204 Zach Sunflower Harvesting Attachment (1981)

204 Zach Sunflower Harvesting Attachment (1981)
Evaluation Report No. E0280B
Printed: April, 1981
Tested at: Portage la Prairie
ISSN 0383-3445
Evaluation Report
Zach Sunflower Harvesting Attachment
A Co-operative Program Between
Zach’s Repair and Manufacturing
North Dakota
58030 U.S.A.
Nobleton Farm Service
Box 340
Nobleton, Ontario L0G 1N0
$845.00 (April, 1981, f.o.b. Fairmont, North Dakota, 3.8 m width
with 760 mm row spacing).
5. Providing an operator manual complete with installation,
operation and safety instructions.
Chief Engineer -- E.O. Nyborg
Senior Engineer -- J. C. Thauberger
Project Engineer -- Gregory R. Pool
With regard to recommendation number:
1. Double reel bats are optional. We carry a full stock of them.
2. With the type of reel we have, the unit cannot be modified,
especially if the crop is of uneven height.
3. Optional, custom built shields are available.
4. Deflector rods should be cut to proper lengths, or not used at
5. We did not realize the shortage of installation instructions or
the need for safety precaution signs. This is being taken into
consideration at this time.
Note: This report has been prepared using SI units of
measurement. A conversion table is given in APPENDIX II1.
FIGURE 1. Zach Sunflower Harvesting Attachment.
Overall functional performance of the Zach sunflower
harvesting attachment was very good. Performance of the seed
pans and dividers was very good, while the reel performance was
Crop flow was smooth, as long as reel speed was properly
synchronized with ground speed. The most suitable ground
speed was dependent upon crop conditions, especially moisture
content. Speeds up to 7 km/h (4.5 mph) were possible in ideal
Crop losses were low in both dry and tough crops. The
seed pans, which covered 84% of the ground area in front of
the cutterbar, collected most of the shattered seed in dry crops;
however the aggressive feeding action of the single bat reel
caused some unnecessary shattering in dry crops.
The 780 mm (30 in) seed pan spacing permitted on-row
cutting for this row spacing, and worked with limited success in
rows spaced at 915 mm (36 in). These pans were not suitable for
cutting continuously seeded crops or crosscutting of row crops.
Installation was easy. Only 15 man hours were needed to
completely install the attachment on the combine header.
Detailed mounting instructions were provided, but there was
no detailed parts list, and basic operating instructions were not
included. Daily lubrication was not required.
No serious mechanical problems occurred during testing,
although some bolts in the pan braces loosened and were lost.
It is recommended that the manufacturer consider:
1. Fitting the reel with double bats on each row, to provide more
uniform feeding and to reduce head shattering.
2. Modifications to permit cutting closer to the heads, to reduce
the length of stalk processed by the combine.
3. Supplying a shield to protect the reel drive mechanism from the
standing sunflower crop.
4. Modifications to the deflector rods to prevent interference with
the reel bats during operation.
The Zach Sunflower Harvesting Attachment (FIGURE 1) is
designed to mount on straight-cut combine headers. It consists of
an assembly of seed pans, which attach to the combine cutterbar,
two crop dividers, and a single bat reel above the cutterbar. The reel
is powered by the combine hydraulic reel drive motor.
The seed pans are spaced to correspond with sunflower row
spacing. The plants pass between the seed pan and are delivered
by the paddle reel to the cutterbar, where the heads are severed
from the stalks. The seed pans, which extend ahead of the reel,
collect shattered seed that may dislodge during cutting.
The test attachment was 3.8 m (12.5 ft) wide, between
divider points, with five row openings, spaced at 760 mm (30 in).
Attachments with various header and seed pan widths are available
to suit existing combines and row cropping practices. Detailed
specifications are given in APPENDIX I.
The Zach was mounted on an International 914 pull-type combine, with a 3.8 m (12.5 ft) header. It was operated in the conditions
shown in TABLE 1 for 30 hours while harvesting about 44 ha
(108 ac) of sunflowers, sown at 760 mm and 915 mm (30 and
36 in) row spacing. It was evaluated for ease of installation, quality
of work, ease of operation and adjustment, and operator safety.
TABLE 1. Operating Conditions
Row Spacing (mm)
Field Area
Installation Time: It took about 15 man hours to attach the
Zach to a combine header, using tools found in most farm shops.
