When two old combines were due to be replaced with new ones, Lincolnshire Field Products chose two Fendt IDEAL 8Ts, which have now completed their second season with flying colours. Lincolnshire Field Products (LFP) farms approximately 6,700 hectares of agricultural land. The majority is used to grow vegetables and root crops, with 1,800 hectares devoted to cereals. Crops grown include peas, wheat, beans and rapeseed. The wheat is mainly used as fodder. Some of it is used as seed. Almost all of the straw is baled and used to cover carrots or sold for energy production and livestock bedding. The farm's machinery is predominantly Fendt tractors, supplied by local AGCO dealer Chandlers Ltd. "Fendt tractors are reliable, efficient and have excellent ergonomics, which is very important for our full-time operators," explains Paul Langford, senior farm manager at LFP. "They also hold their value very well."
High performance convinces
With such a large area of grain to harvest, high output is essential to make the most of suitable weather windows. "Our dealer couldn't initially offer combines with the power we needed, so over the years we tested a number of different brands to find the ideal machine," says Paul Langford. "In 2009 we bought our first combine, which was replaced by another brand after five years. Although both offered the capacity we wanted, rotary separation was aggressive and straw quality suffered. When we heard that the Fendt IDEAL was in development, we were immediately interested. We saw that the Fendt IDEAL was special and would give us the performance we needed." "When we discussed replacing the farm's existing combines, efficiency and increased output to reduce harvesting times were the most important factors. They also wanted the new combines to run on tracks," adds Clive Barber, Fendt product specialist at Chandlers. As a result, Paul Langford ordered two Fendt IDEAL 8Ts with 10.5 metre PowerFlow cutterbars to replace two 9 metre machines for the 2019 harvest. "Our priority was to achieve high forward speed without losses. As the Fendt IDEAL had only been available for a short time, we anticipated teething problems, but were confident that if any issues arose, we would be well looked after by Fendt and the Chandlers team," adds the farm manager. The tracks were chosen to protect the soil, which ranges from mud to heavy clay and suffers from compaction almost everywhere. They are also preferred to tyres for road use and allow transport speeds of 40 km/h.
Lincolnshire Field Products opted for a Fendt IDEAL 8T - it is best suited to the size of the acreage.
With IDEALharvest, the combine operator always knows what is going on in his Fendt IDEAL.
User friendly operation
Ben Walker has been driving the combines at LFP since 2002 - the Fendt IDEAL 8T is his new workplace. The machine is equipped with IDEALharvest. The system gives Ben Walker real-time information about what is going on in his combine. The driver can assess the grain quality via images from a camera. IDEALharvest uses the collected data to automatically adjust the combine's systems, so that the quality or losses are within the specified parameters and the work output is maximized. As the capacity of the cleaning tank is constantly monitored and adjustment is automatic, potential overload situations are detected before they occur, minimising losses. "To get the best out of the combine, I used to have to guess what was going on inside the combine. IDEALharvest, on the other hand, provides a real-time visual representation of the entire process on the screen," explains Ben Walker. "This means I can see exactly what's happening inside the combine at all times. If there are problems, I know why, and if it's going well, I can improve it further." Ben Walker looks back on many years of experience and trusts himself to set the combine optimally when harvest conditions are constant and the crop is good. "But conditions often change within fields and throughout the day. This year's crops were particularly variable as the ground was wet over the winter. If the crop is thin, I would tend to increase the forward speed when operating manually, the crop will be thicker. I would slow down the speed. IDEALharvest does that too, but it simultaneously sets the threshing and cleaning systems for optimum results and continues to do so throughout the day. A driver would not be able to maintain this performance," he is sure.
The farm also uses VarioDoc Pro. The system facilitates the exchange of task and management data between the machines and the office. Before entering a field, details of the fields to be worked are sent from the Farm Management System (FMS) to the combines. When the combines enter the field, the location detected and the boundary and guidance lines are automatically loaded. The system automatically sends the recorded yield and moisture data to the FMS as soon as the field is harvested.
Although the harvest was patchy due to unfavourable weather in winter and spring, the Fendt IDEAL 8T achieved spot rates of 60-65 tonnes per hour in wheat. Straw quality could be compared to that of a straw walker combine. The grain sample was excellent with minimal grain damage. Losses are considered negligible. "This is the kind of performance we were hoping for from a combine of this size," adds Ben Walker. "In seed production, it's important to achieve maximum grain quality. We wanted higher work output and intact straw. The Dual Helix rotors provide a huge threshing and separation area, which means the crop is not crushed or bruised. Instead, the straw is handled gently, making it perfect for baling."
Economical on the road
Another plus point of the Fendt IDEAL was evident in its fuel consumption. Although the combines deliver a higher output than the machines previously used, they required significantly less fuel. Each combine consumed around 800 litres of fuel on a typical working day at Lincolnshire Field Products. Compared to the previously used combines, this is a saving of 30 litres per hour or 400 litres per day. "We are very happy with our decision to invest in the Ideal 8T," confirms Paul Langford. "We wanted higher output, lower fuel consumption and the best possible straw quality, and all these requirements are met by the Fendt IDEAL 8T."