Irish Ploughing Championships sees stacks of new kit launched

There is a lot more to the Irish National Ploughing Championships than competitive inversion of soil. Farmers Weekly headed to Ratheniska, County Laois, on the hunt for new machinery.

See also: Forward-control Fastrac ups spreading output by 30%

Farmhand Amatruck

Equipment importer Farmhand has successfully mated a 10t Amazone demount fertiliser spreader with a six-wheel-drive Mercedes Acros to create the Amatruck.

Farmhand Amatruck

© James Andrews

The 2015 base vehicle was sourced second-hand, having spent its formative years as a gritter. This meant it was already fitted with a hydraulic pump and had a full set of driven wheels.

That said, there was still plenty of pipework alteration, wiring and fabrication work required to get the ZG-TS10001 spreader mounted correctly and running smoothly.

To help keep moving on wet ground, the original wheels and tyres were swapped for wide rims shod with BKT 445/65 R22.5 front tyres and 600/50 R22.5 rears.

As for the spreader, this comes fully loaded with GPS section control, variable rate and wind compensation, and it’s controlled by an Amatron 4 in-cab screen.

The truck is not currently for sale as Farmhand plans to send it on a lengthy tour to demonstrate the spreader. However, if it were up for grabs, it would cost about €250,000 (£216,993) plus VAT.

Limephro Drift Reducer

To help stifle the clouds of dust churned up when spreading lime, contractor Stephen Kelly has developed a clever retrofit hood system.

Limephro Drift Reducer

© James Andrews

Pictured mounted to his Bredal spreader, the Limephro Drift Reducer folds out to the rear of the machine in line with the discs and holds the dust near the ground.

It covers the full 12m working width and is designed to give the maximum amount of shielding without affecting the spread pattern.

Not only does the hood prevent the product wafting into neighbouring properties, or getting into the lungs of operators, it allows work to continue in windier-than-ideal conditions and it significantly reduces waste.

To keep the arrangement neat when moving between fields, Stephen has devised a nifty hydraulic and cable-operated folding mechanism that flattens the hoods and stows them neatly at the sides of the spreader.

An optional extra is the Evenflo crumber roller, which sits in the centre of the frame and helps break up damp lime as it’s discharged from the belt onto the spreader plates.

This has a height adjustment mechanism that works in tandem with the rear door of the spreader, meaning its working depth doesn’t need to be set independently.

Stephen is building the tools from his workshop near Bagenalstown, County Carlow, and both elements can be purchased for €15,000 (£13,020) plus VAT. Versions are available to suit most spreader makes and models.

Spreadpoint auger lime spreader

The latest generation of Spreadpoint’s auger lime spreaders come with a host of new features, including central tyre inflation.

Spreadpoint auger lime spreader

© James Andrews

Shown here is the twin-axle SP-900, which has a 9cu m capacity and is rated to carry a 16t payload.

Rather than a conventional spinning disc setup, it features a 12m SX-A auger system, which delivers a more uniform spread pattern and reduces dust by keeping 80% of the material contained within the hoods.

The new Press Point central tyre inflation system allows pressure to be adjusted from 16 to 60psi at the press of a button, helping to improve on-road performance and reduce fuel consumption, as well as preventing compaction in the field.

The machine pictured, featuring all of the above, is priced at €131,000 (£113,751) plus VAT.

Foton Lovol tractors

Chinese-built Foton Lovol tractors have been gradually making their way west, and the brand now has a dedicated distributor in Ireland.

Foton Lovol tractors

© James Andrews

The first lower-horsepower models arrived in June and the firm is now taking deliveries of larger machines up to 130hp, all of which feature Doosan engines.

Of these, the 110hp M1004 is likely to be one of the most popular, coming in at €56,995 (£49,490) plus VAT, or €63,695 (£55,308) plus VAT including a loader.

For this, buyers get a four-cylinder Stage 5 diesel engine, an 18-speed transmission with mechanical shuttle, a 540/1,000rpm pto, three double-acting spool valves and a cab with air conditioning.

These larger Foton Lovol tractors are not currently available in the UK, but Kent-based dealer Lovol Tractors offers models up to 75hp.

Inspect 4 Rollover Crate

In her quest to improve safety and reduce the physical toil when hoof-trimming, County Cork dairy farmer Maeve O’Keeffe came up with the Inspect 4 Rollover Crate.

Inspect 4 Rollover Crate

© James Andrews

Running off an electro-hydraulic power pack, this ingenious tool gently squeezes the cow and tips her on her side, giving safe access to all four hooves at the same time.

As the animal is immobilised in this position, it also provides an opportunity to carry out tasks such as drying off or tail trimming.

The crate was first conceived in 2011 and was soon put into production on the O’Keeffe family farm near Fermoy.

The basic design has been tweaked over the years and it’s been treated to a series of modifications, the latest of which is the option of adding remote-controlled hydraulic leg holders.

These replace the standard hand-operated clamps, making it quicker to secure the animal and remove the risk of getting kicked.

Both fixed and mobile versions of the crate are available, with the former designed for on-farm installation and the latter aimed at vets and hoof-trimming contractors that need to travel.

To this end, it’s mounted on a twin-axle chassis and has a large stabiliser floor for safe loading and unloading.

Prices start at €20,000 (17,342) plus VAT for fixed crates featuring manual leg straps, with remote-controlled hydraulic clamps adding €7,000 (£6,070) plus VAT.

