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Harvest Attachments and Conversion Kits

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
filed under: Harvest/Storage

Editor’s Note: Many sunflower producers utilize row-crop combine heads to harvest this crop. And many others opt for a harvest attachment specifically designed for sunflower. Still others employ special conversion kits fitted to their corn head.

These pages contain information on several sunflower attachments and conversion kits available to producers. The information has been provided by the respective companies and edited for use in The Sunflower.

This compilation is not totally inclusive, as not all companies contacted responded to our request for information. Most did, however. Contact details are included for those growers who wish to visit further about a given company’s products.

DragoTec USA

Drago sunflower knives have been marketed since 2002. They are manufactured for use with the Drago corn head deck plates. Drago corn heads range in rows from four to 18; in row spacing from 20 inches up to 40.

The Drago has 50% longer knife rollers that pull the plants into the deck plates and gathering chains at low velocity, thereby reducing shatter and yield loss. The Drago corn head has automatic self-adjusting deck plates, saving butt shelling loss — particularly on the newer fast-drydown hybrids.

This head can be adapted to almost any combine by using the proper feeder house adapter plate for the specific combine model.

For More Information: DragoTec USA, 3701 30th Ave., Fenton, IA 50539; phone — (888) 789-2723 or (515) 889-2723;


The Flexxifinger™ QD™ Sunflower Pan was introduced to farmers in 2007 by the Saskatchewan agricultural manufacturer Flexxifinger QD Industries. It is designed for quick installation, removal or transition to other types of harvest attachments. The sunflower system will undergo its final stages of customer trials this season (contact Flexxifinger if interested) and is expected to be available to the general market in 2011.

The incline is aimed at salvaging lodged or low-hanging plant heads. “The Flexxifinger QD Sunflower Pans are installed using our patented QD™ attachment system, which is installed separately on the header using provided guard bolts and a special QD nut, fastened on the top side of the guard,” says the firm. “This allows a pan to be removed or installed in seconds and an entire header in minutes.”

For More Information: Flexxifinger QD Industries, P.O. Box 1599, Assiniboia, SK S0H 0B0 Canada; phone — in U.S. (800) 544-8512; in Canada (800) 925-1510;

Gates Manufacturing

Gates Manufacturing has marketed its “Quick Tach” sunflower pans for a number of years. The 48”-long durable plastic pans are available in three- and four-pan assembly units for easy handling.

Overall unit widths range from three up to 36 feet. The pans are designed to mount easily (via just two tighteners) on any auger or draper head.

Gates also offers liftrods that can be easily attached to the pans to aid with the harvesting of lodged plants.

For More Information: Gates Manufacturing Inc., 8710 33rd Avenue N.W, Lansford, ND 58750; phone — (701) 784-5434 or 784-5525;

Golden Plains Ag Tech

Golden Plains, based in Colby, Kan., has been marketing the “SunStar” sunflower harvesting system for the past 17 years, serving customers in North and South America as well as several countries elsewhere.

SunStar corn head attachments are used on John Deere and Case IH corn heads. Golden Plains has a model for the JD 600 Series corn head, as well as the Case 2200 and Case 2400 Series and New Holland 98C.

SunStar is designed to take advantage of the unique physical characteristics of the sunflower stalk. For that reason, sunflower is the only crop that can be harvested while the SunStar attachments are installed. However, the attachments are installed and removed quite easily, so the grower can quickly switch from ’flowers to corn, or vice versa, if needed.

“With SunStar conversions installed on the producer’s corn head, he can move quickly through his standing ’flowers with a very small loss,” says Golden Plains Ag Tech. “He will be able to lift lodged stalks and move the heads into the combine with minimum loss.” Sunflower heads enter the cross auger “with the heads unbroken and six to 12 inches of stalk still attached to the head,” the company states.

SunStar has no moving parts and requires no physical modification for attachment to the corn head. “There is only one simple adjustment which is usually made only once per season,” says Golden Plains.

For More Information: Golden Plains Ag Tech, P.O. Box 307, Colby, KS 67701; phone — (800) 255-8280;

Intersteel Industries

The Intersteel sunflower attachment has been marketed for more than 40 years. Pan width options are nine, 12 and 27 inches, and it is available in all rigid header lengths. The pans mount atop guards, with pan supports that attach beneath the combine header. The reel drum mounts with bearings and drive system from the bat reel supplied by the combine manufacturer.

