From hundreds of entries a winner for the Vogel and Noot plough has been picked.
Thanks to the many hundreds of you who entered our competition to win a Vogel and Noot plough and congratulations to our winner Geoff Woolley whose ranking of six important machine features were the closest to those of the judges.
Mr Woolley, of Barbers Hill House, Aunby near Stamford, Lincs, takes delivery of a four furrow Vogel and Noot MS950 worth nearly £10,000. With 142ha (355 acres), it should be a good fit on his farm. Currently he uses a four furrow Niemeyer, bought three years ago as an ex-demonstrator machine. Mr Woolley appreciates its size and the amount of clearance it affords.
Not surprisingly, then, Mr Woolley placed free flow of trash second behind strength of headstock and beam, which he, the judges and one in every three entrants put in the top slot.
The ability to penetrate dry hard soils, durability of wearing parts and ease of adjustment, according to our competition postbag, were judged to be of minor significance.
But a very large number of you – about 40% – rated complete furrow inversion of prime importance. Have we uncovered some universal dissatisfaction here? Alistair Paterson, Vogel and Noots managing director, said that hed been aware of some worries, especially in Scotland, but hadnt appreciated the scale of the concern. Full inversion, he added, was one of the areas where the MS950 scored over its rivals.
Since the straw burning ban and the introduction of set-aside, its little wonder that a ploughs ability to make a tidy job of burying crop residues has assumed greater priority. And now, with the move towards rotational ploughing (ploughing one year in two, or one in three, with minimum or low tillage in the intervening years), this quality is likely to become even more important.
Mr Woolleys land is ploughed annually, and he does the job – and all the others – himself. Soils range from light, limestone brash to quite heavy clay, and can be quite patchy even within the same field. His cropping comprises winter wheat, spring barley, oilseed rape and sugar beet.
Preparation for the beet, which is grown on the lighter land, comprises autumn ploughing, then usually a single pass with the power harrow, but sometimes preceded with the spring tines, just ahead of the drill.
On the remainder, Mr Woolley tends to go straight in with a Maschio/Accord 3m power harrow/drill combination, though one particular field needs an extra pass with the power harrow.
A 103hp Landini 10,000 has displaced a Ford 7810 from ploughing duties by virtue of better lift capacity, although its a more basic machine. "I havent yet been lured by electro-hydraulic transmissions," says Mr Woolley. "Im happy enough with levers."