For those with money to invest in the latest agricultural machinery and services, there is no better opportunity than at Agritechnica
For those with money to invest in the latest agricultural machinery and services, there is no better opportunity than at Agritechnica, held in mid-November in Hannover, Germany. David Williams was there.
Attracting more than 450,000 visitors, this year’s event involved 2,900 exhibitors from 52 countries, and those with machines on display reported no shortage of interest in the latest technology. Although the show always features machines to suit all farm types and sizes, many new developments this year focused on machines with greater capacity, but no bigger than their predecessors, mainly due to demand for more performance while remaining within the maximum dimensions permitted on European roads.
It’s not just UK farm margins that are under pressure, and attracting most interest were new products which offered greater efficiencies, extra versatility and higher work rates. New drills and precision seeders featured heavily as did cultivators with the ability to work in a wide range of conditions. Star attractions were probably some of the new tractors on show, including the John Deere 9RX articulated crawler, the Case IH Optum and its close relation, the New Holland T7-HD. The most powerful McCormick tractors so far, announced at the event, were attracting a lot of interest as was a concept Zetor with radical new styling, and the JCB 4000-series Fastracs, shown two years ago at the event as prototypes, kept the company’s staff busy with interest from potential customers.
Among New Holland’s many new products on display was its new T7 series flagships – the T7 Heavy Duty models. Also shown were new forage harvesters, new round balers, the new T8 SmartTrax with half track drive system and the latest additions to the company’s combine harvester range which includes the world’s most powerful conventional combine, the CX890 with 490hp and a 12,500-litre grain tank.
The T7 Heavy Duty series includes two models, the T7.290 and T7.315, designed to perform a wide variety of farm tasks from transport work to primary and secondary cultivations as well as mowing and baling. A high specification includes 4-speed rear, and 2-speed front PTOs, and an on-demand hydraulic system which delivers up to 220-litres/min, even at low engine revs. Large 2.15m rear tyres can be fitted for optimal traction and performance in-the-field and for added manoeuvrability there is a SuperSteer option which reduces the turning circle by up to 50 per cent. Rated power of the T7.290 is 270hp with an extra 20hp available for hydraulic and PTO applications and higher speed transport tasks. The T7.315 has 300hp available at rated output with up to 313hp available in maximum power mode. AutoCommand CVT is standard.
The launch of a brand new product from British company Bomford, took place at the show. The Flailbot is a remote control, diesel powered tractor, which can be fitted with a range of implements, but was seen at the show with a 1.5m flail head. The Flailbot is powered by a 40hp 3-cylinder Perkins industrial engine, selected for its flat torque curve and operating speed of approximately 2,800rpm. A reversing cooling fan is standard to keep the machine’s cooling system clear of debris.
The track width can be altered remotely, to maximise stability on slopes and each track can be pushed out up to 250mm from its standard position. The maximum working angle is 55 degrees and LED lighting is standard. There is a front camera option which provides an image on the radio control screen. The Flailbot can be ordered now and the price at the show was 65,000 euros. Pictured with the Flailbot are service engineer Rhys Thomas and export sales manager Jim Goddard, and the Perkins power unit.
After being imported by Reco for 21 years, Sulky products are now available direct from the manufacturer’s subsidiary – Sulky UK. “Sulky is very keen to increase its market share in the UK, and to become one of the top three players by 2020,” explained UK sales and support representative, David Parsons. “The company has responded to demand for larger implements for use with larger tractors and offers power harrow drills up to 8m and rated to 360hp – previously the range consisted of 3 and 4m versions. The folding TF drill, which is available in 4 and 6m working widths, remains popular. Our X40 spreader remains available but for those needing additional performance the X40 plus provides variable rate applications, across the full width or to each side for additional precision. The spreader automatically weighs itself every second and recalibrates the flow rates every minute, which means precise application is maintained even as fertiliser quality varies between batches. We have also seen increased demand for larger spreaders and wider spread widths and the X50 plus will spread to 50m with up to 4t capacity. Both models are available with Econov section control up to 12 sections with the new Sulky Quartz 800 Isobus terminal. Econov technology is also used on our larger XT trailed spreaders with capacities from 7.2-14.0t.” David is pictured (left) with Sulky export area manager Joachim Brossard and an advanced Econov spreader.
Since its UK launch in 2012, Vaderstad’s Tempo maize drill has proved popular, offering high speed operation with superb accuracy but, until now, it has been available only in operating widths up to eight rows. The Tempo L12 and L16 versions will be available for the 2017 drilling seasons and offer working widths up to 12.2m and up to 16 rows, but fold to 3m for transport. Row spacing is adjustable, between 700 and 800mm and each seed hopper holds up to 100 litres, while the fertiliser hopper has a capacity of 8.2t on the 16-row version and 7.4t on the 12-row machine. The new Phoenix 3 metering system ensures accurate fertiliser application rates.