“Pan width, length and rotating drum help feed plant heads into the combine/ header smoothly and evenly,” Intersteel states. “Pan width and length ensure maximum collection of shattered seeds in dry crop conditions. The nine-inch pans offer most versatility for any row spacing and also work well for solid seeding.” The Intersteel attachment also has been used with corn, the company reports.

Along with the United States and Canada, Intersteel has sold its harvest attachment in Chili and the Sudan.

For More Information: Intersteel Industries, P.O. Box 1451, Morden, MB R6M 1B3, Canada; phone — (204) 822-5055 or (877) 839-9301;

Lucke Manufacturing

The original Lucke sunflower harvesting attachment dates back to 1966. Lucke presently offers nine and 12-inch pan width options with its non-reel system. Other options include liftrods for lodged plants and roller tips that are particularly useful in solid-seeded fields.

For More Information: Lucke Manufacturing, 305 33rd Ave. S.W., Minot, ND 58701; phone — (800) 735-5848 or (800) 735-5838;

Sheyenne Tooling & Mfg.

The “Sunmaster” harvest header has been around since 1995. It was originally produced by Westward Products and later bought by Jim Broten, a North Dakota farmer and the owner of Sheyenne Tooling & Mfg. in Cooperstown, N.D.

The Sunmaster is available in eight-, 12- and 16-row 30-inch spacing sizes. Also, 12-, 16- and 18-row 20-inch spacing sizes are available under an early order program.

The units can be used to harvest corn and milo in addition to sunflower. The system will fit on any combine, with adapter plates available.

The Sunmaster’s star cutting knife, with its four large, thick sickle knives, is positioned at the back end of the gathering chains. This design ensures that when the sunflower head is cut off, it will fall either directly onto the platform or onto the vibrating pan and be moved to the platform. As the stalk is being moved to the knife, it is already positioned over the pan. So any seed loss caused by shattering is minimized as the seeds also fall onto the pan and are moved to the platform.

A cam on the drive shaft pushes a rocker arm up and down beneath the pan. This action vibrates the seeds back onto the platform.

The Sunmaster effectively harvests lodged sunflower plants. Depending on field conditions, it may go with or against the plants’ angle — or even crossways. The row dividers slide along at ground level, with each divider moving up and down independently. The ground-level travel, coupled with the star cutters’ position at the back of the gathering chain, ensures significant crop savings.

Some of the other seed-saving features of the Sunmaster are:

• Replaceable shoes on the underside of the point of each divider.

• Brackets on each end of the header to prevent heads from getting hung up in a back corner.

• An adjustable ridge plate to help direct the stalk into the header.

• Optional sprockets allowing the operator to match the gathering chains to the ground speed.

For More Information: Sheyenne Tooling & Mfg., P.O. Box 647, Cooperstown, ND 58425; phone — (800) 797- 1883 or (701) 797-2700;

West Country Products

Jamestown, N.D.-based West Country Products has distributed the “SeedEater” sunflower harvesting attachment since 2006. Midwestern Machine, its manufacturer, acquired the attachment in 1986. The product underwent an extensive makeover in 1994 to improve upon its fit, function and aesthetics. Along with sunflower, the SeedEater also has been used successfully in milo.

This harvesting attachment has been sold across the United States and in 14 foreign nations. The company is an OEM supplier for John Deere and Case New Holland for their overseas sales.

The SeedEater is available with pan widths or either nine or 12 inches. Overall attachment widths range from 18 up to 30 feet. “Key features of the SeedEater include a heavy-duty 16-gauge drum with specially designed fingers to move sunflower heads gently but positively to the auger,” says West Country Products. “Also, heavy-duty 14-gauge pans with strong design and extra-long dividers for more-positive row alignment.

“The SeedEater is easily mounted on your own combine header and can be left on a dedicated header or removed,” West Country adds. “The pans are mounted on a permanent tube frame; therefore the drum can be rolled off the reel arms onto the pans. The chain binders release on the back of the header, and you are ready to back away from the SeedEater.”

For More Information: West Country Products, Inc., P.O. Box 2062, Jamestown, ND 58401; phone — (866) 974-2182 or (701) 251-2182;

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