This harvest, Maurice Kelly, of Kelly's of Borris, Co Carlow, put a Claas Tucano 480 on the road, demonstrating it to potential customers all over the south. It was quite a bold move by Kelly's but what better way to promote a new machine, especially a combine harvester. As it turned out, this harvest was one of the best on record and combine harvester sales this year were also extremely good with 38 machines sold.
While doing the rounds with the Tucano 480, Kelly's dropped in for a couple of hours just before dusk with the combine and wiped out about eight acres of wheat which the old Fahr 1600 Hydromat had opened up.
At the wheel was Kelly's salesman and demo driver Johnny Leech. The first job was to attach the header. This involved three steps: locking the header on once it had been picked up; attaching the multicoupler with hydraulic and electrical connections for the header and; attaching the header driver shaft. All was literally done in a couple of minutes.
After a quick lesson in driving the Tucano from Johnny, we swapped seats and he let me finish off the field. The first thing to try and master is the multifunction control lever. This is pretty much where it is all at with all header controls, auger controls, driving speed and direction plus much more. Pushing the multifunction lever forward gets the show on the road through the hydrostatic transmission.
When driving into the crop or coming out of it, the initial header settings such as cutting height and reel position can be set up to suit the crop and operated by a single press of a button on the multifunction control lever. Very useful.
When in the crop, the Claas CEBIS electronic on-board information system displays all of the combine's important information. Of particular importance is the grain loss monitor when things start to get a bit damp.
Before the field could be completed, the sun had gone down. With one eye on the grain loss monitor, the Tucano 480 gobbled up all in front of it. A novel feature of the Tucano is a window at the top of the returns elevator, to the right of the driver's position, where the driver can keep an eye on the threshing process.
Threshing adjustments on the go include electric sieve adjustment, fan adjustment and drum speed. On the Tucano the threshing drum gap is adjusted by a lever to the driver's right, while on the Lexion adjustment is electric.
Also on the Tucano, the unloading auger swings out from the bottom of the grain tank and up to the unloading position, whereas on the Lexion it unloads from the top of the grain tank so the auger just has to swing out. To unload you need to be sure to have the auger out well before the trailer so there is no collision on the rise out.
The eight-acre task was completed in the dark, but the Tucano's Vista II cab was well equipped with lights in all direction to illuminate the header and unloading auger. Visibility was excellent day or night and everything was well laid out.
Unfortunately, the Tucano needed to hit the road and get back on the demo trail, so it was back to normal with the vintage Fahr.
Thanks to Maurice Kelly and Johnny Leech for the opportunity to drive something a little more modern, for a short while at least.