Grain harvesters have been called combines since the 1930’s. They were called combines because they combined the harvesting machines, the binder and the stationary threshing machine. The Tribine takes it one step further as it combines the two historic harvest functions with a third – the grain cart, according to Ben Dillon, the developer of the machine.
Dillon’s theory is that present-day combines do a good job of threshing, but the handling of the clean grain from the threshing process needed to be improved. The answer that evolved from working in his farm shop since 1997 is an articulated 1,000-bushel grain tank that is both powered and steerable and is capable of discharging its payload into a waiting semi in only two minutes.
By using this new harvesting machine, Dillon predicts growers will see savings in many areas, ranging from saving the diesel fuel required to chase the grain cart around the field to the labor aspect of eliminating the person needed to run the grain cart.
Another big plus is reducing soil compaction. The Tribine leaves only two tracks, just like an ordinary combine would make. However, using a regular combine leaves additional random tracks across the field as the grain cart makes trips from the combine to the semi at an end of the field.
Dillon noted that compaction studies completed at Ohio State indicate the axle passing from the combine causes 80 percent of the resulting compaction. The weight carried on the front axle on the Tribine is less than that of a regular combine because the grain tank has been removed. The Tribine’s grain tank has its own set of axles at the rear of the machine.
The harvesting portion of the Tribine is a modified AGCO combine, and the prototype machine has a total of 28 patents. The unit is considered a Class 8 combine.
This is the fourth version of the Tribine, but the first that Dillon had enough confidence in to bring to a farm show. It recently was displayed Jan. 29-31 at the Ag Connect Expo in Kansas City. The booth attracted hundreds of interested farmers, manufacturers and custom cutters from not only the U.S., but across the world.
The Tribine is now back on his farm in Indiana, where they saved some corn on his farm for the prototype to harvest. Dillon now will start the process of doing some additional in-the-field testing and getting feedback from grain farmers about the machine.
The potential cost of the Tribine hasn’t been determined, but Dillon has said that he expects it will cost less than the combined cost of a conventional combine and a grain cart.
Additional photos and videos of the Tribine at www.tribine.com.