GOLD MEDAL CULTIVATOR
Solo cultivator takes gold
THIS years gold medal, the top honour in the RASEs annual machinery awards, goes to Lincs-based Simba International for their Solo combination cultivator, chosen as the outstanding entry following a judging process based on interviews with users.
"The Solo fulfils the present day needs of the large-scale, low-labour cereal farm where speed and economy of operation have to be matched with soil treatment that can lead to maximum yields," said the judges report. "Workrates were high at 40ha (100 acres) or more per day for the 6m machines, downtime was very limited with tine points and wings easily replaced, and the customer support provided by Simba was exemplary."
The Solo combines the action of discs, plus tines with wing and share size options and the choice of either DD press rings or rubber tyre rollers. In one pass it can produce a tilth that is almost weatherproof and can safely be left as a stale seedbed, and soil below the surface is re-structured without bringing clods to the surface, said the judges. The front discs have a 710mm diameter, and are followed by tines that adjust to between 100 and 250mm below the disc depth. The tines can be lifted out of work hydraulically, and are followed by DD press rings or rollers with rubber tyres, plus a second set of discs to provide the final trash incorporation action.
Silver for sheep shower
THE special Award for Economic Merit goes to the Monsoon Sheep Shower developed by farmers TW and LA Wilson, who are based in Cartmel, Cumbria. This is an annual award for the silver medal winner that can make a special contribution to economic efficiency, and the winner is chosen by Lloyds TSB, who support the awards scheme. The Monsoon is built on a steel trailer and carries its own 650 litres water supply. It offers exact control of the dip solution, which is sprayed on to the sheep from jets supplied from a 600 l/min pump powered by a 4hp engine.
Only one operator is needed, and at the end of a working session the dip mix to be disposed of does not exceed 25 litres. Maximum throughput could be up to 2500 sheep per day.
Quad bike with ooooomph
THIS years silver medal winners include Hondas TRX500 quad bike, powered by a 499cc engine making it the most powerful Honda ATV. The feature that impressed the judges was the innovative transmission, based on a hydrostatic drive unit with automatic operation but retaining the option of manual control. The three drive modes operate through a mechanical transfer box with manual selection of the high, low, neutral and reverse settings.
Valtra is only tractor
THE only tractor in this years silver medal list is the Valtra HiTech. User reports described the performance of the HiTech as outstanding, and the judges were impressed by the 36-speed semi-powershift transmission and its Power Control System or PCS which monitors the main tractor functions and uses the data to select the correct gear ratio for each situation. The HiTech transmission also includes a power shuttle operated without using the clutch pedal.
Three-bed capacity for veg
JONES Engineering is lined-up for a silver medal thanks to their Triple Bedformer, which also wins this years Grower award for machinery for vegetable production. The three-bed capacity of the machine allows high outputs, but hydraulic folding reduces the width for road transport. Working depth for the three rotary cultivator units is up to 30cm, and an adjustable hood over each unit distributes the tilth across the width of each bed.
Not good to torque…
THERE is also a silver medal for Michelin, awarded for their MchXbib tyres for tractors in the 170hp plus sector. They feature a radial casing with a new structure to resist the massive torque forces developed by high horsepower tractors while offering optimum performance on the road. The diameter is more than 2.0m, the width is 650mm and the load capacity is 9230kg per tyre with a 2.1 bar (30 psi) inflation pressure.
Front linkage accolade
FRONT linkages are recognised in this years awards with a silver medal for the Frontline linkage from Lynx Engineering. The agricultural version of the Frontline has a range of lift capacities from 1.5 to 5t. Design features include foldable and removable lift arms, and the pto can transmit up to 200hp at 1000 rpm. Users reported a high standard of durability, and the back-up service from Lynx was said to be prompt and efficient.
Easy drive mower
HEDGE and verge mowers make an appearance in this years medal list with an award for the 550/650 Hy-Reach telescopic arm series from McConnel. The feature that impressed the judges was the Easy Drive System or EDS, using advanced electronics to provide hands-free operation with faster working speeds and improved safety. EDS uses sensors to control the working height of the flail head, with pressure readings at 30 millisecond intervals.
Versatility is the drill
KUNHS Semis Direct or SD series direct drills are designed for versatility, capable of working in uncultivated land, in a minimum cultivation system or a traditionally cultivated seed-bed. It has a metering system with settings from 1.5 to 400kg/ha, and the hydraulically driven distribution fan is said to be quiet but powerful. Users reported work rates of 30ha or more per day, in many cases with major savings in establishment costs.
When small is successful
THIS is a good year in the award scheme for smaller-scale manufacturers and farmer-inventors. As well as the Wilson familys award for their Monsoon Sheep Shower, the Cheshire based Garnett farming family add another silver medal to add to the awards won by their AG series tractor-mounted bedding dispensers. The inventor is Andrew Garnett, and his latest winner is the AG Dispenser 200 for spreading litter in poultry houses.
Ulster kicking solution
NORTHERN Ireland based inventor, William Taylor, has come up with a novel way to eliminate kicking problems when cattle are restrained in a crush or crate. Kicking can cause injury to the operator and to the animal, and Mr Taylor has overcome the problem by mounting the floor of the crate on springs. This allows the floor to move if the animal changes its position, and the lack of stability makes the animal unable to kick.
Cattle handling made easier
DEVELOPMENTS in cattle handling equipment have also brought a silver medal to George Clarks Scottish based Premier Livestock Handling company. His new Unistock Mark 2 cattle crate is designed to be operated by one person and can handle all sizes of cattle from calves to mature animals of the biggest beef breeds. It features a non-slip floor made of reinforced rubber, and the options include weighing and foot trimming equipment.