He may not be the most popular of characters with original equipment manufacturers or franchised dealers.
But as far as farmers who have bought his power harrows and seed drills are concerned, Andy Guest provides a legitimate alternative to buying new or used tillage and seeding equipment.
His “half used, half new” implements are built up from thoroughly refurbished Kuhn power harrows and Accord drills that get new wearing parts, additional fixtures and fittings and a fresh coat of paint ready for a second dose of toil.
Some of the harrows go out alone but more often with a drill mounted piggy-back over the gear trough.
This creates a one-pass combination that accounts for about three-quarters of the 150 or so machines completed each year in Mr Guest’s workshops at Cotham near Newark, Notts.
“Anyone can pick-up a second-hand power harrow from a dealer’s yard or farm sale but would they know what it’s like inside and whether it’s likely to give trouble?”
“With our refurbished implements, all the critical wearing parts are replaced as a matter of course, they’re brought up to date in terms of guarding, and given a quality coat of paint that will see them good for another 10 years or more of work.”
As for taking sales away from new equipment suppliers, Mr Guest reckons he sells into a particular market sector.
“My machines can’t be quite as good as a new one but I’m selling to people who’ll spend 8000-10,000, but would never buy a 15,000-16,000 combo,” he maintains.
“Also, to some extent my business helps underpin prices for used Kuhn harrows and maybe even for old Accord drills.”
Having got into the machinery repair business, often taking in Lely Roterra and other power harrows for remedial treatment, Mr Guest says his first look inside a Kuhn harrow was a revelation.
“They got it right first time; it’s very strong and well built,” he says.
Similarly, he rates the Accord drill for its accuracy and simplicity – putting the two implements together makes an ideal combination unit for final seed-bed preparation and sowing in one pass, he reckons.
The harrows are stripped and have their gear troughs vacuumed and washed clean to remove any shards of metal.
Gears are usually re-used because they are unlikely to be worn unless a bearing has broken up; but taper roller bearings and seals are replaced as a matter of course.
Not much remains of the Accord drills once they have been stripped to their 500 or so individual parts.
“We keep the hopper, toolbar and coulter arms, disc markers and fan internals but the rest is discarded,” explains Mr Guest.
“Each coulter is fitted with a new “cheeks” assembly behind the point, a new anti-blocking flap and pivot bushes, we weld up a stronger hopper frame and then our own hopper extension, flexible cover and access steps are fitted.”
All re-used components are shot blasted to leave a pristine surface for painting.
Seed hoses, Accord seed metering unit and fan housing are all new and the coulter bar is built up with new spring
tension plates and springs.
“As well as the standard two-row coulter bar, we also now offer a three row version with 375mm between each adjacent coulter for better trash clearance,” says Mr Guest.
“And as we couldn’t get original extended coulter mounts at a sensible price, we fabricate our own, like a lot of the other components.”
Among those “other components” are complete shark’s fin packer rollers of a design that Kuhn no longer makes but which remain popular with many power harrow users.