DRIVING IMPRESSION: Dedicated swathers are not that common a sight in most parts of Northern Europe these days, unlike North America where these machines retain a strong following. This is not to say a swather will not have a valuable niche in other markets, but there are stumbling blocks to their wider acceptance including the over-wide transport width of high-performance units. Canadian manufacturer MacDon seeks to overcome this with its ‘narrow’ model, the M1170 NT5.
If you take a trip to France or Denmark, you may well see a few swathers as these machines can fit well into regional mixed cropping regimes. Where crops mature at much the same time, but with one combine to harvest them all, swathing can be a useful tool too, particularly in a catchy season. Could access to a swather better suited to European conditions see their use increase? We cannot answer that one but we can at least outline what it is like to operate a modern design.
Narrow transport width
Swathing cereals is not a job many of us will have had a chance to carry out and we had to travel to Denmark for our chance to try
MacDon’s M1170 NT5. The company’s standard fixed width M1170 swather is 4.40m wide in transport and has proven a strong seller in its ‘home’ market since launched back in 2018. The subject M1170 NT5 is essentially a narrow transport variant of its stablemate, with a chassis that hydraulically retracts to a more ‘manageable’ transport width of 3.47m. As such, the NT variant can comply with European maximum vehicle transport dimensions with the caveat that restrictions will still apply, particularly on UK and Irish roads.