UKdebut for beet trailer
By Andy Collings
No of rows: Six
Spacing: 45cm or 50cm
Pto: 540 or 1000rpm
Power requirement: 100-120hp
Lifting system: Oscillating shares
No of turbines: Four
Output: 15-20 acres/day
A SIX-ROW trailed sugar beet harvester made its UK debut this week on a farm at North Walsham, Norfolk. The French-built Franquet harvester, shipped in by Anglia Imports, is set to undergo a series of trials to assess its performance in home conditions.
Designated the TE4, it is designed to be operated with a tractor supplying a minimum of 100-120hp and equipped with a front linkage to support and power a flail topper/scalper. The manufacturer also recommends tractors should be fitted with double row-crop wheels.
Starting with the front unit – designated the Super Saiga – beet tops are flailed off and the tops augered to the side of the machine before being either windrowed or spread using a paddle and variable deflector.
Altered according to conditions
Scalpers are held close to the beet by air-pressurised cylinders – the pressure can be altered according to conditions and is a system which allows the scalpers to ride over any "solid" obstructions through the compression of the air.
The TE4 employs mechanical drives throughout. Beet are lifted by oscillating shares before passing over three primary cleaning turbines – the leading pair have diameters of 1.4m (4ft 6in) rotating at 65-80rpm, with the 1.5m (4ft 11in) diameter, third turbine conveying the beet on to the up-and-over elevator. Further cleaning can be induced at this stage by running the inner web at a different speed to the outer web to create a rubbing effect.
From the elevator, beet falls on to a fourth turbine which is the final cleaning operation before the crop leaves the machine via a 0.7m wide discharge elevator. For continuous operation when changing trailers, up to 500kg of beet can be held in the machines holding area.
Features of the TE4 include a steering axle and drawbar – both are interconnected – to assist when working on siding ground, and two rams on the back axle are employed to keep the machine level.
Seen operating on light land at the North Walsham site, it was turning in a good performance – albeit in almost perfect conditions. Output was about 6-8ha (15-20 acres)/day and the beet were clean and largely intact.
Clearly, there are more trials to complete and more difficult conditions to cope with, but for contractors looking to avoid the heavy cost of self-propelled machines, or 200-acre+ growers wanting to lift their own beet, the TE4 could be an interesting option.
Six-row sugar beet harvesting with the trailed, French-built Franquet TE4. Output is claimed to be up to 8ha (20 acres)/day. More taxing conditions could require the use of dual row-crop wheels, front and rear.