Faith that the weather would allow host farmer Colin Clifton-Brown to finish harvesting wheat in time from the fields earmarked for the biennial Power in Action event paid off when a successful working cultivations demonstration took place at Little Bradley Farm, Haverhill, Suffolk in early September. David Williams reports.
Popular in the hot weather was the Ernest Doe personnel trailer which, as at previous events, was kindly lent by the dealer, with a New Holland tractor to pull it.
Just four weeks before the event was due to take place the late ripening and unsettled weather forecast meant the decision was almost made to cancel, but after a week of fine weather allowed harvest to start in the area, the mood became more optimistic, and continuing dry sunny weather meant harvest progressed well, the last of the Power in Action demonstration fields harvested just five days before the demonstration.
Farms in the area had late wheat still to cut, which undoubtedly meant many farmers who would normally have visited were forced to stay away, with rain forecast for later in the week. However, the heavy dew from the night before meant it was too wet for the combines to be at work early in the day and early attendance was high compared with previous years, farmers keen to see the machines at work, and then get back to their harvest once conditions were dry enough.
Interest in methods of establishing OSR crops meant Cousins was busy demonstrating its V-Form OSR subsoiler fitted with a Techneat Terracast V2 seed metering unit. Micro-wing points create minimal disturbance and are easy to pull through the soil, and the zonal rear roller consolidates only the area needed, holding the moisture as well as accurately controlling seeding depth.
More than 60 tractors were at work, and comments from visiting farmers were very positive regarding the selection on show, from a small Kubota M135GX with 135hp coping well with a 4f reversible plough to a top-of-the-range Claas Xerion 5000 and a 9R Series articulated John Deere. An objective of the event, which is run by Farmers Guide and volunteers from the Suffolk Farm Machinery Club, is to show cultivation machinery at work to suit all sizes of farm, and to have something to interest all visitors. The latest and biggest machinery was on show, but so was the latest smaller equipment, with a price tag and size to appeal to smaller farms with more limited budgets.
A new exhibitor at this year’s event was locally-based J Brock & Sons with its wide range of TWB subsoilers and mole drainers on show. Pictured is the Terminator single pass cultivator which attracted a lot of interest, and which is currently available in 3.0, 3.2 and 3.5m working widths. All versions are trailed and will work down to 500mm while leaving a tilth suitable for drilling.
The land, as expected, did create a challenge for much of the equipment. Power in Action is a heavy land cultivations event, and most had expected the preceding dry month to have created hard impenetrable top-soil. Many were surprised at the amount of moisture that was present below the surface and while conditions suited most machinery well, the variations in soil type close to the surface meant frequent adjustment was needed to produce an optimum result. The venue was ideal, several farmers commenting that it was a good test of the machines’ performance and that if products could produce a consistently good result at the event, then it was as good a guide as one could obtain that they would work on their own easier land.
A lot of new machinery was on show, including many cultivators being demonstrated working in public for the first time, ahead of their official debut at Tillage the following week.
More new products seen working in public for the first time included Claydon 12.3m rolls, and the new 3.0m Claydon combined seed and fertiliser Hybrid drill, both products having been officially launched at Cereals this year.
As well as the working exhibits, there was a good selection of static stands too, from ATV dealers to farm building suppliers and various advisory services.
Host farmer Colin Clifton-Brown said he was very pleased with the event; “Seeing the machinery working on my own land was very interesting and of special interest were the subsoilers and strip-till drills as well as the disc and tine combination machines. We were lucky that the conditions were almost perfect; dry enough to work but with enough moisture to make it a challenge. I was especially impressed with the Plowman Omni-Till as it subsoiled effectively without bringing clods to the surface, and left a good level finish. Other similar machines either subsoiled effectively or left a level finish, but didn’t achieve both.
The Stripcat strip-till cultivator was working on the Sly Agri demonstration area, Power in Action providing its first public working event.
