The combination of the very heavy soil of Denham Estate, near Bury St Edmunds, and more than an inch of rain the evening before meant conditions were extremely demanding, and for the 60 tractors and their implements, a more effective test of performance would have been hard to find.
BBC’s Look East programme covered the event for its evening programme. Farmers Guide editor Jane Potts is pictured chatting with well-known Look East reporter Mike Liggins.
Luckily, weather on the day was dry and windy, and the good soil condition meant it dried out just enough for the land to be worked. An estimated 2,000 farmers attended and feedback from visitors was very positive, many saying the conditions made it among the most useful demonstrations of tillage machinery they had attended, and exhibitors praised the event for the large number of farmers who visited, and the quantity of sales leads gained.
Denham Estate and Sentry farm manager Matthew Bell was very pleased with the day. “I was very concerned when we had all the rain the evening before,” he said, “but relieved when the weather on the day was so favourable. I think the weather helped the event as many farmers took a break from their own farm work and were able to attend, and it provided a very good test of all the machinery, from the ploughs to the minimal tillage equipment and direct-drills. The operators took a real pride in their work and did a good job, the working plots were worked well, and most exhibitors finished their plots leaving them in a good condition for us. I am really pleased.”
Manns had 12 Claas tractors working on site, on its own plot as well as in use by several implement manufacturers. The Manns team is pictured in front of the tractor line-up with representatives from Agri-hire, the main dealer for Dowdeswell ploughs, and Claydon Yieldometer Ltd, manufacturers of the Claydon direct drill.
Power in Action steward and qualified ATV instructor Chris Keeble with two of the Suzuki ATVs, loaned by Suzuki GB Ltd and Brad Farm Machinery Ltd. The ATVs were a great help to stewards before and during the event who used them to get around in the sticky conditions.
Power in Action host farm, Denham Estate, is managed by Matthew Bell of Sentry Farms, and the farm management company was very supportive of Matthew’s enthusiasm for the working demonstration. Sentry had a stand at the event which provided an opportunity for visiting farmers to meet representatives from the company. Sentry Farms staff are pictured with Farmers Guide organising team (-r)) Farmers Guide finance director Julie Goulding; Sentry farm manager for Troston Farms John Benton; Farmers Guide editor Jane Potts; Sentry manager for Bedfordshire James Mayes; Sentry Denham Estate manager Matthew Bell; Sentry assistant manager for Norfolk Tim Payne and Sentry manager for Norfolk John Barrett.
Brad Farm Machinery Ltd was displaying examples from the Deutz-Fahr tractor range, a Merlo tele-handler and a Teagle Tulip SX4000 spreader as well as several Suzuki ATVs for which it is a main dealer. Company director Paul Offord said he had been busy all day talking with new and existing customers. “It’s been a good event for us. Having a static plot this year meant we had the opportunity to meet and chat with many new customers and we have had a lot of good enquiries.” Brad Farm Machinery Ltd and Merlo assisted Power in Action organisers by providing a Merlo telescopic handler for loading and unloading lorries and the dealer had also worked with Suzuki GB Ltd to supply several Suzuki ATVs for the use of stewards at the event. Paul Offord is pictured with the Merlo handler and a Deutz-Fahr tractor on the company’s stand.
Kockerling’s Jockey drill was introduced at Cereals 2011 but was being demonstrated for the first time in public at Power in Action. Steve Berry looks after sales and demonstrations for Kockerling in the UK and he explained that the Jockey is designed for direct-drilling, minimum tillage regimes and for drilling after ploughing and features a very simple reliable design. “It’s available in 6.0m and 9.0m working widths, has Hercules tine coulters and a front crossboard leveller as standard. A double STS roller and following harrow ensure good seed to soil contact,” he said. “It has a 2,800 litre hopper, radar and hydraulic metering. Power requirement is 150-200hp depending on conditions.” The model on display had a price tag of GBP49,000. Steve Berry is pictured (left) with Mr Freeman and James Faulds of CJR Freeman and Partners, farmers from Aspall, near Debenham, Suffolk. Mr Freeman said his land is very similar to the land at Denham, so the tough working conditions made the demonstration extremely useful and relevant to his own farm. He uses a Sumo cultivator or a plough for his seedbed preparation, and was at the event looking for a drill to follow.
