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Thumps up for Case IH Variable Front

Article by Ken Wilson Farm Weekly

IT’S annoying and frustrating when crops start to bunch on the header front and gravitate on top of the feeder housing.

It’s a major reason why there was a pronounced swing to draper fronts away from so-called tin fronts, especially if you didn’t have an extension for lupins (pod loss) and grew canola (bunching).

The Brennan family at Yerecoin can identify with the above because they didn’t swing to draper fronts and kept a ‘tinnie’.

But that’s all changed this harvest with the addition of a new Case IH 3050 tin, 10.6 metre (35 foot) variable cutter bar, attached to their Case IH 6140 header.

“We had a 1010 30 foot (9.1m) tin front before and we had a fair bit of pod loss in lupins and crop bunching,” second generation farmer and designated header driver Marty Brennan said.

“Now we’re getting a beautiful feed.

“It’s easier on the header, we’re getting a better sample and we’re probably about three kilometres an hour faster than last year.

“This new front is about 60 centimetres (24 inches) out as the cutter bar hits the crop and material is grabbed straight away from the cross auger which has retractable fingers all the way along its length.

“With the old front, the cutterbar was too close to the cross auger and there wasn’t the same number of retractable fingers so there’s a big difference in the way you get a better feed with this new front.

“We’ve been playing around with the settings to find the right ones to suit lupins, oats and wheat and we think we’ve got the adjustments about right now.”

The front is a simple design, low maintenance with features including auto height control and side knifes to minimise canola shattering.

Marty’s son Matt also likes the tilt angle to negotiate smaller gates while Marty admires the easy attach/detach hydraulic bank – obviously wishing this sort of technology had been around years ago.

The new header also gets a big tick from the Brennans and carries on a tradition with the red brand.

Marty bought his first self-propelled International header (model 85) with a 4.8m (16ft) comb front, from budding Wongan Hills dealer Bill Boekeman in 1960.

Subsequent “Inter” models were the 711 and 725 before the International/Case IH 1420, the Case IH 1644, 2366, 2588 and now the 6140, sold by Bill’s grandson Ben.

“That first 85 model had an umbrella for a cab,” Marty joked, “not like these flash cabs now.”

One of the features of the 6140 that Marty, Matt and Matt’s son Klay, like is the cross-flow cleaning system which incorporates an electric actuator to keep crop evenly spread similar to the self-levelling shoe on previous models.

The actuator is activated by sensors and the entire cleaning system self-levels up to 12 per cent each way.

“We have a few hills and it doesn’t take much to get the grain moving to one side,” Marty said.

“But with this system you don’t get any loading on one side.”

Sieve settings from the cab also rates a mention, significantly reducing time and bringing back memories of frustrating times manually setting up sieves.

Case IH claims this side-to-side levelling capability of the cleaning system, with minimal moving parts, is as good as the 240 series models with the self-levelling shoe.

The reason there is no self-levelling shoe in the 6140 is because it is a different chassis and Case IH engineers saw the actuator a better solution to accommodate the design.

A new-style lighter weight concave had been added for easier handling when changing while two full width clean-out doors are designed for clean grain and returns.

And the joy of the daily service walk-around requires only six grease nipples to be done each day.

The reason the Brennans upgraded to the 6140 was the requirement for more horsepower.

“We’re cutting low because of the management practice of cutting low for the following year’s pasture paddocks,’’ Marty said.

The 6140, designated for the Class 6 market, has plenty to offer with a power rating of 260 kilowatts (348 horsepower) and a power boost to 306kW (410hp).

The FPT engine is very quiet, particularly when idling, and almost “speaks” of fuel efficiency.

“It’s got a 900 litre tank so we can get a full day out of it,” Marty said.

“It’s good on fuel.”

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