Pop to a machinery show in Paris and you’d expect to see plenty French machinery makers strutting their stuff.
When we ventured to the 2015 Sima show we found they didn’t disappoint.
Matrot Falcon 6000 sprayer
This monstrous prototype sprayer from French maker Matrot has enough underbelly clearance to comfortably straddle a Land Rover Discovery.
With 185cm of ground clearance and a wheeltrack that can be pushed out as wide as 4.5m, the Falcon 6000 dwarfs most UK machines.
Its power comes from a six-cylinder 8.9-litre Cummins block, which drives a single hydrostatic motor supplying oil to the wheel motors. These are capable of propelling it at speeds of up 35kph in the field and, if the rozzers are on their lunch break, 70kph on the road. The whole thing sits on massive 54-inch wheels and to keep the driver’s teeth intact it has air-bag suspension units all round.
In the sprayer department it has a 6,000-litre stainless steel tank and various aluminium boom options ranging from 36m to 48m. All are mounted in front of the cab so the driver can see what’s going on.
The cab is borrowed from a New Holland combine and is accessed via a rear stepladder and gangway up the side of the machine.
Eastern Europe, Australia and USA will be the main markets, but Matrot is expecting to shift a few in France. As yet the UK hasn’t really got behind the concept of front-mounted booms.
When the production version of the Falcon 6000 comes out later this year it’s likely to cost around €380,000.
Kuhn pulled the covers off a new disc cultivator drill to replace the Speedliner model it stopped building a couple of years ago.
That had a few problems with the tyre packer in certain conditions so this is where Kuhn has done most of the redevelopment work. To prevent bulldozing and to help make it easier to pull, the new Espro drills run on larger-diameter 900cm packer wheels, which are also offset. In front of these there are two rows of scalloped discs to generate a tilth and their depth is adjusted hydraulically.
At the rear a set of disc coulters are in charge of seeding. These sit on a new polyurethane suspension system and use a double offset disc to place the seed in the ground. Seeding depth and coulter pressure is adjusted hydraulically.
To start with there will be the option of a 3m or 6m folding machine, but 4m and 8m machines will follow shortly. The 3m and 6m machines will be available in limited numbers this June. The 3m machine will cost around €50,000 and the 6m €80,000.
La Littorale Confort 80
This lengthy lemon-yellow cattle trailer from French trailer maker La Littorale can accommodate up to 14 beasts at a time.
Built at the maker’s factory in northern France, the Confort 80 is 8m long and has been designed with a curved body to make the animal’s ride more comfortable.
It has a couple of clever features including a divider/gate that slides up and down the trailer on rollers. All the farmer has to do is yank a cord to release it and let go to lock it back into place. There are also sliding hurdles that can be set up in a matter of seconds for faster loading.
To give some extra grip and help keep the animals clean, the trailer is fitted with a heavy-duty suspended mesh floor. There’s also a drain plug at the rear to clean out the under-floor cavity.
Hydraulic suspension on the drawbar also helps give a smoother ride. Scribble a cheque for €21,000 and it’s yours.
Perard Interbenne 46
Just when you thought trailer capacities had reached their limit, Perard launched what it reckons is the biggest chaser bin in Europe at the Paris show.
The supersized trailer is 12.5m long and weighs in at 12t empty but, surprisingly, needs only 250hp to lug it about fully loaded. As the name suggests, capacity is 46cu m, which equates to about 35t of wheat.
Unloading is via a fat new 700mm auger that replaces the 550mm set-up still used on smaller models. The added girth keeps unloading time within two minutes.
The big Interbenne comes on triple axles as standard, but if you’re really worried about sinking or compaction then you can have tracks with power-assisted hubs made by Sly Agri.
They can be ordered in either 760mm or 900mm widths but you’ll have to stump up a budget-busting £40,000 if you want them. That’s on top of the £80,000 bill for the chaser bin itself.
Eliatis Chaptrac 280
If you’re thinking of setting up shop on the side of Mount Snowdon then a tractor that can deal with some pretty awkward terrain might be top of your shopping list.
The answer, for French farmers at least, is odd-looking tractors such as Eliatis’ prototype Chaptrac, which can cope with slopes of up to 37deg by keeping the bulk of the weight between the four wheels to improve balance.
