Behind the Wheel: Simply the best – 75 years of mechanized sugar cane harvesting

​London, October 17, 2019

The year is 1944 and the young men of Australia, who would usually be engaged in bringing in the sugar cane harvest by hand, have been called elsewhere. Happily for the population of Australia, the Toft brothers take the famous words of Plato, “necessity is the mother of all invention”, to heart and invent the world’s first mechanized sugar cane harvester. And the rest, as they say, is history.

2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the first Australian built mechanized sugar cane harvester. The Toft brother’s invention revolutionized the industry and improved the working conditions of the thousands of workers who previously carried out the back breaking work of cutting sugar cane by hand. By the 1970s, Toft Bros was one of the most significant manufacturers of cane harvesters in the world. In 1986 the company rebranded as Austoft, and in 1996 was acquired by Case IH, today a global agricultural machinery brand of CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI /MI: CNHI). The film includes some spectacular aerial footage of the latest Case IH Austoft machines at work in Brazil, where they are now manufactured, and from where they are exported across the globe.

This Behind the Wheel webisode provides a snapshot of the history of sugar cane harvesting mechanization and pays tribute to the pioneering Toft brothers and their ingenious invention though the use of archive footage, photographs and interviews with past and present employees.

Watch it now at: 

  • Behind the Wheel: Simply the best – 75 years of mechanized sugar cane harvesting