Available in working widths from 2.5-9.0m with up to 12 cultivation units, George Sly (pictured inset) said there had been a lot of interest from contractors as well as large-scale farmers. “Its uses include tasks such as slurry incorporation, but most interest at this event has been for strip drilling of OSR, as well as preparation for sugar beet drilling. For beet drilling, and working with RTK for precise positioning, a pass is made to create a tilth in the strips, then it is left over winter, and if conditions are suitable the beet drill can work straight into the tilth, or if it needs freshening up, then we have an attachment which offers low disturbance or a vibro-tine can be fitted in place of the cultivator leg to loosen up the tilth. There has been a lot of interest as well as requests for demonstrations, so we are expecting a busy autumn.”
George said his company is also working with British Sugar on trials of the Stripcat to assess its effect on black-grass populations and on soils susceptible to wind-blow.
“The strip-till cultivators were interesting but I would like to be able to see crops drilled using the technique before I am convinced. The soil pits provided an opportunity for me to examine the soil structure, and are something that many of us as farmers intend to do one day, but never get around to it, and although I was pleased with what I saw in terms of soil condition I have arranged to have further soil analysis carried out by one of the companies that was there, having discussed the issue with them,” he added.
Claas dealer Manns was demonstrating a selection of tractors from the Claas range, including new Arion and Axion models as well as the top-of-the-range Xerion 5000, and had on display a selection of smaller models from the range, and two handlers; a Claas Scorpion and a Kramer. Manns director Paul Moss said harvest in the area had been better than expected with some good yields reported and that with the capital allowance benefits still available orders were being placed for combines, tractors, balers and handlers. “We are up on orders for last autumn, particularly for tractors and the new Arion has been well received by existing Claas owners, as well as those moving away from other makes,” said Paul. Pictured (l-r) Manns FSM Will Spence, Manns Easy specialist Ed Farrow and Paul Moss.
Tradition is that the landowner awards a prize for the best ploughed plot, awarded to Dowdeswell, and for the best non-inversion tillage plot, which he awarded to the Omni-Till.
“The plots were left in good condition generally. We expected the headlands to need pulling up and did that immediately after the event. The attendance looked good and it appeared to have been a success. Overall we were very pleased,” he said.
A collection at the event raised £575 For the local church, at the request of Colin Clifton-Brown.
Dowdeswell main dealer Agri-Hire was demonstrating a range of ploughs including 100, 105, the new 141, 145 and 170 models. “We have an excellent range of ploughs to offer, all British made, and with the renewed interest in ploughing during the past two seasons, Dowdeswell’s timing for launching its improved new models was ideal,” said Agri-Hire managing director Tim Hubert. “There has been a lot of interest in the big 170 series ploughs for use with bigger wheeled and tracked tractors but the 140 series, rated for tractors up to 320hp still suits most users’ needs. It will swap from working in-furrow to on-land in two minutes, adjusted almost entirely from the cab and that is seen as a big advantage for users. Farmers do like the fact that Dowdeswell is British-made, and it means back-up is excellent with parts availability and support second to none. There is a two year standard warranty but, in our experience, if problems do occur beyond that time, the company is always happy to help.
“The Power in Action demonstration is good for us, allowing us to demonstrate as well as to meet new and existing customers. We are using a 170hp Claas Arion 640, kindly lent by Claas and which is handling the 6f reversible plough operating down to 10 inches or so with ease. We are being asked a lot about availability for this autumn and for most models delivery is just three weeks from order, if the plough isn’t already in stock,” said Tim.
The company was intending to bring along one of its muck spreaders which it manufactures in its production plant near Ipswich, but Tim said demand for hire and sale has been so strong this autumn, that as soon as machines are built they are put to use. “As well as strong demand in the UK, we are finding them popular for overseas markets too, and are attracting orders from as far afield as New Zealand,” he added.
Fieldens had on display two of its range of Honda ATVs. The Stowmarket, Suffolk-based main dealer also supplies a wide range of accessories from manufacturers such as Logic and Stocks, and Honda sales manager Keith Collins (pictured) with his son Kieran said the company has seen a strong demand for ATVs complete with slug pelleters this autumn, with expectations high that slug numbers would be a problem.
