Grass to the fore

As grass growth quickens, interest is grassland kit is slowly picking up, say dealers.

The cold start to 2006 set grass growth back by up to four weeks across most regions and, although T-Sum figures are progressing, many producers are still on the back foot.

Preoccupying producers’ minds are early applications of nitrogen and slurries to help kick-start growth as daytime temperatures rise.

Machinery dealers hope this will spur interest in updating grassland equipment as some areas consider turnout and other producers plan ahead for first cut forages.

The array of grass mowers, conditioners, harvesters and balers currently being offered by dealers suggests there’s ample choice for buyers.

But there are few discernable trends to report as interest, like grass growth itself, is relatively slow to develop.

Those producers looking to update fertiliser equipment can have the pick of used twin-disc spreaders from £650-£1700 price bracket.

For example, deals in Marketplace include an Amazone ZA1801 twin disc model with bag lifting arm in good, tidy order for £1250.

Those wishing to make the most of muck accumulated during the past winter can opt for an array of tankers, spreaders or contracted-in umbilical systems to spread slurries to suit all budgets, say suppliers.

For those growers looking at increasing acreages a step up running front-mounted and trailed mower combinations to increase work rate could be a consideration.

Prices start from around as little as £500 (although four figures would be nearer the mark) depending on age, condition, model and capacity.

Also budget to uprate tractor horsepower to suit, warn dealers.

The choice of baling equipment is equally as broad.

Good stocks are in hand, say dealers, and the middle ground still dominated by round bale machines favoured for relatively low purchase and greater choice in the used market.

For those producers looking to step into the competitive contractors’ market, specialist suppliers of used self-propelled forage harvesters suggest budgets start from £30,000 at the bottom end rising to almost £100,000 for single season models offered with back-up assistance and warranty depending on the deal struck.

Predicting demand is as difficult as predicting grass growth, says one Midlands dealer, adding an increase in temperature will help get the market moving.