Vermeer offers cob harvester for 2009 harvest season

By Erin Voegele | July 08, 2009
Report posted July 16, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. CST

Iowa-based agricultural equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corp. recently announced it will offer a limited number of CCX770 Cob Harvesters to North American famers for the 2009 harvest season. The wagon-style harvester is designed to tow directly behind select corn harvesting combines to collect and unload cobs.

For the 2009 harvest season, the CCX770 Cob Harvester will only be available through direct rental from Vermeer. "We believe that we have a machine that is going to go out and work and do the job, but we need to continue to stay close to the harvester and look for new opportunities in product development," Vermeer Product Manager Jay Van Roekel said. "By renting [the harvester] it allows us to stay in close contact with our customers. That way we can train directly, we can set up the machines, and we can find out if there are any service issues."

The CCX770 is a self-contained unit. Farmers use a bolt-on hitch that is added to the combine to connect the cob harvester, which makes switching from crop to crop easy and timely. The CCX770 also has its own engine, which minimizes undue stress on qualified combines.

According to Van Roekel, qualified combines include those with a minimum base weight of 32,000 pounds and 340 horsepower, or those that have been OEM approved. In general, the CCX770 can be used with a Class 7 combine or higher.

The CCX770 also includes a patented separation system which redistributes leaves and husks back to the soil, and offers flexible unloading capabilities from 9 feet 7 inches to 15 feet 6 inches maximum dump height to unload cobs into high-box semi trailers or wagons. The harvester can hold up to 8,000 pound of material per load and unloads in approximately 90 seconds.

Van Roekel said this first-generation cob harvester is a heavy-duty machine that is designed to for large-scale operations. "It's really not the answer for a guy with 200 acres of corn," he said. "It's really too commercialized for that." Vermeer is continuing to work to develop solutions for those who would like to harvest cobs on a smaller scale, he continued.

While those in the cellulosic ethanol industry have shown a great deal of interest in the product, Van Roekel said there is also interest in collecting cobs for other purposes, such as using cobs as a feed supplement for mixed rations, livestock and pet animal bedding, cogeneration with coal to produce electricity, and gasification. Cobs can also be in other industrial applications, such as construction materials, abrasives and absorbents.

If all goes well with this fall's limited release, Van Roekel estimates that the CCX770 will be made widely available for the 2010 harvest season. "We anticipate next year will be full production based on orders received," he said.