Standen-Pearson has unveiled a new three-row trailed potato harvester, the first of its kind to appear on the market.
The Cambridgeshire-based firm claims that output from the machine is 60% more than an equivalent two-row machine and thus easily justifies the 30% price premium over a two-row unit.
Standen-Pearson marketing manager, Alex Mathias, says this increase in output can be primarily achieved through the three-row format, but can also be attributed to the reduced number of turns the machine must perform.
“The T3 machine takes on three rows, but at 2.7m (9ft) wide, the separation area of the machine can cope with the volume of material being handled,” he says.
“And given the fact that the machine is turning less on the headland, output can be boosted by 60%.”
The firm claims to have developed a completely new chassis that is stronger and provides clear visibility for the operator. The firm insists it has not just been a case of widening an existing harvester to cope with an extra share at the front.
Rather than requiring dedicated three-row beds to be set out at planting, the T3 picks up one-and-a-half standard two-ridge beds with each pass.
To cope with this the machine can be offset at the drawbar, up to 450mm (18in) either side.
Soil first passes on to a primary web, which is just over 1.5m (5ft) long, before running on to a secondary web. The speed of the first and second web, and indeed the drop between webs – for agitation purposes – can be varied from the cab.
Webs with bar spacing ranging from 36mm to 55mm can be fitted to the secondary separation area. Two sets of hydraulically-driven rotary agitators provide extra separation.
Tubers and clods then pass on to the firm’s Starflow unit, where two rows of stars work in conjunction with two hydraulically driven clod rollers. After this, growers can choose between a further star separation unit or a 28-roller haulm separation table.
For transport the rear elevator – which is 1.3m wide – folds inside the width of the machine and the offside wheel rotates through 180° to run under the harvester. This wheel is also folded under for opening up a new field and rotates out again for work, spreading weight more evenly across the rear axle.
The firm claims that in trials this year the new three-row machine managed to lift over 800t in 24 hours – more than 30t/hour.
But, of course, that high output has a cost. The T3 weighs in at 10.5t, requires 200hp for effective operation and costs about £140,000.
NO TIME TO NAME BED TILLER
Standen-Pearson has also unveiled a new bed tiller, a unit so fresh out of the factory that the firm has not had time to name it.
Soil lifted from the ridges passes over five rows of counter-rotating agressive stars. These break up any clods and the resulting tilth is then re-ridged to form two rows for planting.
The unit needs over 100hp for effective operation,but on demo evidence it will need to be a front-heavy tractor. Being a long, mounted unit, weight transfer over the rear wheels result in light steering for headland turns.