Cereals 2008 provided a great chance to see new machinery and equipment for the first time. Here’s a round-up of some of the most interesting examples.
Best known for its Zero-Till drills, John Dale has developed a smaller mounted unit to work in all conditions from ploughing to direct-drilling. The All-Till is a 4m unit with a telescopic toolbar that brings it back down to 3m for transport. Each coulter assembly carries five tine coulters and can swing from left to right to accommodate uneven contours. Rubber press-wheels run alongside each outlet to pull trash away should any begin to build up. With a 1.2t hopper and Accord metering system, the All-Till costs £21,000, but needs just 100hp up front.
Back by popular demand, Dowdeswell has resurrected its front-mounted swing-over presses. Rather than bolting the frame to the tractor’s chassis and engine block, the new version can be carried on a standard front linkage. A 1.2t version costs about £11,000.
Dealing with the debris left behind big combines can be a bit of a headache, particularly as all the chaff and lost grains are concentrated in one narrow band, regardless of header width. Terrington now imports the Bugnot range of Rapid-Mulch straw harrows designed to spread straw and chaff evenly across the field. Not only does this approach help promote rapid straw breakdown, but it also encourages an early weed seed chit and exposes slug eggs to the elements. On lighter ground a couple of passes with its four rows of 16mm tines can sometimes produce a good enough tilth for drilling, says the company. Working widths range from 6-9m and a 7.2m version weighs in at £9411.
Opico reports keen interest in simple, straightforward seed drills and to that end introduced a box-hopper cultivator drill at Cereals. The Kulti-Seeder has a leading levelling-board followed by three rows of disc-coulters mounted on spring tines. A covering harrow follows this to throw some tilth into the disc slots and a rubber roller firms everything up. Because of its full-width hopper the Kulti-Seeder can be adapted to work almost like a precision drill for small-seed crops. The precision-seeding kit includes a reverse-drive gear for the metering roller and metering wheels that will pick up individual seeds before dropping them down the coulter-tubes. Prices start at £19,843.
Reco’s new Sulky trailed spreaders can apply a range of materials from prilled fertiliser to powdered lime. The DPA PolyVrac range runs from 6.7t right up to 20.5t, the largest units fitted with tandem axles. The hopper’s walking-floor is land-wheel driven and hydraulically engaged, which means operators can knock it in and out at the headlands without having to close the hopper doors. The hydraulically-driven discs can fling material out to over 36m.
Having cottoned on to the fact that there is a big park of cheap second-hand Simba FreeFlow drills, John Dale has set about tackling their main criticism – power-hungriness. The original tine coulters were 42mm (1.75in), but the firm replaces them with 12mm wide versions to reduce power requirement for a 6m unit down from 250hp to just 140hp.
Equipped with Soucy Q-Tracks, this Case IH Magnum 310 is keen to steal a move on its big brother, the Quadtrac. Supplied by Cambridgeshire Case dealer Collings Bros, the tracks can be fitted to any make or model of tractor from 20hp to 300hp+. It takes about a day to swap between wheels and tracks and the Magnum’s set cost £40,375.