4000 Craig Ward

Craig Ward

Because it pays to improve

In a demonstration last season, grain grower Craig Ward used the new Honey Bee 4000 series draper front direct heading canola.
“When you see that kind of efficiency, you have to ask yourself: Why have we been windrowing?” Craig said.

“It’s easy to get stuck doing things the way you’ve always done them and miss out on the productivity you could be achieving.
“I couldn’t believe how much better the Honey Bee 4000 series was, compared to the MacDon we were using. The improvements and fine tuning have been carefully thought out and well-engineered.

“With the increased drum capacity and 80-inch feeder opening, the Honey Bee was feeding a very high volume of material through to the combine and getting through it at least 40 percent quicker than we were.”

Craig grows winter cereals on 2400ha in Parkes, New South Wales, with his wife, Lisa, and son, Lachlan, who is the fifth generation to farm there.

For the past seven years, they have worked on a 10.5m controlled traffic system but this season they have gone to 12m with a CaseIH 8230 combine and a new 40-foot Honey Bee 4040 draper front.

They have been direct heading about 30 percent of their canola for a few years because of wind damage with the windrows. Windrowing too early can also result in yield loss on top of a contractor fee of around $35 per hectare plus fuel.

This season, the Wards harvested the whole 600ha of canola direct heading with the Honey Bee front. Craig said they used a dessicant on about 160ha but all the rest ripened naturally. They got the full potential of what the plant can give, and they got all the crop into the combine.

“The Honey Bee suspension and ground following abilities are very good. We averaged just on 2 tonnes per hectare on canola with the harvester averaging 16 tonnes an hour. Our previous front could only manage 12 tonnes an hour on a good day.
“I was very impressed with the results on a large barley crop too, and we got the legumes harvested on time because we weren’t having to chase windrow canola.

“With the lower slanted back beam, visibility is excellent. Even harvesting vetch, it was still very good. There was no impairment like we had with the old front.”

He said the new low profile cutterbar had improved crop transition and harvest speed, and the crop saver seal was excellent for small seeded crops like canola and showed no sign of wear after the first season.

For more information on the Honey Bee 4000 series, visit www.muddyriver.com.au.