There is no escaping it, the Ideal header is one tough looking machine, neither Fendt green or Massey red, the Ideal looks like the header designed for the dark side, sporting a graphite paint job.
A cross-platform design by machinery giant Agco, the Ideal marked a world first for the company, with the header released under multiple brands simultaneously depending on international market. In Australia the Ideal wears a Massey Ferguson badge, with the first units landing last year, on the back of the 2017 global unveil.
Massey Ferguson Australia and New Zealand, director of marketing, Fergal Meehan said the company bought the first five Ideals into the country last year so farmers and contractors could have the opportunity to see and operate the machines in the paddock.
"The Ideal is a brand new design from the ground up," Mr Meehan said.
"We wanted to get their thoughts and feedback, and for the end-user to see how much it has changed from previous Massey Ferguson combines.
"The five machines started on in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, in all we probably harvested about 5000 hectares across a variety of different crops, the main ones being wheat, barley and canola, but we also did some lentils and chickpeas."
Mr Meehan said feedback on the machines had been positive, with a common theme being a smoother cabin ride and increased noise reduction along with an ease of operation and the increased efficiency.
"These machines have a 17,000 litre grain tank and a high-speed unloader called the Streamer, it is capable of unloading at 210 litres a second, that was something a lot of people commented on," he said.
"The capacity increase, with the new 'dual helix' twin rotor on the machine, was very noticeable.
"Also we were pleased to here it was easy to set up the machine, changing from crop to crop or with different varieties, people found it easy to set up."
Mr Meehan said consensus was the fuel efficiency, particularly in the class eight high capacity machines was quite good.
"Depending on the throughput and how heavy the crop was saw between 45 and 65 litres an hour, which is good for a machine up around the 600 horsepower mark," he said.
Ideal on track
Mr Meehan said the Ideal was available in a factory fitted tracked variant, which had been popular in the demonstrations.
"It is the first time in Australia we have offered a track option,it is something a lot of people have been looking for," he said.
Mr Meehan the demo models next stop would be some irrigated sorghum in NSW.
"The demo models have done quite a few kilometres and between 140 and 150 people have had the opportunity to drive it," he said.
Mr Ferguson said the initial project for the Ideal header kicked off in 2011, with the goal of rationalising the number of platforms Agco offered globally.
"We also wanted to make a combine the customers wanted, not what we thought they did, so we spent a lot of time and effort in all regions trying to identify what customers wanted in each region and what was most important," he said.
Mr Ferguson said the Ideal was a mix of Agco's European and North American brands.
"It has a bit of the flavour of everywhere, but probably slightly more European with the high horsepower, twin rotors and technology," he said.
Mr Meehan said the current Massey Ferguson 9500 series are still being manufactured by the company.
"The Ideal isn't out to replace them, it is in addition to them as a different platform, the next step up," he said.
"The 9500 is still being manufactured in North America and we are still selling them in Australia and they are performing well.
"I think we have an excellent Australian configuration now, with a long barrel rotor which has worked really well on the machines.
"They will sell in tandem, the Ideal and the Massey Ferguson 9500, for the future."