John Deere 8500i forage harvester in NZ

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May Brothers Contracting, run by Canterbury brothers Tim and Phil May, recently added a new John Deere 8500i Self-Propelled Forage Harvester to its fleet.

The Kiwi brothers say the 8500i is a big step up from their previous equipment, giving them better output per litre of fuel, better cab comfort and easier servicing access.

The May Brothers began their contracting business while they were still in high school a decade ago, using a windrower they had purchased and their parents’ farm as a base.

Now, they have 10 full time employees and up to 25 machinery operators working during peak times.

"We provide a full range of services throughout Mid Canterbury including cultivation, drilling, windrowing, forage harvesting, baling, grain harvesting, fodder beet harvesting, and trucking," Phil says.

"Our clients are dairy, arable, deer and sheep and beef farmers.

 "We run 13 John Deere tractors, two John Deere rotary combines, and two John Deere forage harvesters," he adds.

"The tractors are 120hp up to 450hp, and they handle all sorts of applications, from mowing through to full cultivation.

"Our rotary combines mainly do grain harvesting, but we also harvest radish and specialty seed crops."

The brothers bought their 577hp John Deere 8500i Harvester in October 2016, about a year after its initial release.

Tim says they are impressed with 8500i’s performance, citing a higher output than their earlier model.

"The per-hour productivity of the 8500i is a lot better. It has the same horsepower as our other harvester but it definitely processes more crop," he says.

"We have not yet analysed the fuel consumption in detail, but the output per litre of fuel is certainly higher.

"It is also a huge step up as a machine to work with. The cab is more comfortable and there is a lot more room around the machine so it is easier to work on.

"There is a whole different design under the hood. It is a lot roomier, which is just what a mechanic or service technician wants to see."

The Mays say the new addition to the fleet will have to work hard for up to eight months a year, starting with grass in spring, then moving onto cereal silage, and finishing up with maize in autumn

Because of this, Phil says the reliability of the 8500i is paramount.

 "The weather in Canterbury can be trying," he says. "We can get small windows to work in. Once we start moving we need to keep moving to get the crop processed before the weather changes.

"If we do have a breakdown we rely on the dealership to get out there promptly and get us going again. That is a massive thing for us and a big reason why we run John Deere gear.

"The backup we get from our local dealer, Drummond & Etheridge, is very important to us. They play a big part in our business.

"They provide us support when we need it, and we are very grateful for that."

Watch John Deere's video featuring the May brothers and their harvester in action.


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