31 May 1996

Heavy rain means hard work for demonstrators

Wet, cold and definitely not silaging weather. Even so, exhibitors at Grassland 96 did their best to demonstrate all that was new in grassland machinery. Andy Collings and Andrew Faulkner report

JINXED is the word which must come to the minds of Kemira Grassland event organisers. The Stoneleigh-based show, held only every three years, once again suffered heavy rain to make wellingtons and coats the order of the day.

For the exhibitors it was a case of grin and bear it, with most striving to work machinery in conditions far beyond their design parameters. But for one firm at least, the weather had little or no effect.

Lined up as static displays on the Massey Ferguson stand was a new range of grassland machinery – self-propelled forager, balers and mowers. With all due to be evaluated in UK conditions this year, their immobility on this occasion was probably fortuitous. Even so, they represent an interesting development for Massey Ferguson. The self-propelled forage harvester is sourced from German maker Mengele through a marketing agreement. MF reports that with versions available offering 300hp to 500hp plus, no decision will be made on the models to be offered in the UK until evaluation is complete.

A range of round balers and mounted and trailed mowers also made their debut. Built in North America by Hesston and New Idea – which, like MF, have AGCO as their parent firm – they are set to be introduced for the 97 season.

Fixed and variable chamber balers are on offer, although as yet, neither is capable of handling silage. MF says development work this year will ensure that silage will be possible. Both baler types produce a 1.2m (4ft) wide bale with variable chamber diameters from 0.8m to 1.3m (2ft 6in to 4ft 3in) and fixed, 1.2m.

Four tractor-mounted mowers with cutting widths of 1.7m, 2m, 2.4m and 2.8m (5ft 6in, 6ft 8in, 7ft 10in and 9ft 2in) and a trailed mower conditioner range – 2.8m and 3.58m complete the current MF grassland machinery line-up.

All the mowers employ individually driven oval discs fitted with reversible knives and have a modular build – working widths are increased by adding extra discs.

Red on the outside, blue on the inside. This Mengele-sourced forage harvester provides Massey Ferguson with its first self-propelled forage harvester – ever.