At­tach­ments

Har­ri­son Hunkin and An­drew Hobbs run through some of the key at­tach­ments farm­ers need to man­age the var­ied work­load on a farm

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Our Top Trac­tor At­tach­ments: We look back at some favourites

Trac­tor at­tach­ments are a farmer’s best friend. When you’ve got two that work to­gether well, there isn’t a task too hard – and some can be down­right fun to com­plete. Farms & Farm

Ma­chin­ery has com­piled a list of some of our favourites from re­cent re­views – a use­ful guide for you to find the next es­sen­tial at­tach­ment to help you lighten your work­load.

FRONT END LOADER

It may be the most valu­able trac­tor at­tach­ment you’ll ever buy. If you’re look­ing to get things done, then the front-end loader is prob­a­bly the way to go, al­low­ing you to scoop, move, han­dle and im­pale a range of ma­te­ri­als around your prop­erty.

One of our favourite front end load­ers over the years was the Quicke Versa X-36 by Quicke.

Quicke was one of the first com­pa­nies to delve into the front end loader mar­ket, and has since built a rep­u­ta­tion for build­ing qual­ity load­ers.

The Versa-X range is a com­pact and bud­get con­scious loader op­tion com­pared to its big brother, the Q-Se­ries, which is a big­ger, stronger unit de­signed for higher horse­power trac­tors.

How­ever, de­spite its bud­get price tag, re­viewer Tom Dick­son was left im­pressed with the way the loader’s hy­draulics were as­sem­bled, its SoftDrive sus­pen­sion and ad­justable im­ple­ment in­di­ca­tor.

De­signed for the 50-80hp (37-51kW) trac­tor range, the Versa X-36 front end loader of­fers fan­tas­tic vi­sion from the trac­tor, a 2100kg lift­ing force and a 3.4m lift height at the pivot point.

BACKHOE LOADER

When they’re put to work well, the backhoe loader is a se­ri­ous farm work­horse, help­ing with dig­ging, trench­ing and stump re­moval, in ad­di­tion to a scat­ter­ing of other odd-jobs.

A self-con­fessed ex­ca­va­tor tragic, our man Ron Horner isn’t a huge fan of back­hoes, but even he had some ad­mi­ra­tion for two older mod­els he en­coun­tered re­cently.

In May he tracked down a Case 360b built be­tween 40 and 50 years ago and which is still oper­at­ing to­day, pro­vid­ing some fan­tas­tic in­sights into a ma­chine he says was very pop­u­lar back in the day.

Based on an English-made three-cylin­der diesel Case/David Brown 885 trac­tor, the Case 360b has a CE/backhoe loader at­tached to con­vert it into a J. I. Case 360B backhoe.

The op­er­a­tion leaver that con­trols the boom, dip­per and bucket is lo­cated on the floor, while the sup­port legs are eas­ily ac­cessed on the op­er­a­tor panel to the right of the con­trols, and the hand throt­tle on left side of steer­ing wheel. This pro­vides con­stant throt­tle to the backhoe op­er­a­tion.

“The old Case has plenty of dip­per, boom and bucket arm slap in it, but af­ter all, it is a farm trac­tor and it con­tin­ues to serve its pur­pose quite well,” Horner says.

Back in De­cem­ber last year, Horner had sim­i­lar things to say about the New Hol­land LB90B, which runs the new four-cylin­der turbo-charged di­rect-ig­ni­tion, CNH Tier 3A me­chan­i­cal engine push­ing out 72kW (97hp) of power at 2,200rpm.

The hy­draulics are fed by two gear-type load-sens­ing pumps run­ning at 160L/min at 210 bar to en­sure no hy­draulic fade when oper­at­ing mul­ti­ple ac­tions. It has am­ple sup­ply up its sleeve with 118 litres in the sys­tem and an­other 40 litres in the tank.

Over­all, the ma­chine, which can dig to 5.75m, weighs in at about 8.35 tonnes and sits at just un­der 3m in height so you would not be get­ting it on a few tip­pers to haul around.

“In this con­fig­u­ra­tion and with the in­no­va­tive and cre­ative mod­i­fi­ca­tions and at­tach­ments on of­fer, here this trac­tor could find its call­ing in a mul­ti­tude of ap­pli­ca­tions and con­di­tions,” Horner says.

GRADER BLADES

Many farm­ers hang onto old grader blades for years and years – sav­ing them­selves time and money by do­ing their own earth­works or track main­te­nance.

But as the size of farms is in­creas­ing, so must the equip­ment, and larger grader blades are be­com­ing more ap­peal­ing to new buy­ers.

Man­u­fac­tured in Den­mark but de­signed for Aus­tralian prop­er­ties, Frans­gard GT 300 AUS DKH grader blades range from 2m to 3.5m, with head­stocks rated up to 200hp (149.1kW) on the larger mod­els.

