Midwest puts Australia back into the harvest front lead

Throughout the grain-growing period of the past decade, the largest harvest cutting platform available from manufacturers across the world was 13.7m (45ft) in width.

This was seen pretty much as the widest front that could be maintained considering the harsh conditions the fronts had to endure.

It took a Queensland based maker to change that perception when it designed and released an 18.3m (60-ft) platform.

And with growers eager to extract more product from each pass, early adoption of this innovative 18.3m (60ft) front saw many of Australia’s largest wheat farms make the switch to far more productive harvesting.

Queensland based manufacturer Midwest Fabrication didn’t take the job of extending their fronts to such a previously unthinkable width lightly. This well credentialed firm has steadily increased the size of its harvest cutting platforms for several years, leading to this ground breaking point in harvester front history.

Not only has Midwest captured the spirit of what current growers and contractors have desired for some time in our local market, they are now gaining adulation from observers across the globe due to their ability to fit the 18.3m (60ft) fronts to any branded combine harvester.

Midwest Fabrication directors and design engineers Martin and Craig Schutt are confident that wider reliable harvest platforms is the only way forward and as such have taken out worldwide patents on their innovative exclusive designs.

This will cover their successful ability to provide gains in crop material feeding and durability and ease of maintenance and service on all Midwest width cutting platforms from 7.6 through to 18.3m (25 to 60ft) as a positive result and these patents are guarded jealously.

With the more recent release of large class eight through to class ten combines, growers and contractors are not receiving the full productivity gains they were expecting, simply due to crop feeding limitations and the lack of wider harvest platforms coupled to ground speed ability.

This is where Midwest stepped in to successfully increase platform cutting width to match the increased combine harvester capacity. This is also coupled to lower ground speed requirements that have also seen productivity advances.

Now, more than at any other point in harvesting history is the ongoing requirement to change with customer needs as these high capacity combines from all manufacturers get larger, with more power and separation capacity.

It was over 12 years ago when Midwest released their first 13.7m (45ft) platform to the local market, and just four years later saw that technology transferred through into the Midwest 15.2m (50ft) platform, another first in its time.

Until recently Midwest’s 15.2m (50ft) model was the widest production harvest cutting draper platform on the market, one that no other manufacturer was able to successfully develop at that same time period.

The major breakthrough for the harvest industry came with the release of the Midwest 18.3m (60ft) Durus platform, weighing just over 5,000kg, and designed with the singular purpose of maximising big combine harvest capacity. The industry had just what it needed.

Martin Schutt, Midwest Director had this to say, “There was a call from certain early adopter customers who ultimately campaigned for a harvest cutting width platform solution to match the capacity and productivity potential of their larger combines that are mainly developed to harvest high yielding corn primarily, and a cutting platform that would fit seamlessly into an 18.3m (60ft) controlled traffic farming system.”

“The wide Midwest platform enables operating customers to move up in platform width without losing ground speed, with the ability to successfully feed the huge appetite of the large combines to ensure they operate at peak performance and capacity”.

“Such a wide platform must be able to follow the ground contour well without the use of any electronic sensors, ensuring effective total cutting and gathering of the crop.”

“To achieve the solution and match expectations, Midwest has developed an adaptor for the combine and platform interface. This combination not only allows lateral tilt (like a see-saw), but also combines a vertical float component as well that allows the platform to float independently of the combine harvester traversing all crop terrain contours.

This alleviates crop loss coupled to the large ground wheels that take up to 40 per cent of the weight off the combine and the optional outer extremity skid wheels maintain ease of operation.”

“It’s been very busy at Midwest this year as it has been for several years and it just keeps getting busier, and we continue to grow our business.” says Martin Schutt, Midwest Director.

Midwest Fabrication manufactures and distributes patented Midwest draper platforms and parts through an authorised dealer network across Australia. Call for your nearest dealer on tel: 07 4662 2137, by fax: 07 4662 2138 or by email: sales@midwest.net.au or go to www.midewest.net.au

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