17 August 2001

MAKER PRESSES AHEAD

For a company which had

majored successfully in

sprayer production to move

into the cultivator business

could be seen as a bold

move in todays economic

climate. But Knight Farm

Machinery did just that

AFTER 12 years specialising exclusively in the manufacture of crop sprayers and developing a well-regarded brand name in the process, 1996 saw Knight Farm Machinery turning its attention to cultivation equipment. It was a move aimed at countering the downturn in farming incomes which started to bite at that time.

The new machine, conceived in collaboration with the Taylor Gent partnership, was a press roll with a number of features designed to address the disadvantages of this type of equipment, including a tendency to sink when working on soft ground, frequent blockages and all too regular ring breakages.

The solution was to produce a radically new design. Instead of the rings rotating independently of the shaft, all the spokes were welded to it so they rotated together. This eliminated ring slippage and, as a result, reduced blockages.

The rings themselves, as well as having a "shoulder" so they rode more consistently in different soil conditions, were segmented and bolted to the spokes. While the use of cast steel in place of the more commonly used cast iron was expected to reduce breakages, this arrangement made ring replacement a far quicker and simpler job.

A further innovative feature was a weight adjustment system which allowed up to three one-tonne weights to be added to the machine, so it could be used as a light roll, a general purpose press or a heavyweight landpacker. Hence the implement becoming designated the Triple Press.

Welded spokes

While the weight adjustment arrangement has developed into an optional feature, the special Revolver ring design and spokes welded to the central shaft have been retained across the range as it was developed initially.

The Triple Press was launched as a secondary cultivator capable of producing a finished seed-bed with a single pass in a variety of soil conditions. The first models incorporated a single beam for carrying one or two rows of tools in front of the press rolls, and it was in this form that the machine was awarded a Gold Medal at the 1999 Royal Show.

Since the original Triple Press was introduced, the addition of more tool beams has produced primary cultivators which can be used directly on stubble or set-aside. The Triple-Press Plus can carry four rows of tools, while the Triple-Top has a single beam and two twin beams. Beams can be adjusted to vary the depth and angle of the tools.

Total sales of Triple Press machines to date, reports Knight, are now approaching 100, with the Triple Press Plus model proving the most popular.

In conjunction with these developments, the company has also experimented with a wide variety of soil-working implements. One of the most recent introductions is the Speed-Loc tool range which has a knock-on knock-off change system, avoiding the usual time-consuming nuts-and-bolts arrangement.

At the end of last year, Knight took a further step into the cultivation implement market by taking on the Parmiter range of disc harrows. These comprise the rigid heavy duty Utah offset models and the lateral folding tandem LFD series. While the former are being sold unchanged, the latter – now renamed Excalibur – has been redesigned to carry a press roll to increase its soil working performance.

Knight is continuing to expand its range of cultivation equipment and later this year will be introducing a new subsoiler. &#42