Top Crop Manager

Uncategorized Machinery
Sponsored: Know your numbers to make better harvester purchasing decisions

August 19, 2019  Sponsored by CLAAS

Few investments on the farm are more significant than a combine purchase. It’s key to find a machine that’s suited to the unique needs of your operation – and that makes sense financially.

There are a few numbers every producer should know before buying a new harvester, says Jenna Zeorian, a marketing specialist for CLAAS.

“From the machine perspective, I’d say fuel efficiency, grain loss and productivity – and by that I mean figuring out how many acres the machine can cover per hour – are key,” she says.


“It’s more difficult to do an entire cost of ownership analysis, where you’re looking at those performance numbers along with your payments as well as machine reliability. There are a lot of numbers that go into this calculation.”

Torey Hadland, a Canadian regional sales manager for CLAAS, adds that some producers are looking closely at fuel costs as prices rise.

Hadland says, based on his experience in the field, farmers are most concerned with minimizing grain loss and improving overall efficiency. He says efficiency also matters down the road when the time comes to sell equipment, because just like any other vehicle, a combine’s value depreciates based on the number of hours it’s used.

Jason Friesen, a Quill Lake, Sask. farmer, says a lot of factors play into his combine purchasing decisions, starting with loss calculations.

“We definitely compare losses and acres per hour in the field, and fuel usage,” he says.

Friesen now runs six CLAAS Lexion combines on his 21,000-acre operation. “The reason we got into CLAAS machines to start with is that we found we could start earlier in the morning and work later at night, so we could get more done. The machines can handle the tougher conditions better. We can separate the crop properly and not throw it out the back,” he says, adding the fuel usage has improved by about 20 to 30 per cent.

Hadland says CLAAS offers a unique combine value calculator that helps producers evaluate the costs of their existing equipment.

“The farmer inputs the crop he’s harvesting, the header width, ground speed and yield, so he gets bu/ac [bushels per acre] and ac/hr [acres per hour],” Hadland explains. “Then you put in the labour rate for your operator, fuel costs and maintenance costs, and then there’s another tab where you put in how much grain you’re losing – say 25 per cent of a bushel. From there you get a calculation of what the machine is costing you per year,” he says.

Then, CLAAS will run a demonstration to evaluate how the farmer’s current machine compares to the Lexion combine. “We do side-by-side comparisons, measuring fuel efficiency, capacity, and grain loss, among other factors. Then we put that into dollars and cents,” Zeorian explains.

The 8000-7000 series also boasts fuel efficiency – at about 1.10 gallons of fuel per acre compared to competitors’ 1.58 gallons of fuel per acre.

“When we can put our features and benefits back toward what is valuable to the customer . . . that’s a win,” Hadland says.


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