MACHINERY

App can help optimise harvesting profitability

A SIMPLE app that costs just $22 can save grain growers thousands of dollars by optimising the efficiency of combine harvesters.

Staff Writer
 Simple app helps determine the ‘sweet spot’ between harvesting efficiency and productivity. Photo: Ben White.

Simple app helps determine the ‘sweet spot’ between harvesting efficiency and productivity. Photo: Ben White.

Developed by southern New South Wales harvesting contractor, Rod Gribble, HarvestCalc can be used to quickly measure grain loss and determine its economic impact based on crop yield, crop prices, operating speed and operating costs.

The app has recently undergone an upgrade and Gribble, who is a frequent speaker at harvester setup workshops throughout Australia, said all owners and operators can improve the performance of their combine harvester.

"Every combine harvester loses some grain within the machine itself or along the front," Gribble said.

"Machine losses of about one per cent for cereals and about 2.5 to three per cent in canola are generally regarded as acceptable.

"HarvestCalc gives you the ability to monitor grain loss, calculate its economic impact and then adjust the settings of your combine harvester with confidence."

Gribble said the goal is to determine the ‘sweet spot' between harvesting efficiency and productivity under the prevailing conditions.

The HarvestCalc system includes an app that works without mobile phone service and three grain collection trays.

"Before going to the paddock, you simply enter the make and model of your combine harvester, including front width, separator width and operating cost per hour and save that profile," Gribble said.

"Once you're out in the paddock, stop the harvester and place three collection trays across the machine swath, including one under the machine itself, at least 50 metres ahead of the machine.

"Now operate your combine harvester over the location of the trays and stop.

"You then locate the trays, remove any straw and chaff and count, and ideally, weigh, the seeds in each tray.

"Now enter the type of crop, the type of test tray being used, whether your spreading or windrowing, the spreading width and your average speed.

"You then enter the number or weight of grains found in the separator tray and the head loss trays, the crop yield and crop and hit the ‘calculate' button."

The app will then automatically calculate grain loss, expressed as a percentage of yield, kg/ha or $/ha, and harvesting costs, expressed as $/t, t/hour or $/ha.

The process should then be repeated at least three times or as necessary to check the effectiveness of any adjustments made to operating speed or machine settings.

The app was completely redesigned in 2020.

"This app will pay for itself easily in 30 minutes," Gribble said.

For more details, phone 0427 614 549.

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