Grassland and Muck 2017 highlights – best of the rest

Plenty of other kit was launched alongside the forage kit and muckspreaders at last week’s Grassland & Muck event.

The highlights included a monster 6m Biddy aerator that claims to be the biggest on the market, a new wireless control system for Shelbourne Reynolds’ latest feeder wagons and Reiter with its Respiro swath shifter.

Keenan VA mixer wagons

Keenan has revealed that it has sold 15 vertical mixer wagons since their launch at the Lamma show earlier this year.

It means the new VA range is yet to make much of a dent in the continuing demand for the Mech Fiber, which saw 87 new machines sent out to dairy farmers over the same period.

Having spent years staunchly promoting the benefits of paddle-mixed feeders, the Alltech-owned company revealed it would also be moving into vertical mixers after its affiliation with Italian maker Storti.

There are various single-, twin- and tri-axle models from 18cu m up to 44cu m that have power requirements from 80hp to 210hp and come with Keenan’s InTouch ration formulation system.

The most popular model in the UK is the 18cu m VA2 twin auger HD spec, which costs £37,795.

See also: Giant mixer wagon feeds 1,100 cow dairy farm

Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix feeders


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Shelbourne Reynolds has unveiled a new cable-free control system for its Powermix Pro vertical auger feeder wagons.

The handheld controller replaces the previous cable-connected arrangement and works like a television remote via radio signals. It’s flanked by blister-pad buttons to control auger speed, conveyor side-shift, belt speed and the opening/closing of the feed-out door.

The controls will eventually be rolled out to the rest of Shelbourne’s wagon fleet – both Pro and Plus models from 9cu m up to 25 cu m.

Plus-badged models were revamped in late 2015 when they got a rounder tub, more aggressive auger for chopping through material and a sprung auto-tensioning system for the conveyor.

Meanwhile, Powermix Pro machines have been given an upgraded DG600 weigh scale control unit to make life easier transferring information to the farm office computer. It also means ration ingredient weights can be transferred in the opposite direction to improve precision when loading.

The asking price for an 18cu m Powermix Plus model on a single axle chassis is £45,687.

Rappa fencer


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Fencing specialist Rappa says there’s been no let-up in demand for its natty electric fence winder, which it was showing off during the cell grazing demonstration.

It fits to an ATV, buggy or trailer, taking its power from the wheels via a chain and sprocket to the unit on the back.

Fully loaded it’ll carry up to 600m-worth of stakes and wire in one go and can run a maximum of four strands using a slip clutch to constantly tension the line.

The company reckons 600m of fence can be picked up in less than 10-minutes and the asking price is just under £1,000, or a bit more if you opt for the extra stake carrier for the front rack.

Bullock Tillage disc harrow


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Mostly known for grass harrows, pellet applicators and smaller tillage equipment, Bullock Tillage is venturing into larger tillage kit with the BTC disc harrow in 5m or 6m form.

Aimed at pinching sales from the popular Vaderstad Carrier, the new Polish-built machine has two rows of 560mm or optional 620mm scalloped discs. Following these is an adjustable paddle levelling board with soil smashed down by a ringed packer.

The company claims the distance between the front discs and rear packer gives the soil a chance to settle before being consolidated to create a more level finish.

Two front support wheels give manual depth control with the rear packer providing hydraulic depth adjustment, which is displayed on a metal read-out.

Bullock says the 5m will require upwards of 180hp while the 6m wants closer to 220hp and both machines attach to the trailing arms on the tractor rather than the drawbar.

Buyers can choose from hydraulic or air braked axles with 500/50/R17 rubbers on the two rear transport wheels, as well as standard road lights.

The biggest carrot for any potential suitors will be the price. The 5m model is £19,995, while the 6m version takes the asking price to £21,995. Bullock claims it has sold five machines already and is busy adding a new arable harrow to its range ready for cereals.

Muthing mulch mowers


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German maker Muthing was showing off its latest range of mulching flail mowers imported by Roxburghshire-based dealer Simon Richard Machinery.

