7 June 2002


The opportunities for contractors continues to expand, it seems. In this issue of Contractor Update we take a look at such diverse operations as biomass harvesting and straw baling for power stations.

On the biomass front we explore the prospects for contractors in the production of woodchips from short rotation coppice. With the governments commitment to produce 10% of the UKs electricity supplies from renewable energy by 2010, this could be a big growth area in the future – particularly in the machinery division where there is still a significant amount of development work to complete.

For straw production the almost insatiable demand from power stations is creating many new openings for contractors. And, as new straw burning plants come on stream the demand will inevitably increase.

Also included in this issue is a report on the interesting approach taken by one contractor to produce high quality fodder for the lucrative, if demanding, horse food market. Modifications to his baler and a precise, almost clinical approach to the production of HorseHage has, he says, helped him to produce a quality product and supply an important market.

At a time when silage is uppermost in most contractors eyes, we take a look at the high capacity mower market – triple mower combinations, large trailed mowers and the self-propelled mowers. The latter is still a rarity on the UK mainland but we managed to track down a Yorkshire contractor who says he has replaced four men, four tractors and six mowers for the one self-propelled machine.

With a report on a user of one of the UKs most powerful forage harvesters – until Krones 780hp Big X becomes available, that is – and an in depth look at whole-crop harvesting, we conclude this issue with a study of the costs involved in operating machinery.

It all adds up to an essential read for all those involved in the contracting industry.

High power forage harvesters are the way forward 4

Are woodchips the fuel for the future? 6

Whole crop harvesting is big business 8

Big square baling – know your operating costs 10

Quality forage for the horse feed market starts with the baler 12

Two contractors – two different mower systems 14

Fighting off the competition is a specialised operation 18

Straw-fuelled power stations create extra work 21

Edited by Andy Collings