerful engine option in the future. "With at least 900 hp, for example, we could harvest with a larger maize header," says Jörg, explaining his ideas, which are already being considered at Fendt.

Customer service is always on the agenda

Jörg places these demands on technology because improving customer service is something that was, is and always will be important to him. His contractor business was founded exactly 50 years ago, in 1970, by his parents, specialising in harvesting and forage machinery. The range of services has grown ever since, offering everything from tillage and earthworks, to fertilisation, plant protection and much more. "Hardware alone is no longer enough," says Jörg. Daughter Alina takes care of the extensive area of data management in the family business. To be able to offer Precision Farming as a service, a number of requirements have to be met.

For example, the data supplied by the Fendt Katana 650 is processed directly in the office in the customer's field databases. The VarioDoc Pro documentation system, which comes as standard with Fendt tractors, provides key harvest data online. "I'm glad that Fendt gives us an open system which we can use to incorporate the data via the agrirouter into a field database. It means we can offer a more comprehensive service to the customer," says Alina, explaining the benefits of data handling. It's crucial to her that she can process everyday data from all manufacturers in the same software program. The contractor is well equipped for the future.