Techmagri UK was demonstrating its SimTech T-Sem 400AP drill which is capable of direct or conventional drilling. “Direct drilling is of increasing interest to farmers and having a drill which enables you to direct drill when the opportunity presents itself provides added flexibility and a means of reducing costs,” explained Techmagri UK’s Simon Clarke. “We are finding more farmers who are familiar with direct-drilling now and have an idea as to when it could work to their benefit, and this drill is ideal for smaller family farms, providing them with added versatility. The T-Sem drill has a simple design and uses an inverted T-slot coulter as used on our other drills so that the seed is placed on a firm base with enough of a tilth for establishment but with minimal soil disturbance. Features such as new tungsten points and a new air seeder are recent improvements.
“We are very busy at present with enquiries for drills, but with current high demand, we are already taking orders for delivery in time for spring drilling,” he added.
Philip Watkins had two products working at the event; the rape Tri-till and the Quad-till. The Quad-till was shown working behind a Claas Xerion 5000, and is available in various configurations on a standard chassis, with an option of either the 510mm discs or the 610mm individually rubber mounted discs, followed by auto-reset subsoiler legs in a ‘V’ formation, two rows of VF cultivator tines, sprung level board and two rows of 600mm diameter DD rings to firm down. All the cultivation elements can be lifted in and out of work hydraulically on-the-move to give the best results with the minimum of diesel, explained the company.
Soil drainage is topical after the wet autumn last year and Suffolk-based AFT Trenchers, which has manufactured specialist trenching equipment for nearly forty years, was demonstrating its popular AFT100 model designed for agricultural applications.
A Claas Xerion fitted with a 16m3 tank and Vogelsang XTill strip-till cultivator made an impressive sight. Contractor Stephen Baker (pictured) based at Banbury, Oxon contract farms approximately 1,200ha (3,000 acres) and carries out spreading and incorporation of digestate, using a dribble bar as well as the XTill. As well as the 16m3 in the mounted tank, capacity is increased by pulling a second 16m3 tank behind, the 32m3 combination applying digestate through a 32m dribble bar. A second Xerion is also used, with a trailed 24m3 tank applying the digestate through a 30m Vogelsang dribble bar. “Running the XTill means we can offer customers the choice of slurry injection or dribble bar application. We do some application work in standing crops, and for those the dribble bar is ideal.”
Stephen explained that he chose the XTill as he was interested in injecting digestate while planting OSR this autumn, and although drilling only started recently, some of the early-sown crop has emerged and is looking good. “I have had a lot of interest from farmers who are keen for me to provide the service, but I am waiting until my own crop has been successfully established before I start offering it elsewhere,” he said.
Kockerling products working included a Jockey drill and a Vector cultivator and UK importer Stephen Berry (inset) said the past 12 months has been very busy for the company, the simple design of its products and the excellent build quality having made them ideal for the harsh conditions during autumn 2012. “A lot of farmers are looking for simpler and lighter machines,” he said, “and last autumn showed the advantages of a simple open design with lots of clearance and light weight.”
The Jockey drills are available in 6, 9 and 10m working widths with 7 and 8m available to special order. “The 10m is very versatile and we have several users on controlled-traffic systems using it as a light cultivator to encourage chitting, and applying P and K while cultivating, and then when the weeds have been sprayed off, making a second pass to drill the crop,” said Steve.
Cultivators are selling well too,” he added, “and a strong characteristic of all Kockerling products is their versatility, the Vector capable of working from 2-14 inches depth, for shallow cultivations or heavy subsoiling. We have had a lot of interest at the demonstration in all the products, and haven’t had an opportunity to stop all day. The enquiries have been very good, with several customers having come along especially to see our machines at work.”
Lemken was demonstrating a selection of products including ploughs, cultivators and drills, and Lemken UK general manager Mark Ormond said interest in its FlexPak press, which was shown working in public for the first time in the UK, was especially high. “It is a light-weight press and its main benefit is that it is easy to move around with the plough and automatically adjusts for variable working width, but we are delighted with the way it has tackled the heavy land here at the event, closing the furrows and cracking the clods.” The Juwel 5f reversible plough with the FlexPak press demonstrated is priced at £35,000.
Pictured with the plough and press are Lemken area sales manager for south east England Paul Creasy (left) and south east support manager Aaron Graves who had joined the company just two days before.
