14 September 2001

Self-propelled

types take off

With its working

demonstrations and static

displays, the British Potato

2001 event presented

growers with a welcome

chance to glean all that is

new in the potato machinery

business. Andy Collings and

Andy Moore report

FEW visitors to the British Potato 2001 event would have failed to notice just how potato harvesting machinery has changed in recent years.

Ignoring for the moment the surge of interest in thermal crop desiccation and the advances in grading equipment, the introduction by several manufacturers of a range of self-propelled harvesters must mark a big change in harvesting systems, and an indication of how the industry believes the market will go.

Hard on the heels of Grimmes launch of the SF 1700GBS comes a "mass-market" self-propelled harvester in the form of the SF 1700 DLS two-row machine. The main difference between the two – apart from the price – is that the DLS is a single-deck unit feeding the crop straight through to a rear-mounted cart elevator.

It will be recalled that the GBS has a rear elevator which takes the potatoes on to a second cleaning layer and on to a picking-off table.

In terms of traction all the elements remain the same including the option for a rubber track unit to replace the left-hand wheel.

Working demonstrations of the DeWulf and Amac two-row self-propelled harvesters – the latter with its all-steering rear three-wheel assembly – drew considerable interest from visitors.

Easy working conditions meant the true advantages of these self-propelled units were not perhaps fully exploited, but the memories of last years harvesting conditions must have been in the minds of more than a few growers.

Not to be outdone on the day was a range of trailed two-row harvesters – Standen Engineering with its hydraulically driven Vision harvester, the Pearson Enterprise fitted with a starflow pre-cleaner separator in place of the second web, the Netagco Reekie two-row complete with picking-off table, and Kvernelands U2600, which had a Teleweb system for dry harvesting conditions. &#42

One of the latest developments from Jones Engineering is this triple-bed potato haulm topper. Hydraulically folding, the three-section 6m wide machine is designed to pulverise haulm and deflect it into the wheelings. Each unit is driven by four belts with protection provided by individual over-run clutches. Front or rear mounted, the Jones topper costs £14,000.

The Amac self-propelled harvester delivers the goods at the event.

Standen Engineerings Vision harvester goes through its paces.

In the two-row trailed division this Netagco Reekie harvester – the Dominant 3000 – is equipped with a picking-off table.

Kvernelands U2600 harvester has been equipped with its Teleweb system to cope with the dry harvesting conditions.