Managing your soil


Heavy arable kit specialist Philip Watkins is turning his hand to lighter implements and the grassland sector with his latest subsoiler. It’s designed to promote drainage and aeration of grass swards without creating a mess at the surface.

The implement’s slim tines are arranged in a vee-formation with hydraulic auto-reset to guard against impact damage while allowing work to quickly resume once the obstruction has passed.

A leading disc prevents tine ripping and the 45cm diameter steel packer has shark’s fin teeth to help settle any surface heave without ripping at the grass.


A pasture aerator is the first product from Alstrong, a new manufacturer in Ireland. It has blades arranged around a large drum to penetrate the surface and open it with a slight leverage action.

The Alstrong machine has wide flotation tyres to lift the drum out of work and weighs 2.7t dry or up to 4.7t when filled with water ballast for penetration into hard soils.


Opico planned to show its Sward Slitter pasture aerator with slurry applicator for the first time. The 6m folding machine with its 144 steel blades is designed for grass rejuvenation and the slit injector is a new option.

It uses a Vogelsang Exacut macerator with stone trap to chop any fibrous material before distributing the slurry via flexible pipes to 36 rubber shoe outlets positioned behind the tine rotor. It would most likely be used on the back of a tractor fed by an umbilical hose.

Forage chopping

DEERE 7080 forager

An example of John Deere’s latest self-propelled forage harvester was due to make its debut at Scotgrass.

The 80 Series line-up has an extra model with 440hp and the next model up has gained 10hp to peak at 490hp. But all others continue with the same ratings from 380hp to 625hp in ‘standard body’ machines and 625hp or 812hp for the two ‘wide body’ versions with bigger chopping cylinders.

Engine speed management helps optimise performance while saving fuel – by as much as 18% using the Headland and Harvest fuel saver modes.

A five-speed length of cut gearbox is standard on the two least powerful foragers but can be replaced with an infinitely variable set-up installed on the others. Chop length that adjusts automatically with changes in dry matter content is part of an optional package of precision farming technology.


An all-new chopper body with more powerful blowing performance, a new grass pick-up and automatic spout control are among features of the latest New Holland FR self-propelled forager, which was due to make its working debut at Scotgrass.

At the bottom end of the range, the FR450 and FR500 get 6% and 4% increases in power to 450hp and 520hp for added performance, while also benefiting – like all models – from the fuel-saving attributes of the latest engines with SCR emissions after-treatment. The FR 850 flagship has 824hp, as before.

The new chopper body is said to deliver greater chop uniformity and throughput, while a revamped blower propels 40% more air volume up the discharge chute, and more smoothly with less turbulence.

Improved sealing around the feed rollers is designed to reduce daily cleaning and the high-capacity 300FP pick-up is available in 3m and 3.8m widths with five rather than four tine bars for a clean sweep at fast working speeds.


A new grass pick-up is among refinements for the Pöttinger MEX 6 tractor-powered forage harvester. The 1.9m attachment brings the grass in with double-coil spring tines, increased diameter bearing supports and a new roller crop press fitted to the wind guard.

Lifting eyes make it easier to remove and refit the pick-up for servicing or to install a row-less maize cutter, and a detachable right-hand support wheel makes life easier on the road.

In the field, hydraulic drawbar power switches between road to field configuration and an extended chute that hydraulically unfolds from its drawbar transport latch reaches 4.26m to side load large silage trailers.



With a capacity of 45cu m, the Kverneland 10045 R silage wagon can be handled by a 110hp tractor and is similar to the existing 55cu m 10055 R.

They share a 2.1m pick-up with no cam track for low maintenance operation; an 800mm diameter V-Max intake rotor; a 35-knife chopping system; and tandem axles with active rear wheel steering.

The bodywork, constructed using C-profiled steel sections, houses a chain-and-slat conveyor with split driveline and central gearbox.

Grass baling and wrapping


A bale wrapping system that does away with netwrap is designed to make combined baling and wrapping operations, as well as recycling of agricultural plastics, easier to manage. The Film&Film system from BPI’s Minster Films wraps Baletite plastic instead of net around the circumference of the bale before all-over stretch wrap is applied in the usual way.

Baletite applied on the baler is wide enough to extend over the shoulders of a silage bale so fewer layers of stretch film can be used during the wrapping process. Minster Films says up to a third more bales can be wrapped per roll of stretch film.

Using the bales is said to be easier because the layers of plastic come off easily and don’t have to be separated for recycling.



This alternative bale covering system is available on new wrapping models in the New Holland Roll Baler range – the 125 Combi and 135 Ultra. There are 1.25m and 1.35m diameter balers, with Ultra denoting a heavy-duty build and added features. The machines have 2.1m and 2.2m pick-ups with five tine bars for a clean sweep, followed by a 470mm diameter intake rotor with robust 10mm thick tines.


The third generation Fusion baler-wrapper from McHale features a number of upgrades, but retains the firm’s novel bale transfer mechanism that splits the bale chamber horizontally.

