Home of the header, Henty, played host to the Australian launch of the new CLAAS LEXION 8000 series combine harvester on September 19.
The massive 8700 Series combine sporting a 15,000 litre grain tank, a hybrid design lauded as increasing combine performance by 10 per cent, created an impressive sight at The Stump for its unveiling.
It was matched by a 60-year-old CLAAS Super 500, owned by Kerry Pietsch, on display in the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery site nearby.
The launch coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the CLAAS Harvest Centre in Wagga, and CLAAS also presented a model combine to the HMFD board of directors.
Landpower national product manager CLAAS combines Steve Reeves said the 8000 Series would set new benchmarks in the Australian market place.
“I have been with the LEXION journey for over 14 years and am really proud to be involved with this release here,” Mr Rees said.
“We’ve always had an exclusive hybrid design combining a traditional thrashing system and twin rotors for separation.
“This goes way back to 1995 when we introduced the LEXION in Australia as a 480 machine under Caterpillar colours.
“That machine set the benchmark in harvesting performance and capacity – it was capable of over 40 tonnes per hour and that is still a good achievement.
“We’ve seen a number of small changes by all the machinery manufacturers selling combines in Australia over the last 25 years.
“But not until today have we seen such a dramatic change in the internal capacity, throughput and tonnes per hour.
“CLAAS do not stand still – our customers demand more and we believe with this machine we will set new forward targets and benchmarks in the Australian market place.”
Mr Reeves said four models were released at Henty – the 7600, 7700, 8700 and 8800.
He said it was not all about the engine horsepower and the grain tank size.
“With our unique hybrid design APS SYNFLOW, we do not need the amount of horsepower that a single rotor machine may consume in some conditions,” Mr Reeves said.
“The heart of our machine is accelerated pre-separation – the dimension of our thrashing drum has gone from 600mm to 755mm, and the feeder drum has gone from 382 to 600mm.
“The concave area is 23 per cent bigger in this machine. That’s where the true capacity comes from.
“We’ve also made some changes to the rotary separation grates increasing the area by 20 per cent.
“This machine will average 50-60 tonnes per hour or 25 per cent above the harvester of 25 years ago.
“We’ve now introduced a bigger, more roomy cab, a touch screen operating system and bigger grain tanks up to 18,000 litres with unloading rates of 180 litres per second.”
Mr Reeves said the combine could reduce its horsepower requirements when needed resulting in fuel savings of up to 10 per cent.
He said a horizontal cooling pack kept the engine bay, radiator and air filters cleaner for longer, reducing maintenance.
Another new feature is the artificial intelligence of Cruise Pilot and CEMUS Auto determining the speed of the machine, automatically setting the thrashing system, separation and cleaning, and monitoring the engine load.
Mr Reeves acknowledged the long-standing history between CLAAS and the Henty Machinery Field Days.
HMFD director Ross Edwards said a self-propelled CLAAS header was among the exhibits at the original 1961 Henty header school, the forerunner to the Henty Machinery Field Days.