3 May 1996

It was never

wetter

Difficult conditions but still an opportunity to see all that is new in potato planting machinery.

Andy Collings and Andrew Faulkner report from the Potato Planting 96 event

MAKERS of potato planting equipment had a testing time when putting their machines through their paces at Potato Planting 96.

Held at the County Showground, Stafford, heavy overnight rain created soil conditions which would have kept most farmers kit safely locked away in the barn.

Questionable value

The value of demonstrating machinery in such conditions – apart from providing a degree of entertainment for a sizable crowd – is clearly questionable.

Even so, the event provided an opportunity to see at least all that is new in potato planting machinery – if not one to see them working to full potential.

For Grimme, the event was the venue for the first showing of a prototype web module for the companys Combi-Star stone and clod separator.

It is a design which, if the decision to market the system in the UK is made, would provide purchasers with an alternative to the seven rows of stars currently fitted to the Combi-Star.

The machines modular construction allows the web to be inserted between the front module (drawbar, depth control roller and discs) and the rear module which contains the cross conveyor.

The event also provided for many visitors a first look at the Pearson-Besson two-row planter. As its name suggests, the machine is the result of an agreement which allows the company to market the Gregoire Besson range of planters in the UK and Ireland.

"But it is more than just a paint job," insists marketing director, Phillip Bosworth. "We have made a number of improvements to take into account the requirements of UK growers."

The tractor-mounted planter has two planting units with furrow openers mounted on a parallel linkage to improve depth control.

Hydraulic hopper

Seed potatoes are fed from a 1000kg capacity, hydraulically tipping hopper with the feed belts equipped with optical sensors. Options include a further set of optical sensors in the delivery chute.

Price of the two-row Pearson-Besson planter starts at £12,500 for the system.

Shovels out at last weeks Potato Planting 96. Conditions were damp.