07 April 2020
Katanning grower Ian Knapp (right), with his father Ron, who helped build the original Harrington Seed Destructor with its inventor, Local WA farmer Ray Harrington. Ian completed a successful harvest recently using the latest Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor installed on the family's NEw Holland CR 10.90 harvester. Ian also worked for Ray on his farm when he left school.
AFTER patiently anticipating its release, Katanning grower Ian Knapp has successfully completed his first harvest using the latest Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor.
Ian and his wife, Narelle, run a mixed cropping and sheep operation on the family’s ‘Craigmore’ property at Katanning, across 6000 hectares owned and leased.
The 2019-20 season saw them harvest a 2300-hectare cropping program of wheat, barley, canola, lupins and oats. They also run 5000 ewes in a self-replacing Merino flock.
While it was an average season for yield results, Ian said a big highlight for him was completing more than 250 hours of hassle-free usage from their new Seed Destructor.
They invested in the technology as a tool to help them clean up paddocks, from their main weed burden of ryegrass and radish.
In the past, Ian said they had undertaken windrow burning with mixed results and also had looked at chaff carts while waiting for the latest Destructor to be released.
“We want to improve our pastures rather than feeding the sheep on rubbish that’s left over from harvest,” Ian said.
“I like the simple drive system of this model and had been waiting for it for a while.
“I personally feel that this is one of the biggest steps forward in agriculture in recent years.”
After using only Case IH headers for more than 50 years, two years ago Ian upgraded to a New Holland CR 10.90 to take advantage of the local service and parts availability offered by McIntosh & Son at Katanning.
The local dealer also installed their Seed Destructor, which is designed to operate at 3000rpm without sacrificing mill capacity or the impressive weed seed kill rates of up to 99 per cent.
“When we bought the header, it was a size bigger than we really wanted, but knowing there was a new Destructor model around the corner, that’s why we went for it,” Ian said.
“McIntosh have been great to deal with and really helpful. Having a truly local dealer is something we appreciate.”
This harvest marked the Knapp’s second season with the header and first using the Destructor, and Ian said he was impressed with its performance, particularly enjoying having the ability to check grain losses.
“It didn’t limit the header at all for us. We were operating at the full 3000 RPM and at the same speeds.’’
“We direct-headed our canola at speeds of around 6-7km/hr and with our cereals, we were doing around 8km and that’s cutting very low to the ground – like a lawn mower, to make sure we get everything.
“The heaviest crops we harvested this year was our barley at about 3 tonnes/ha, but that’s the other thing I really like about the Destructor – you can drop the doors off and check losses out the back.
“I’m pretty anal with that and we got barley down to 30kg/ha. I just don’t see the point spending the whole year growing a crop and then putting it out the back of the header – you’re not reaping the full rewards.
“I tend to harvest a bit slower to make sure I get everything, so I drive it on the loss monitor rather than the horsepower.”
Ian has a deeper connection to the Seed Destructor, as his father, Ron, helped build the original model with its inventor, fellow WA grower Ray Harrington.
Ian said he also worked for Ray on his farm after he first left school.
“Knowing what Ray has achieved and what others around us have been able to achieve using the Destructor makes us pretty confident that it will work for us,” he said.
“Having spoken to Ray and Dad, I know this current model is where they originally wanted to get the design to and it’s what I have been waiting for.”
Ian said there had been a strong uptake of Seed Destructors in his area, as well as a few growers using chaff carts looking over the Knapp’s fence with keen interest to see its performance in a mixed cropping and livestock operation.
“I like the fact you can get those escapees that you missed during the year, or the late germination of weeds. With the Destructor, you’ve got the ability to tidy them up and get it done at harvest, so the next time we need to go into that paddock will be to spread lime or for seeding.’’
“I don’t think it will drop our reliance on chemical, but I do think it will mean we don’t have to go to the more expensive chemical earlier than what we have to and going forward. When we do see a reduction in numbers, it will mean we’re using the same chemical rate to kill less weeds, so hopefully seeing a more effective strike rate.
“It’s a bit addictive. You see some ryegrass near the gate so you drive the header over there to make sure you get it and then keep going.
“That’s the beauty of it. You know that at least 99pc of all the weeds that go through the front aren’t going to germinate.”
Invented by WA grower Ray Harrington and developed by UniSA with investment from GRDC, the Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor has undergone continuing development in recent years by DeBruin Engineering, together with national distributor, McIntosh Distribution.
The new vertical, mechanical-drive system, which uses the same mill set as the hydraulic version, can be fitted to later model John Deere, Case IH and New Holland harvesters, with no permanent modifications required.
For the 2020 grain harvest, only 200 Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor units are expected to be available Australia-wide. Growers interested in further information about the latest system and early orders for next season can contact their local McIntosh & Son dealer.