“There are better products out there, and Drago is one of them.”
Producer says no single brand has the best answer for every piece of equipment.
Texas farmer Wayne Leita says his equipment line-up would be 100% John Deere – with one exception. And that’s the Drago GT corn head he pairs with his X9 1000 combine.
Leita, together with his dad, Jerry, and brother, Michael, are partners in an 14,000-acre operation off the Gulf Coast in Victoria county. Their 3L Farm is a fourth-generation family business with a fifth generation in the wings.
Not afraid to be first
Despite the predominance of green equipment, Leita says they’re not afraid to try something new. “We’re not scared to be the first one to try something.
“So many producers are afraid of changing brand. I tell them there are better products out there and Drago is one of them.”
Leita’s current 12-row, 40-inch folding GT, in fact, is the third Drago corn head he’s owned since 2017.
“We’ve tried other combine and corn head brands, including Lexion with a Geringhoff Rota Disc. We had planned to go back to Deere,“ Leita says, “but at that time, we wanted a folding head and Deere did not make one for our platform. We had heard good things about Drago, did a lot of research about the brand and their automatic deck plates and decided to give it a try.”
Committed to Drago
“That first year I ran my Drago and the Geringhoff side by side and the Drago performance was unbelievable – I can say there was almost no header loss.”
“The following year I decided to go to a 40-inch row spacing. Deere didn’t offer a 40-inch corn head, but I had already decided I wouldn’t be going with a Deere anyway.
“At that point, I was totally committed. Drago opened my eyes and I was very happy with it. I’ve never seen a corn head where you can walk along behind and don’t find corn on the ground. They are just that efficient.”
Leita says Drago’s automatic, self-adjusting deck plates play a significant role in limiting loss.
“Here, we have rows that are a mile and a half long, with mixed soil types and stalk sizes ranging from big and girthy to small and skinny. With my Drago, I don’t have to sit there constantly changing my header settings. The header loss is almost zero.”
This season, Leita says half of their acres are planted to corn and the other half milo. “Every other year we would have had cotton, but the bottom fell out of that market and you can’t even break even.”
While Leita has high praise for Drago when it comes to yield, he speaks highly of its durability, too. Despite the number of acres, the single Drago GT is the only corn head they use at harvest.
“Yeah, we run it pretty hard.”
“This is a very reliable machine,” Leita says. “I don’t wake up thinking, ‘Oh god, what will go wrong with the corn head today?’ The Drago is overbuilt and that’s a good thing.”
He says the GT’s all-gear drive is a big positive. “That’s direct power to where you need it. No chains, no belt slippage. And I love the massiveness of the gears, the sprockets, and the gathering chains.”.
“It’s just a very well-built header. You know it’s substantial because it’s heavy when you pick it up. And to me that means quality. It’s built well. They didn’t cut corners. It’s a solid product.”
Leita says he often gets questions about his Drago from other producers. “Many of them breathe and bleed green,” he says. “They worry about parts availability, but that’s never been a problem for me – there’s very few times I’ve ever needed a part anyway.”
“I tell them the reliability is amazing.”
“In fact, I was just looking through my combine parts box. Before Drago, I once had a large combine parts box. Now I literally have just two front sprockets, one little rear sprocket, and two gathering chains just in case we get into something,” Leita says. “Other than that, I don’t have any other parts. I have absolute confidence in it.”
“You won’t go back.”
“Once again, I’m not afraid to try new technology. You never know what’s out there,” he says. “So when they ask me about Drago, I straight up tell them that there is more maintenance – sometimes that comes with a higher quality product.
“It’s not a negative because you get more dollars coming back because of it.”
“I tell them to give Drago a look and say, ‘You will be happy with it.’ It’s one of those products that you’re not going to go back to what you had once you go to it.”