Vaderstad celebrated winning its first Agritechnica Silver medal, awarded for an automatic CrossBoard which can be fitted to the Spirit R drill. The new board includes a sensor which monitors the build up of trash and soil ahead of the tines, raising them to allow material to flow through in the event of a build-up and the company expects to introduce it as an option for many other machines across its product range.
Dalbo exhibited several new products including a set of 24m rolls, which UK sales manager Steve Atkin explained will be in demand for UK farms. “With farms increasingly using 48m sprayers, the use of 24m rolls is the next logical step and the extra width will suit those with large areas to cover, even if they are on narrower spray widths. Each of the nine sections of the Megaroll 2430 floats independently and there is a hydraulic break-back mechanism to protect the rolls in case of collision, which can be easily adjusted for sensitivity. They take under four minutes to fold and unfold and the trailer rides smoothly on the road on its dual wheels. We will have a limited number available for sale during the coming year, with full availability for 2017, and we are recommending a tractor of 300hp upwards to pull them,” he said. In front of the new large rolls was a 6m set, providing a contrast and enabling visitors to inspect the best-selling set of rolls in Europe, according to Steve.
New Holland has been manufacturing forage harvesters for more than 50 years and the new FR Forage Cruiser models are designed for larger farms and contractors. Five models offer power outputs from 476-824hp and five chopper configurations provide 3-33mm chop lengths which can be adjusted on-the-move from the cab using the Hydroloc feedroll drive system, allowing the operator to switch quickly between grass and maize crops. Automatic trailer filling is an option. New Holland claims a 20 per cent fuel saving from the largest FR780 model compared with its predecessor, equivalent to 0.5 litres/t of maize chopped to 8mm.
Updates to the company’s Roll-Belt baler range include in cab adjustment of density and variable core via the IntelliView colour touch-screen. A lower core density when baling hay in marginal conditions allows the crop to breathe, while dry straw core density can be set higher.
Alpego has launched a new Cayman cultivator, to replace the Puma, and the new version was displayed for the first time at the event. The Cayman was introduced six years ago, but the latest model provides extra versatility for use with smaller tractors. Rear packers now fold forward on the 3.0 and 3.5m versions, maintaining a compact size and keeping the weight forward, close to the tractor. “The Alpego rear packer is heavy and effective,” explained Alpego UK sales manager Warren Rivers-Scott, “but this meant it needed a large tractor to counterbalance it. The new design enables it to be used with tractors with less lift capacity.”
Another improvement is the tine break-back mechanism which uses a double spring to provide up to 800kg resistance, up from 750kg previously. “The spring design allows the tine some movement, but holds it in place to shatter the clods and do what it was designed to do,” explained Warren.
New 4 and 5m, mounted and trailed versions have also been introduced with side folding for transport.
Warren said another new innovation creating considerable interest was the Rotal seed distribution head for the pneumatic seeders. Using an internal rotor driven by the fan, it distributes seed evenly across all outlets regardless of slope angles. The new head will be available in time for the 2016 autumn drilling season.
The Fendt stand was busy throughout the event and star attraction was the new 1000-series tractor range, in its new paint finish. Fendt UK national sales manager Martin Hamer explained that the new tractor will make its UK debut at Lamma in January, but the company is keen to get it out working as quickly as possible on some of the 100-plus farms requesting demonstrations. Most interest is from farmers and contractors, with enquiries from haulage companies and for powering wood chippers. UK dealers have already undergone technical training ahead of the tractors’ arrival. At Agritechnica, a reception was held throughout the event allowing potential 1000-series customers to spend time discussing the new flagship tractors with specialists from Fendt, and this attracted approximately 25 visitors from the UK each day, all keen to find out more. Martin said that so far, most demand appears to be for the largest 1050 Vario model, equipped to a high specification. Production starts in April and deliveries are expected in the autumn.
The company displayed its X-Concept system, with electric drive systems replacing a conventional PTO as a means of providing power to an implement. A tractor equipped with X-Concept electric PTO was hitched to a Fendt Former grass rake, with electric actuation of all functions and separate electric motors on each hub. The company explained that this provides individual control of each rotor, and the set-up displayed was an example of possible applications for the system. As well as optimising control of the implement, Fendt explained that additional advantages include less maintenance and reduced risk of contamination of the swath by leaking lubricants.
