Grassland UK: New Holland willow header

First seen at SIMA, Paris earlier this year, New Holland’s specialist willow header was in action on the stand, chopping both willow and poplar into chippings destined for power stations, both large and small.

Developed in NH’s Belgian factory, the header is designed to fit quickly and easily on to any standard forage harvester, with the header itself doing the bulk of the work.

Previously, most headers for use in the coppice industry have been modified maize headers. But this machine features heavy, independent sawing blades, feeding towers which lift the trunks and oversized feed rollers behind, which can cope with widths of up to 15cm. Once trunks have travelled through these heavy-duty rollers, they then pass through the standard feed rollers at the front of the machine and chop length can be altered depending on the end use.

Trees are usually planted with 75cm between rows of two, with each row being 1.5m apart from the next which allows the machine to harvest.

NH sees the advancement as a way of getting the forager working in the winter months – willow harvest takes place between November and March – and improving overall payback. The UK grows between 5000 and 6000ha of willow coppice, but certain power stations are now demanding more. The unit has spent its first season with Brian Metcalf working in the north of England.

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