David Millar checks out the sprayers and drills launched in Paris.
MAZONE is going straight to the top end of the market with its first self-propelled sprayer unveiled at the Paris SIMA Show.
Anyone tempted to take advantage of the relatively strong pound will find the SF430 priced from around 250,000DM in Germany in versions with 18m or 36m booms. Amazones Heiner Bellstedt said the company wanted to show it wasnt just a fertiliser spreader specialist by launching such a top-of-the-range machine.
Main markets are expected to be in the UK, France and Germany for the hydraulic 4WD machine with crab steering and on-the-move adjustability of working track widths from 1.8m to 3.25m. A 172hp Deutz engine provides the motive power for the SF430 which is fitted with pneumatic suspension, and a 3,400-litre tank.
At the other end of the scale, Amazone also showed its mounted UF 1200 Super S Profi IL, which comes with 12m or 24m variable geometry booms folding down to just 2.4m for transport.
Sprayers were a main feature of the show and manufacturers, both home-grown and from elsewhere in Europe, could probably have filled one of the shows seven halls on their own. Kverneland, which is now Europes biggest manufacturing group, showed a range of self-propelled sprayers under the Rau and Vicon banners. Four models from 24-36m and with main tanks from 1,500-3,000 litres are available.
Pneumatic suspension is also a feature of Matrots new Maestria six-model range of self-propelled sprayers which is available here through Matrot UK, of Bury St Edmunds. This updated range has a restyled cab, pneumatic suspension on the front and rear axles with automatic levelling control, a new 860 Teejet computer and improved mixing controls. The hydro-mechanical transmission with limited slip diff won the company a commendation from the SIMA organisers.
Geoff Avis, of Matrot UK, expects most British interest in front-boom mounted 24m and 28m versions but has inquiries for 42m and 48m models. "People here are beginning to go for wider booms and I am sure they are about to take off in the main arable counties," he says. Prices start in UK at just over £60,000 for a 24m Maestria 12 with 125hp Deutz engine and 3,000-litre tank. At the top of the range is the 185hp Maestria 18 45 model with a 4,500-litre tank and a choice of nine aluminium booms from 28-48m.
Among the many trailed sprayers on display, French maker Caruelle showed a 4,000-litre model with a newly-designed 36m aluminium boom. The Seguip SVX400 has a polyurethane block suspension and a 400-litre clean water tank.
The choice of lo-till drills continues to expand with the first appearance by a prototype version of the Fastliner pneumatic drill from Kuhn. Initial versions from 2002 are likely to include 3m and 4m mounted types, with up to 9m becoming available in trailed versions. A modular construction is being used which will allow a mixture of specifications with tines, tyre press, discs, a maxipacker roller, and double-disc coulters.
German maker Dutzi had a new KR3000 combination drill on the stand of French importer Quitte. Fitted with the trademark rotary cultivator, followed by a row of tines and a roller-packer, this 3m model can be used with a 130hp tractor. Kverneland showed Accord KLX 3m and 4m combine drills suitable for medium to light soils. These can be fitted with hoppers from 1,000-1,600 litres capacity.
The Howard Semavator, introduced by Kongskilde, is claimed to work in wet and trashy autumn conditions thanks to a combination of a pto-powered Rotavator cultivator with a Nordsten NS4000 pneumatic seed drill. Large wheels with low-pressure tyres regulate working depth. No rear trailing board is fitted, to minimise clogging by plant residue or wet soil. The seed drill meters directly from a sowing boom, mixing seed with soil and plant residue. A packer roller can be fitted.
The Howard Semavator can be used as a conventional combination machine in normal field conditions by adding seed coulters, a rear trailing board and packer roller.
Amazone has modified its ED Contour precision drill for sugar beet growers with a special coulter tip and press wheel behind the coulter.