Clean Grain, Clean Fields with a Gleaner S98

Outdo a Gleaner S98? This farmer says it’s not possible.

Custom harvesting is a competitive business. When Clint Wilson thinks of his biggest challenge from year to year, it would be easy to talk about weather, or timing, or the constant travel that keeps his business on the road from Vernon, Texas, to Havre, Montana.

But for Wilson, it’s simple: “Keeping wheat in front of your combines.”

In other words, finding customers, and keeping them. And Wilson is well aware of how to close the deal.

“(Gleaner) helped us with the deal,” he says, referring to a customer in Montana that “got a five cent premium on his grain.” Why? “The cleanliness of it,” says Wilson, “that we would never get from our John Deeres.”

Wilson is in a good position to compare grain samples. His operation has switched from green to silver and back a time or two, but last year, went back to the Gleaner S98. The switch didn’t come without some anxious moments. “When we were loading the combines last year, I remember saying we had a trailer-load of promises,” Wilson says of the start of the season. “And AGCO stepped up to the plate and pretty much did everything they said they would do.”

Customers expect the same from their custom cutters, and Wilson makes sure that he delivers. “Our guys we cut for in Texas, they’re big John Deere guys,” he says, “and they got a premium on our wheat at one elevator because of the cleanliness from the Gleaner.” He even helped AGCO close a deal or two. “In the Texas Panhandle, one of the guys we cut for was a complete ‘green’ man,” says Wilson. “And we cut his seed wheat and he didn’t have to clean it. Now, he’s got a Sunflower drill on his place, the first piece of equipment (he’s owned) that’s not green.”

The Gleaner doesn’t just pencil out for customers. Wilson says his operation is more efficient with Gleaner on board. “(Fuel) was way cheaper… 12% less fuel a day,” he says. “And we did almost (as much) with the five (Gleaner) combines as we were doing with seven John Deeres.”

Meanwhile, the lighter Gleaner is easier on his trailers, and even saves fuel in trucking as a result, he says.

Kyle Wilson of Wilson Harvesting says Gleaner saves the operation time in the field, and leaves a cleaner field behind. On the road, they often see multiple crops in the same day, and “we could go from lentils to peas to wheat and never have to change concaves, nothing,” Kyle says. “And we don’t have to carry all that extra stuff with us.”

Meanwhile, they’re not leaving “extra stuff” behind. “Residue management is better on a Gleaner,” says Kyle. “A Gleaner will do a better job with the knives dropped out than a Deere will do at its best performance. And then you put the knives in, and there’s nothing. I mean, it dusts it.”

Add it all up and the Wilson operation is convinced. “I think cost per combine to the production you’re going to get out of it… I don’t think it’s possible to outdo an S98,” says Kyle.