Less is more.

For Oregon grass seed farmer Denver Pugh.

When Denver Pugh replaced five of his six auger windrowers with two M Series R80 Rotary Disc windrowers, he admits second-guessing himself a few times – especially when the weather heated up and a harvest that normally takes three to three-and-a-half weeks needed to be done much faster. As it turns out, he needn’t have worried.

“This year things went really fast,” said Pugh who farms 2,800 acres of grass seed and grain near Shedd in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. “We went from thinking that we had three-and-a-half weeks but then it got really hot so that we had to cut right away. I was worried that we would not be able to do it with just three machines but they handled it just fine. We were done in just over two weeks – faster than normal.”

Needless to say, Pugh was impressed with his two new machines, which he assigned the bulk of his harvesting work, relegating his one remaining SP auger windrower to the task of opening fields only. He says that the faster harvesting speed of a rotary disc mower was only part of the reason he was able to harvest the same acreage with half the windrowers he used to use. The other big reason was the much lower maintenance requirements of MacDon’s R80 Rotary Disc mowers.

 

First of all, he was servicing three less machines every day, so that saved him significant time right there. But he says that there were also huge benefits going to a rotary disc machine and MacDon’s all-hydraulic design.

“It was great not having to maintain sickle bars, hold-downs and guards; not to mention, none of the extra greasing we used to have to do on the older machines. It took almost nothing to service the things. In the long-term that’s going to be huge savings for us.”

Most importantly, the lower servicing requirements meant that Pugh and his crew were able to get out to the fields and cut sooner than normal. In total, he says that he gained about two hours cutting a day from lower maintenance alone. And once he was in the field, Pugh says he was able to really fly.

“MacDon’s M200 with R80 Rotary Disc has a lot more power than our previous equipment, and a lot more speed. When cutting we did peak out at 12 MPH every now and again, but on average we were running roughly 10 to 10.5 MPH.”

But he didn’t just save time in the field, but between fields as well thanks to MacDon’s patented Dual Direction™ technology, which allows the operator to rotate the operator station 180 degrees for highway travel. The result is a more stable vehicle for higher road speed travel.

“The transport speed is also a big plus. On the highway the M200 is really smooth at about 22 MPH. There are no jerky motions or header hop. That kind of speed really saves a lot of time going from field to field.”

Another thing that impresses Pugh about MacDon’s M200 with R80 is its cutting performance. He says that he was surprised by how “gentle” the rotary disc windrower was on his grass seed, and he didn’t experience the extra shatter loss one might think may be caused by cutting at much higher speeds.

“Our yields really haven’t been any different.”

He says that this is partly due to the quality of the windrows that the R80 forms, which are nice and tight, allowing them to stand up to wind and shed water better.

“I also like all of the on-the-go adjustments you can make on the R80. There are enough adjustments that you can do while cutting in the field to make it cut better for that particular field. Nearly every field of ours is different, so this is a great feature for us.”

As much as Denver likes his new machines they likely weren’t a hit with everyone; specifically the members of his crew who ended up with a few weeks less work this year due to three less windrowers in his operation.

“This year I didn’t have to hire any extra people or mix and match crews. I was pretty happy with that. The reduced maintenance and personnel needed to operate the M200’s is a benefit that far outweighs the cost of upgrading from our old augers.