Clear assembly instructions were provided.
Reel: The reel was mounted on sealed pillow block bearings,
which attached to the combine reel arms. The bearings had to be
obtained from a hardware supplier while the reel drive sprocket and
slip clutch were obtained from the combine dealer.
The stub shafts in the reel ends were easily removed to facilitate
installation. The bats were clamped to the reel during assembly, with
six bolts each. The reel weighed 56 kg (123 lb) with all bats in place.
It could be handled easily by two people.
Seed Pans: The seed pans were each fastened to the cutterbar
with two long carriage bolts. Each pan was also supported from
underneath by two angle iron braces (FIGURE 2), to provide rigidity
and to permit vertical adjustment. One end of each brace was bolted
to the front of each seed pan, while the other end was fastened to a
long support bracket. The support bracket was installed underneath
the cutterbar with mounting straps, that bolted to the cutterbar and
with short braces that fastened to the back of the combine header.
The pans were easy to install, however two people were required to
handle the large 685 mm (27 in) wide pans. The end pans, which
were only half as wide, bolted to the dividers and were easy to install.
Shields to cover the knife guards were folded over the points after
installation of the seed pans.
Dividers: The dividers were easy to install. The half pans on
each end were bolted to the dividers before assembly. Bolts, inserted
through the end pans, secured the dividers to the cutterbar. Pan
braces underneath and bolts through the reel arms provided rigidity.
The dividers could be installed by one person. No shields were
provided to protect the reel drive from the standing sunflowers.
It is recommended that the manufacturer consider modifications
to reduce the length of stalk processed with each head.
Shatter Loss: The seed pans were very effective in reducing
seed loss, especially in dry crops. Individual pans were 635 mm
(25 in) wide, with a 125 mm (5 in) row space between pans. The
seed pans covered 84% of the ground area in front of the reel and
cutterbar, and collected most of the shattered seed.
In dry crops, shattering was very significant, and maintaining
a proper ground speed and reel index was important in reducing
shatter loss. The losses were dependent on the moisture content of
the crop. Head shattering and seed losses were negligible in crops
with high moisture content.
Dividers: Performance of the crop dividers was very good.
Their size and shape ensured that very few sunflower plants were
knocked down while the crop was being harvested. Some cut
sunflower heads became lodged in the slots where the reel passes
through the dividers (FIGURE 3) and occasionally caused the
reel drive chain to jump off its sprocket. Hairpinning also occurred
between the right divider and the combine header divider. This
problem could be avoided with a suitable shield on the
FIGURE 2. Seed Pan Supports: (A) Braces, (B) Support Bracket, (C) Mounting Straps.
General: All mounting hardware with the exception of reel
mount bearings and drive chain and sprockets were provided with
the attachment. Detailed mounting instructions were included which
made installation easy.
Feeding: The flow of crop into the combine was smooth as
long as reel speed was properly synchronized with ground speed. It
was important to maintain a reel index* between 1.0 and 1.2. With
the reel index less than 1.0, the reel could not effectively clear the
crop from the cutterbar, resulting in occasional plugging. With the
reel index greater than 1.2, the bats were too aggressive, causing
excessive shattering of the heads and throwing of whole heads over
the back of the combine header.
The reel was fitted with a single bat for each row. The high
field speed needed to properly feed material to the cutterbar caused
unnecessary head shattering and throwback. It is recommended
that the reel be fitted with two bats for each row, to provide more
uniform feeding and reduce shattering.
Operation in weedy crops did not affect feeding performance or
cause plugging. The deflector rods attached to the inside of each end
divider did not perform effectively. Their function was to direct the tall
cut sunflower plants at each end of the header into the combine feed
auger. The deflector rods often bent out of adjustment and interfered
with the reel bats. It is recommended that the manufacturer consider
modifications to the deflector rods to prevent interference with the
reel bats.
Stubble Length: For uniform feeding, the reel was operated
with about 50 mm (2 in) clearance between the reel bat ends and
the top edge of the pans. The 510 mm (20 in) reel bat length thus
resulted in an excessive length of stalk, often as long as 750 mm
(30 in) being cut off with each sunflower head, reducing combine
capacity and increasing stalk material in the grain tank.
*Reel Index is defined as the ratio of reel tip speed to forward travel speed.
FIGURE 3. Sunflower Heads Lodged in Reel Slot.