Mark Weatherhead area salesmen Tim Scott (left) and Simon Smith. The Massey Ferguson main dealer had five tractors working and reported many good enquiries. “We are quoting a lot of tractors currently, and combines too, the new Delta having created a lot of interest this year,” said Tim.
Direct-drill manufacturer Claydon Yieldometer Ltd is local to the event and the host farm has used one of its drills for several years. Pictured (l-r) Claydon service engineer Tom Williams, Cambridgeshire farmer Mr Doggett who farms at Barley near Royston, and Claydon Yieldometer Ltd managing director Jeff Claydon. Mr Doggett, who farms approximately 2,000 acres of chalk-land with a neighbour, said his own autumn cultivations were going well, having finished drilling his oilseed rape and he was expecting to commence drilling wheat the following week.
As well as several JCB Fastracs being demonstrated at the event, there were two Workmax utility vehicles which had been provided by JCB for the use of event staff. Providing comfortable seating for two, and a generous load area behind, they were in constant use and made light work of travelling around the event in the slippery and sticky conditions. Workmax vehicles have a three-cylinder Yanmar diesel engine and CVT transmission as well as lockable differentials and selectable 4wd. As well as being used by event officials they provided transport for the BBC Look East team which found them useful to transport equipment over the uneven terrain of the large site.
Pottinger UK was sharing a stand with Mark Weatherhead Ltd and UK area sales manager Richard Carr said there had been a great deal of interest in all the company’s products, and especially the new C6 Terrasem drill, the event providing the first opportunity for many farmers to see it working. Richard Carr is pictured (centre) receiving the prize for the best ploughing at the event. The prize is awarded by Suffolk Farm Machinery Club and the judges were the club’s Tim Reeves (left) and host farm Denham Estates manager Mathew Bell. Tim said Richard had done very well beating 10 other competitors. The plough was a Pottinger Servo 45S 5f reversible with the company’s new traction control system, mounted on a Massey Ferguson 6485 belonging to Mark Weatherhead.
Miles Drainage Ltd was promoting its range of drainage products and services on a static stand. Managing director Peter Robotham and his assistant Jo Haigh are pictured with one of the company’s single-leg mole-drainers. “It’s been a good day with a lot of interest from local customers,” said Peter.
Vogel and Noot’s TerraDig XS cultivator was being demonstrated on the PHR working plot and according to Vogel and Noot sales director Finley Bassett had attracted a lot of interest. “It’s the first public working demonstration for the new cultivator which is designed to subsoil, mix and consolidate without creating a cap. The sub-soiler works down to 40cm and depth control is via the tractor linkage and hydraulic adjustment of the rear packer.” The unit on display was a 2.5m five-leg version with a price tag of approximately GBP11,000 and the range includes variants up to 5.0m working width with 11 legs.
The 5.0m Saturn cultivator from Quivogne was another implement having its first public working demonstration. Quivogne UK marketing director Ben Clowes was very pleased with its performance and interest from farmers. “We are pleased with the challenging working conditions here as it means farmers can see how well our products perform. It’s not easy land, and it’s still very wet but the Saturn is working well, and leaving a good finish. It makes a change to have such a good challenging demonstration,” he said. The Saturn was mounted on a Case IH Puma tractor on a set of Soucy rubber tracks which had been supplied by Case IH main dealer Collings Brothers, and Quivogne was also using Case IH tractors borrowed from main dealer Ernest Doe Power to demonstrate other products. Collings Brothers managing director Ray Runciman is pictured (left) with Ben Clowes and the new 5.0m Saturn cultivator.