Quivogne UK sales director Ben Clowes is pictured with the company’s folding subsoiler. “Until now users have selected the working width of 3.0, 3.5 or 4.0m with 5, 6, 7 or 8 tines,” explained Ben, “but anything over 3.0m was difficult to transport as the extra width was made up of bolt-on extensions. We have designed outer folding sections, which fold back easily for transport but are still carried on the main 3m frame. It’s a manual folding system, simple and reliable and the price starts at £4,950 for the 3m unit, while a 4m folding machine with its two extra legs is priced at £7,250. The outer hinged extension kits are available separately and can be retro-fitted to existing machines up to six years old.”
Working on the demonstration plot were the company’s Saturn and Pluton cultivators, and also on display was the company’s new mole plough, which was launched at Cereals.
“It has been an excellent day for us,” said Ben. “We didn’t stop all day with those still harvesting coming early while it was too wet to combine, and the day remained busy throughout, three of us talking with interested farmers.”
Pictured on Mark Weatherhead’s demonstration area are Mark Weatherhead sales manager Dave Redford (left) with Pottinger UK area sales manager Richard Carr. There were 13 Pottinger products working at the event on various stands, including three ploughs, a selection of cultivators and drills. “There has been considerable interest in ploughs,” said Richard, “and we have models working here to suit tractors up to 270hp. There are two Servo 45s, one with hydraulic vari-width and both with 46W solid bodies capable of creating wide furrows to allow large 650 and 710mm tyres to work in the furrow. There is a smaller Servo 35S too, rated to 175hp, with 38WS slatted low draft bodies which leaves a furrow wide enough for 650mm tyres. The ploughs all have Pottinger’s unique draft line adjustment system which means that once set up, whatever the user does in the way of adjusting the front furrow width to suit various soil types, the top link remains straight, the draft line remaining the same. They all have pin-adjustable skimmers and two mount points for the rear disc as standard, as well as a number of different depth wheel options.”
Also demonstrated were 3.0 and 6.0m Synkro cultivators, the range offering working widths from 2.5-6.0m, as well as the latest Terradisc which was working in public for the first time since its launch at Cereals. The range includes 3.0-6.0m mounted and trailed folding versions and is a simple design with two rows of discs, a levelling system and a 550mm packer at the rear. “The new design disc mounts have two discs per arm,” explained Richard, “which means they are easier to pull and have better clearance for trash. A 3.4m version was shown at the launch but we are now offering working widths of 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0m too in trailed folding versions, and linkage or drawbar mounted.
Plowman Brothers is based at York and was a new name at Power in Action this year. Being shown working in public for the first time was a prototype version of the company’s Omni-Til NG stubble cultivator. Company sales manager Stewart Peckitt said the cultivator has been designed after a lot of consultation with users, and is available now in 3.0m working width with 2.5m available shortly, followed by 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0m trailed folding versions which are planned for the future. The leg is fitted with a five piece point assembly allowing users to replace just the worn component rather than complete assemblies, which Stewart commented has proved popular. The point itself is short and stubby, which Stewart explained results in less soil brought up to the surface and the shin is tapered to encourage soil to flow around it, reducing surface disturbance. The wing is at the rear of the leg, and the user can select the size required, options including 150, 200, 250 and 300mm, allowing them to move only as much soil as necessary. Shearbolt or hydraulic break-back systems are available and the cultivator works from 150-400mm depth, requiring upwards of 160hp. “It will be available generally from October,” said Stewart and the price starts at £17,500 for the 2.5m version with shearbolt leg protection. We were keen to show the cultivator here as it is a good heavy land site, and an ideal situation to show its performance. We have seen a lot of people and have had interest from both potential customers, and dealers interested in representing us,” he added.
Kongskilde cultivation products on show included the front-mounted Terra D disc cultivator on a Valtra demonstration tractor, combined with the Delta Flex tined cultivator on the rear. “The Delta Flex combination is out permanently demonstrating at present,” said area sales manager Mark Evans. “It’s a very simple system; it’s reasonably priced and has a medium horsepower requirement. The Delta Flex is a very good mixing machine, and running the front Terra D as well saves another pass. The Delta Flex can be used with wings, or they can be removed and the cultivator can be set to work deeper for min-till applications.”
The Delta Flex is available in working widths from 2.5-7.0m and there is a choice of rear packers and rollers available to suit the working conditions.
