Chilly spring has made its own alterations to 2020 agritechnical calendar, but at the moment early harvest has gathered pace. Alebor Group of companies, as usual, is taking an active part in harvesting campaign. It is able to ensure full range of services for farmers in this regard.
Recently we told you about high availability of grain elevators belonging to Alebor Group for 2020 season. Today our combine fleet is in focus. Let’s remind you, there are 10 modern CLAAS Lexion 600 combines in Alebor Group’s fleet. We discussed the peculiarities of machinery operation during hot harvesting period with Mykola Babiy, Head of Combine Division.
Pre-season preparation plays an important role in maintaining smooth operation of machinery. Has the lockdown affected them?
— Of course, we were adjusting to all those lockdown restrictions. In order not to gather all employees at working places at one time, we’ve arranged two crews working by turns. By the way, it enabled our engineers to monitor the quality of machinery pre-season preparation more thoroughly; since they had time to pay more attention to each combine harvester individually. All main units have been inspected, changed (if required) and oiled. I can state that our machinery is ready for the season in full. And as far we aim to reach the maximum efficiency in the field, our machinery preparation is also done at the best, respectively.
How do you keep the maintenance of your combines during harvesting period? What daily servicing is performed?
— In the course of harvesting campaign the crew inspects each combine, conducts blowing, and oils the units every morning. Moreover, we have two emergency Mercedes vehicles, which are on call 24/7. If the combine operator is not able to cope with repairing (e.g. spare parts or welding is needed), those emergency vehicles are always ready to come. Right now our harvesters are located 50-250 km away from the station where emergency vehicles are based, so it’s possible to get to any trouble spot in a very short time. And we always try to place our emergency vehicles in such a way to be able to respond immediately.
Alebor Group’s grain elevators started to expand the list of crops they work with – sunflower seeds, soybeans, peas have been added. Are combine harvesters also ready to harvest them? I mean, are they equipped with appropriate reapers?
— Let me note, that grain elevators are playing catch-up here. Last year we harvested both sunflower seeds, and soybeans, and peas. And we are harvesting them this year as well. We’ve learnt that we were able to provide efficient harvesting and prompt transportation of these crops, but there was no place to store them. Thus we realized the necessity of expanding the list of crops available for storage in silos to satisfy the farmer’s needs. If farmers work with us, for example, with corn, they receive the full range of services: combine harvester, reloader, silo, railway car, and selling if required. And in terms of sunflower seeds and soybeans, we came to the point that there was no place for storage. Sunflower acreages are increasing in Ukraine every year, and queues to grain elevators are increasing respectively. And let’s mind that this crop needs more storage space.
Six out ten of our combine harvesters are already equipped with sunflower reapers. And, as I’ve already mentioned, the acreages are increasing, so we are planning to purchase two or even four more reapers. So, we are able to harvest any crop, in fact, no problem.
Would you tell about harvesting logistics arrangement, please? How do you keep in touch with machinery units? Do you use any programs for monitoring?
— All our combine harvesters and tractors are equipped with navigators. It enables us to monitor their location and fuel consumption. Also we plan to install yields mapping. We study this issue now.
How do you respond to any changes in the field?
— We have long-term plans, as well as strategy, but we always keeping abreast and respond to certain changes caused by the weather or other factors. Combines, vehicles and everyone in the field are equipped with walkie-talkie sets and communicate with one another. We monitor the number of vehicles near the combine harvester at the moment and exact time they pull away. We do everything possible to prevent the combine’s off time. Our main task is to help the farmer to harvest his crops as soon as possible. It’s very important for a fee reasons. Firstly, getting high quality crop yield. It’s particularly important during late grains harvesting, which is sometimes performed under unfavorable weather conditions, when each and every day has much value. Moreover, it is good for the following sowing campaign preparation. This way the farmer will have more time for soil tillage.