When Farm Trader’s Mark Fouhy tested the blades on the back of a Mc­Cormick 125 D Max ear­lier this year he found them to be ver­sa­tile and eas­ily ma­noeu­vrable, with the hor­i­zon­tal pitch of the blade able to be con­trolled by a hy­draulic ram mounted be­tween the blade and the 400/60-15.5 tyres.

The blades are some of the heav­i­est on the mar­ket, made of twin box sec­tion steel and weigh­ing in at around 1,200kg – with 700mm blades al­low­ing a good vol­ume of ma­te­rial to be shifted on Frans­gard’s larger heavy-duty mod­els.

But a range of op­tions is avail­able, in­clud­ing a rub­ber blade op­tion which may ap­peal to dairy farm­ers with large feed pads, want­ing to clean them with­out us­ing mas­sive amounts of wa­ter.

Hav­ing holes pre-drilled for blade ex­ten­sions of 250mm to al­low use as a box type scraper for lev­el­ling out ground also adds to their ver­sa­til­ity.

FER­TILISER SPREAD­ERS

While fer­tiliser spread­ers are not a new piece of equip­ment, pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture tech­nolo­gies are al­most rein­vent­ing them, gen­er­at­ing more and more use­ful in­for­ma­tion through sen­sors and GPS sys­tems in­cluded in the most re­cent mod­els.

The Bredal F8 fer­tiliser spreader, kit­ted out with a Top­con

X30 GPS sys­tem and CropSpec sen­sors for real-time ni­tro­gen re­port­ing, show­cased what these tech­nolo­gies could do re­viewer Jaiden Drought found last year.

Weigh­ing 2,800kg and mea­sur­ing 6.6m-long, the F8 spreads fer­tiliser with high pre­ci­sion over large work­ing widths – with its op­tional H discs able to spread urea, po­tash and am­mo­nium sul­phate up to 36m – while trail­ing be­hind a trac­tor.

Each side of the spreader uses a sep­a­rate belt to de­liver the cor­rect amount of fer­tiliser us­ing an in­te­grated tilt sen­sor on which its 5,700-litre ca­pac­ity bin sits to dis­pense the pre-pro­grammed amount whether it is on a field bor­der, go­ing up a hill or sim­ply turn­ing a corner.

Au­to­matic flow cor­rec­tion built into the soft­ware mon­i­tor­ing the fer­tiliser chutes self-ad­justs to a pro­grammed out­put amount, which can be used in con­junc­tion with Top­con’s re­al­time ni­tro­gen sen­sor CropSpec that maps pro­jected ni­tro­gen needs based on a plant’s chloro­phyll con­tent.

These en­able a driver to set the ma­chine to a vari­able-rate spread as the ni­tro­gen lev­els are de­ter­mined in real time – so if an av­er­age needs to be 150kg spread per hectare, the poor­erper­form­ing parts will get 200kg/ha and the more fer­tile parts will get 100kg/ha.

Yield map­ping in the com­bines has shown this is a sim­ple way of in­creas­ing to­tal pad­dock yield – all from ex­actly the same amount of fer­tiliser as con­ven­tional spread­ing tech­niques.

RO­TARY HOE

Not ev­ery farmer needs a ro­tary hoe – but we be­lieve that farm­ers with any form of crop should have one on hand to tickle that soil.

Brent Lil­ley from Farm Trader in New Zealand tested out one of the best in the busi­ness, the Celli Tiger 280 DD from Far­m­gard.

Rated at 360hp (268kW) in the main gear­box, this rigid at­tach­ment is built to han­dle some se­ri­ous grunt.

Un­der­neath the ma­chine, the ro­tors use L-shaped blades that are bolted onto flanges on the cross shafts. With 90 blades across the 4m width, these can work down to a depth of around 300mm to give a fine bed of tilth, which is quite im­pres­sive.

You can also bet your money that the Celli Tiger will stay on the ground as it weighs in at about two tonnes.

A com­bi­na­tion of sim­plic­ity, price, mas­sive gear­boxes and a self-con­tained oil sys­tem make this ro­tary hoe one to look into.

TRAC­TOR GRAP­PLE

Now this is a freak­ing cool bit of ma­chin­ery that we got our hands on over in New Zealand. At first glance it looks like your trac­tor has grown a set of teeth… front and back.

But in fact, it’s the Rata Ver­sa­tile Grap­ple which was be­ing used by a farmer to fill in sink holes around his prop­erty.

Earthquakes in that re­gion had shifted large lime­stone boul­ders, so the farmer had his trac­tor fit­ted with a Trima loader and two Rata Ver­sa­tile Grap­ples on the front and rear to shift the rocks.

Specs wise, the front and rear grap­ples are al­most iden­ti­cal. One is 1.6m wide and the other is a touch wider at 1.8m. It of­fers more than 90 de­grees of crowd on rear grap­ple, while its three-point link­age to Euro hitch al­lows other at­tach­ments to be used on the rear.

