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A Combine For $1,000

Your combine is an inefficient tool to test whether crops are ready for harvest — especially if your fields are a few miles away and you get the combine out there only to find out you should wait a day or two longer. You can’t get that precious harvest time back. There has to be a better way to take a sample.

That’s the premise behind the Minibatt hand-held “combine.” Minibatt is like a mini stripper-header, collecting a 500-gram sample in about five minutes. “Samples are identical to those of the combine,” says the company brochure.

Minibatt has adjustable air intake, variable speed drive, and interchangeable concaves to suit a variety of crops, including cereals, peas and canola. For canola in the windrow, Minibatt sits on a stand and you feed canola plants into it. That way, you can pull plants from the bottom of the windrow that may not be as dry as those on top.

With Minibatt, you can quickly sample any part of the field. You may find that one part is ready first thing in the morning while another part could benefit from an extra half day to dry down a little more.

Minibatt weighs about seven pounds and fits in the trunk of a car or the rack of an ATV. The 14.4-volt rechargeable battery has enough power to take 12 samples before it needs recharging. It takes an hour to recharge.

For US$995, you get Minibatt, the concaves, batteries and charger, and a carrying case.

Reichhardt Electronic Innovations, the company behind Minibatt, is based in Germany and has its North American headquarters in West Fargo, North Dakota. GenAg Inc., of Winkler, Man., distributes Minibatt in Canada. They have one unit, which they brought back from Germany late last fall.

“Our harvest was already over, so we don’t have any first-hand experience with it,” says Justin Kehler of GenAg. “But if it truly does provide an accurate sample, it will mean major savings.”

GenAg is affiliated with four John Deere dealerships in Manitoba, and they plan to test Minibatt this fall. I’ll follow up later this year to see how it worked, but if you want one ahead of time, call Richard Falk of GenAg at 204-325-5090.

To get more information online, visit the website at www.reichhardt.com.

Jay Whetter is editor of Grainews.

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