Mitas displayed several new tyres including its HCM, designed mainly for utility and municipal tractors. The ‘Cascade’ tread profile is designed for use in slippery conditions, including snow, and it also assists self-cleaning. On show was a 540/80R38 but it is available in four other popular sizes. Load capacity is 7,875kg per tyre at 10kph but it is rated for high-speed use up to 50kph with a capacity of 5,985kg. The new HCM tyre will be available in early 2016. “It is very quiet on the road, with the tread spacing designed to minimise tread noise at speed,” explained Mitas PR manager Ales Kosina (right).
A new Cultor tyre was also shown for the first time. Formerly the Mitas-RD, it is now the Cultor-RD. Available in 46 sizes, from January 2016, it is a budget tyre and is one of the new radial designs available in the Cultor brand. Prices have not yet been confirmed but it will be available to order from January.
McHale enjoyed a very successful show displaying its first ever range of mowers. McHale sales manager Mike Walsh explained that pre-production mowers have been undergoing testing for several years, and that the range includes front, rear and butterfly versions, all with 3.1m cutting width, so that triple mowers up to 9m cut can be supplied. This will allow the company to cater for a range of sizes of operation when the mowers become available for the UK and Ireland’s 2016 season.
The ProGlide mowers have mounting systems similar to those used on trailed mowers so that the bed is pulled upwards making them easy to use and reducing sward damage, and there are conditioners fitted as standard to all models. Mike expects the butterfly combinations to be especially popular with UK users and said the inclusion of mowers in the range is a logical step. “We have offered balers and wrappers for 20 years,” he said, “and these have proved extremely successful, and through these we have built a reputation for top class products with superb build quality and reliability. In future we will have a full range of mowers and will add more forage and grassland products, so that we have a full line-up available. The feedback we are getting is very positive,” he said. Mike Walsh is pictured explaining features of the new McHale mounted mowers.
Kockerling used the event to launch an updated version of its Rebell Profiline large compact disc harrow, which is designed to perform well on stubble as well as for preparing seedbeds for drilling. Large 620mm diameter discs are mounted on large springs, and depth adjustment is carried out using twin depth wheels at the front and a double STS 530mm diameter roller at the rear. With hydraulic adjustment, the depth can be altered easily on-the-move, and maximum operating depth is approximately 18cms. Available to order now, the Rebell Profiline is manufactured in 5-, 6- and 8m working widths.
New on Techneat’s stand was an ultra-violet water treatment system, designed to treat irrigation water for use on salad crops. The company first used UV water treatment five years ago, when it started using the process for water used on potatoes, but the system has been developed more recently for use on salads. “We see significant demand from growers and processors producing salads for supermarkets. These crops tend to be supplied uncooked and the shops are keen to supply foods which are as safe for customers as possible. Using a powerful flash of ultra-violet light requires very little energy but it kills bacteria in the water, just before it is used to irrigate the crop, or used for washing in the processing plants. It is the first time we have shown the irrigation water treatment unit and have had considerable interest,” explained sales manager Ady Sallis. Pictured with the UV treatment system are engineer Edwin Stokoe (left) with Ady Sallis.
Several new products were shown on Vogelsang’s stand, including the latest version of the X-Till strip-tillage cultivator and a Progressive cavity pump, designed for ease of maintenance.
The new PC pump can be maintained without the need to remove it from a tanker, with hinged assemblies and convenient access to all major components. Vogelsang UK sales manager for agricultural products, Sion Williams is pictured with the new pump.
The X-Till VarioCrop (right) offers users a range of strip spacings, including 45, 50 and 75cm, and is available in working widths to 6m. No tools are needed to make alterations to any of the operating settings so it is very user-friendly, explained Sion. Pneumatic pressure control redistributes air around the working elements to maintain constant pressure across the machine and allows the cultivator to adapt quickly and easily to ground contours so that, when injecting fertiliser or slurry, an even depth below the surface is maintained. Sion pointed out that many users are finding significant benefits in terms of the high work rates which can be achieved by using the X-Till purely as a cultivator, and that the new variable spacing will add to its appeal.
Those looking for smaller machines were equally well catered for at the show, and Husqvarna displayed several new products for the first time. Battery-powered pruners have joined battery-powered chainsaws and brushcutters in the range and offer ease of use and convenience explained the company. Clearing saws make it easy to remove fallen trees and new growth from paths and rides through farm woodland, and the cutting unit can be angled 90 degrees. The small 536LiPX pruner weighs just 1.2kg and the battery weighs one kilogram resulting in a total operating weight of 2.2kg. “It offers high torque and instant starting at the touch of the button,” explained Husqvarna public relations manager for Germany, Heribert Wattels, who is pictured with the new machines. “It has an energy saving mode too, for when full power isn’t needed and provides considerably longer operating times between charges. Available during spring 2016, it is our first battery product for forestry professionals,” he said.
