Electronic spud spots danger

5 February 1999

Swing system cheap & handy

THE use of multiple hydraulics required to convert a wide cultivator from its work to transport positions inevitably adds to the cost of the implement.

Concept Farm Machinerys answer to the problem is its Swing system, which allows the operation to be carried out manually.

This is achieved by attaching the cultivators drawbar and hydraulically raised and lowered transport wheels to a beam which also carries the implement on a central pivot bearing.

When putting the cultivator into its end on transport position, the operator disconnects the hydraulic pipes, then removes two pins to release the drawbar. Driving forward then extends the beam. The implement is then unhitched and the beam swung manually through 90deg.

Reconnecting the tractor and hydraulics and relocating the implements drawbar pins allows the cultivator to be raised into the road position on its wheels.

The system is available on the companys 3.5m (11ft 8in) and 4m (13ft 2in).

non-powered Speed Till cultivators, which comprise an adjustable levelling board working in front of double banks of spring tine/packer roller combinations.

Bigger and better was the forecast – and bigger and

better it undoubtedly was. This years LAMMA event had

more exhibitors and visitors than ever before.

Andy Collings and Ian Marshall report

LAMMA grows bigger but still stays local…

NOT quite on the scale of, say, Smithfield, but getting closer every year, the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Associations event attracted a host of machinery manufacturers, and an enthusiastic audience.

As usual, LAMMA produced its crop of new developments, the most of which came from smaller firms. For this is one of the strengths of the LAMMA show, which, despite its dramatic growth over recent years, has not lost sight of its initial concept – to provide a shop window for local manufacturers.

The event provided the first chance, for most, to see a new range of Chinese compact tractors; the four-model Jinma range, priced at under £5000, should have some appeal to certain sectors of the industry.

Marketed by Jinma (UK) of Oakengates, Telford, Salop, two four-wheel drive and two two-wheel drive models are available. Powered by 3-cyl and 2-cyl engines the 25hp and 20hp 254 and 204 tractors offer 12 x 4 transmissions, 2-speed pto, power steering, draft and position hydraulic linkages, disc brakes and diff locks.

The 25hp two-wheel-drive 250 model is apparently available with either a 3-cyl or 2-cyl block, the 3-cyl version offering a similar specification as before and the other, a 6 x 4 box, disc brakes and 2-speed pto.

Robustly built – an engine decompressor system is included in the specification – and perhaps lacking the finish western makers would strive for, the Jinma compact tractor range could be an interesting option.

Chinese-built Jinma compact tractors are now available in the UK. £4750 gets this range topping, 25hp 254 model.

All bales catered for…

ANY doubts that farmers can always find other, possibly better, ways of doing things would have been clearly dashed by the amount of farmer-invented kit on display at LAMMA.

The Stackmover – brainchild of Rushyford-based Terry Watson – has been designed to carry heaps of round or square big bales from field to store. According to Mr Watson, all sizes of bales can be catered for.

In operation, bales are first stacked in the field into load-sizes – 14 large Hesston bales for example or 31 x 4ft diameter round bales.

A cage-like frame with wheels at its far end is lowered off its chassis using the single-hook type system commonly used by lorries to load containers or skips.

The frame is then reversed over the heap, hydraulic rams drive a series of tines into the lower bales, and the whole package is then pulled back onto the chassis. The chassis itself is a tandem axled unit with hydraulic braking.

Mr Watson reports that he used the Stackmover last season and, where there were short runs to the farm, claims that up to 40ha/day (100acres) could be cleared of straw bales.

He concedes that he has yet to try the unit on silage bales but expects few if any problems.

Electronic spud spots danger

USING an "electronic potato" to identify those areas in a harvester or grading line which have the potential to inflict tuber damage or bruising is generally recognised as a useful technique.

One of the reasons why its use has been limited to establishments such as research institutes and processors – rather than more commercial operations – could be its relatively high price.

But this could now all change. Martin Lishman says the starting price of £1275 for its PTR 200 electronic potato makes the technology affordable to the producer growing 40ha (100 acres) of crop or more.

"Bearing in mind the current value of the crop, preventing just one load from being rejected would justify the investment," says a company spokesman.

New features of the device – which took the Best New Product award at the show – include a more compact casing, a smaller, lighter handset/receiver and upgraded digital electronics.

The latter covers adjustable sensitivity to reflect the susceptibility to bruising of different potato varieties and other vegetables and fruits.

It also has memory capable of storing up to 30,000 shock recordings from 150 runs through the harvester or grading line.

Identified damage points in the machinery can be marked and readings from repeated runs over a certain sector can be averaged and displayed on the handset screen.

A starting price of £1275 for its PTR 200 "electronic potato" makes electronic quality control affordable to the medium scale potato grower, says Martin Lishman.

Terry Watsons Stackmover which has been designed to handle both round and square bales.

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