Pictured with the combination at Power in Action are; (l-r) Product support manager Steve Mitchell, Mark Evans and service engineer Daniel Smith.
The Keeble Brothers Progressive heavy cultivator was designed to work on heavy Essex clay, and company director John Keeble, explained that to avoid pulling large lumps up to the surface, it had to work from the top downwards. “In front we have hydraulically-adjustable discs which work down to four inches or so, and these are followed by adjustable tines operating down to 10 inches. Heavy subsoiler legs capable of breaking up the heavy soils can be set to work to 20 inches and a press at the rear levels and consolidates the surface.”
John explained that the Progressive has been in production for approximately seven years and that although it was designed with East Anglian heavy soils in mind, it has also proved popular with large-scale vegetable growers. “Its method of working the soil is ideal for root vegetables too, he said, leaving a good tilth and providing the depth of cultivation growers need.”
Working widths from 3.8-6.0m are available, and the 3.8m version pictured is said to require approximately 350hp. John said that in the past three years interest in the subsoilers for OSR establishment has increased and the machine working at Power in Action was fitted with a Stocks Turbo-Jet seed distributor.
“We have approximately 50 Progressives out working on farms now,” added John,”most of which are in East Anglia. We had a good level of interest at the demonstration, and were able to talk with a lot of existing users.”
Deutz-Fahr and Zetor main dealer Brad Farm Machinery demonstrated the latest models in its tractor ranges as well as Pottinger implements. Supporting the dealer at the event was Zetor sales and marketing manager Maros Karabinos who is pictured (right) with Brad Farm Machinery director Paul Offord. “The Zetor range has developed considerably during the past three years with new products and higher horsepower,” said Maros. “The quality and finish is greatly improved over what it used to be, the operator comfort is very good now and there is increased interest from arable farms and contractors whereas previously the range was targeted very much at smaller arable and livestock farms. We continue to offer tractors with cost-effective solutions for the livestock and smaller farms but are exhibiting at this event to provide an opportunity for professional arable farmers to experience the latest higher horsepower tractors, and there has been considerable interest.
“Our range includes models from 77-140hp but in Spring 2014 the 150hp Forterra HD 150, which has a longer chassis will be shown at Lamma and later in 2014, or in early 2015, we will have a 200hp tractor in the range too. The tractors are fuel efficient and reliable, and still have features such as the built-in compressor complete with tyre inflation hose on every model, and that is a feature available on very few other makes,” he added.
Paul said offering the Zetor range has been good for the dealer since it took it on in 1991. “We get on well with the product and in our area the traditional market is outdoor pig units, as well as small and hobby farms, but in the past three years with great improvements to the range and more power available the brand has developed more of a presence and the larger tractors are becoming more accepted in the market. We very much look forward to having the new models with significantly more power to offer.”
Miles Drainage had a static stand at the event and sales assistant Jo Haigh said that most enquiries had been regarding mole draining. The company hires mole drainers complete with a tracked tractor and an operator or will sell direct to farmers. “We had a lot of interest in the mole drainer two years ago at Power in Action, so brought it along again this year,” said Jo. “We have three types available; the standard fixed beam, a high clearance version and one which is adjustable and is still in development. The most frequent question has been whether conditions are suitable for mole draining at present, but generally it is too dry now for the mole to form properly.”
One of the smaller tractors at work was this Kubota M135GX producing 135hp. Working with a 4f reversible Kverneland 150B plough on main dealer Thurlow Nunn Standen’s plot it attracted a lot of interest. Kubota agricultural dealer manager for the southern area Phill Brooks said “I look after the area serviced by Thurlow Nunn Standen and most interest for the Kubota range has been from stock and mixed farms which are looking for a main-line tractor. Many have already been using a smaller Kubota, of 90hp or so, and have been very impressed, so with the range now including tractors up to 135hp they have been keen to buy another Kubota.
“We have had considerable interest from outdoor pig units too, particularly for the most powerful model. It has a 24-speed powershift gearbox and there is the option of a creep speed too, which provides a further eight gears. Front suspension, air-conditioning, two spools and a push-out hitch are all standard equipment and the Work Cruise tractor management function allows the user to set the required operating speed, which will be maintained by the tractor automatically, while reducing the fuel use when full power isn’t needed. It’s a very good specification,” he added.
