A new self-propelled potato harvester that can be supplied in either three- or four-row format has been introduced by Belgian manufacturer Dewulf.
Called the Kwatro, the new machine is expected to sell mainly as a four-row version on the continent but Alan Nicholson of Dewulf’s UK distributor, Niagri Engineering, expects that most of his customers will choose the three-row model.
Interest in three-row potato systems is increasing in this country as they suit our preference for wider row spacing but still offer a big increase in output compared with two-row harvesting.
Apart from the lifting section, both versions of the Kwatro are basically similar, powered by a 12-litre Scania engine developing 450hp. The power plant, mounted at the rear of the machine to reduce noise near the cab, drives hydraulic pumps to power the harvesting mechanism and to operate a hydrostatic drive to a pair of 900mm wide rubber tracks. There is also an extra-wide single wheel at the rear for steering.
The cab is supplied by Claas and is placed in front of the bunker where it provides an unobstructed view of the lifting process and the haulm roller. Equipment inside the cab includes armrest-mounted controls and the Dewulf Commander Unit which constantly monitors crop flow through the machine on colour screens.
Cleaning starts with three sieving webs, with three agitators on the first, and a special control unit that allows web speed to be matched to foward speed. Bunker capacity is up to 10t, with the weight carried over the rubber tracks. On-the-move unloading is standard.
A small number of Kwatro harvesters will be working on the continent this year and machines will be available in the UK for the 2011 harvest.
Kwatro Explained – for a more detailed technical explanation and an illustration of the Kwatro visit click here