EVERY little bit counts as all Australian grain producers know, so when there is a small alteration to their header set up that can help minimise grain losses at harvest they are keen to jump on board.
An Australian farm machinery manufacturer's simple knife guard to fit on the harvester front has been proven to stop heads from falling out of the cutting knives and onto the ground.
Primary Sales' three finger Adapt a Gap knife guards are a plastic extension that are easily retrofitted to a number of popular harvest makes and models.
They are particularly useful in lighter crops where whole heads can often slip out of the front.
One proponent of the system is Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, farmer and contractor Kieran Herbert.
Mr Herbert harvests between 3000 and 4000 hectares of crop each year, both his own and as a contractor.
Working primarily on wheat, barley and canola, Mr Herbert said small gains made a big difference to the overall bottom line.
"I understand the importance of the 'one percenter' in modern farming systems, and this is where tools such as the Primary Sales Australia knife guards come into play," Mr Herbert said.
Running a 2018 New Holland CR 9.90 combine with a MacDon D145 header, Mr Herbert has been using the Adapt-a-Gap knife guards for the past nine years, with generally great success.
"In a light crop situation, the use of the plastic extensions can save many heads from falling out of the knife," he said.
"I have also found the guards can last for many years - especially when used in conjunction with the replaceable wear strips.
He said it was all about getting grain in the box, rather than on the ground.
"I know how hard it can be to grow a successful crop, so to see whole heads not making it into the header is really not acceptable, and this is one of the key reasons for using this knife guard system."
The knife guards are also flexible enough to use on different crops.
Due to their wider spacing, Mr Herbert said they could easily handle direct heading of canola in most situations.
Primary Sales chief executive Peter Broley said the guards had a good fit in many regions of Australia.
"The three-finger knife guards are a popular 'go-to' guard performing very well across the range of harvest conditions we face in Australia," Mr Broley said.
"The Adapt-a-Gap three-finger knife guard is suitable for light to heavier crops with the 34mm gap being able to be an be adapted using the snap-on cereal finger extensions," he said.
However he said farmers and contractors would have to check if they were suitable for their equipment, although with a wide range, including two, three and four finger knife guard kits available there will be an option for most.
"We do recommend giving us a call so we can help you determine what best suits you as it does not suit all fronts or programs".
The knife guard range is all locally made.
The castings are manufactured in South Australia and then the raw guards are processed, hardened and wear-strips added in Western Australia.
The story Cutting down yield losses with harvester innovation first appeared on Farm Online.