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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

I raise many different seed crops (all irrigated) in Washington State. For the last 20 years we have used a Macdon swather and header to swath our crops. It has done a nice job cutting, but both the power unit and the header were not well built. We are considering replacing both and I am trying to decide which direction to go. I am aware that Macdon has made some big improvements to their current power units compared to earlier models, but after looking at many of them I am still not impressed. They are not as well engineered or as well built as an actual John Deere power unit. Because of that fact we are looking at buying either a W235 or a W260. Honeybee now makes a 15 ft head (we only use 15 ft heads on our crop because that is all the combines can handle and do the job we need them to do) that fits on to the W235 and that is a very tempting option. My only concern is that I have read many negative comments about honeybee headers on this forum so I am not sure if i should go that direction or buy a W235 and fab a conversion kit to put a new Macdon header on it. I would love to hear some opinions.

Thanks!
 

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Macdons rule in canada because they handle canola better than the rest. I agree that the macdon tractor is lacking a bit as far as refinement. Your JD will do fine on a small swath like that but be prepared to pay much more last I checked.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Our current model is a Premier 2950 which is just a Macdon sold through John Deere with a 972 header. It cuts well, but is not well built.

I priced out a new w235 and an m155 from my dealer and the w235 was only $6000 more than the m155 which seems like a bargain for how much more you get with the w235.
 

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Beware there is a very strong MacDon bias on this forum! I had a M155 as well as older units such as what you run now and I agree MacDon is far from perfect. I never had much issues with my Honeybee headers but never ran them till they were old, I think maintenance is key.

Currently have an AGCO WR9840 power unit with a 5300 series header and it is leaps-and-bounds ahead of the MacDon, especially the tractor unit. There is some good reviews near the end of this thread: http://www.thecombineforum.com/forums/10-massey-ferguson/266537-tell-me-about-massey-9740-swathers-2.html

I can't comment much on the JD swathers. Some of their newer ones have some good features from what I can tell though.

What width of header do you plan to run on this swather?

And welcome to the Combine Forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We are going to use a 15 ft head on our new swather. I know that 235 hp is overkill for a 15 ft head, but it is always better to have too much power than not enough.

I also know that I am not interested in an AGCO anything. Their dealership support around here is very poor. Thank you for the advice though!
 

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Bob , I believe you will need to buy a W235 Rotary to accommodate the WSP designation for your John Deere then I'm not sure what is offered in the 5xx series table the last I knew it didn't go down to 15Ft. You need to talk to dealers with good insight as to what is available in which configuration ,you should call direct to Honeybee probably to get accurate answers .
I can't remember where but I'm sure someone is using those small tables to harvest broccoli for seed .
 

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Unofficially I was told the only two concerns from JD regarding the 5xx tables were the way the shipping crates were organized and the other was a wear spot of a hose ,both were dealt with so I would say they got a good passing mark from JD.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We use a 15 ft head because it is all our combines can handle (S660, 9610, 9400) in the alfalfa seed. If you have a bigger swatch you just plug up all the time. The same can be said for some of our grass seed and other seed crops.

We cant use a rotary head because it would just shell everything out. It needs to be a draper.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
MacDon has always made a 15 ft head and Honeybee just started making a 15 ft head last year. They are the standard head here in Washington and Idaho for lots of crops.
 

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I agree with you on the older macdon equipment. years ago we had a 960 on the combine that was one of the worst pieces of machinery we ever owned. under engineered and really poorly thought out for doing maintenance and repairs. supposedly the newer stuff is better!


there is nothing "wrong" with any honey bee head not called "airflex". we have a 30 ' on a new Holland H8040. mechanically they are really well made, just wont catch up to a macdon in a field of canola. on 15' its hard to say, the main problems of knife stalling (mine has a new Holland vs Schumacher cutterbar I think that's the problem) and heavy windrows not feeding through the hole might not even be an issue with that small of a cut / windrow? 3 years ago they changed a lot of stuff on the honey bee for new holland anyhow (not sure if the WS series for JD was updated) - center drive drapers and chain driven reel. are you running a rotary head with that 235 as well? because otherwise you are so ridiculously overpowered to run that dinky little head. CNH macdon and Agco all make 150 hp units that would more than handle that little draper.


We run mostly green equipment but went to New Holland windrower bc of the 18' auger header for hay. there is absolutely nothing wrong with those power units, especially if you are going to a honey bee header anyhow. actually have a couple really nice features .......


how many acres of canola and peas do you windrow? if you have to have that small header for forage seed, might be worthwhile to keep your eye peeled on the internet for 30 or 36' draper table, they do pop up every now and again, those honey bees are tough and heavy, they don't have a whole lot to go wrong with them might be able to pick on up pretty cheap second hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
thank you bradw2! we dont grow any alfalfa for hay so we have no need for a rotary head we raise about 1000-1500 acres of irrigated seed crops every year (about 13 different crops each year) and end up swathing between 500-750 of that. the reason we are going to buy a deere is because everything we run is green, strong dealership and parts availability, and most of all the integrated gps. everything we do is on rtk.

at some point i might try to pick up a 25 ft head but that is as big as i would go. our ground and yields are such that 25ft of peas or beans will fill up a combine pretty well. we also have mostly small fields which makes headers bigger than that somewhat more difficult to work with.
 

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We use a w150 with 15 ' front for all our ryegrass white clover brassicas red beet peas and some other crops nice machine and 150 hp is more than enough. Lots of 205s round here cutting grass with 15' fronts they're very hungry on fuel.
 

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That is pretty funny, here 90% have never removed a header under 25'. We haul two H8040s with 25' Honey Bee heads per truck back and forth to the ranch (100km) all the time.

Lots of tractors with duals over fifteen feet wide, how do you road them?

15' for alfalfa seed has to be quite the yield, here we straight cut 30'. Weeds are the biggest problem.
 

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There are two types of farmers around our way. There are the ones who run Macdon swathes, and then there are the rest that wished they would have bought a Macdon. HoneyBees have a bad rap around here for not being able to keep the canvasses running straight and for the main beam sagging. Seems the most problems were on the 36 footers.

We have been running older Deere's and Macdon 2360's before. Wouldn't want to go back there. Also have had one of the original M series and now a green W150. The last three years we have also rented a JD D450. I'll agree with you on the JD tractor part being more comfortable to operate and being better built then the Macdon but the header was no good on them.

If I were you though, I still would buy the real JD with the HonyBee header on it. With only 15 of header you shouldn't have any problems with it.
 

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At least 90% of Western Canadian farmers are laughing at having a trailer for a 15' front/header. :)
That machine does mostly custome work and NZ law states anything over 3.8 meters wide on public roads has to have a pilot vehicle in front with the appropriate signage and flashing lights. So it's in your best interests to keep things as narrow as possible on the roads. Did a couple of harvest runs in the states back in 02 and 04 and will never forget seeing a farmer in town at the gas station in his JD 9610 fuelling up and still had the 30' header on think it was in Frederick Oklahoma.
 
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