Belt-type beet lifter with tipping hopper speeds up harvest
By Mike Williams
LATEST addition to the Armer range of belt-type beet harvesters is the three-row ST3 model.
Equipped with a 7t capacity tipping hopper, the harvester is designed to produce a claimed 4.8ha a day (12 acres) work rate.
Ireland-based Armer specialises in the belt lifting system which uses fast moving rubber belts to grip the tops of the beet plants and pull the roots out of the soil.
Lifting units on the new ST3 harvester, the same as those on other models in the Armer range, carry the roots to the topping discs and into three hydraulically driven cleaning turbines. A cleated elevator takes the beet into the holding hopper.
On the ST3 that Armer is demonstrating this autumn, the hopper is tipped for emptying but a moving floor system to allow emptying on the move will be an option on production models available for next years harvest.
Special design features of the new harvester include four hydraulically adjustable wheels to carry the weight of the machine – which can total up to 14t with a full hopper.
The left-hand wheels, always on freshly harvested soil have extra wide 700 x 22.5LP forestry-type low ground pressure tyres. Right-hand wheels, which can be adjusted to run between the rows while opening up, have narrow 12.4 x 24 x 12P traction tread tyres.
Hydraulic activation allows the wheels to be set at a minimum track width for transport. In a work position the wheels on each side can be re-set to run in the same track or, if required, to follow separate tracks and spread the weight over a larger surface area.
Most of the more frequently used control functions on the ST3 are operated by a joystick lever – the cab also containing a display panel to reveal the speed of the lifting belts and the carousels.
Main advantage of belt lifting, according to Armer, is that fewer stones are harvested with the roots. The company expects the ST3 to attract customers in areas such as the West Midlands and parts of Yorkshire and Norfolk where stones tend to be a problem.
Growers who use beet tops as stock feed also find favour with a belt lifting machine due to there being less damage to tops. Tops from the ST3 pass over a rear elevator and fall behind the wheels to minimise contamination.
Armer says a 125hp tractor will handle the ST3 but the recommended power requirement is 140hp. Price of a 1998 production machine is likely to be about £50,000. *
Above: Armers three-row beet harvester, the ST3, gets a work out. Next years production models will be available with an optional on-the-move emptying system. Right: In-cab controls for the harvester are combined into one unit.