The grap­ples are con­structed with 400-grade high-ten­sile steel. “Us­ing the Deutz-Fahr 5120 to carry rocks front and rear not only dou­bles the work rate but also makes the trac­tor more bal­anced and sta­ble on the hills, with weight on the front and rear rather than just the front,” Lil­ley says.

While an un­con­ven­tional at­tach­ment, the Rata Grap­ple is re­ally a Swiss army knife-type at­tach­ment.

FIELDMASTER MOWER

Pad­dock man­age­ment is a pretty com­mon prac­tice for farm­ers. If you don’t have a slasher or mower, then get one.

The rea­sons be­ing; you make your prop­erty look tidy as well as man­ag­ing weeds.

But, the sin­gle most im­por­tant rea­son to man­age your pad­docks is for fire preven­tion. Many coun­cils do re­quire prop­erty own­ers to main­tain a five-me­tre fire­break along fence lines, but a thor­ough slash of your pad­docks does re­duce that dry grass fire fuel.

This fea­tured mower by Fieldmaster is a big bug­ger though, built with heavy duty 5mm steel skins and re­in­forced un­der the deck for ex­tra strength, Lil­ley says.

Tested be­hind a 90hp (67kW) New Hol­land, the Fieldmaster Euro GMM 300 Multi-cut Gear­mower is sure to get the job done.

It uses a straight, flat 100mm by 10mm thick blade in the cen­tre, with two smaller 60mm by 100mm blades above and be­low which bolt onto the main blade, cre­at­ing a ‘Y’ shape, which Fieldmaster calls the triple-stack blades.

The re­sult is the ma­te­rial be­ing cut three times (finely chop­ping and mulching the grass).

Spec wise, the Fieldmaster should be hooked up to a trac­tor in the 70–130hp (52–97kW) range. Its di­men­sions are 3m wide by 1.6m long, while its power take-off (PTO) speed is be­tween 540 and 1,000rpm.

WOOD CHIPPER

We couldn’t help our­selves here. While a wood chipper is not nor­mally high on a live­stock or broad­acre crop­ping farmer’s list of must-haves, this un­con­ven­tional trac­tor at­tach­ment can be of great use for tree farms, or­chards and vine­yards – or any place where burn­ing waste tim­ber is frowned upon.

Con­vert­ing waste tim­ber and cut­tings into a prod­uct with value, wood­chips can be used as mulch or soft floor­ing – or sold to gen­er­ate a new in­come stream.

When Dick­son tri­alled Wal­len­stein’s BX102R feed chipper last year he was im­pressed with how it made light work of the 10inch di­am­e­ter (25cm) logs he fed it, while it was mounted on the back of a 110hp (82kW) Farm­trac trac­tor – you’ll need a trac­tor with a power out­put of be­tween 65hp and 150hp (48–112kW) to power it.

That trac­tor will also need at least one set of hy­draulic re­motes able to de­liver be­tween 15-31L/min of hy­draulic oil to drive the feed rollers and a 1000/540 rear PTO drive to turn the 92cm, 193kg chip­ping ro­tor.

Once it’s spin­ning, how­ever, the four-blade ro­tor acts as a fly­wheel and does most of the work in main­tain­ing mo­men­tum.

The ro­tor can eas­ily be ac­cessed for clean­ing and work­ing on the blades by un­do­ing a bolt and lift­ing the top half of the pro­tec­tive ro­tor hous­ing. There is also a safety lock­ing pin to pre­vent the ro­tor mov­ing while clean­ing and main­te­nance is be­ing car­ried out.

A hinged door un­der the ro­tor feeder al­lows any ac­cu­mu­la­tion of de­bris to be cleaned out as well – there is not much that can go wrong with it so long as you keep the grease up on the bear­ings and reg­u­larly sharpen the blades.

With clever de­sign fea­tures, the Rata Ver­sa­tile Grap­ple proves its strengths on the farm

1. Mea­sur­ing up to 3.5m, Frans­gardGT 300 AUS DKH grader blades are get­ting longer to meet de­mand2. Well over 40 years old, the Case 360b stillhas the goods3. The Bredal F8 fer­tiliser spreader uses pre­ci­sion tech­nol­ogy to spread fer­tiliser where needed and with a much higher de­gree of ac­cu­racy4. The Bredal R8’s door scale opens in 20mm in­cre­ments, help­ing to cor­rectly set the floor speed in de­tail

5. Far­m­gard’s Celli Tiger 280DD Ro­tary Hoeis one of the best in the busi­ness6. We loved Quicke’s Versa-X loader, cater­ing to the more bud­get con­scious crowd7. The Fieldmaster Euro GMM 300 Multi-cut Gear­mower uses three blades to finely chop and mulch the grass and weeds it mows8. The Wal­len­stein’s BX102R feed chipper isan easy-to-clean ad­di­tion to the farm

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