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Cows return to pasture courtesy of precision guidance

 

The IntelliSteer smart guidance system from New Holland is helping to ensure that 700 cows can return to grass as quickly as possible, after 135,000 revellers at the Glastonbury Festival  have left the host farms fields.

 

Worthy Farm, the location of the world renowned Glastonbury Festival, is home to 400 dairy cows and 300 followers. When the Festival ends the farms 700 acres are covered with waste including over two tonnes of metal, which needs to be recovered. Around 600 acres of grass is cut for forage, so reducing metal contamination before silage-cutting is vital.

 

This is achieved with a powerful magnet, front-mounted on a New Holland T7.235, with the search for metal recently being enhanced by the use of New Holland IntelliSteer PLM guidance system. Effectively clearing the fields of metal rubbish is vital for the dairy herd who will often graze on the site within three or so weeks after the festival has ended.  Removing metal with help from the magnet has reduced the incidence of cows ingesting metal by around 90 per cent.

 

Michael Eavis CBE, owner of Worthy Farm and founder of the Glastonbury Festival, still maintains an active interest in running the farm and describes the magneting operation as one of the most important things that has been implemented during the past 15 years. He says: The magneting operation is very important for the day-to-day running of the farm. Anything left from the festival could potentially get into the cows feed so we do all we can to prevent this.

 

Worthy Farm purchased the New Holland T7.235 tractor with IntelliSteer in August 2014 specifically to help with metal collection, and to date it has already clocked up 1340 hours. The farm uses RTX Range Point for its GPS correction, supplied by Trimble Correction Services, which gives 15cm pass to pass accuracy. 

 

Guided by the IntelliSteer system, the tractor and magnet pick up any ferrous materials that it passes over. The most common items are tent pegs, gas canisters and one and two pence pieces. All the collected metals go to the local scrapyard for recycling.

 

The magnet was developed and manufactured on the farm around 15 years ago and consists of a 4m wide frame on wheels which holds a stainless steel plate and large solid magnets. The magnets can be lifted independently off the steel plates, to discharge any metal collected into a purpose-built tray. It is attached to the front linkage of the T7.235, allowing it to be raised for transport and lowered for collecting. In collecting mode it works at 50 to 75mm off the the ground with a forward speed of 2.5kph. 

 

The IntelliSteer system has proven to be a real time and money saver on the farm as reducing overlap has increased work rate by approximately 25 per cent. The system accurately maps fields and provides field sizes and distances which is useful information for other field activities, such as planning where to run water pipes. It will also take into account changes in altitude from sea level to within 20-30cm accuracy.

 

Steve Kearle, Farm Manager for Worthy Farm says: The IntelliSteer system means we can be sure that the magnet has covered every inch of the fields. Its the first time that weve had an auto-guidance system on one of our tractors and already its making a big difference. The system gives us the assurance that not only have we covered the field, but we havent wasted time going over the same area.

 

Over the course of the year, the magnet and tractor will sweep the 700 acre site four times. The site is grass harrowed regularly to help bring items to the surface so that the magnet can collect more effectively. An aerator mounted on the back of the tractor is used in the same pass as the magnet operation, and helps the ground recover after being trampled by around 135,000 people during the five days of the Glastonbury Festival.

 

Brad Haldene has worked at Worthy Farm for five years and is the primary tractor operator, doing 90 per cent of the magnet work. He says: IntelliSteer has helped me be sure that we havent overlapped and that we havent missed any metal on the ground. The advanced mapping system makes it far more efficient and means there is no opportunity for error.

 

Worthy Farm has three T7.235 Auto Command tractors (one fitted with IntelliSteer while the other two are PLM ready), one T6.160 Auto Command tractor and one Boomer 3040 as part of its tractor fleet. The tractor fleet is mainly used for the farm but has to be flexible enough to perform festival duties as well. Farm manager Steve believes the T7.235 is perfectly suited to the important magnet task as well as other tasks on the farm.

 

Steve says: The T7.235 is a good size. We chose it to suit the tasks we have at the moment and those we expect to have in the future. Other than the magnet job, the T7s are used for transport, feeding, hauling and tanking they can take on pretty much all of the tasks on the farm. The front linkage which we had fitted gives us great flexibility, so that has been really useful.

 

T H White based in Frome has been working with Worthy Farm for the past 40 years and sold the latest fleet of T7s as part of a trade-in deal. During the Glastonbury Festival, the farm hires eight tractors mainly New Holland T4s and T5s from T H White for 8 to 12 weeks, mainly for towing flat bed trailers that move equipment around the site.

 

Ben Wilcox, T H White salesman, says: We have a long-standing relationship with Worthy Farm where we provide them with a variety of machinery, not just for the Glastonbury Festival, but also for day-to-day farm operations. We were one of the first New Holland dealerships to acquire PLM Certified Level 3 status and we have a dedicated precision farming specialist providing customer support and training.

 

In the future, the Worthy Farm team is looking to develop a new tool which will help them remove non-ferrous metals from the site, including alloys and aluminium that are currently collected manually by volunteer litter pickers after the festival.


  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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