AGCO launched its 9250 flexible Draper header back in 2010. It was compatible with all the company’s Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger branded combines. Since then, though, engineers have made a few tweaks to its design, and a version of the current design remains in use across all three combine brands.
“We’ve had quite a bit of time with our header on the market, fine tuning, learning a lot,” says Brent Kvasnicka, AGCO’s senior product market specialist for combines. “There are some things we’ve changed. A lot of the focus now is on reliability and maximum performance.”
As the design evolved, the header’s model number has been upgraded to the 9255. And along with that, farmer demand for it has grown, making it by far the company’s best-selling header choice on all combines leaving the assembly plant en route to their new homes, far outselling AGCO’s 8200 auger flex head.
“You’re eliminating the need for another header when you have a flexible Draper header,” says Kvasnicka. “You can pressurize it to be in rigid mode. And then when you are down in soybeans in rolling terrain, you can, from the cab, put it into flexible mode, fine tune the performance, pitch the header fore and aft, adjust the reel. Everything’s done from the cab and it eliminates the need for an additional header.”
According to Kvasnicka, there are also other reasons growers are choosing a flex Draper header.
“You’re going to see a lot smoother (material flow) into the combine,” he explains. “A lot smoother feeding. It’s not going to turn that crop. It’s not going to get roughed up in that auger. So it is going to make the combine run a lot more efficiently.
“When you get into adverse conditions, trying to run at a faster speed up to six m.p.h. plus harvesting wheat you’re looking at how well do the knives cut it off. And in tough conditions material tends to wrap over the auger. You do not have that with a Draper header. It will continue to feed nice and smooth. You’re getting more capacity per day. At the end of the day it really does make a heck of a difference”
The fore-and-aft pitch of the 9255 header is controlled from the cab. The base plate is adjustable six degrees forward and six degrees back. Fine-tuning that helps prevent material from building up on the guards and pushing standing crop forward rather than cutting it cleanly. And the cutter bar can flex four inches up and four inches down for a total flex range of eight inches.
Changing from small grains to soybeans isn’t a big deal with the 9255 flex Draper. Most of the adjustments can easily be made from inside the cab. But that level of performance comes with a much higher sticker price.
“There is a big shock to some growers when looking at the initial cost of the Draper compared to an auger head,” he says. “But I think they soon realize the benefit they’ll see in the field as far as the loss and performance gains.”
There will likely be additional updates to the 9255 in the not-too-distant future that will appeal to western Canadian producers.
“We are currently testing some additions to our Draper headers to make them perform better in straight-cut canola,” says Kvasnicka. “What I’m referring to is what we’d call a cross auger on the back of the platform Draper head. We’re currently testing those and see the advantages of it. We’re definitely targeting that straight-cut canola market with our DynaFlex headers for sure.”