REPORT: Earlier this season, profi reporter Steven Vale swapped his office for a six-week stint in Spain driving a Ploeger EPD530 pea and bean harvester.

This story began in 2019 when Willem Hack from Dutch contractor Hack Harvest invited me to join him for a few days to witness first-hand part of the harvest of around 6,000ha of peas and another 1,400ha of broad beans (see profi Harvest Special 2019). I did not know it then, but I would return to Spain the following year, not as a reporter, but for a seven-week stint as an operator on one of Hack’s Ploeger EPD 530s.

Following a two-year gap, a good friend agreed to look after news on the profi website so I could join the Spanish harvest for a second stint this season, and my editor suggested that my experiences might make for an interesting story. The 50 days were equally split between three weeks harvesting beans around the village of Fuentes del Ebro, near Zaragoza in northern Spain, followed by three weeks in the peas further south in the province of Albacete, midway between Madrid and

Getting started
Early one Sunday morning in early May, I joined one of five vans at Hack Harvest HQ in Kruisland (NL) for a full day of driving to catch up with the harvesters. My machine was not due to arrive until the next day so my first job was delivering the supplied lunch bags to the four other harvesters which were working an hour away from our accommodation.

Later that afternoon I was sitting behind the controls of EPD530 number 38. One of 13 similar Hack machines in Spain this season, this modern day classic was a 2006 vintage. The cab is a bit frayed around the edges, but the Deutz engine is located at the back, behind the huge threshing drum so it is quiet, and I soon got to grips with the functions of the rocker switches on the right-hand console.

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