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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had a thread on the general crop production forum, but it's more appropriate here. A year ago I asked for folks' experience trying to flex cut dry beans, specifically with the FD70. This year we finally did some, and it seems to have worked quite well. We've done about about 50 acres or so.

I was pretty confident the header would do a good job, but our field man has been skeptical and hasn't seen a straight cut job this season that was really much good. I'm not sure we convinced him, but he did say our header did better than any of the others he had seen this season. And indeed the header did about what I figured it would. Cuts about as good as the swather and the losses from cutting open pods aren't that much greater. There is some loss, obviously, but not that much. I'm going to go out in a while when harvest is over and count beans on the ground in the different areas, swathing vs straight cut. Then consider the dockage numbers and I'll hopefully have some real data. My brother finds that you can go quite fast, up to 5 mph, and at higher speeds, the header losses might even be slightly less. Maybe the draper pushes underneath the shattering pods and saves the beans better. One area of loss is from the dividers on the header. As a contrast, CNH's new 3162 header has really thin dividers since the knife drive is in the center.

Discovered one downside tonight (other than the dividers shattering beans). Once the plants start getting a bit damp from the dew you have to stop. They just don't cut that well, and header losses start increasing. So in late September that does limit the number of hours one can harvest, whereas the swathes typically let us go at least an hour after sunset before they get tough and grumbly. Of course sometimes with trucking delays you can't get long hours in anyway.

In the meantime, we feel this trial run was fairly successful. While unloading at the plant, there was way less dirt (less chance for tagging also) in our straight cut loads than the swathed ones. The workers unloading the trucks commented on two occasions about that fact. Dockage numbers will tell the tale though.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Neglected to say we dessicated with glyphosate and heat, ideally right at the time one would swath, though some acres were much later because they were too wet to get through. Did a decent job of killing weeds and helping the plant dry down.
 

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Interesting. Never thought of the Macdon flex being an option for solid seeded beans. I'm looking at growing some beans possibly next year or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We've been using the FD70 for several years in peas and occasionally soybeans and always were very impressed with it vs auger flex headers. The ability to control the tip of the platform seems to make quite a difference. That and the ability to pull the reel back across the canvases so that you keep material moving, and any shattering occurs mostly where it can be caught by the canvases. I was pretty sure we could do a decent job in beans.

I broached the subject with Owen Cleland when we first did beans a year ago, and he said many tried and all failed to flex cut them, but said go ahead and try. We didn't have time or nerve to try it last year. I don't think there are a lot of draper flex heads out in the area yet. I feel that any draper flex head with the ability to control the tip in some way (manually or hydraulically), and reel fore and aft could do a decent job in beans. The bottom pods do occasionally get broken. We'll go out and measure this loss vs the swather soon. Hopefully we'll have dockage numbers as well and see how things balance out. Certainly swathing the beans is a bit of a pain, and rain on the swathes is no fun.
 

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Would leaving tramlines for your header points to run down help with pod shatter from the dividers. Or are you able to still harvest enough beans from where the divider point went through last pass to make economical sense to plant beans where you would of had a tramline. Or do you think that it would create more problems due to the plants along the tramline lodging? Causing more issues. Also weed issues in the tramline may be a concern if you are unable to keep them in control. Would be a good idea to try seeding a few acres next year with tramlines and see how it turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We tend not to worry about losses from the dividers, at least in other crops like peas, where I know they certainly happen.

The problem with tramlines (besides the weeds) is that the angle we cut a field at (peas, anyway, probably beans too) depends on how the crop is leaning. Sometimes we try several different angles until we find one that gets more peas in the combine. I imagine the same will be true of beans. The beans we did this year we did in the same angle as the seeding (north and south). But the nice thing about straight cutting a crop is you're free to go any angle you want, according to what works best.

If we can't combine on Monday or tuesday, I'll go out and try to get some real average loss numbers in general.
 

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The most important part is to lower the reel to point of nearly contacting the guards. Getting the reel down even an extra inch over the factory adjustment makes a big difference in losses. The next most important thing is growing a variety that doesn't shatter.
 

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We have used mac dons for years cut few thousand acres of dry beans with the mac dons they work very well. I like the mac don much better than a 1020 flex for edibles. You wont believe the beans you can cut with a fd70-75 with a aws air bar on the front!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This year we took off most of the beans straight. Great northerns and pintos. We were pretty happy with things. Losses may be slightly higher than swathing, but they sure dried out quicker after rains and kept quality vs the swathed stuff. We're thinking we'll straight-cut all our beans next year. Overall, the yields between the swathed and straight stuff were very close on average, enough to prove that it's workable. Given our very sandy land, we were very impressed with the residue left after straight-cutting. A lot of material to cover the ground and prevent erosion, but still possible to direct seed into it.

A neighbor decided to straightcut his beans with a Deere hydraflex auger header. He tipped his faceplate forward and put an air reel on and had great success. As Bumblebee says, maybe we should try an air bar on our FD 70.

My cousin tried some pintos with his honeybee flex draper and was pretty pleased as well.
 

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Good to here how good the FD 70 cut bean I have been working on a deal for a FD 75 for the last week just last night we made a deal factory fresh will take at least a week before I see it ,there has been a lot of case 3020 auger heads traded this fall to the MacDon case can't even come close on the price of FD 75 with a weak dollar don't help them .
 
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