Armistead Farms started running Claas Lexion combines in the late 90’s. We were impressed with the combine’s capacity and performance. These capacities allowed us to cut wheat with a flex head and eliminate the use of a stripper header. It also allowed us to harvest all our crops faster while using less fuel.
Our first combine was a 465 track machine with straw walkers behind the cylinder. After two years we traded for another new model 465. While these combines had improvements done to them between crops we had very few problems with them during the harvest season.
As the Lexion combine became more popular; the cylinder with twin rotors became the design that was being sold the most. Because of trading every two to three years; we started using the the rotor separation instead of the walkers and running duals instead of tracks. This made our trade-ins more valuable when going to the next new model.
Over the years we were asked to help the factory with prototype parts that lead to updated machines as new models were introduced. The biggest of these was the North American straw chopper. This chopper had more knives and increased airflow that enabled it to spread 30-35 ft wide. After cutting soybeans in the fall the chopper was removed and returned to the factory for inspection. After the final design was approved and production began; we received another chopper to go back on the combine. This made a good machine even better! It enabled the combine to spread the residue the full width of the header. This is very important in no-till farming.
We also participated in a demonstration of an option that let the combine be monitored over the Internet. Claas Telematics lets the owners and the dealership watch the combine as it operates in the field. The dealer can troubleshoot several things on the combine also. We were 1 of 4 combines that ran the system for a year just showing some of the performance information to anyone who registered on the Claas Lexion website. People could see where I was running, speed I was traveling, and acres per hour that I was covering. Reports could be viewed when I was not running showing what I had done earlier. This included each time I unloaded and the pattern I had driven!
Early in 2013, Claas contacted us to see if we would run a new production model combine that would be available as a 2014 model. They would provide a 760T (on tracks) combine and a 40 ft draper platform to cut our wheat. They wanted to take pictures and video for their literature, advertisements, and trade show video clips. I was happy and honored to run their class 9 combine; our’ s was a class 6; while they got their shots! They allowed me to cut over 600 acres of wheat with us having our best day ever; harvesting 172 acres of wheat during the daylight hours. We finished the field, put the header on the trailer, and headed home with the lights on.
This combine was awesome to operate and had all the options on it. Some of the features were auto steer, yield mapping, auto adjustments of the harvester, and auto speed control for maximum performance. It even had an automatic greaser on it!!
The video link is from our farm when we were cutting wheat along with the still shoots. You can visit the Claas North America website and see more information about all their combines. All videos and pictures of wheat harvest were shoot on our farm. What an honor to operate a new model combine and show North America how we grow wheat in southern KY.!!