Row Spacing: Tests were conducted in sunflowers seeded at
760 mm and 915 mm (30 and 36 in) row spacings. Although the
760 mm (30 in) seed pan spacing on the Zach permitted on-row
cutting for this row spacing, performance in the larger row spacing
also was very good. Most of the sunflowers sown at this wider
spacing were successfully harvested, but this was due to the long
lengths of stalk, which allowed the plants to be easily deflected to
accommodate the wide seed pans. It was very important to follow
the rows with the combine, as the large pans were not suitable for
crosscutting headlands or for continuously seeded crops. When not
following rows, the seed pans knocked down a significant number
of plants.
Turning: The left divider and the half pan attached to it were
300 mm (12 in) shorter than the other pans. This effectively eliminated
interference with the right tractor tire on sharp right turns.
Seed Pans: The seed pan angle was easy to adjust with the
slotted braces that attached to the front of each pan. The pans did not
require any adjustments during the test except to replace or tighten
several bolts that loosened. The total time required to adjust all the
pans was about 10 minutes. It was important to have the seed pans
sloping toward the combine header to permit the collected seeds
to be conveyed into the combine. It was also important to have all
the pans at the same height to prevent sunflower heads from falling
between the pans.
Seed pan vibration effectively conveyed collected seeds into
the combine. Operation on rough fields did not cause excessive
bouncing of the seed pans. Cutting ability and feeding characteristics
were not affected by field roughness.
Reel Drive: The reel drive chain, on the right side of the
header, was exposed to the standing sunflower crop (FIGURE 4). As
a result, plants often caught in the drive, causing the chain to jump
off the drive sprockets. It is recommended that the manufacturer
supply a suitable shield as part of the divider assembly to protect the
reel drive mechanism.
Unhooking: The complete combine header, with the Zach in
place, could be easily unhooked from the combine and placed on
the ground without damage to the machine.
Lubrication: No lubrication was required as the reel was mounted
on sealed bearings.
FIGURE 4. Exposed Reel Drive.
The Zach was safe to operate provided normal safety
procedures were followed. Neither safety instructions nor decals
were provided with the attachment.
No operator manual was provided with the Zach, although
detailed mounting instructions were supplied. These instructions
were clearly written and provided much useful information. It
is recommended that a suitable operator manual be provided,
complete with operating, adjustment and safety instructions.
The Zach sunflower harvesting attachment was operated
in the field for 30 hours while harvesting about 44 ha (108 ac) of
sunflowers. The intent of the test was functional evaluation. An
extended durability evaluation was not conducted. No mechanical
problems occurred during testing, however some pan brace bolts
were lost when they loosened.
Serial No.:
5 row, 760 mm spacing
Overall Dimensions:
-- length
-- width
-- height
Total Weight:
1830 mm
4100 mm
1680 mm
276 kg
Feeding System:
-- type
-- attachment
seed pans and reel with bats
to straight-cut combine header
Seed Pans:
-- length
-- width
-- depth
1830 mm
635 mm
40 mm
-- length
-- diameter
-- drum only
-- with bats
-- number of fingers per row
-- drive
3630 mm
110 mm
1130 mm
chain and sprocket from hydraulic motor
-- 3050 mm to 7925 mm widths reel
-- tip rods various seed pan widths
The following rating scale is used in PAMI Evaluation Reports:
(a) excellent
(d) fair
(b) very good
(e) poor
(c) good
(f) unsatisfactory
1 hectare (ha)
1 metre (m)
1 millimetre (mm)
1 kilogram (kg)
= 2.5 acres (ac)
= 3.3 feet (ft)
= 0.04 inches (in)
= 2.2 pounds mass (lb)
1 kilometre/hour (km/h)
= 0.6 mile/hour (mph)
Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute
Head Office: P.O. Box 1900, Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada S0K 2A0
Telephone: (306) 682-2555
3000 College Drive South
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 1L6
Telephone: (403) 329-1212
FAX: (403) 329-5562
Test Stations:
P.O. Box 1060
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada R1N 3C5
Telephone: (204) 239-5445
Fax: (204) 239-7124
P.O. Box 1150
Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada S0K 2A0
Telephone: (306) 682-5033
Fax: (306) 682-5080
This report is published under the authority of the minister of Agriculture for the Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the prior
approval of the Alberta Farm Machinery Research Centre or The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute.
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