The Sumo DTS one-pass strip-till drill is designed to work straight into stubbles and cover crops, and was attracting attention on the Thurlow Nunn Standen working area. “It moves less soil, requires less power and diesel and saves time,” explained TNS Sumo specialist Peter Frost (left) and based at the dealer’s Littleport branch. “All our branches have customers keen to have a demonstration of the drill, and since we started using it a month or so ago, establishing OSR crops, results so far have been very good, the moisture conserved due to the reduced soil movement giving the plants a good start.”
Also shown working was one of the latest design Sumo 4m Quatro cultivators, and a 3m mounted Trio. “The 3m Trio is as popular as ever,” commented Peter. “We have a customer using one behind a Fendt tractor throughout the autumn, for preparation on all his stubbles, and this year so far he has cultivated 360ha (900 acres) with it, last year it worked approximately 600ha (1,500 acres) and one season it covered 800ha (2,000 acres). The Trio is well designed, does a good job and sells well,” he added.
The first public demonstration of the Great Plains DTX300 in its entry-level specification was at Power in Action, and the lower-priced cultivator was attracting considerable attention. At Cereals this year Great Plains was promoting the concept that several of its machines were available in a no-frills package, with optional upgrades available to suit almost any user.
Key differences between the new entry-level model and the standard version offered in the UK previously include manual adjustment of individual disc pair angles to three positions rather than combined adjustment across the full row of discs by crank handle to infinite positions, and shearbolt leg protection rather than hydraulic auto-reset. “Benefits as well as reduced cost for those who don’t require the extra features include reduced weight,” explained Great Plains sales director David Holmes. “The user can still have whatever specification they want, but in some areas features such as the auto-reset legs are regarded as essential, whereas elsewhere they may not be required.”
New features on the DTX include paired discs on each mounting spring, which provides extra clearance around the discs for trash, and there are six rear packer options available; including the ML; (Maximum lift) which was fitted to the demonstration machine and leaves the soil open and level, and is ideal for close-following subsequent cultivations, and is lighter and a more economical option than the DD roller. Other options include Aqueel, cage, DDL and the V-Roller.
Other Great Plains products on which entry-level specification is offered include the Xpress and SL range cultivators. “We regard the chassis as the standard component and everything else can be specified to suit the work requirements and use, and savings between the full previous specification and the entry-level are approximately 20 per cent” said David. “The DTX being demonstrated is about as basic as it gets, with the only upgrade being the scrapers on the roller, which are not necessary in these working conditions.”
David Holmes said there had been a great deal of interest in the Great Plains products at the demonstration. He is pictured with farmers visiting the event. (l-r) David Holmes; Roger Wharton who farms at Bradwell near Great Yarmouth; Will Beevor of Beevor Farms, Bradwell; Richard Beevor also of Beevor Farms; Great Plains sales and service support specialist Martyn Hall and Chris Edwards of MJ Edwards and Partners- farmers from Corton near Lowestoft.
“Power in action is always useful to us,” said Chris. “Our farm has a great variation of soil types but being a heavy land demonstration, we come to see equipment in action knowing if it will work on the soils at the event, it will work on our farm. It’s not anywhere near as useful seeing machinery working on light land where anything will perform well. We have finished harvest now and are here to look at drills mainly, but everything is of interest.”
AtlasFram Group business manager Ashley Gilman (left) and machinery buyer Simon Scott were at the event to talk with new and existing members. “We have talked with a lot of farmers today about the success of our forward buying scheme for fuels,” said Ashley. “We can help remove the risk caused by oil price volatility as members can fix the price of a percentage of their projected fuel requirement. We had members fixing between 20 and 65 per cent this year, at 64.45p/litre and this provided a significant cost saving. Comments from farmers who were involved have been very positive, while others who missed out are keen to take advantage next year.
“Fuel is one of the key inputs along with seed, fertilisers, agro chemicals and feed for livestock farms, and because we don’t charge a levy our advice regarding when and what to buy is completely impartial, and beneficial, especially for the bigger purchases.”
Working in public for the first time was the He-Va Euro-Tiller, on the Thurlow Nunn-Standen demonstration area. The seedbed cultivator has a wheel-track eradicator at the front, followed by a row of aggressive spring tines, which are said to be ideally suited to breaking up land left ploughed over winter. Hydraulically-adjusted levelling boards smooth the surface ahead of six rows of aggressive tines around the wheels. A rear levelling board, linked to the front set is followed by spring harrows at the rear. Electric depth control allows the working depth to be easily set from the cab.
UK He-Va importer Opico representative David Day said he is delighted to have the cultivator available in the UK range; “A previous model was in production for several years but wasn’t designed for the UK working conditions so was never imported. This new model is much heavier duty, and was made to cope with the use it will get on farms in this country, and as well as being thoroughly tested abroad, one was working here very successfully last season. It has some excellent features such as the automatic lift for headland turns which lifts the inner wing slightly to stop it digging in. It’s available in 6-10m working widths and will prove very popular.”
Pictured on the P Tuckwell stand are (l-r) Martin Seabrook; Paul Coffey; Mark Debenham; Will Waterer; Rupert Greest and Lily the Labrador.
Agrii was promoting its Soilquest service and decision support commercial manager Stuart Alexander was on-hand to talk though its benefits to farmers. A new service; ‘Soil Reflection Imaging’ was launched just two days before, and uses a satellite photograph of the field to provide information about the soil types and their distribution across an area. “Today is the first time we have shown the new service in public,” explained Stuart, “and visitors have been interested to see how it works and what it offers.”
A large satellite photograph of the Power in Action site was displayed, with the soil types in each field shown, colour-coded to indicate the clay content. “The new service is convenient and is a quick way to look at soil variation to target inputs,” said Stuart. “It complements our Soil Scan service, which is carried out using an ATV-drawn electrical scanner capable of analysing clay content to within one per cent by scanning down to 90cm depth, and although users could just use the image from either system for guidance, they work best as an indicator as to where soil sampling will be beneficial to make decisions on inputs.”
Another product shown working in public for the first time at the event was the Kverneland Accord power harrow combination drill with new CX2 coulters fitted.
The new CX2 coulters differ from the previous CX version having shallow angle discs and an 8mm narrower coulter, 40mm wide now rather than the previous 48, resulting in less movement of soil. The new coulter is designed to provide better penetration and to maintain the seeding depth more effectively, and the flexible seed cleaning disc, which proved effective on the previous version, is retained.
Eventually the new CX2 will replace the CX versions, but currently both are available. Another change is the coulter legs, cast iron used now rather than the previous tubular arms, and external flexible tubes are now used to transport the seed. One bolt is used to retain the arm, making it easy to remove it in the event of damage occurring. Maintenance-free bearings are fitted in the discs and press wheels.
The CX2 coulter is also available for other drills including the S Drill, the S Drill Pro, the i- Drill Pro, the DF1, DF2 and DFC combined grain and fertiliser drill on which a second tube is used to transport fertiliser to the coulter.
For different working situations the coulter and press wheel can be used together to increase or reduce coulter pressure. For work on level ground the coulter is fixed to the press wheel assembly, whereas for uneven ground the pair can float independently. A further option for very sticky wet conditions is to lift the press wheel, using its spring pressure to increase coulter pressure while holding the press wheel clear of the soil. To make the adjustments a pin is moved to the appropriate hole on the press wheel arm.
“We are seeing increased demand for power harrow drill combinations and the CX2 was developed to provide the extra penetration that was needed in some situations,” explained Kverneland seeding and spreader product manager Graham Owen (pictured inset).
“The new coulter is easier to pull and maintains a more consistent depth, benefits which will be appreciated by users,” he added.
The Fenix is a deep tillage cultivator which will work down to 35cm. It is pictured working behind a Pecks Agritrac JCB Fastrac 8310 demonstrator.
Bednar cultivators from UK importer Knight Farm Machinery were seen working in public for the first time at Power in Action, the range having had its official launch at Cereals this year. Three were working; the Fenix primary cultivator, the Swifter SO Concept for seedbeds, and the SwifterDisc XO for primary and secondary cultivations, behind tractors belonging to Case IH and JCB main dealer Pecks, which is also a dealer for Knight. “We have recently started demonstrations of the cultivators and have been very pleased with the response from customers,” said Knight Farm Machinery managing director Brian Knight. “We have a 10m version of the SwifterDisc due to arrive shortly and the range includes working widths up to 14m which will enable us to cater for those needing high output cultivators for spring cultivations suitable for high horsepower tractors. There is a limited market for that size of machine in the UK, so working with a company like Bednar with its considerable experience and well-established range makes a lot of sense. They are excellent products and perform well.”
Also working was a dedicated Knight Raven subsoiler with a front row of tines and a packer on the rear. “We developed it in conjunction with Pecks as the dealer sales staff were being asked for it by their customers. We were pleased to be able to cater for the specific requirement and it worked well, customer feedback was very positive, so we have added it to our general range,” said Brian.
Brian Knight is pictured with his daughter, Knight service manager Clare Slane, and the Knight Bednar SwifterDisc cultivator.
A new low-disturbance subsoiling tine from Gregoire Besson was being demonstrated on the Ben Burgess working area, the Discordon DXRV HD 4.2m being operated behind a John Deere 9R Series articulated tractor. “We can offer three tine options now for the Discordon,” said Gregoire Besson UK managing director Rob Immink, including the standard leg, the new low-disturbance tine or the Michel curved leg. The same options are available for the Combi-Mix.”
As well as the new tine option, Rob said a new version of the Helidisc is currently being tested in France and expected to be available in 2014. “We are seeking the views of users on various aspects of the design at present, and expect the improvements to be popular. We are busy generally, with plough sales up 40 per cent on last year and lead time varies, but is up to 6-8 months for some models. The new arrangement with John Deere, in which Gregoire Besson is producing ploughs to be sold by the company, is likely to help by smoothing demand and allowing more staff to be taken on in the factories. We are busy with cultivators too, and with users very positive about our product range and forthcoming developments, we are optimistic for the future.”
Pictured (l-r) Ben Burgess group AMS specialist Carl Pitelen, Rob Immink and John Deere product sales specialist for tractors Mark Jones.
The Duro Strip-Till single pass seeding system is ideally suited for OSR, sugar beet and maize said Landquip managing director Richard Abbott. Available in 4-12 rows, the 8-row demonstration machine is said to require 160-200hp depending on conditions. The Duro drill uses a front disc to cut through trash, then a strip approximately 150mm wide is cleared by a pair of profiled clearing discs ahead of a 15mm subsoiler leg fitted with 100 or 170mm wings. At the rear a pair of plain discs and a crumble roll create the tilled strip and the seeder unit follows. Landquip’s Nitro-Band liquid fertiliser placement system can also be fitted, allowing tilling, drilling and precise till feeding all in one pass, says the company.
Deutz-Fahr and McCormick tractors were demonstrated working with Amazone and Pottinger products on the Suffolk Agri-Centre plot. The Amazone franchise was taken on by the dealer in February this year and Power in Action provided the first working demonstration of its equipment by the dealer. A 6m Cayena tine drill was attracting a lot of interest, Suffolk Agri-Centre sales director David Eley saying he is very optimistic for a busy autumn; “There are lots of excellent new Amazone products becoming available as well as new Deutz-Fahr and McCormick tractors. Deutz-Fahr tractors with more power are expected to be launched soon, and these will appeal to many users in our area expanding the range we have to offer to larger users. We have a marvellous opportunity. The Cayena drill is proving popular and, with just 150hp recommended for the 6m model on show, it’s very easy to pull.”
Area sales manager for east Suffolk Trevor Muskett agreed; “The harvest has been much better than many farmers had feared after the difficult establishment. Drying charges have been minimal, there have been long harvesting days and it has been quite an easy harvest, after the late start. OSR already planted is growing well, and there is quite a positive mood in the industry.”
On the stand were McCormick X70.80 and MTX150 tractors, the MTX150 due to be updated shortly, as well as a Deutz-Fahr 7250 and an L730, again due to be replaced by a new model.
Pictured (l-r) David Eley, Lee Head who looks after sales in south Suffolk and Trevor Muskett.