16 April 1999

Training course gets cheaper – & more of them

By Andy Collings

CHEAPER courses and more of them. Lantra, the National Training Organisers for the land-based sector has made changes many may well consider to be attractive.

The increasing number of people attending courses, it says, has meant a reduction in unit costs for administration which, in turn, is reflected in the overall cost of the courses. Savings of up to £20 can be expected for the 20,000 or so people who now attend courses each year.

More good news is to be found within the courses themselves. For the first time Lantra is offering some of its more popular courses as combined training and assessment – it is all finished in one hit rather than having to return on another day for an assessment.

"We decided on this arrangement in response to those who felt that too much of their time was being spent on these courses," says Lantras Mark Glover. "We have to recognise that in todays economics, people cannot be spared from their work for too long."

One other change for this year is for successful candidates receiving a new skills identity card which displays the qualifications achieved.

Puncture sealer offer

TYRES puncture and they have the habit of deflating at most inopportune moments – the combine at harvest time, the pick-up on the way for urgent spares, the fully loaded trailer.

Various attempts have been made to introduce sealing agents into tyres to bung up unasked for holes – some have been more successful than others.

Latest version comes from Co Armagh-based Superseal International which is now marketing a product which is claimed to seal holes of up to 9mm in road tyres and 15mm in off-road tyres.

Superseal, says the company, contains rubber particles, water and other naturally occurring substances and is non toxic, bio-degradable, non-flammable and provides a permanent puncture repair.

Injected into the tube, the product is said not to dry out, rust wheels or damage the steel belts inside tyres.

Other features include an operating temperature from -40C to +90C.

Price of Superseal is £??/litre with the average rear tractor tyre requiring ?? litres.

T-reg gives tractor sales a big fillip

A GOOD cup of T is always welcome – and the introduction of the T registration in March has certainly had a beneficial effect on tractor registrations.

According to figures released by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) sales of tractor in March were 39% higher than during the same period last year. This follows a miserable start to the year when January and February figures struggled to make the 400 zone and hung some 35%+ below last years results.

In terms of actual numbers, March saw 1264 registrations bringing the year to date total to 2054 which is within a shout of last years performance.

While the new T plate has undoubtedly had an influence on the March result, the AEA maintains there are positive signs that a good level of orders were received by dealers during the month – machines which have yet to be delivered and, as a result, registrations which should appear in the statistics over coming months.

Misalignment can be costly on tyres

HAVING to make continuous steering corrections when driving the tractor on the road?

It could be a tell-tale sign the steering is out of alignment, warns Michelin, causing one or both tyres to scrub against the road surface as they fight to run true.

The company points out it takes only a few millimetres of misalignment to accelerate wear of tractor front tyres, a fault that can cost tractor owners dear in terms of lost performance and earlier than necessary replacement of tyres.

"Our usual recommendation is to set the wheels as near parallel as possible – anything more than 3mm deviation from this will result in rapid wear," explains Michelins agricultural specialist, Peter Debenham.

A more obvious indication of wheel mislalignment is uneven tyre wear. Toe-in causes the outer tread bars to wear; toe-out will show up as more rapid inner tyre wear.

"In severe cases, one side of the tyres tread can be virtually as new, when the other side is badly worn.

"A tyre in that condition cannot deliver the same amount of grip and will have to be replaced sooner than would otherwise be the case," points out Mr Debenham, who adds that aligning wheels correctly is a job for the specialist.

"It is not enough to use a tape measure because, when even the slightest incorrect adjustment can have a big impact on tyre wear, you need consistent accurate measurements," he insists.

Renault Ares tractors can now be fitted with front linkages offering lift capacities from 2500kg up to 5300kg. Manufactured by Tract Equipment and Lemoine-Brillu the linkages can be either factory or dealer fitted. Features include ll/lll folding automatic linkages with fixed or floating work positions, double acting rams and, if specified, clockwise or anti-clockwise pto. Factory fitted prices range from £970 for a 2500kg version on a 130hp Ares 640.