New products from Vogel & Noot included a prototype trailed sprayer. The Pharos 4600 has a 4,600-litre polyethylene main tank with a 444-litre fresh water tank mounted underneath. Boom width options are 15-27m, and a clever folding arrangement provides a 2.52m transport width. A potentiometer-controlled steering axle is supplied, and the sprayer is fitted with air suspension allowing working speeds up to 18kph. A range of control options is available.
The BKT tyre stand was busy throughout the show, dealing with enquiries relating to its latest products. The Agrimax Force is a radial tyre, designed for high horsepower tractors above 250hp, and was displayed in an IF 650/85R42 size. The IF technology means the tyre can operate at lower pressures even when carrying high loads, compared to standard low profile tyres, so causes less soil compaction, without performance being compromised. Also displayed for the first time were brand new Ridemax IT 697 M&S and Ridemax FL 693 M tyres. The Ridemax IT 697 M&S is designed for winter use, to provide grip in snow and ice without the need for chains, providing optimal stability and control on difficult surfaces. The Ridemax FL 693 M is for agricultural trailers and trailed equipment, and is available in a new 600/55R26.5 size. It combines a high load capacity with self-cleaning tread and a low rolling resistance for reduced fuel consumption. BKT press office representative, Laura Pedrali, is pictured with the new Ridemax tyres.
Zetor’s concept tractor, with its revolutionary Pininfarina-designed modern styling, surprised many visitors. The company said that although it remains a prototype currently, aspects of the design could be seen on models available for sale from as soon as 2018, and that it aims to increase its current 4-model line-up to six, including tractors up to 200hp, up from 163hp available currently from its latest Crystal models.
Among many new Kuhn products was the SW4014 bale wrapper with an automatic bale loading system which had been awarded a Silver medal at the event. The loading system is entirely automatic and uses radar to detect and measure the bale to be loaded, ensuring perfect positioning every time. Kuhn area sales manager Paul Gregory (right) is with the award-winning wrapper.
A new round baler was shown for the first time by Kuhn. The VB2265 (5ft) and VB2295 (6ft) models have variable chambers and a top specification making them suitable for heavy contracting use. Previous variable chamber round balers provided chamber pressures up to 200bar, but the new models ensure greater bale density with operating pressures to 230bar.
Precision farming specialist Trimble previewed a new display and announced new features for its systems. The new portable 7-inch MMX-070 display, which will be available from early 2016, uses the same Android interface as the more advanced TMX-2050 display and offers entry-level Isobus compatibility. Both screens will be able to access web browsers allowing the use of any website. An Ag Developer Network allows users to design and submit apps for approval by Trimble. “Any company could have an app for use with our systems,” explained Trimble regional business manager for Europe and Africa, Hamish Wilkie. “There can be localised legislation issues which affect farmers and contractors in their area of operation and this new facility means apps can be designed to allow users to operate within these restrictions, making their operation more efficient. We expect considerable interest from implement manufacturers wanting to supply apps which enable the screens to link to their equipment.”
Suitable roadsCo-pilot is a new Trimble app which comes from ALK Technologies, a Trimble company, which allows users to enter their vehicle’s size and weight, and the navigation system will provide guidance on how to reach a destination efficiently, while avoiding unsuitable routes, such as narrow or low bridges. “This has been adapted from a program developed by the transport and logistics division of Trimble,” explained Hamish, “and will be of great benefit to farmers and contractors who have large vehicles to move around.”
Improved supportAnother new third party app, available for farmers from Trimble’s App Central marketplace is TeamViewer, which allows remote monitoring of the screen. Authorised third-party users can access the screen displays from their own computers, to suggest solutions to problems as well as provide tuition and familiarisation with new features.
Optimal turningOf interest to arable and grassland users is ‘NextSwath end-of-row turn technology’, which automatically steers the vehicle and implement for optimum efficiency during headland turns, ensuring the implement is precisely centered for the next bout. “This will reduce fuel costs and time spent carrying out headland turns,” explained Hamish, “as well as reducing compaction and soil damage as travel distance is minimised.”
‘Beware of Imitations’, proclaimed a banner above the Case IH Quadtrac on the company’s stand. The Quadtrac has recently gained two new competitors; the John Deere 9RX and the Versatile Delta-Tra