Fresh Lemken kit breaks cover
By Andy Moore
IN the shadow of the aftermath of BSE and subdued machinery markets, Lemken has announced a substantial increase in profitably for 2000, despite a slump in turnover.
The company reports its profits increased from DM4.8m (£1.47m) in 1999 to DM8.5m (£2.6m) last year, while turnover fell from DM138m (£42.34m) to DM131m (£40.19m) over the same period.
"Lemken has sold very well in eastern European and former Soviet states such as the Ukraine which have undergone significant economic reform," says the companys chief executive officer Franz-Georg von Busse.
"These countries, together with expanding business opportunities in North Korea, has increased sales by over 50%."
Although Dr von Busse believes such markets have seen considerable growth over the past few years, he says sales of cultivation equipment in France and the UK have been weak because of the knock-on effects of BSE, foot-and-mouth and the strength of the £.
Fluctuating sales, however, have not prevented Lemken introducing a selection of new products which will be launched at Agritechnica 2001.
Now filling out the semi-mounted Solitair pneumatic drill series is a range of models available in 8m, 9m, 10m and 12m working widths. Considered a direct competitor to Vaderstad and Horsch drills, the Solitair can cover up to 15ha/hour at 15kph forward speeds.
The drills are mounted with a 5200 litre shallow hopper which offers a low centre of gravity, while a coulter rail folds in half each side of the drill like a spray boom. Seed to each coulter rail is delivered by an electrically-powered fan through four distribution heads on 4m to 6m models and eight heads on 8m to 12m drills.
And to ensure an even drilling depth, four hydraulic cylinders serve to keep the coulters in the ground over undulating ground.
Another significant development for the Solitair drill range is the introduction of an eight-row maize planting unit which can be interchanged with the conventional cereal coulter unit. Aimed at the contractor, the combination creates a seed-bed using Lemkens Zirkon 9 power harrow, before seed is delivered to the eight sowing units from a 2300 litre central hopper.
For the smaller grower, the company also offers trailed or mounted Quarz combination cultivator drills which can be specified in 4m, 5m and 6m foldable working widths. Built for light to medium soils, the Quarz combination can be armed with two rows of triple k, spring and back-slopping tines to suit different ground conditions. The back-sloping tine is designed specifically for minimal tillage operations where there is a need for soil conservation, says Lemken.
Consolidation and crumbling is provided by a choice of 540mm diameter tube bar or packer rollers or a 500mm diameter Trapeze packer roller.
On mounted models, the Solitair seed hopper is placed over the roller which is claimed to allow optimum weight distribution.
And on the primary tillage front, the company has launched its five to nine furrow Vari-Diamant semi-mounted plough, which has been engineered to work in both in-furrow and on-land work positions.
A front-swivel support wheel required for on-land ploughing runs inside the ploughs two parallel beams and can be locked in the centre for in-furrow ploughing. A longer gap between the ploughs headstock and turnover mechanism allows a 90 degree turning angle at headlands – even with 3m wide tractors, says Lemken.
For its smaller sibling – the EuroPlough – Lemken has developed a hydraulic reset system alongside a mechanically operated version. Called the Hydrix, it comprises hydraulic cylinders fitted to each leg which can be adjusted in pressure to suit different ground conditions.
For ploughing lighter soils, the system – through two accumulators – can be pre-set to 50bar, while very heavy soils demand pressures of up to 140bar.
A further enhancement for EuroPlough models is the addition of an electronic control system that is fully compatible with the Fendt Vario terminal. Using the Vario joystick and display screen, it allows the operator to reverse the plough and adjust overall ploughing and front furrow width. *