01 August 2023, Africa : Case IH’s latest Austoft 9000 sugarcane harvester series has been launched in the Middle East and Africa region at an event held in Mauritius, with an enthusiastic response from regional sugar industry experts seeking technological developments that will help reduce operating costs and enhance harvesting efficiency.
The launch event was hosted by Case IH and its Mauritian distributor, Mechanization Co Ltd, at two separate venues on consecutive days; the first on the premises of Medine Agriculture, and the second at the Alteo Group sugar mill. Over a hundred guests, including producers, local sugar industry executives and members of the media, witnessed live product demonstrations and competitive comparisons, an took the opportunity to discuss the advanced features of the new machines with Case IH product specialists.
The new Austoft 9000 series features the latest Case IH sugarcane harvester developments, including AFS® (Advanced Farming Systems) precision technology, auto-guidance and new AFS Connect telematics, with 4G connectivity, a package which dramatically improves the quality and productivity of mechanised sugarcane harvesting. It combines a more powerful 420hp FPT Cursor 11 engine with an intelligent hydraulic system, to provide more working capacity at lower operating costs.
Valerio Domenici, Case IH Marketing and Sales Manager, Middle East & Africa, commended local distributor Mechanization Co Ltd for its forward-thinking initiative to become the first importer in the Middle East and Africa region to replace the previous A8000 series with the advanced new A9000 series, and confirmed plans to expand the harvesters’ availability to other stakeholders in the region.
“By reducing cost of ownership and increasing productivity, the class-leading A9000 series will undoubtedly contribute to increasing the rate of modernisation of sugarcane field operations in our region and around the world,” he added.
Best in class
“The new Austoft 9000 series offers best-in-class fuel consumption, with a reduction of 10% compared to the previous generation. It has 50% longer engine service intervals and delivers an increase of over 5% of harvesting capacity compared to the range it succeeds, and to the key competition,” he explained.
“Technological advances include automated systems like Auto Tracker, which automates base cutter height adjustment, Smart Cruise, which automatically regulates engine speed according to power requirement, and Auto Float, providing automatic ground following for the crop dividers.
“In respect of the environment and curbing soil erosion, the Austoft 9000’s shredder toppers cut the cane leaves into tiny pieces, dropping them on the ground to retain soil moisture and leave the organic material to decompose into a natural fertilizer for the next crop,” Domenici added.
Feedback from launch participants was extremely positive. Patrick Lagesse, Managing Director at Medine Agriculture, explained that his company has already ordered a new tracked Austoft 9000 to replace an older Case IH cane harvester.
“We previously ran wheeled harvesters, including machines around fifteen years old. The A9000 series is certainly very promising, and meets our requirements in terms of innovation. Medine was the first local sugar producer to be completely mechanised, from planting to processing and cutting. As a pioneer in mechanisation, we’re building on this success by adopting the Austoft 9000,” he confirmed.
Sébastien Masson, Head of Garage and Transport at the Alteo Group, was equally enthusiastic about the new harvester: “Compared to the previous generation, Case IH has certainly made some major changes to the new 9000 series. In Mauritius, we have to negotiate difficult conditions – our rocky environment is especially hard on the chassis of a machine. With its modular chassis, the new Case IH Austoft 9000 addresses this. Case IH has also made it easier for mechanical work to be carried out on the machine. At Alteo, we are 100% mechanised, from planting to harvesting. The Austoft 9000 offers important benefits from both technological and economic points of view, while with the new AFS Connect telematics we can easily monitor the harvester’s progress from our offices.”
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