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Austoft Sugar Cane Harvesters
Case IH Austoft Sugar Cane Harvester


Case IH 8000 Series Austoft® sugarcane harvesters lead the world in cane-harvesting technology and dependability, promoting excellent cane quality and ultra-clean samples. Two models are available to accommodate varied terrain, and recent updates to the engine and cooling package, engine management system, hydraulic system and harvesting functions add to the machines' versatility, performance and reliability.

Austoft cane harvesters are available as the 8000 model which is wheeled, and the 8800 model which has tracks.

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18 Harvesters on and still with Case IH Austoft

Published: June, 2016
Article supplied by Case IH18 harvesters on
When contract harvester Gary Stockham began cutting sugarcane for the current season, it was the start of he and his staff running seven days a week.

“So all the gear’s got to go seven days a week too. Once the machine stops, everyone stops, no one gets paid. So it’s very important to keep going. Cane is crushed in about 20-22 weeks, so you have to keep the work up. All the machinery has to be going perfectly.”

The third generation sugar farmer and his wife own 200 hectares at Giru, close to the Haughton River in North Queensland’s Burdekin district. They’ve farmed there since around 1990, but have run Gary Stockham Harvesting since 1978.

While they began with a “Robot” Toft Harvester, these days they have four Case IH Austoft Sugarcane Harvesters (two 8000’s, a 7000 and a 7500 model) and two Case IH Magnum tractors (a two-year-old 315 model and 8920) among their machinery.

Gary says the drawcard to buy that original Case IH harvester was seeing and hearing how reliable they were compared with other brands.

​“They seemed to go better, so that’s what I bought to start with.”

He’s kept the same way, since—but has always had a look around, just to compare, before buying new equipment.

“Oh we do look around, but I can’t see any sense in buying anything else—they’re dearer and not as good a machine; they just cross-rip too big. The Austoft, the Case IH, they’ve been the best all the time. I reckon they’re the better harvesters.”

Before harvest began, Gary prepared all his equipment, having his dealer—AgNorth at Ayr—service everything and give it the once over. Any parts that needed replacing were all genuine.

“They look after us; they keep us going all the time. It’s good backup. If anything goes wrong they’re always there. If they haven’t got the part, they’ll get one in for us, or they’ll find one somewhere to keep us going. They know our gear has to keep going.”

“We do contract planting as well, about 2,000 acres [810ha], and we have to do preparation work to the ground before we plant. That’s the same as harvesting: if that stops, everything stops, but the dealer, with their parts and service, they keep us going.”

Gary is on to Case IH Austoft harvester number 18.

“When they were just Austofts they were the best, and now they’re Case IH Austofts they’re still the best. They’re not just a good price, they’re just better than any other cane harvester.”


8000 Series Harvester Owner Shines at Bundaberg Awards Night

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Click on Award image to enlarge

Congratulations are in order for Josh Zunker of Zunmar Harvesting Pty Ltd who was awarded the McDonald Murphy Machinery Harvesting Contractor Award for Best Harvesting Efficiency and Most Reliable Performance at Bundaberg's prestigious Sugar Industry Awards night in March this year. The night was an opportunity for Bundaberg's sugar industry to celebrate its successes for the year and to honour industry participants who had excelled, contributing to the industry's continued sustainability – a well needed morale boost after the devastating floods of January which caused unprecedented damage to crops and land.

Fortunately, the 2012 season for Bundaberg had got off to a much better start. With favourable weather conditions during the critical growing period, the area saw a significant increase in the total tonnage expected. Crushing was however disrupted at the start with the loss of 5 weeks harvesting due to rain and ended early December. Despite these challenges, Josh Zunker successfully completed his harvesting contracts for the season and was acknowledged for his "reliability of supply" in his recent award.   

"The 8000 makes a difference in our ability to get back onto the fields sooner after rain," he said, of his new Case IH Austoft cane harvester.

"Being a lot lighter, we find we don't seem to get held up as long as with some other machines."

The 8000 series harvester was purchased by the harvesting contractor last year with the assistance of Ross Cheshire at McDonald Murphy Machinery in Bundaberg.

"I've been real happy with the support and service I get from McDonald Murphy and Case IH and so it made sense to continue with them," said Mr Zunker.

The harvester joins a long line of Case IH tractors in the haul-out fleet, including three Case IH Puma 180s and a Case IH CVX L70, operating elevating and side tipping bins.

"The 8000 is going to have a big job ahead of it. We cut around 140,000 tonnes for both the Bundaberg and Isis Sugar Mills, of which 80,000 tonnes will be cut by the Case IH harvester. I find the Case IH machines are generally pretty reliable and durable so it should be up to the job."

Josh has been impressed with the performance of the 8000 series harvester and the quality of the harvesting so far, which was highlighted as one of the major criteria of the Harvesting Contractor Award. Criteria including 'good quality of harvest, ground job, topping and low soil in bins, minimum stool damage' were areas Mr Zunker excelled in. "The machine has been great at cleaning - producing cleaner samples - which in turn means a higher bin weight. This really helps with the efficiency of our harvest."

Despite the devastating start to the 2013 season, Josh Zunker is hopeful that there will still be a lot of good cane to make it through.

"The 8000 does a superior ground job which is all the better for the returning cane," he said.

Hats off also to Josh and his crew for being acknowledged in the Harvesting Contractor Award for 'good quality and well maintained machinery'. "I guess we have to give some credit to Case IH and the boys at McDonald Murphy Machinery," he laughed.

With the glamour and accolades of the Awards night over, Josh and Zunmar Harvesting Pty Ltd are back to preparing for another crushing season.

"Now that we are more familiar with the 8000 harvester, it will be interesting to see how efficient it can really operate and how much easier it will make the harvest for us," he said.

8000 Series Harvester Awards Article


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