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Combine competition

For nearly 80 years, Canadian-based Buhler Industries has been providing an alternative when it comes time to invest in farm equipment. Through the years, a variety of acquisitions has enabled the company to grow its iron portfolio so its dealers have a full line of equipment to offer customers.

“From a corporate perspective, it all comes back to being able to offer our Farm King dealers a line that's attractive to them and our Versatile dealers a line that matches up with what they're trying to accomplish,” says Buhler's Adam Reid.

From the customer viewpoint, the plan is to offer the pieces that a large-acre grower needs. “We've done that with our high-horsepower tractors, self-propelled sprayers, air drills, carts, and seeding and tillage equipment,” he says.

With the recent introduction of the RT490, Buhler has set its sights on the combine market. It will be drawing from the expertise of Russian combine manufacturer Rostselmash Ltd., who purchased 80% of Buhler common shares in 2007.

“Rostselmash has been building combines since 1929,” notes Reid. “In terms of production, globally it is responsible for about 20% of the combine market.”

The 490-hp. Class 9 combine (branded under the Versatile name) is based on the Torum, which has been available in the global market since 2007. For the past four years, the RT490 has been tested in U.S. fields.

“When Buhler brought it to North America, it made a few changes,” he explains. “For example, it included a Cummins Interim Tier IV QSX 11.9-liter engine. The all-wheel-drive system on the back is supplied by Mud Hog.”

Defining difference

What sets this machine apart from other rotary combines is its rotating concave rotor system.

“It's the RCR360, which stands for rotating concave rotor,” explains Reid. “The rotor actually rotates within the concave, but the concave is moving as well. It's rotating against the rotor at 8 rpm, which is very slow. Yet what that gives you is better cleanout. It gives you three points of threshing, and it's much harder to plug even in wet conditions.”

Reid says there are other features, like the feeder house, worth mentioning.

“The feeder house is a beater style,” he says. “As you get farther up the feeder housing, the four beaters actually move faster. That creates better crop separation out of the header and a more even crop mat going into the rotor.”

The result is “less chance of plugging, and operators can put more crop through a system like that than a traditional feeder house chain system,” he adds.

When it comes to pricing, Reid says, “It's going to be a little more affordable than the other choices out there.”

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