With severe weather continually influenc ing farming operations, harvesting damaged crops is something farmers need to be prepared for. To help salvage damaged cereal stands, Flexxifinger has designed new heavy-duty crop lifter.
Building on their original design, which won 2006 invention of the year at the Western Canada Farm Progress Show at Regina, Sask., Dave Dietrich, the company’s founder, says the new heavy-duty lifters offer higher strength but keep the same adjustability and quick change capabilities.
“The heavier lifters were designed for cereal crops,” says Dietrich. But, he adds, the design also has applications in canola, and it allows producers to cut pea crops leaving higher stubble heights.
The company went to a one-inch diameter bore for the heavy-duty design of the nylon finger, double the thickness of the original lifters. That was necessary to get the extra strength needed for a longer reach, Dietrich says. “The smaller diameter bore of the pulse crop lifter didn’t allow us to go much longer,” he says.
The new lifters were in customer trials last fall and are now available for the 2010 season. “We made some changes after the customer trials,” adds Dietrich. He says feedback from farmers was positive after tests in downed and lodged crops.
Markus Haerle of St. Isidore, Ont., was one of the producers who field tested the new lifters. “We had about 80 per cent of all our wheat down about six or eight inches off the ground,” he says. “I was very surprised by their performance. They really did a good job. They picked up about 95 per cent of all the crop.”
Haerle says the shape of the lifters was changed part way through the season. The revised design prevents them from digging into the ground when the header is riding very low. “The (new) shape is a little different and it works a lot better,” he adds.
CHANGE-OUT TAKES MINUTES
The heavy-duty lifters keep the same quick attachment design as the lighter, original pulse crop model, and they are interchangeable. “For a 30-foot header it would take an hour or an hour and a half with normal tools for the first installation,” says Dietrich. “After the first installation it is only a matter of two or three minutes to take them off and on.” That makes changing broken guards or sickles quick and easy.
Haerle says he found spacing the lifters about one foot apart made for the most efficient arrangement. “(Any closer) and it would be a hassle,” he says. “They all work together (at that spacing).”
Dietrich says the company is also working on attachments for sunflower and milo (grain sorghum) crops and it hopes to have them in field trials by this fall.
Equipping a header with the heavy-duty lifters will cost about $68.95 per foot. They will be on display at Farm Progress show this month, or for more information visit the company’s website at www.flexxifinger.com.
Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews.