Award for com­bi­na­tion baler-feeder

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Ja­son Webb

Wes­sex In­ter­na­tional’s BFR180 mod­u­lar feed­ing and bed­ding ma­chine took the award at the LAMMA show for best new prod­uct or in­no­va­tion in live­stock pro­duc­tion equip­ment.

The Bri­tish prod­uct is built in the Wes­sex In­ter­na­tional fac­tory in Hamp­shire, UK and is ef­fec­tively two machines in one.

It is de­signed to save as much as 20% on feed bills when feed­ing round bales, and to spread with­out chop­ping and with min­i­mal dust.

As a bale feeder, the BFR180 can feed round bales of hay, hay­lage, straw and silage from ei­ther side, and only re­quires one trac­tor or tele­han­dler to op­er­ate it. Ma­chine main­te­nance is low, with only four grease points, and no electrics. The un­roller is equipped with 5.5-tonne rated chains. F it th e C ro s s f i re s t r a w spreader at­tach­ment, and bed­ding and feed­ing can be un­der­taken with the same ma­chine. This al­lows the op­er­a­tor to bed from one side, and feed off the other. Seam­lessly in­te­grated onto the BFR-180 round bale feeder, the Cross­fire straw bed­der is suit­able for a trac­tor’s 3-point link­age, or for tele­han­dlers. W h a t ’ s mo r e , u n l i k e con­ven­tional straw chop­pers, it spreads the straw in its baled length, with min­i­mal dust and pro­jec­tiles, and up to ten me­tres away, for bet­ter live­stock health, and a longer life­span of each bed­ding.

I t h a s b e e n a b u s y f ew months since the PCN 210 was of­fi­cially launched at BP2017, the Bri­tish Potato In­dus­try Event in Novem­ber 2017. The ma­chine was seen next at LAMMA 2018, where it won the farm equip­ment and ma­chin­ery in­no­va­tion award. Ex­hib­ited by Keith Mount Lim­ing, it is a pre­ci­sion soil sam­pling de­vice aimed at the potato grow­ers’ mar­ket. The Phield­tek PCN 210 col­lects over 400% more cores than the stan­dard method of GPS sam­pling.

The na­ture of the de­sign al­lows the op­er­a­tor to col­lect about 210 cores per hectare. For ex­am­ple, if sam­pling on 2ha grids, the stan­dard method still col­lects around 50 cores. This is where the PCN 210 ramps up the in­ten­sity, col­lect­ing abiyt 420 cores per 2ha grid.

The other ad­van­tage of the PCN 210 is that it op­er­ates a guar­an­teed sam­ple col­lec­tion. Due to the au­to­mated na­ture of sam­ple col­lec­tion, cores are ex­tracted at around 3- me­tre in­ter­vals. Stan­dard sam­pling tech­niques col­lect cores ev­ery 12m-13m, with the dis­tance dic­tated by the op­er­a­tor, so fa­tigue could mean a col­lec­tion point is missed. The PCN 210 also col­lects a greater vol­ume of soil, at around five litres. A com­pos­ite sam­ple is then taken from this vol­ume, mean­ing ev­ery PCN sam­ple is far more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the grid area, en­sur­ing ac­cu­rate re­sults. Cyst count, egg count and spe­ci­a­tion can all be re­ported on. There is also the pos­si­bil­ity to an­a­lyse sam­ples for TRV (to­bacco rat­tle virus). Sam­ples can be sent to a lab of the user’s choice, and if re­quested, sam­pled for P, K, Mg and pH at the same time, giv­ing grow­ers max­i­mum data from the sam­pling. Halse South West won the LAMMA me­chan­i­cal crop equip­ment cat­e­gory best new prod­uct with a Span­ish ma­chine de­signed for vine­yards, top fruit and hop farms Ovlac’s Rep­till is a multipurpose short- disc har­row, de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with a large French win­ery, whose own­ers were look­ing to cut oper­a­tional costs by re­duc­ing the num­ber of passes.

It has a large space be­tween two g angs of discs, which al­low place­ment of a row of de-com­pact­ing tines that are ad­justable in height.

The Rep­till there­fore al­lows for sev­eral tasks in just one pass, cut­ting roots and mulch as well as erad­i­cat­ing the pan and im­prov­ing drainage. A front gang of discs op­er­ate all in one di­rec­tion, turn­ing the soil out­wards, and the se­cond gang turn the soil from t h e o u t s i d e s t o wa r d s t h e cen­tre. The first­gang cuts the trash, al­low­ing the rip­per to work in con­di­tions where a t r a d i t i o n a l d e - c omp a c t o r can­not go, due to con­tin­u­ous block­ages.

The work­ing depth of the rip­per can be con­trolled from the trac­tor cab, rang­ing from out of work ( 18cm above the disc) to 35cm deep (14 inches) in the ground. A depth indic a t or is mo u n t e d o n t h e ma­chine.

The curved Michel tines are de­signed for low dis­tur­bance at the soil sur­face.

The notched 20- inch discs with sealed con­i­cal bear­ings are mounted on the frame, with auto re­set pro­tec­tion by means of rub­ber blocks. A cen­tre tine en­sures all ground is worked.

Side plates ad­justable in height and an­gle pre­vent dam­age to plants, and var­i­ous rear rollers can be cho­sen from for de­sired fin­ish and soil con­di­tions.

A hy­draulic head­land frame lift is avail­able as an op­tion where nar­row head­lands can be a prob­lem, lift­ing the rear of the ma­chine ver­ti­cally to­wards the trac­tor. Ovlac Rep­till 12- 4 has a power re­quire­ment of 90- 110 h o r s e p o w e r ; i t s o ve r a l l weight is 1.22 tons.

The Phield­tek PCN 210 soil sam­pler can col­lect 210 soil sam­ple cores per hectare. Be­low, the Wes­sex In­ter­na­tional’s BFR-180 mod­u­lar feed­ing and bed­ding ma­chine.

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