Saving time and saving money are the driving forces behind any agricultural operation and South Australian farming family, the McCauleys, believe they’ve nailed both with an investment they’ve recently put to work in their business.
Alex McCauley, and parents Nick and Cherelyn, run Wonstrow Farming, a 1620 ha property on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula where they crop almost 1420 ha a year and run between 700 and 900 sheep annually.
They also have up to 1000 lambs through the summer to run on the crop stubble and for feedlotting.
The McCauleys finished harvesting just before Christmas, with crops of barley, canola, wheat and faba beans.
They were reasonably satisfied with the yields, despite limited rainfall through the season, but believe the potential of this year’s harvest was maximised with the introduction of a new member to their machinery fleet, a Case IH 9250 Axial-Flow combine harvester.
“The wind had taken a bit of a toll on the barley, so it was laying down and not the easiest crop to harvest, but the header was up to the challenge,” Mr McCauley said.
The 250 Series Axial-Flow was launched with the promise of a new level of automation aimed at maximising the efficiency and performance of the combine, which in turn would optimise grain quality and grain savings.
It’s a guarantee the McCauleys endorse wholeheartedly.
“We’re so impressed with what we’ve seen from it so far,” Mr McCauley said.
“We started it off in some of our wheat to get an idea of its performance and the automation was fantastic — I mean straight out of the box it was reaping so well and doing a perfect sample.
“One of our blocks is very sandy so it’s pretty hard reaping, but the 9250 was outstanding — we’ve never seen a wheat sample like that coming out of a header.
“We even threw a heap of trays out trying to find grain out the back but there was barely anything on the ground which was really impressive out of a big machine like this.”
The McCauleys traded their 10-year-old Case IH 7120 for the 9250, which they’ve paired with a 13.7 m front, going for the additional size after concerns it was taking too long to harvest the grain they had, which was then being downgraded because of the later finish.
“Last year we took a bit of a hit through loss of grades — we dropped a few grades after rain and decided that with a bigger machine we could have got it in earlier,” Mr McCauley said.
“A neighbour of ours had a (Case IH) 240 Series and he reaped through the night with it one time when we had to stop at 10 pm (because of moisture) so that ultimately sold us on the idea of a new machine.”