An Australian-designed app can help farmers find the ‘sweet spot’ between combine harvester efficiency and product loss
Farmers can calculate the ‘sweet spot’ from grain loss against operating costs to maximise their overall yields using an app designed by a New South Wales harvesting contractor.
HarvestCalc was developed by Rod Gribble from an idea which dates back almost 15 years and allows farmers to determine the overall economic impact of grain losses incurred during the harvesting process.
“Every combine harvester loses some grain within the machine itself or along the front,” Gribble says.
“Machine losses of about one per cent for cereals and about 2.5 to 3 per cent in canola are generally regarded as acceptable. Another one or two per cent can be lost along the front and even more in pulse crops.
“As a rule of thumb, grain loss increases with throughput, operating speed and crop yield – and that’s going to costs you money.
“Alternatively, if you go slower, grain loss will decrease but your harvesting costs are going to increase.
“HarvestCalc gives you the ability to monitor grain loss, calculate its economic impact and then adjust the settings of your combine harvester with confidence.
“The goal is to determine the ‘sweet spot’ between harvesting efficiency and productivity under your conditions.”
The app, which does not require mobile phone network connectivity to operate, firstly involves operators selecting the make and model of their combine harvester, including head width, separator width and operating cost per hour.
The practical process involved while in the field, Gribble says, will then automatically calculate grain loss expressed as a percentage of yield or either dollars or kilograms per hectare, and will be com- pared to harvesting costs.
HarvestCalc, which has been downloaded more than 1,300 times, is available through the App Store and Gribble says it will “pay for itself easily in 30 minutes”.