Squished under the cab is a six-cylinder Fiat engine that sends 280hp through the hydrostatic transmission.
Four-wheel steer is a must-have for weaving between trees and, with linkages both front and rear, it can carry a mulcher and dozer blade at the same time. Maximum lift is around the 2m-mark, so it should hoist things a little higher than the average tractor.
Specialist kit doesn’t come cheap though – the equal-wheeled Chaptrac will set you back a cool €200,000 (£150,000).
Replacing a human workforce with robots for monotonous jobs such as weeding is a subject that gets lots brainy people jumping up and down with excitement. But so far there have been very few real-life examples of the technology working.
However, French cultivations kit builder Carre reckons it will have its Anatis robot on farms by next year. For now it’s a fairly small machine, but the company expects the same clever technology to be rolled out on a bigger scale in the future.
The farmer just needs to enter the distance and number of crop rows, before the robot pootles along doing its various weeding duties while gathering heaps of data.
Sensors dotted round the machine measure things like soil moisture, temperature and weed distribution, which it then crunches and makes into simple-to-follow maps.
The Anatis is only able to work in crops sown in beds, though its track width can be adjusted from 1.45-2.05m. It uses three regular 12V batteries to power 600W motors on each of the four wheels and is priced at €42,300 (£31,000)
Tall harvest stubbles can be a nightmare to cultivate without balling-up heaps of trash, but Brittany-based manufacturer Desvoys has come up with a nifty solution for chewy maize and OSR stubbles.
The firm’s Multitrack is basically a carrier frame with a 10t-capacity three-point linkage and pto at the front and a second 8t linkage hanging from the back of the heavy-duty spine.
The first is set to carry a flail mower between 3m and 6m wide, which chops up anything fibrous that might cause the following tillage implement a problem.
On the back you can mount anything you like, though the company suggests a set of discs or subsoiler would be best suited to it.
The frame weighs in at 2,900kg alone, so it’s a pretty serious set-up even before you add the two implements.
The sticker price is €20,000 (£14,500) for the carrier frame, plus another €8,000 (£6,000) for a 3m mower.
Desvoys kit is brought to the UK by Hampshire-based Wessex International.
It would take a seriously stiff bit of land to beat this burly subsoiler from French maker Kirpy.
Called the SG370TT, it has three 70mm-wide legs that bludgeon their way though anything from sandy loams to flinty farm tracks at depths of up to 1.2m.
To help it handle the abuse, it has a heavy-duty frame that weighs in at about 2.4t as well as a set of trusty old Caterpillar replaceable points.
The 2.5m three-leg version needs about 300hp on the front and has a list price of €16,000 (£11,500).
If that’s not enough, Kirpy will build a bigger five-leg version to order. But unless you’ve got 600hp on tap it’s not really worth asking.
Gyrax BMXXXL240 trailer
Gyrax has been building trailers for more than 38 years at its factory near Poitiers in central France.
But at Sima it was showing its first foray into the world of ejector-type trailers. The lengthily named BMXXXL240 has a capacity of about 22t and has a two-stage ejector mechanism for pushing the load out of the back.
Each section slides within the other and has rubber seals to stop the material getting between them. There’s also a long reel of hydraulic pipe at the front that unravels as the ejector slides back.
To help it haul itself along in soft conditions it also has the option of a hydraulically driven rear axle. On this model the other two axles are fixed, but steered versions are also available.
At the moment Gyrax doesn’t import to the UK, but prices for French farmers start at €58,000 for a base-spec machine.
Dangreville rear-discharge spreader
Write a cheque for just over €100,000 (£73,500) and you could be the proud owner of this 40t rear-discharge spreader from Dangreville.
This particular machine was custom-built for a French contractor and comes with a full Michelin central tyre inflation system as well as hydraulic suspension on all three axles.
The front and rear axles also have a positive steering system to help it tuck its way round tight bends.
On the back hangs the maker’s twin horizontal beater and disc spreader combination that can apply rates as low as 500kg/ha. A set of six weigh-cells that constantly measure the load during spreading are also on the options list.
Hydraulically driven axles are available and, according to Dangreville, give the equivalent of 50hp extra pulling power.
The TST40 is the biggest model in the range and there are a series of smaller twin-axle models available. Buyers can also spec a more basic twin vertical beater system.
Dangreville is based near Abberville in north-east France.