As the top section opens upwards, the lower section tips rearwards to eject the bale into the vertical wrapping ring, which can apply four layers of film in approximately 20 seconds or six layers in 30 seconds.

The upgrades lift performance and make the machine easier to use. There are new body panels giving easier service access, a new access platform for the netting unit and a heavier duty pto shaft transferring drive from the tractor to the power distribution gearbox.

The 2m galvanised pick-up now has five tine bars and an optional small diameter crop roller to help even out irregular swaths, and a variable chop cutting system option provides a choice of 11, 12 or 23 knives to suit different crops. Operators now get guidance on chopping performance from the new knife pressure reading and alarms on the control box display, which also warn of a dislodged knife.

Grass mowing

JF-Stoll SMF 3005 mower

The front-mounted SMF 3005 mower has inward-rotating discs – the best way to get the mown grass flowing between the tractor wheels, says JF-Stoll.

Drive enters the first disc and is then transmitted via a series of large gears. The assembly is designed to resist substantial loads to give increased reliability and greater productivity in heavy crops.

One-piece skids and stone-guards add to the anti-damage protection while protecting the sward. Operators can inspect each disc’s internals by loosening six bolts to remove an access plate.

For the neatest finish, double swathing rollers can be fitted; they are adjustable to produce a swath down to 1.2m wide from the overall working width of 2.96m.



A wide-working mounted mower from Pöttinger can be used with a front-mounted unit to fell grass at a fast rate. The Novacat 352 cuts 3.46m of grass and is available as a plain mower or in ED form with rubber block-mounted steel tine conditioning tines for faster wilting.

A novel feature is the hydraulic lower linkage mounting arm, which can be adjusted separately from the tractor hitch for the correct configuration and to provide a minimum 50cm of clearance for clean headland turns over existing swaths.

The double-acting cylinder that folds the deck rearwards for low height transportation also provides impact protection in work; hydraulics are also used to provide float, while the central pivoting suspension helps the machine follow surface contours. There are two mounting positions to suit different tractor and front mower sizes.


The Working width of the latest Kverneland Taarup 2836 M mounted mower – 3.6m – gives the machine high outputs, even more so when paired with a 3.2m front mower from the same stable.

It weighs in at 880kg, which means it can be run on a tractor of relatively modest size from 65hp. Centre pivot mounting for balanced reactions to an undulating surface allow fast working speeds to achieve maximum output.


An extended range of plain disc mowers from Vicon offers wider working widths up to 4m from a single machine and 9m from a new triple combination.

The Extra 300 series comprises four individual machines with cutting widths from 2.8m to 4.0m, all sharing the same headstock and suspension system as Vicon’s established Extra 624 and 628 mower-conditioners. To maintain compact transport dimensions, all have 125-deg vertical folding for transport, which also keeps weight as close to the tractor as possible.

The flagship Extra 390 is formed by mounting a pair of 3.2m Extra 332 mowers on a folding frame and working them in combination with a 3.2m Extra 332F to create a 9m machine needing just 150hp.

Grass tedding


Ease of transport and high field outputs are combined in the Fella TH11008 Trans tedder from Reco.

This second model in the firm’s transport range has eight rotors covering the 10.2m working width, each with six arms formed from flexible flat spring steel that allows them to flex against surface irregularities.

Like the larger TH 13010 Trans, the newcomer has a ‘fast’ chassis rated for 50kph on the road and an overall length of just 5.7m thanks to the double-fold mechanism that also minimises drawbar load on smaller tractors.

A ‘headland’ function keeps the rotors horizontal position as they lift clear of the crop, with the transport wheels helping the machine adapt to ground contours in work.


With a working width of 10.70m, the Claas Volto 1100 is unusually large for a mounted tedder – but its main feature is the swept back Max Spread tine arm design said to result in gentler handling and an improved spread pattern.

The tines keep contact with the crop for up to a third longer, says Claas, resulting in a wider spreading action from each rotor, and with smoother flow of material between adjacent rotors. An increase in the pick-up rate allows the machine to work faster.

A hydro-pneumatic power drawbar and automatic centre alignment after a turn to prevent the tines grounding on an incline also feature, and a headland lift can be added for easier manoeuvring.

Cow bedding



A range of implements from US manufacturers Mensch and Superior Attachments are being imported to help manage sand and other bedding materials in cow cubicles.

Importer Kitt Agri a sister company to Kitt Kraiburg, a supplier of livestock flooring solutions brings in the Side Shooter, which dispenses buckets with a positive hydraulic drive conveyor, and the Sandman rake, designed to aerate, slope and groom sand cubicles in one step.

The Extractor side-mounted auger removes soiled and bacteria-laden sand from the stall; the Mat Mate offset rotary brush cleans rubber mattresses before spraying a thin coat of detergent; and the Mensch tractor loader-mounted slurry scrapers have hydraulically adjustable working width.

Kitt Agri says these time- and labour-saving devices help producers manage cubicle bedding more diligently to maintain comfort levels for optimum milk yield and help minimise lameness and other animal health issues, while achieving high standards of cubicle hygiene.

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