Mobile versions with hydraulic leg clamps come in at €44,000 (£38,152) plus VAT.

Scores of Inspect 4 Rollover Crates have been sold in Ireland and Maeve has sent machines as far away as Saudi Arabia. However, she is currently on the search for a UK dealer.

Bullseye PTR 3000s grass seeder

Most grassland reseeding tools are fairly lightweight pieces of kit, but that’s certainly not the case for the PTR 3000s from Bullseye Engineering.

Bullseye PTR 3000s grass seeder

© James Andrews

The brainchild of County Wicklow farmer, contractor and former aircraft engineer Peter O’Sullivan, it’s designed to be versatile enough to work in most conditions and be strong enough to stand up to the rigours of contracting.

Tasks in its repertoire include stitching grass or clover into existing swards, performing single-pass, low-disturbance reseeds, levelling behind a plough or cultivator and repairing poached ground.

Tools to help it do this include a set of front levelling paddles, a twin row of heavy-duty 12mm straw rake tines (no lightweight grass harrows here) and a cast toothed packer roller at the rear.

Working height is adjusted via a pair of rams on the packer roller, and the angle of both the levelling paddles and tines can be adjusted hydraulically.

Seed is stored in a steel hopper and distributed to 24 spreader plates positioned between the tines and packer via an Accord-style eclectically driven metering system with hydraulic fan.

Finishing touches include LED work lights, a hopper access platform with ladder and an in-cab control box. This is currently a conventional machine-specific unit, but Peter is looking at adding an isobus option.

The price of the pictured machine is €32,000 (£27,768) plus VAT and, due to its weight, it needs to be teamed with a tractor of 150hp or more.

For those with smaller tractors, there will also be a trailed version – costing €38,000 (£32,975) plus VAT – that will require about 120hp to pull.

Applied Varimount 120 pto compressor

Blasting dust, chaff and weed seeds off grubby machinery could be made more convenient thanks to Applied’s Varimount 120 pto-driven compressor.

Applied Varimount 120 pto compressor

© James Andrews

Like the firm’s larger 350 CFM model, the portable unit can be mounted either on the front or rear linkage of a tractor and uses a screw compressor to produce a high-volume of pressurised air.

Output is lower at 120 CFM, but the firm says this is still ample for the task of blowing off machinery or running a sand blaster. It just doesn’t have sufficient output for clearing out long lengths of slurry pipe.

Power requirement is also reduced, meaning it can be run on a tractor with as little as 65hp, and it’s considerably smaller, making it less cumbersome to carry around.

One notable difference is the use of a drive belt rather than the 350’s drive chain, which means operators don’t have to remember to oil it periodically.

A combined oil-and-air after-cooler ensures that the machine runs at a safe temperature and there’s an automatic water separator that removes moisture from the air stream.

The Varimount 120 is made at Applied’s manufacturing facility in Birr, County Offaly, and is priced at €9,500 (£8,230) plus VAT, with the larger 350 model coming in at €16,000 (£13,861) plus VAT.


Lifting a heifer or cow’s tail might be a reliable method of preventing them kicking, but it requires a second person to be on hand to perform the task for the duration of milking.


© James Andrews

The Tailjack provides a solution, with a supporting frame that clamps onto the animal’s hips, featuring a jack that supports the tail in a raised position.

It’s designed to fitted quickly by a lone milker, who can use a handle to lift the frame into position from the parlour floor before pulling a chain to lock it onto the hips.

The same handle can then be removed and used to raise the tail holder into position. Thanks to a ratchet mechanism, this can be set at any height the user sees fit, and it can be adjusted during milking if required.

Once the job is complete, the ratchet and hip gripper can be quickly released and the tool can be removed.

For easy handling, it weighs just 3kg and its constructed out of corrosion-resistant stainless steel. It’s priced at €308 (£267) plus VAT.

A&W Trailers

Not to be confused with Herefordshire manufacturer AW Trailers, we have County Carlow outfit A&W Trailers.

A&W Trailers' Terra Ferma

© James Andrews

Though their names are just an ampersand apart, they are entirely different businesses, with the Irish operator setting up just seven years ago.

Products on offer include stock boxes, dumpers, low loaders and grain/silage trailers in both twin and tri-axle guises.

Models are denoted by their length, with anything up to 22ft sitting on four wheels and 24ft and 26ft versions running on six.

The red model featured here is the 24ft Terra Ferma 24, which has a 50cu m capacity with silage sides fitted.

Most of the body is constructed out of Hardox 450 steel, with 6mm sheet used on the floor and 4mm on the sides.

This example has a steering rear axle, but there’s the option of adding one at the front to allow it to turn tighter.

It’s priced at €40,000 (£34,765) plus VAT and is sold through Agri Machinery Ireland, which offers worldwide export.  

Arland sprayer

Lesser-known French sprayer brand Arland had its latest trailed machine displayed on stand of County Cork dealer Clever Agri Components.

Arland Expert sprayer

© James Andrews

Tank sizes in the top-spec Expert+ series range from 3,600-litres to 4,200-litres and they come with aluminium Pommier booms from 18m to 24m.

Specs on the pictured 4224 model, which features a 4,200-litre tank and 24m boom, include eight-way auto-section control, boom recirculation, a steering axle with adjustable track width and a 40-litre induction hopper.

This particular example was ordered before prices shot up, so comes in at €88,000 (£76,493) plus VAT. But if the same spec was priced up now, it would be €16,000 (£13,916) more.

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