Case study: Midwest Durus 60ft harvest platform

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The 60ft (18-metre) Midwest Durus harvest draper platform, fitted to a Case IH class eight combine cutting sorghum crop on the Darling Downs. The 60ft (18-metre) Midwest Durus harvest draper platform, fitted to a Case IH class eight combine cutting sorghum crop on the Darling Downs. The 60ft (18-metre) Midwest Durus harvest draper platform, fitted to a Case IH class eight combine cutting sorghum crop on the Darling Downs.
Three 60ft Midwest Durus harvest draper platforms cutting a massive 180ft of wheat in one pass, in Western Australia. Three 60ft Midwest Durus harvest draper platforms cutting a massive 180ft of wheat in one pass, in Western Australia. Three 60ft Midwest Durus harvest draper platforms cutting a massive 180ft of wheat in one pass, in Western Australia.
The Midwest Durus is the largest harvest draper platform currently available in Australia. The Midwest Durus is the largest harvest draper platform currently available in Australia. The Midwest Durus is the largest harvest draper platform currently available in Australia.

A new breed of super-sized harvest draper platforms are helping large-scale crop farmers get their yield in the bag in record time.


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About a decade ago, the largest harvest platform available was about 45 foot (13 metre), whereas over the last few years huge 60ft (18m) were used on some of Australia’s largest wheat farms.

Queensland-based manufacturer Midwest Fabrication has steadily increased the size of harvest platforms available in Australia.

Midwest Fabrication directors and design engineers Martin and Craig Schutt are confident that producing wider harvest platforms is the way forward.

"With the upgrade to the big class eight and nine combines, farmers are not receiving the full productivity gains they were promised by the equipment manufacturers, due to the crop feeding limitations with the width of harvest platforms that they are offering with their combines," Craig says.

"Increased platform cutting width to match the increased combine harvester capacity has been an ongoing changing customer need as these new models of combines get larger, with more power and more capacity."

The company now has more than 1,000 draper platforms throughout Australia and says it is pushing the boundaries in terms of design and size.

"Over 10 years ago we released the first 45ft platform to the Australian market, and eight years ago we saw that technology transferred through into our 50ft platform models," Craig says.

"Until recently this was the widest production-made grain draper platform on the market, and one which no other manufacturer today has successfully developed."

The 60ft Durus model was released three years ago, weighs just over 5,100kg, and has been designed with the singular purpose of maximising big combine capacity. 

"Customer’s ultimately needed a harvest cutting width to match the capacity and productivity potential of these big combines, and one that will fit seamlessly into an 18m controlled traffic farming system," Craig says.

"This wide platform enables producers to move up in platform width without losing ground speed, and have the ability to start feeding the huge appetite of the large combines to make them operate at peak capacity".

Such a wide platform must be able to follow the ground contour well, to ensure effective total cutting and gathering of the crop.

To achieve this, Midwest developed an adaptor for the combine and platform interface, that not only allowed for it have lateral tilt (like a see-saw), but also to have a vertical float component that allows the platform to float independently of the combine harvester.

Midwest Fabrication manufactures and distributes draper platforms and parts for grain harvesters, windrow tractors, forage harvester and front hitch tractors, via its Australian dealer network, which includes Vanderfield and a number of others in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and WA. 

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