28 May 1999

Howard name revived as new Thrige banner

THINK rotavotor, think rotaspreader – think Howard: The memory lingers on. But success is not built on memories alone, nor is success sustained without the development of new products.

Howard succumbed to insolvency in 1985 and was purchased by Denmarks Thrige Agro Group which builds the Nordsten range of drills. A further purchase last year of German cultivator manufacturer Brockmoller encouraged the company to bring its products under a central banner.

Hence the now concerted effort to re-establish the Howard name – a name which Thrige Agro believes still carries considerable weight and respect throughout Europe. Nordsten is retained only as a brand name.

Along with this announcement comes the launch of a range of cultivators and cultivator/drills, all of which are decked out in Howard livery.

In terms of production, power harrows, rotavators and discs are built at Michestad, Germany, while seed drills and front end loaders are put together at Skive, Denmark.

The new launches include the Multi-Seeder 4000 series which, available in 4m, 4.5m and 6m working widths, comprises a pneumatic seeding unit mounted on a cultivator designated the Multi-Pack.

Like many of the cultivator units, the Multi-Pack is the result of the Brockmoller purchase. Designed to work directly on ploughing, two levelling boards – one "W" shaped and the other straight – are followed by three rows of spring tines and two-wheeled packer units.

A seeder unit is coupled to the back of the cultivator with seed pneumatically conveyed from the drills four metering units to four distribution heads and then onwards to the coulters. Howard claims that the drills tramlining system, with its reduced seed flow and automatic recirculation, ensures that the correct seed rate is always maintained.

Other cultivator drill equipment includes the tractor mounted Combi-seeder which, to help with weight distribution, has its 1100 litre capacity hopper sited close to the tractor. Available as a pneumatic or as a conventional box drill, the cultivation unit can be used as a separate unit if required – void of any seeding units.

Drills aside, perhaps one of the more impressive developments is a new set of tandem disc harrows. The TerraX disc harrow appears to have more than its share of metal – two main beams common to all versions are engineered to handle working widths of up to 12m. To add extra weight these beams can be filled with water.

Angling of the discs is hydraulically activated from the tractor seat and the ends of each gang of discs is able to pivot upwards slightly to enable large stones to be passed over. Fixed to the outer ends of the discs are sets of vertical spring tines which help stop soil being thrown out from the sides of the implement – a common problem when discs are operated at speed.

Full-width crumbler roller

At the rear of the discs is a full- width crumbler roller on which the weight of the discs are carried when in work – this unit also controls working depth. For transport, the discs fold vertically for a 3m width and carried on two hydraulically lowered wheels.

Overall, one is drawn to the conclusion that the new machinery line-up with its Howard branding should achieve some success. For Howard it is a second coming – a new beginning. &#42