The updated Vario range is designed to be more flexible with rollers that can be switched from front to rear depending on the job in hand and a range of different flails.

According to the maker it’s fairly common for buyers to team up the front-mounted 3.2m MUPro and the 2.5m rear-mounted MUPro S.

This gives a combined working width of 5.7m for flailing stubbles, but also gives the flexibility of being able to use the front unit separately for verge mowing or scrub clearance.

But for those that just want to chew off large areas, there’s the option of a rear-mounted 6m folding machine.

List price of the rear-mounted MU Pro S mower is £20,619, and the 3.2m front unit costs £12,653. The 6m folding machine is £35,000.

Biddy 6m aerator


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Biddy Attachments has increased its range of land aerators with an enormous hydraulically-folding 6m AR 6.0 model – which it claims is now the biggest on the market – adding to its existing 3m, 4m and 5m range.

No-till land aerators are popular with grassland farmers to open channels in heavy soils for nutrients and water to enter the grass roots without exposing them to sunlight.

Made in Ireland, the machine weighs 8.25t unladen and 12t once filled with water. The roller has 200mm long double-chamfered blades made from 20mm thick hardox steel at alternate row spacing across the full width. Once laden the blades can penetrate soils up to 300mm deep.

Operating speeds of 15-20kph should be achievable as long as there is a minimum of 200hp on the front to drag it along and the huge 16t rear axle has been given some BKT 750/45/22.5 shoes to help it along.

The machine folds vertically to 2.9m, so sneaks into the right side of the 3m UK width restrictions and has a rear lighting kit as standard.

With the standard cable controls, you’ll be parting with £21,500 but for a few extra quid you can get a joystick version at £23,300.

Biddy says the roller and blades will last for around 18 months depending on use and it also offers a refurb system that sees the company take your old roller away and provide a refurbed one with new blades.

Reiter Respiro


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We have had some decent weather already this year but the UK climate seems to find a way of stabbing growers in the back further down the line.

After the rain has passed, the pre-baling drying time can be costly, but Austrian manufacturer Reiter believes its Respiro might be the answer to drying the sward.

Attaching to the front linkage of the tractor, it hoovers up the grass or straw via a front reel at speeds up to 15kph and uses backwards facing tines to avoid contaminating the crops with stones and soil.  The belt spins at 5m/s and can chuck material to either side.

The company claims it can also reduce power demands on the forager by up to 25% and save on wearing parts in the process, too. The biggest challenge, it says, is keeping the back wheels of the tractor on the ground.

UK importer Suffolk Machinery has the selling task at a list price of £23,800.

Alstrong Actus

Alstrong Auctus

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Those in the market in a one-pass grass seeder might be interested in the latest offering from Irish manufacturer Alstong.

Called the Auctus, it sits on a heavy-duty trailed frame and uses a combination of components to establish grass seed in a variety of different conditions.

Gallway-based Alstrong says one of its key selling points is its ability to  create a quality seed-bed in tough, burnt-off grass leys. Here, the two rows of aggressive levelling paddles rip up the old turf and generate a tilth up to 20mm deep.

A roller with shallow aeration blades then consolidates the surface before the seed – metered by an electric-powered, 300-litre Delimbe seeder – is dropped between a double row of 12mm tines.

A prismatic roller then finishes off the job. Cleverly, this is fitted with a hood to stop mud and trash flicking up in sticky conditions and blocking the tines and seeder outlets.

Alstrong also says the Actus can be used as an aerator by lifting the soil-engaging components out of work. It can be used to sow into cultivated seed-beds, too, or to scratch some seed in to perk-up tired-looking leys.

Dry, the Actus weighs in at 4.5t, but if the aerator/roller is filled with water ballast it tips the scales at 5.3t. It also needs about 130hp on the front to do a decent job.

There’s just one 3m model that has a list price of  £18,000, including the seeder. Alstrong also makes a lighter-weight mounted machine that has a single row of levelling paddles.